The Enfolded Prelude: Book Eighth

1805 text is in green 1850 text is in purple

Book Eighth

Retrospect—Love of Nature Leading to Love of Man

    What sounds are those, Helvellyn, which that are heard
    Up to thy summit, through the depth of air
    Ascending Ascending, as if distance had the power
    To make the sounds more audible? What crowd
    Is yon, assembled in the gay green field?Covers, or sprinkles o'er, yon village green?
    Crowd seems it, solitary hill, hill! to thee,
    Though but a little family of,
    Twice twenty Shepherds and tillers of the ground betimes
with their children and their wives,
    And here and there a stranger interspersed.
    It is They hold a summer festival, rustic fair a fair,festival,
    Such as as, on this side now, and now on that,
    Repeated through his tributary vales—
    Helvellyn, in the silence of his rest
    Sees annually, if storms be not abroad
    And mists have left him an unshrouded head.
    Helvellyn, in the silence of his rest,
    Sees annually, if clouds towards either ocean
    Blown from their favourite resting-place, or mists
    Dissolved, have left him an unshrouded head.
Delightful day it is for all who dwell
    In this secluded glen, and eagerly
    They give it welcome. Long ere heat of noon,
    Behold From byre or field the cattle are driven down; kine were brought; the sheep
    That have for traffic been culled out are penned
    In cotes that stand together on the plain
    Ranged side by side;
Are penned in cotes; the chaffering is begun;begun.
    The heifer lows lows, uneasy at the voice
    Of a new master; bleat the flocks aloud.
    Booths are there none: none; a stall or two is here,here;
    A lame man, man or a blind (the blind, the one to beg,
    The other to make music); hither toomusic; hither, too,
    From far, with basket basket, slung upon her armarm,
    Of hawker's wares books, pictures, combs, and pins—
    Some aged woman finds her way again,
    Year after year a punctual visitant;
    The showman with his freight upon his back,
    And once perchance in lapse of many years,
    Prouder itinerant mountebank, or he
    Whose wonders in a covered wain lie hid.
    Some aged woman finds her way again,
    Year after year, a punctual visitant!
    There also stands a speech-maker by rote,
    Pulling the strings of his boxed raree-show;
    And in the lapse of many years may come
    Prouder itinerant, mountebank, or he
    Whose wonders in a covered wain lie hid.
But one is here, there is, the loveliest of them all,
    Some sweet lass of the valley, looking out
    For gains gains, and who that sees her would not buy?
    Fruits of her father's orchard, apples, pears
    (On that day only to such office stooping),
orchard are her wares,
    She carries in her basket, and And with the ruddy produce she walks round
    Among the crowd, half pleased with, half ashamed
    Of Of, her new calling, office, blushing restlessly.
    The children now are rich, for the old man nowto-day
    Is generous, so gaiety prevailsAre generous as the young; and, if content
    Which With looking on, some ancient wedded pair
    Sit in the shade together; while they gaze,
    "A cheerful smile unbends the wrinkled brow,
    The days departed start again to life,
all partake of, young the scenes of childhood reappear,
    Faint, but more tranquil, like the changing sun
    To him who slept at noon
and old.wakes at eve."
    Thus gaiety and cheerfulness prevail,
    Spreading from young to old, from old to young,
    And no one seems to want his share.
    Is the recess, the circumambient world
    Magnificent, by which they are embraced.embraced:
    They move about upon the soft green field;turf:
    How little they, they and their doings, seem,
    Their herds and flocks about them, they themselves,
And all which that they can further or obstruct—
    Through utter weakness pitiably dear,
    As tender infants are and yet how great,
    For all things serve them: them the morning light
    Loves as it glistens on the silent rocks,
    And them the silent rocks, which now from high
    Look down upon them, the reposing clouds,
    The lurking brooks from their invisible haunts,
    And old Helvellyn, conscious of the stir,
    And the blue sky that roofs their calm abode.
