The Enfolded Prelude: Book First

1805 text is in green 1850 text is in purple

Book First

Introduction: Childhood and School-time

    Oh, Oh there is blessing in this gentle breeze,
    That blows from the green fields and from the clouds
    And from the sky; A visitant that while it beats against fans my cheek,cheek
    And seems half conscious Doth seem half-conscious of the joy it gives.brings
    O welcome messenger! O welcome friend!From the green fields, and from yon azure sky.
    A captive greets thee, coming from a houseWhate'er its mission, the soft breeze can come
    Of bondage, from yon city's walls set free,To none more grateful than to me; escaped
    A prison From the vast city, where he hath been I long immured.had pined
    Now I am free, enfranchised and at large,A discontented sojourner: now free,
    May fix my habitation Free as a bird to settle where I will.
    What dwelling shall receive me, me? in what vale
    Shall be my harbour, harbour? underneath what grove
    Shall I take up my home, home? and what sweet clear stream
    Shall with its murmurs murmur lull me to my into rest?
    The earth is all before me with me. With a heart
    Joyous, nor scared at its own liberty,
    I look about, about; and should the guide I chusechosen guide
    Be nothing better than a wandering cloudcloud,
    I cannot miss my way. I breathe again-again!
    Trances of thought and mountings of the mind
    Come fast upon me. It me: it is shaken off,
    As by miraculous gift 'tis shaken off,
    That burthen of my own unnatural self,
    The heavy weight of many a weary day
    Not mine, and such as were not made for me.
    Long months of peace if (if such bold word accord
    With any promises of human life-life),
    Long months of ease and undisturbed delight
    Are mine in prospect. Whither prospect; whither shall I turn,
    By road or pathway, or through open trackless field,
    Or shall a twig Up hill or any down, or shall some floating thing
    Upon the river point me out my course?
    Enough that I am free, for months to come
    May dedicate myself to chosen tasks,
    May quit the tiresome sea and dwell on shore—
    If not a settler on the soil, at least
    To drink wild water, and to pluck green herbs,
    And gather fruits fresh from their native bough.
    Nay more, if I may trust myself, this hourDear Liberty! Yet what would it avail
    Hath brought But for a gift that consecrates my joy;the joy?
    For I, methought, while the sweet breath of heaven
    Was blowing on my body, felt within
    A corresponding mild creative breeze,
    A vital breeze which travelled correspondent breeze, that gently onmoved
    O'er things which it had made, and With quickening virtue, but is now become
    A tempest, a redundant energy,
    Vexing its own creation. 'Tis a powerThanks to both,
    That does not come unrecognised, a stormAnd their congenial powers, that, while they join
    Which, In breaking up a long-continued frost,
    Brings Bring with it them vernal promises, the hope
    Of active days, of dignity and thought,days urged on by flying hours,-
    Of prowess in an honorable field,Days of sweet leisure, taxed with patient thought
    Pure passions, virtue, knowledge, and delight,Abstruse, nor wanting punctual service high,
    The holy life of music Matins and vespers of verse.harmonious verse!
    Thus far, O friend, Friend! did I, not used to make
    A present joy the matter of my a song,
    Pour out forth that day my soul in measured strains,strains
    Even in the very words which I have That would not be forgotten, and are here
    Recorded. To Recorded: to the open fields I told
    A prophesy; prophecy: poetic numbers came
    Spontaneously, and clothed Spontaneously to clothe in priestly robe
    My spirit, thus A renovated spirit singled out, as it might seem,out,
    For Such hope was mine, for holy services. Great hopes were mine:services.
    My own voice cheared cheered me, and, far more, the mind's
    Internal echo of the imperfect soundsound;
    To both I listened, drawing from them both
    A chearful cheerful confidence in things to come.
    Whereat, being Content and not unwilling now to give
    A respite to this passion, I paced on
    Gently, with careless steps, With brisk and came erelongeager steps; and came, at length,
    To a green shady place place, where down I sate
    Beneath a tree, slackening my thoughts by choice
    And settling into gentler happiness.
    'Twas autumn, and a calm clear and placid dayday,
    With warmth warmth, as much as needed needed, from a sun
    Two hours declined towards the west, west; a day
    With silver clouds clouds, and sunshine on the grass,
    And, And in the sheltered grove where I was couched,and the sheltering grove
    A perfect stillness. On Many were the ground I lay
    Passing through many thoughts, yet mainly suchthoughts
    As to myself pertained. I made a choiceEncouraged and dismissed, till choice was made
    Of one sweet vale a known Vale, whither my steps feet should turn,
    And saw, methought, Nor rest till they had reached the very house door
    Of the one cottage which methought I saw.
