Page images

At length the man perceives it die away,
And fade into the light of common day.


Earth fills her lap with pleasures of her own ;
Yearnings she hath in her own natural kind,
And, even with something of a mother's mind,

And no unworthy aim,
The homely nurse doth all she can
To make her foster-child, her inmate man,

Forget the glories he hath known,
And that imperial palace whence he came.


Behold the child among his new-born blisses,
A six years' darling of a pigmy size !
See, where 'mid work of his own hand he lies,
Fretted by sallies of his mother's kisses,
With light upon him from his father's eyes !
See, at his feet, some little plan or chart,
Some fragment from his dream of human life,
Shaped by himself with newly-learnèd art ;

A wedding or a festival,
A mourning or a funeral ;

And this hath now his heart,
And unto this he frames his song :

Then will he fit his tongue
To dialogues of business, love, or strife ;

But it will not be long
Ere this be thrown aside,

And with new joy and pride
The little actor cons another part;
Filling from time to time his 'humorous stage'
With all the persons, down to palsied age,
That Life brings with her in her equipage ;

As if his whole vocation
Were endless imitation.


Thou, whose exterior semblance doth belie

Thy soul's immensity ;
Thou best philosopher, who yet dost keep
Thy heritage ; thou eye among the blind,
That, deaf and silent, read'st the eternal deep,
Haunted for ever by the eternal mind,

Mighty Prophet! Seer blest!

On whom those truths do rest,
Which we are toiling all our lives to find ;
Thou, over whom thy immortality
Broods like the day, a master o'er a slave,
A presence which is not to be put by;
Thou little child, yet glorious in the might
Of heaven-born freedom, on thy being's height,
Why with such earnest pains dost thou provoke
The years to bring th' inevitable yoke,
Thus blindly with thy blessedness at strife.
Full soon thy soul shall have her earthly freight,
And custom lie upon thee with a weight,
Heavy as frost, and deep almost as life!


O joy! that in our embers
Is something that doth live,
That Nature yet remembers

What was so fugitive !
The thought of our past years in me doth breed
Perpetual benedictions : not indeed
For that which is most worthy to be bless'd ;
Delight and liberty, the simple creed
Of childhood, whether busy or at rest,
With new-fledged hope still Auttering in his breast :

Not for these I raise
The song of thanks and praise ;
But for those obstinate questionings
Of sense and outward things,
Fallings from us, vanishings;


I WANDER'd lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o'er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host of golden daffodils ;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.
Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the milky way,
They stretch'd in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay :
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.
The waves besides them danced, but they
Outdid the sparkling waves in glee :-
A poet could not but be gay,
In such a jocund company ;
I gazed — and gazed – but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought :
For oft when on my couch I lie,
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude,
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.


UP with me! up with me, into the clouds !

For thy song, Lark, is strong ; Up with me, up with me into the clouds !

Singing, singing,
With all the heavens about thee ringing.

Lift me, guide me till I find
That spot which seems so to thy mind!

In the primal sympathy
Which having been, must ever be ;
In the soothing thoughts that spring
Out of human suffering;

In the faith that looks through death,
In years that bring the philosophic mind.

XI. And oh ye fountains, meadows, hills, and groves, Think not of any severing of our loves ! Yet in my heart of hearts I feel your might ; I only have relinquish'd one delight, To live beneath your more habitual sway. I love the brooks, which down their channels fret, Even more than when I tripp'd lightly as they : The innocent brightness of a new-born day

Is lovely yet; The clouds that gather round the setting sun Do take a sober colouring from an eye That hath kept watch o'er man's mortality ; Another race hath been, and other palms are won. Thanks to the human heart by which we live ; Thanks to its tenderness, its joys and fears ; To me the meanest flower that blows can give Thoughts that do often lie too deep for tears.

His wish was gain'd: a little time
Would bring him back in manhood's prime,
And free for life, these hills to climb,
With all his wants supplied.
And full of hope day follow'd day,
While that stout ship at anchor lay
Beside the shores of Wight;
The May had then made all things green ;
And, floating there in pomp serene,
That ship was goodly to be seen,
His pride and his delight!
Yet then, when call’d ashore, he sought
The tender peace of rural thought;
In more than happy mood,
To your abodes, bright daisy flowers !
He then would steal at leisure hours,
And loved you glittering in your bowers,
A starry multitude,
But hark the word !- the ship is gone ; —
From her long course returns
Sets sail : in season due,
Once more on English earth they stand :
But, when a third time from the land
They parted, sorrow was at hand
For him and for his crew.


Ill-fated vessel! ghastly shock!
At length deliver'd from the rock,
The deep she hath regain'd ;
And through the stormy night they steer,
Labouring for life, in hope and fear,
Towards a safer shore – how near,
Yet not to be attain'd !

Silence !' the brave commander cried ;
To that calm word a shriek replied ;
It was the last death-shriek.

« PreviousContinue »