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And all its dizzy raptures. Not for this
Faint I, nor mourn nor murmur: other gifts
Have follow’d; for such loss, I would believe,
Abundant recompense. For I have learn'd
To look on Nature, not as in the hour
Of thoughtless youth; but hearing oftentimes
The stils, sad music of humanity,
Nor harsh nor grating, though of ample power
To chasten and subdue. And I have felt
A presence that disturbs me with the joy
Of elevated thoughts; a sense sublime
Of something far more deeply interfused,
Whose dwelling is the light of setting suns,
And the round ocean, and the living air,
And the blue sky, and in the mind of man;
A motion and a spirit, that impels
All thinking things, all objects of all thought,
And rolls through all things. Therefore am I still
A lover of the meadows and the woods,
And mountains; and of all that wo behold
From this green earth; of all the mighty world
Of eye, and ear,-- both what they half create,
And what perceive; well pleased to recognise,
In Nature and the language of the sense,
The anchor of my purest thoughts, the nurse,
The guide, the guardian of my heart, and soul
Of all my moral being.
If I were not thus taught, should I the more
Suffer my genial spirits to decay:
For thou art with me here upon the banks
Of this fair river; thou my dearest Friend,
My dear, dear Friend; and in thy voice I catch
The language of my former heart, and read
My former pleasures in the shooting lights
of thy wild eyes. 0, yet a little while
May I behold in thee what I was once,
My dear, dear Sister! and this prayer I make,
Knowing that Nature never did betray
The heart that loved her; 'tis her privilege,
Through all the years of this our life, to lead
From joy to joy: for she can so inform
The mind that is within us, so impress
With quietness and beauty, and so feed
With lofty thoughts, that neither evil tongues,
Rash judgments, nor the sneers of selfish men,
Nor greetings where no kindness is, nor all
The dreary intercourse of daily life,
Shall e'er prevail against us, or disturb
Our cheerful faith, that all which we behold
Is full of blessings. Therefore let the Moon
Shine on thee in thy solitary walk;
And let the misty mountain-winds be free
To blow against thee: and, in after years,
When these wild ecstasies shall be matured
Into a sober pleasure; when thy mind
Shall be a mansion for all lovely forms,
Thy memory be as a dwelling-place
For all sweet sounds and harmonies; 0, then,
If solitude, or fear, or pain, or grief,
Should be thy portion, with what healing thoughts
Of tender joy wilt thou remember me,
And these my exhortations! Nor, perchance, -
If I should be where I no more can hear
Thy voice, nor catch from thy wild eyes these gleams
Of past existence,--wilt thou then forget
That on the banks of this delightful stream
We stood together; and that I, so long
A worshipper of Nature, hither came
Unwearied in that service; rather say
With warmer love,—0, with far deeper zeal
Of holier love! Nor wilt thou then forget,
That after many wanderings, many years
Of absence, these steep woods and lofty cliffs,
And this green pastoral landscape, were to me
More dear, both for themselves and for thy sake. [1798. 8 This is decidedly one of Wordsworth's most characteristic strains. It was given to the world in his first volume of Lyrical Ballads, 1798, and may be not unjustly said to have inaugurated a new era in English Poetry. Perhaps a moro original vein was never struck by any uninspired hand: certainly England had not produced any thing. approaching it in originality since the days of Milton. The enthusiastic worship of Nature here displayed may seem excessive to some; though this very excess, if such it be, constitutes, in part, the unique and peculiar charm of the poem. To the poet's early love of Nature, as kindled and fed by the lakes and streams and mountains of his native region, there had succeeded a course of brain-tugging speculations: the French Revolution had, for a time, quite unsphered his mind, and whirled him far out of his proper orbit into a region where his more genial faculties could not breathe; he had lost his better self, and almost broken his heart among the problems starter by the events of the time. While in this state of exile from his true intellectual home, he was restored to the society of his sister, whose influence won him back to his first love; and in this poem we have, preëminently, his first transports of return. ing health, his fullest outpourings of rapture on regaining his heart's home. In his notes dictated at the age of seventy-three, we have the following: “No poem of mine was composed under circumstances more pleasant for me to remember than this. I
“ With sacrifice before the rising morn
Vows have I made by fruitless hope inspired;
And from th' infernal Gods, ʼmid shades forlorn
Of night, my slaughter'd Lord have I required:
Celestial pity I again implore; -
Restore him to my sight,- great Jove, restore!”