    No picture of mere memory ever looked
    So fair; and fieldswhile upon the fancied scene
    Present before my eyes; nor did I failgazed with growing love, a higher power
    To add meanwhile Than Fancy gave assurance of some work
    Of glory there forthwith to be begun.-begun,
    Perhaps too there performed. Thus long I lay
    Cheared by the genial pillow of the earthmused,
    Beneath my head, soothed by a sense Nor e'er lost sight of touch
    From the warm ground, that balanced me, else lost
    Entirely, seeing nought, nought hearing, savewhat I mused upon,
    When here and there about Save when, amid the stately grove of oaksoaks,
    Where was my bed, Now here, now there, an acorn acorn, from the treesits cup
    Fell audibly, and Dislodged, through sere leaves rustled, or at once
    To the bare earth dropped with a startling sound.
    Thus occupied in mind From that soft couch I lingered here
    Contented, nor rose up until not, till the sun
    Had almost touched the horizon; bidding casting then
    A farewell to backward glance upon the curling cloud
    Of city left behind,smoke, by distance ruralised;
    Keen as a Truant or a Fugitive,
    But as a Pilgrim resolute, I took,
    Even with the chance equipment of that hourhour,
    I journeyed towards The road that pointed toward the vale which I had chosen.chosen Vale.
    It was a splendid evening, and my soul
    Did once again make Once more made trial of the strength
    Restored to her afresh; strength, nor did she wantlacked
    Eolian visitations Aeolian visitations; but the harp
    Was soon defrauded, and the banded host
    Of harmony dispersed in straggling sounds,
    And lastly utter silence. 'Be silence! "Be it so,
    It is an injury', said I, 'to this dayso;
    To Why think of any thing anything but present joy.'good?"
    So, like a peasant, home-bound labourer, I pursued my roadpursued
    Beneath My way beneath the evening mellowing sun, that shed
    Mild influence; nor had left in me one wish
    Again to bend the sabbath Sabbath of that time
    To a servile yoke. What need of many words?—words?
    A pleasant loitering journey, through two three days
    Continued, brought me to my hermitage.
    I spare to speak, my friend, tell of what ensued
    The admiration and the love, ensued, the life
    In common things, things the endless store of thingsthings,
    Rare, or at least so seeming, every day
    Found all about me in one neighbourhood,neighbourhood
    The self-congratulations, the completeself-congratulation, and, from morn
    Composure, and the happiness entire.To night, unbroken cheerfulness serene.
    But speedily a an earnest longing in me rose
    To brace myself to some determined aim,
    Reading or thinking, thinking; either to lay up
    New stores, or rescue from decay the old
    By timely interference. I had hopesinterference: and therewith
    Still Came hopes still higher, that with a frame of outward life
    I might endue, might fix in a visible home,
    Some portion of those phantoms of conceit,endue some airy phantasies
    That had been floating loose about so long,for years,
    And to such beings temperarely deal forth
    The many feelings that oppressed my heart.
    But I have That hope hath been discouraged: gleams of discouraged; welcome light
    Flash often Dawns from the east, then disappear,but dawns to disappear
    And mock me with a sky that ripens not
    Into a steady morning. If morning: if my mind,
    Remembering the sweet bold promise of the past,
    Would gladly grapple with some noble theme,
    Vain is her wish wish; where'er she turns she finds
    Impediments from day to day renewed.
    And now it would content me to yield up
    Those lofty hopes awhile awhile, for present gifts
    Of humbler industry. But, O oh, dear friend,Friend!
    The poet, Poet, gentle creature as he is,
    Hath Hath, like the lover Lover, his unruly times—times;
    His fits when he is neither sick nor well,
    Though no distress be near him but his own
    Unmanageable thoughts. The mind itself,
    The meditative thoughts: his mind, best pleased perhapspleased
    While she as duteous as the mother dove
    Sits brooding, lives not always to that end,
    But like the innocent bird, hath less quiet instincts goadings on
    That drive her as in trouble through the groves.groves;
    With me is now such passion, which I blameto be blamed
    No otherwise than as it lasts too long.