    With deep devotion, Nature, did I feel
    In that great city what I owed to thee:Through utter weakness pitiably dear,
    High thoughts of God and man, As tender infants are: and love of man,yet how great!
    Triumphant over For all those loathsome sights
    Of wretchedness and vice, a watchful eye,
    Which, with
things serve them: them the outside of our human lifemorning light
    Not satisfied, must read Loves, as it glistens on the inner mind.
    For I already had been taught to love
    My fellow-beings, to such habits trained
silent rocks;
    Among And them the woods and mountains, where I found
    In thee a gracious guide to lead me forth
silent rocks, which now from high
    Beyond Look down upon them; the bosom of my family,
    My friends and youthful playmates. 'Twas thy power
reposing clouds;
    That raised the first complacency in me,The wild brooks prattling from invisible haunts;
    And noticeable kindliness old Helvellyn, conscious of heart,
    Love human to
the creature in himself
    As he appeared, a stranger in my path,
    Before my eyes a brother of Which animates this world
    Thou first didst with those motions of delight
    Inspire me. I remember, far from home
    Once having strayed while yet a very child,
    I saw a sight and with what joy and love!
    It was a
day of exhalations spread
    Upon the mountains, mists and steam-like fogs
    Redounding everywhere, not vehement,
their calm and mild, gentle and beautiful,abode.
    With gleams of sunshine on the eyelet spots
    And loopholes of the hills, wherever seen,
    Hidden by quiet process, and as soon
    Unfolded, to be huddled up again—
    Along a narrow valley and profound
    I journeyed, when aloft above my head,
    Emerging from the silvery vapours, lo,
    A shepherd and his dog, in open day.
    Girt round with mists they stood, and looked about
deep devotion, Nature, did I feel,
    From In that enclosure small, inhabitantsenormous City's turbulent world
    Of an aerial island floating on,
    As seemed, with that abode in which they were,
    A little pendant area of grey rocks,
    By the soft wind breathed forward. With delight
    As bland almost, one evening
men and things, what benefit I beheld—
    And at as early age (the spectacle
    Is common, but by me was then first seen)—
    A shepherd in the bottom of a vale,
    Towards the centre standing, who with voice,
    And hand waved to and fro as need required,
    Gave signal to his dog, thus teaching him
    To chace along the mazes of steep crags
    The flock he could not see. And so the brute—
    Dear creature with a man's intelligence,
    Advancing, or retreating on his steps,
    Through every pervious strait, to right or left,
    Thridded a way unbaffied, while the flock
    Fled upwards from the terror of his bark
    Through rocks and seams of turf with liquid gold
    Irradiate that deep farewell light by which
    The setting sun proclaims the love he bears
    To mountain regions.
    Beauteous the domainTo thee, and those domains of rural peace,
    Where to the sense of beauty first my heart
    Was opened opened; tract more exquisitely fair
    Than in that famed paradise of ten thousand trees,
    Or Gehol's famous matchless gardens, in a clime
    from widest empire,
for delight
    Of the Tartarian dynasty composed
    Beyond (Beyond that mighty wall, not fabulousfabulous,
    (China's China's stupendous mound!) mound) by patient skilltoil
    Of myriads, myriads and boon Nature's nature's lavish help:help;
    Scene linked to scene, and ever-growing change,There, in a clime from widest empire chosen,
    Soft, grand, or gay, Fulfilling (could enchantment have done more?)
    A sumptuous dream of flowery lawns,
with palaces and domes
    Of pleasure spangled sprinkled over, shady dells
    For eastern monasteries, sunny moundsmounts
    With temples crested, bridges, gondolas,
    Rocks, dens dens, and groves of foliage, foliage taught to melt
    Into each other their obsequious hues—
    Going and gone again, in subtile chace,
    Too fine to be pursued or standing forth
    In no discordant opposition, strong
    And gorgeous as the colours side by side
    Bedded among the plumes of tropic birds;
    And mountains over all, embracing all,
    And all the landscape endlessly enriched
    With waters running, falling, or asleep.