So speaking, and by fervent love endow'd
With faith, the Suppliant heavenward lifts her hands;
While, like the Sun emerging from a cloud,
Her countenance brightens, and her eye expands;
Her bosom heaves and spreads, her stature grows;
And she expects the issue in repose.
O terror! what hath she perceived ? — joy!
What doth she look on? - whom doth she behold?
Her Hero slain upon the beach of Troy?
His vital presence? his corporeal mould?
It is,- if sense deceive her not, - 'tis He!
And a God leads him, winged Mercury!
Mild Hermes spake, and touch'd her with his wand
That calms all fear: “Such grace hath crown'd thy prayer,
Laodamía! that at Jove's command
Thy Husband walks the paths of upper air:
He comes to tarry with thee three hours' space;
Accept the gift, behold him face to face!"
Forth sprang th' impassion'd Queen her Lord to clasp;
Again that consummation she essay’d;
But unsubstantial Form eludes her grasp
As often as that eager grasp was made.
The Phantom parts,--but parts to re-unite,
“Protesiláus, lo, thy guide is gone!
Confirm, I pray, the vision with thy voice:
This is our palace,- yonder is thy throne;
Speak, and the floor thou tread'st on will rejoice.
Not to appal me have the gods bestow'd
This precious boon; and blest a sad abode."
“Great Jove, Laodamía! doth not leave
His gifts imperfect: Spectre though I be,
I am not sent to scare thee or deceive;
But in reward of thy fidelity.
And something also did my worth obtain;
For fearless virtue bringeth boundless gain.
Thou know'st, the Delphic oracle foretold
That the first Greek who touch'd the Trojan strand
Should die; but me the threat could not withhold:
A generous cause a victim did demand;
And forth I leapt upon the sandy plain;
A self-devoted chief, by Hector slain.”
“Supreme of Heroes,— bravest, noblest, best!
Thy matchless courage I bewail no more,
Which then, when tens of thousands were deprest
By doubt, propellid thee to the fatal shore;
- and I forgive thee - here thou art --
A nobler counsellor than my poor heart.
But thou, though capable of sternest deed,
Wert kind as resolute, and good as brave;
And he, whose power restores thee, hath decreed
Thou shouldst elude the malice of the grave:
Redundant are thy locks, thy lips as fair
As when their breath enrich'd Thessalian air.
No Spectre greets me,- no vain Shadow this;
Come, blooming Hero, place thee by my side!
Give, on this well known couch, one nuptial kiss
To me, this day a second time thy bride!”
Jove frown'd in Heaven: the conscious Parcæ threw
Upon the roseate lips a Stygian hue.
“This visage tells thee that my doom is past:
Nor should the change be mourn'd, even if the joys
Of sense were able to return as fast
And surely as they vanish. Earth destroys
Those raptures duly,- Erebus disdains:
Calm pleasures there abide, majestic pains.
Be taught, O faithful Consort, to control
Rebellious passion: for the Gods approve
The depth, and not the tumult, of the soul;
A fervent, not ungovernable, love.
Thy transports moderate; and meekly mourn
When I depart, for brief is my sojourn."
“Ah, wherefore? - Did not Hercules by force
Wrest from the guardian Monster of the tomb
Alcestis, a reanimated corse,
Given back to dwell on Earth in vernal bloom?
Medea's spells dispersed the weight of years,
And Æson stood a youth ’mid youthful peers.
The Gods to us are merciful, and they
Yet further may relent: for mightier far
Than strength of nerve and sinew, or the sway
Of magic potent over Sun and star,
Is love, though oft to agony distrest,
And though his favourite seat be feeble woman's breast.
But if thou go'st, I follow “ Peace!” he said.
She look'd upon him and was calm’d and cheerd;
The ghastly colour from his lips had fled;
In his deportment, shape, and mien, appear'd
Elysian beauty, melancholy grace,
Brought from a pensive though a happy place.
He spake of Love, such love as Spirits feel
In worlds whose course is equable and pure;
No fears to beat away,- no strife to heal,
The past unsigh’d-for, and the future sure;
Spake of heroic hearts in graver mood
Revived, with finer harmony pursued;
Of all that is most beauteous, imaged there
In happier beauty; more pellucid streams,
An ampler ether, a diviner air,
And fields invested with purpureal gleams;
Climes which the Sun, who sheds the brightest day
Earth knows, is all unworthy to survey.
Yet there the Soul shall enter which hath earn'd
That privilege by virtue.--"111," said he,
“ The end of man's existence I discern’d,
Who from ignoble games and revelry
Could draw, when we had parted, vain delight,
While tears were thy best pastime, day and night;