    When, as becomes a man who would prepare
    For such a glorious an arduous work, I through myself
    Make rigorous inquisition, the report
    Is often chearing; cheering; for I neither seem
    To lack that first great gift, the vital soul,
    Nor general truths Truths, which are themselves a sort
    Of elements Elements and agents, under-powers,Agents, Under-powers,
    Subordinate helpers of the living mind.mind:
    Nor am I naked in of external things,
    Forms, images, nor numerous other aids
    Of less regard, though won perhaps with toil,toil
    And needful to build up a poet's Poet's praise.
    Time, place, and manners, these manners do I seek, and these
    I find Are found in plenteous store, but nowhere such
    As may be singled out with steady choice—choice;
    No little band of yet remembered names
    Whom I, in perfect confidence, might hope
    To summon back from lonesome banishmentbanishment,
    And make them inmates dwellers in the hearts of men
    Now living, or to live in times to come.future years.
    Sometimes, mistaking vainly, as I fear,Sometimes the ambitious Power of choice, mistaking
    Proud spring-tide swellings for a regular sea,
    I Will settle on some British theme, some old
    Romantic tale by Milton left unsung;
    More often resting at turning to some gentle place
    Within the groves of chivalry Chivalry, I pipe
    Among To shepherd swains, or seated harp in hand,
    Amid reposing knights by a river side
    Or fountain, listen to the shepherds, grave reports
    Of dire enchantments faced and overcome
    By the strong mind, and tales of warlike feats,
    Where spear encountered spear, and sword with reposing knightssword
    Sit by Fought, as if conscious of the blazonry
    That the shield bore, so glorious was the strife;
    Whence inspiration for a fountain-side song that winds
    Through ever-changing scenes of votive quest
    Wrongs to redress, harmonious tribute paid
    To patient courage and hear their tales.unblemished truth,
    To firm devotion, zeal unquenchable,
    And Christian meekness hallowing faithful loves.
    Sometimes, more sternly move, moved, I would relate
    How vanquished Mithridates northward passedpassed,
    And, hidden in the cloud of years, became
    That Odin, father the Father of a race by whom
    Perished the Roman Empire; Empire: how the friends
    And followers of Sertorius, out of Spain
    Flying, found shelter in the Fortunate Isles,
    And left their usages, their arts and laws,
    To disappear by a slow gradual death,
    To dwindle and to perish one by one,
    Starved in those narrow bounds bounds: but not the soul
    Of liberty, Liberty, which fifteen hundred years
    Survived, and, when the European came
    With skill and power that could might not be withstood,
    Did Did, like a pestilence pestilence, maintain its hold,hold
    And wasted down by glorious death that race
    Of natural heroes. Or heroes: or I would record
    How How, in tyrannic times, some unknown high-souled man,
    Unheard of in Unnamed among the chronicles of kings,
    Suffered in silence for the love of truth;Truth's sake: or tell,
    How that one Frenchman, through continued force
    Of meditation on the inhuman deeds
    Of the those who conquered first conquerors of the Indian Isles,
    Went single in his ministry across
    The ocean, Ocean; not to comfort the oppressed,
    But But, like a thirsty wind wind, to roam about
    Withering the oppressor; Oppressor: how Gustavus foundsought
    Help at his need in Dalecarlia's mines;mines:
    How Wallace fought for Scotland, Scotland; left the name
    Of Wallace to be found found, like a wild flowerflower,
    All over his dear county, Country; left the deeds
    Of Wallace Wallace, like a family of ghostsGhosts,
    To people the steep rocks and river-banks,river banks,
    Her natural sanctuaries, with a local soul
    Of independence and stern liberty.
    Sometimes it suits me better to shape outinvent
    Some A tale from my own heart, more near akin
    To my own passions and habitual thoughts,thoughts;
    Some variegated story, in the main
    Lofty, with interchange of gentler things.
    But deadening admonitions will succeed,
    And but the whole beauteous fabric seems to lack
    Foundation, and withal appears throughoutunsubstantial structure melts
    Shadowy and unsubstantial.Before the very sun that brightens it,
    Then, last wish—Mist into air dissolving! Then a wish,
    My last and favorite aspiration thenfavourite aspiration, mounts
    I yearn towards With yearning toward some philosophic song
    Of truth Truth that cherishes our daily life,life;
    With meditations passionate from deep
    Recesses in man's heart, immortal verse
    Thoughtfully fitted to the Orphean lyre;
    But from this awful burthen I full soon
    Take refuge, refuge and beguile myself with trust
    That mellower years will bring a riper mind
    And clearer insight. Thus from day to day
    I live a mockery of the brotherhoodmy days are past
    Of vice and virtue, In contradiction; with no skill to part
    Vague longing that is longing, haply bred by want of power,
    From paramount impulse not to be withstood;withstood,
    A timorous capacity, from prudence;prudence,
    From circumspection, infinite delay.
    Humility and modest awe awe, themselves
    Betray me, serving often for a cloak
    To a more subtle selfishness, selfishness; that now
    Doth lock my functions Locks every function up in blank reserve,
    Now dupes me by me, trusting to an over-anxious anxious eye
    That with a false activity intrusive restlessness beats off
    Simplicity and self-presented truth.
    Ah, Ah! better far than this this, to stray about
    Voluptuously through fields and rural walkswalks,
    And ask no record of the hours given uphours, resigned
    To vacant musing, unreproved neglect
    Of all things, and deliberate holiday.
    Far better never to have heard the name
    Of zeal and just ambition ambition, than to live
    Thus baffled Baffled and plagued by a mind that every hour
    Turns recreant to her task, task; takes heart again,
    Then feels immediately some hollow thought
    Hang like an interdict upon her hopes.
    This is my lot; for either still I find
    Some imperfection in the chosen theme,
    Or see of absolute accomplishment
    Much wanting wanting, so much wanting wanting, in myselfmyself,
    That I recoil and droop, and seek repose
    In indolence listlessness from vain perplexity,
    Unprofitably travelling toward the grave,
    Like a false steward who hath much received
    And renders nothing back.
    ——Was Was it for this
    That one, the fairest of all Rivers, lov'drivers, loved
    To blend his murmurs with my Nurse's nurse's song,
    And And, from his alder shades and rocky falls,
    And from his fords and shallows, sent a voice
    That flow'd flowed along my dreams? For this, didst Thou,thou,
    O Derwent! travelling over the green Plainswinding among grassy holms
    Near my 'sweet Birthplace', didst thou, beauteous StreamWhere I was looking on, a babe in arms,
    Make ceaseless music through the night and day
    Which with its steady cadence, tempering
    Our human waywardness, compos'd that composed my thoughts
    To more than infant softness, giving me,me
    Among Amid the fretful dwellings of mankind,mankind
    A knowledge, foretaste, a dim earnest, of the calm
    That Nature breathes among the hills and groves.
    When, having When he had left the mountains and received
    On his Mountains, to smooth breast the Towersshadow of those towers
    Of Cockermouth that beauteous River came,That yet survive, a shattered monument
    Behind my Father's House he pass'd, close by,Of feudal sway, the bright blue river passed
    Along the margin of our Terrace Walk.terrace walk;
    He was a Playmate A tempting playmate whom we dearly lov'd.loved.
    Oh! Oh, many a time have I, a five years' Child,
    A naked Boy, in one delightful Rill,child,
    A little Mill-race sever'd In a small mill-race severed from his stream,
    Made one long bathing of a summer's day,day;
    Bask'd Basked in the sun, and plunged, plunged and bask'd basked again
    Alternate Alternate, all a summer's day, or cours'dscoured
    Over the The sandy fields, leaping through flowery groves
    Of yellow grunsel, or ragwort; or, when crag rock and hill,
    The woods, and distant Skiddaw's lofty height,
    Were bronz'd bronzed with a deep deepest radiance, stood alone
    Beneath the sky, as if I had been born
    On Indian Plains, plains, and from my Mother's mother's hut
    Had run abroad in wantonness, to sport,sport
    A naked Savage, savage, in the thunder shower.
    Fair seed-time had my soul, and I grew up
    Foster'd Fostered alike by beauty and by fear;fear:
    Much favour'd favoured in my birthplace, birth-place, and no less
    In that beloved Vale to which, erelong,which erelong
    I was transplanted. Well I call to mindWe were transplanted; there were we let loose
    ('Twas at an early age, ere For sports of wider range. Ere I had seentold
    Nine summers) Ten birth-days, when upon among the mountain slopeslopes
    The frost Frost, and the breath of frosty wind wind, had snapp'dsnapped
    The last autumnal crocus, 'twas my joy
    To wander half the night among the CliffsWith store of springes o'er my shoulder hung
    And To range the smooth Hollows, open heights where the woodcocks ranrun
    Along the open smooth green turf. In thought and wish
    That time, my shoulder all with springes hung,
    I was a fell destroyer. On Through half the heightsnight,
    Scudding away from snare to snare, I plied
    My That anxious visitation, hurrying on,
    Still hurrying, hurrying onward; visitation; moon and stars
    Were shining o'er my head; head. I was alone,
    And seem'd seemed to be a trouble to the peace
    That was dwelt among them. Sometimes it befelbefell
    In these night-wanderings, night wanderings, that a strong desire
    O'erpower'd O'erpowered my better reason, and the bird
    Which was the captive of another's toilstoil
    Became my prey; and, and when the deed was done
    I heard among the solitary hills
    Low breathings coming after me, and sounds
    Of undistinguishable motion, steps
    Almost as silent as the turf they trod.
    Nor less in springtime less, when on southern banks
    The shining sun spring had from his knot of leaves
    Decoy'd the primrose flower, and when the Vales
    And woods were warm, was I a plunderer then
    In the high places, on warmed the lonesome peakscultured Vale,
    Where'er, among the mountains and Moved we as plunderers where the winds,mother-bird
    The Mother Bird had Had in high places built her lodge. Though lodge; though mean
    My object, Our object and inglorious, yet the end
    Was not ignoble. Oh! when I have hung
    Above the raven's nest, by knots of grass
    And half-inch fissures in the slippery rock
    But ill sustain'd, sustained, and almost, as almost (so it seem'd,seemed)
    Suspended by the blast which that blew amain,
    Shouldering the naked crag; Oh! crag, oh, at that time,time
    While on the perilous ridge I hung alone,
    With what strange utterance did the loud dry wind
    Blow through my ears! ear! the sky seem'd seemed not a sky
    Of earth, earth and with what motion mov'd moved the clouds!
    The mind of Man is fram'd even like Dust as we are, the breathimmortal spirit grows
    And Like harmony of music. There in music; there is a dark
    Invisible Inscrutable workmanship that reconciles
    Discordant elements, and makes them movecling together
    In one society. Ah me! How strange, that all
    The terrors, all the pains, and early miseriesmiseries,
    Regrets, vexations, lassitudes, that all
    The thoughts and feelings which have been infus'dlassitudes interfused
    Into Within my mind, should ever e'er have made borne a part,
    And that a needful part, in making up
    The calm existence that is mine when I
    Am worthy of myself! Praise to the end!
    Thanks likewise for the means! But I believe
    That Nature, oftentimes, when she would frame
    A favor'd Being, from his earliest dawn
    Of infancy doth open out to the clouds,means which Nature deigned to employ;
    As at the touch of lightning, seeking himWhether her fearless visitings, or those
    With gentlest visitation; not the less,That came with soft alarm, like hurtless light
    Though haply aiming at Opening the self-same end,
    Does it delight her sometimes to employpeaceful clouds; or she would use
    Severer interventions, ministry
    More palpable, and so she dealt with best might suit her aim.
    One summer evening (surely I was led (led by her)
    her) I went alone into a Shepherd's Boat,found
    A Skiff that little boat tied to a Willow tree was tiedwillow tree
    Within a rocky Cave, cave, its usual home.
    'Twas by the shores of Patterdale, a Vale
    Wherein I was a Stranger, thither come
    A School-boy Traveller, at the Holidays.
    Forth rambled from the Village Inn alone
    No sooner had I sight of this small Skiff,
    Discover'd thus by unexpected chance,
    Than Straight I unloos'd unloosed her tether chain, and embark'd.
    The moon was up, the Lake was shining clearstepping in
    Among the hoary mountains; Pushed from the Shore
    I push'd, and struck the oars and struck again
    In cadence, and my little Boat mov'd on
    Even like a Man who walks with stately step
    Though bent on speed. shore. It was an act of stealth
    And troubled pleasure; not pleasure, nor without the voice
    Of mountain-echoes did my Boat boat move on,on;
    Leaving behind her still still, on either sideside,
    Small circles glittering idly in the moon,
    Until they melted all into one track
    Of sparkling light. A rocky Steep uprose
    Above the Cavern of the Willow tree
    And But now, as suited like one who proudly row'drows,
    With Proud of his best skill, I fix'd to reach a steady chosen point
    With an unswerving line, I fixed my view
    Upon the top sununit of that same a craggy ridge,
    The bound of the horizon, for behindhorizon's utmost boundary; far above
    Was nothing but the stars and the grey sky.
    She was an elfin Pinnace; pinnace; lustily
    I dipp'd dipped my oars into the silent Lake,lake,
    And, as I rose upon the stroke, my Boatboat
    Went heaving through the water, water like a Swan;swan;
    When When, from behind that craggy Steep, steep till then
    The bound of the horizon, horizon's bound, a huge Cliff,peak, black and huge,
    As if with voluntary power instinct,
    Uprear'd Upreared its head. I struck, struck and struck againagain,
    And, And growing still in stature, stature the huge Cliffgrim shape
    Rose Towered up between me and the stars, and still,
    With measur'd motion, For so it seemed, with purpose of its own
    And measured motion like a living thing,
    Strode after me. With trembling hands oars I turn'd,turned,
    And through the silent water stole my way
    Back to the Cavern covert of the Willow tree.willow tree;
    There, There in her mooring-place, mooring-place I left my Bark,bark,.
    And, And through the meadows homeward went, with in grave
    And serious thoughts; and mood; but after I had seen
    That spectacle, for many days, my brain
    Work'd Worked with a dim and undetermin'd undetermined sense
    Of unknown modes of being; in o'er my thoughts
    There was hung a darkness, call it solitude,solitude
    Or blank desertion, no desertion. No familiar shapes
    Of hourly objects, Remained, no pleasant images of trees,
    Of sea or sky, no colours of green fields;
    But huge and mighty Forms forms, that do not live
    Like living men mov'd men, moved slowly through the mind
    By day day, and were the a trouble of to my dreams.
    Wisdom and Spirit of the universe!
    Thou Soul that art the eternity of thought!thought
    That giv'st givest to forms and images a breath
    And everlasting motion! motion, not in vain,vain
    By day or star-light thus from my first dawn
    Of Childhood childhood didst Thou thou intertwine for me
    The passions that build up our human Soul,soul;
    Not with the mean and vulgar works of Man,man,
    But with high objects, with enduring things,things—
    With life and nature, nature purifying thus
    The elements of feeling and of thought,
    And sanctifying, by such discipline,
    Both pain and fear, until we recognise
    A grandeur in the beatings of the heart.
    Nor was this fellowship vouchsaf'd vouchsafed to me
    With stinted kindness. In November days,
    When vapours, vapours rolling down the valleys, valley made
    A lonely scene more lonesome; lonesome, among woodswoods,
    At noon, noon and 'mid the calm of summer nights,
    When, by the margin of the trembling Lake,lake,
    Beneath the gloomy hills I homeward I went
    In solitude, such intercourse was mine;
    'Twas mine among Mine was it in the fields both day and night,
    And by the waters waters, all the summer long.
    And in the frosty season, when the sun
    Was set, and visible for many a mile
    The cottage windows blazed through the twilight blaz'd,gloom,
    I heeded not the their summons: happy time
    It was, indeed, was indeed for all of us; to us for me
    It was a time of rapture: clear rapture! Clear and loud
    The village clock toll'd six; tolled six, I wheel'd wheeled about,
    Proud and exulting, exulting like an untired horse,horse
    That cares not for its his home. All shod with steel,
    We hiss'd hissed along the polish'd ice, polished ice in games
    Confederate, imitative of the chacechase
    And woodland pleasures, the resounding horn,
    The Pack pack loud bellowing, chiming, and the hunted hare.
    So through the darkness and the cold we flew,
    And not a voice was idle; with the din,din
    Meanwhile, Smitten, the precipices rang aloud,aloud;
    The leafless trees, trees and every icy crag
    Tinkled like iron, iron; while the far distant hills
    Into the tumult sent an alien sound
    Of melancholy, melancholy not unnoticed, while the stars,stars
    Eastward, Eastward were sparkling clear, and in the west
    The orange sky of evening died away.
    Not seldom from the uproar I retired
    Into a silent bay, or sportively
    Glanced sideway, leaving the tumultuous throng,
    To cut across the image reflex of a star
    That gleam'd upon fled, and, flying still before me, gleamed
    Upon the ice: glassy plain; and oftentimesoftentimes,
    When we had given our bodies to the wind,
    And all the shadowy banks, banks on either side,side
    Came sweeping through the darkness, spinning still
    The rapid line of motion; motion, then at once
    Have I, reclining back upon my heels,
    Stopp'd short, Stopped short; yet still the solitary Cliffscliffs
    Wheeled by me, me even as if the earth had roll'drolled
    With visible motion her diurnal round;round!
    Behind me did they stretch in solemn traintrain,
    Feebler and feebler, and I stood and watch'dwatched
    Till all was tranquil as a dreamless sleep.
    Ye Presences of Nature, Nature in the sky
    And on the earth! Ye Visions of the hills!
    And Souls of lonely places! can I think
    A vulgar hope was yours when Ye employ'dye employed
    Such ministry, when Ye ye, through many a year
    Haunting me thus among my boyish sports,
    On caves and trees, upon the woods and hills,
    Impress'd Impressed, upon all forms forms, the characters
    Of danger or desire, desire; and thus did make
    The surface of the universal earthearth,
    With triumph, triumph and delight, and hope, with hope and fear,
    Work like a sea?
    Not uselessly employ'd,employed,
    Might I might pursue this theme through every change
    Of exercise and play, to which the year
    Did summon us in its his delightful round.
    We were a noisy crew, crew; the sun in heaven
    Beheld not vales more beautiful than ours,ours;
    Nor saw a race band in happiness and joy
    More worthy Richer, or worthier of the ground where they were sown.trod.
    I would could record with no reluctant voice
    The woods of autumn autumn, and their hazel bowers
    With milk-white clusters hung; the rod and line,
    True symbol of the foolishness of hope,hope's foolishness, whose strong
    Which with its strong And unreproved enchantment led us on
    By rocks and pools, pools shut out from every starstar,
    All the green summer, to forlorn cascades
    Among the windings hid of the mountain brooks.
    —.Unfading ——Unfading recollections! at this hour
    The heart is almost mine with which I feltfelt,
    From some hill-top, hill-top on sunny afternoonsafternoons,
    The Kite paper kite high up among the fleecy clouds
    Pull at its rein, her rein like an impatient Courser,impetuous courser;
    Or, from the meadows sent on gusty days,
    Beheld her breast the wind, then suddenly
    Dash'd headlong; Dashed headlong, and rejected by the storm.
    Ye lowly Cottages in which cottages wherein we dwelt,
    A ministration of your own was yours,
    A sanctity, a safeguard, and a love!yours;
    Can I forget you, being as ye you were
    So beautiful among the pleasant fields
    In which ye stood? Or or can I here forget
    The plain and seemly countenance with which
    Ye dealt out your plain comforts? Yet had ye
    Delights and exultations of your own.
    Eager and never weary we pursued
    Our home amusements home-amusements by the warm peat-fire
    At evening; evening, when with pencil pencil, and with slate,smooth slate
    In square divisions parcelI'd out, parcelled out and all
    With crosses and with cyphers scribbled o'er,
    We schemed and puzzled, head opposed to head
    In strife too humble to be named in Verse.verse:
    Or round the naked table, snow-white deal,
    Cherry or maple, sate in close array,
    And to the combat, Lu Loo or Whist, led on
    A thick-ribbed Army; not army; not, as in the worldworld,
    Neglected and ungratefully thrown by
    Even for the very service they had wrought,
    But husbanded through many a long campaign.
    Uncouth assemblage was it, where no few
    Had changed their functions, functions: some, plebeian cards,cards
    Which Fate Fate, beyond the promise of their birthbirth,
    Had glorified, dignified, and call'd called to represent
    The persons of departed Potentates.potentates.
    Oh! Oh, with what echoes on the Board board they fell!
    Ironic Diamonds, Clubs, Hearts, Diamonds, Spades,diamonds, clubs, hearts, diamonds, spades,
    A congregation piteously akin.akin!
    Cheap matter did offered they give to boyish wit,
    Those sooty knaves, precipitated down
    With scoffs and taunts, like Vulcan out of Heaven,heaven:
    The paramount Ace, ace, a moon in her eclipse,
    Queens, Queens gleaming through their splendour's last decay,
    And Monarchs, monarchs surly at the wrongs sustain'dsustained
    By royal visages. Meanwhile, Meanwhile abroad
    The heavy Incessant rain was falling, or the frost
    Raged bitterly, with keen and silent tooth,tooth;
    And, interrupting oft the impassion'd that eager game,
    From under Esthwaite's neighbouring Lake the splitting ice,fields of ice
    While it sank down towards the water, sent,The pent-up air, struggling to free itself,
    Among the meadows Gave out to meadow grounds and the hills, its longhills a loud
    And dismal yellings, Protracted yelling, like the noise of wolves
    When they are howling round Howling in troops along the Bothnic Main.
    Nor, sedulous as I have been to trace
    How Nature by extrinsic passion first
    Peopled my the mind with beauteous forms sublime or grand,fair,
    And made me love them, may I well forgethere omit
    How other pleasures have been mine, and joys
    Of subtler origin; how I have felt,
    Not seldom, seldom even in that tempestuous time,
    Those hallow'd hallowed and pure motions of the sense
    Which seem, in their simplicity, to own
    An intellectual charm, charm; that calm delight
    Which, if I err not, surely must belong
    To those first-born affinities that fit
    Our new existence to existing things,
    And, in our dawn of being, constitute
    The bond of union betwixt between life and joy.
    Yes, I remember, remember when the changeful earth,
    And twice five seasons summers on my mind had stamp'dstamped
    The faces of the moving year, even then,then
    A Child, I held unconscious intercourseintercourse with beauty
    With the eternal Beauty, Old as creation, drinking inin a pure
    A pure organic Organic pleasure from the linessilver wreaths
    Of curling mist, or from the level plain
    Of waters colour'd coloured by the steady impending clouds.
    The Sands sands of Westmoreland, the Creeks creeks and Baysbays
    Of Cumbria's rocky limits, they can tell
    How How, when the Sea threw off his evening shadeshade,
    And to the Shepherd's huts beneath the cragsshepherd's hut on distant hills
    Did send sweet Sent welcome notice of the rising moon,
    How I have stood, to fancies such as these,
    Engrafted in the tenderness of thought,these
    A stranger, linking with the spectacle
    No conscious memory of a kindred sight,
    And bringing with me no peculiar sense
    Of quietness or peace, peace; yet I have I stood,
    Even while mine eye has mov'd hath moved o'er three long leaguesmany a league
    Of shining water, gathering, gathering as it seem'd,seemed,
    Through every hair-breadth of in that field of light,
    New pleasure, pleasure like a bee among the flowers.
    Thus, often in Thus oft amid those fits of vulgar joy
    Which, through all seasons, on a child's pursuits
    Are prompt attendants, 'mid that giddy bliss
    Which, like a tempest, works along the blood
    And is forgotten; even then I felt
    Gleams like the flashing of a shield; the earth
    And common face of Nature spake to me
    Rememberable things; sometimes, 'tis true,
    By chance collisions and quaint accidents
    Like (Like those ill-sorted unions, work suppos'dsupposed
    Of evil-minded fairies, fairies), yet not vain
    Nor profitless, if haply they impress'dimpressed
    Collateral objects and appearances,
    Albeit lifeless then, and doom'd doomed to sleep
    Until maturer seasons call'd called them forth
    To impregnate and to elevate the mind.
    -And And if the vulgar joy by its own weight
    Wearied itself out of the memory,
    The scenes which were a witness of that joy
    Remained, Remained in their substantial lineaments
    Depicted on the brain, and to the eye
    Were visible, a daily sight; and thus
    By the impressive discipline of fear,
    By pleasure and repeated happiness,
    So frequently repeated, and by force
    Of obscure feelings representative
    Of joys that were things forgotten, these same scenes,scenes so bright,
    So beauteous and beautiful, so majestic in themselves,
    Though yet the day was distant, did at lengthbecome
    Become habitually Habitually dear, and allall their forms
    Their hues and forms were And changeful colours by invisible links
    Allied Were fastened to the affections.
    I began
    My story early, feeling as early not misled, I fear,trust,
    The weakness By an infirmity of a human love, love for days
    Disown'd Disowned by memory, memory ere the birth breath of spring
    Planting my snowdrops among winter snows.snows:
    Nor will it seem to thee, my O Friend! so prompt
    In sympathy, that I have lengthen'd out,lengthened out
    With fond and feeble tongue, tongue a tedious tale.
    Meanwhile, my hope has been been, that I might fetch
    Invigorating thoughts from former years,years;
    Might fix the wavering balance of my wind,mind,
    And haply meet reproaches, reproaches too, whose power
    May spur me on, in manhood now mature,mature
    To honorable honourable toil. Yet should these hopes
    Be Prove vain, and thus should neither I be taught
    To understand myself, nor thou to know
    With better knowledge how the heart was fram'dframed
    Of him thou lovest, lovest; need I dread from thee
    Harsh judgments, if I am so the song be loth to quit
    Those recollected hours that have the charm
    Of visionary things, and those lovely forms
    And sweet sensations that throw back our lifelife,
    And almost make our Infancy itselfremotest infancy
    A visible scene, on which the sun is shining?
    One end hereby at least hath been attain'd,attained; my mind
    My mind hath Hath been revived, and if this genial mood
    Desert me not, I will forthwith bring down,shall be brought down
    Through later years, years the story of my life.
    The road lies plain before me; 'tis a theme
    Single and of determined bounds; and hence
    I chuse choose it rather at this time, than work
    Of ampler or more varied argument.argument,
    Where I might be discomfited and lost:
    And certain hopes are with me, that to thee
    This labour will be welcome, honoured Friend!