    Vanished and vanishing in subtle chase,
    Too fine to be pursued; or standing forth
    In no discordant opposition, strong
    And gorgeous as the colours side by side
    Bedded among rich plumes of tropic birds;
    And mountains over all, embracing all;
    And all the landscape, endlessly enriched
    With waters running, falling, or asleep.
But lovelier far than this this, the paradise
    Where I was reared, reared; in Nature's primitive gifts
    Favored Favoured no less, and more to every sense
    Delicious, seeing that the sun and sky,
    The elements, and seasons in their as they change,
    Do find their dearest a worthy fellow-labourer there
    The heart of man a district on all sides
    The fragrance breathing of humanity,
Man free, man working for himself, with choice
    Of time, and place, and object; by his wants,
    His comforts, native occupations, cares,
    Conducted on Cheerfully led to individual ends
    Or social, and still followed by a train,train
    Unwooed, unthought-of even: even simplicity,
    And beauty, and inevitable grace.
    Yea, doubtless, at any age when but a glimpse
glimpse of those resplendent gardens, with their frame
    Imperial, and elaborate ornaments,
imperial bowers
    Would to a child be transport over-great,
    When but a half-hour's roam through such a place
    Would leave behind a dance of imagesimages,
    That shall break in upon his sleep for weeks,weeks;
    Even then the common haunts of the green earthearth,
    With the And ordinary human interestsinterests of man,
    Which they embosom embosom, all without regard
    As both may seem seem, are fastening on the heart
    Insensibly, each with the other's help,help.
    So that we love, not knowing that we love,For me, when my affections first were led
    And feel, not knowing whence our feeling comes.From kindred, friends, and playmates, to partake
    Such league have these two principles Love for the human creature's absolute self,
    That noticeable kindliness
of joyheart
    In our affections. I have singled outSprang out of fountains, there abounding most,
    Some moments, Where sovereign Nature dictated the earliest that I could, in whichtasks
    Their several currents, blended into oneAnd occupations which her beauty adorned,
    Weak yet, and gathering imperceptibly.—
    Flowed in by gushes. My first human love,
And Shepherds were the men that pleased me first;
    As hath been mentioned, did incline to thoseNot such as Saturn ruled 'mid Latian wilds,
    Whose occupations With arts and concerns were mostlaws so tempered, that their lives
    Illustrated by Nature, and adorned,Left, even to us toiling in this late day,
    And shepherds were A bright tradition of the men who pleased me first:golden age;
    Not such as, in 'mid Arcadian fastnesses
    Sequestered, handed down among themselves,themselves
    So ancient poets sing, the golden age;Felicity, in Grecian song renowned;
    Nor such a second race, allied to theseas when an adverse fate had driven,
    As Shakespeare From house and home, the courtly band whose fortunes
    Entered, with Shakspeare's genius, the wild woods
    Of Arden amid sunshine or
in shade
the wood best fruits of Arden placed,Time's uncounted hours,
    Where Ere Phoebe sighed for the false Ganymede,Ganymede;
    Or there where Florizel Perdita and PerditaFlorizel
    Together dance, danced, Queen of the feast feast, and King;
    Nor such as Spenser fabled. True it isis,
    That I had heard, what heard (what he perhaps had seen,seen)
    Of maids at sunrise bringing in from far
    Their May-bush, and along the streets in flocks
    Parading, Parading with a song of taunting rhymesrhymes,
    Aimed at the laggards slumbering within doors—
    Had also heard, from those who yet remembered,
    Tales of the maypole dance, and flowers that decked
    The posts and the kirk-pillars, and of youths,
    That each one with his maid at break of day,
    By annual custom, issued forth in troops
    To drink the waters of some favorite well,
    And hang it round with garlands. This, alas,
    Was but a dream: Had also heard, from those who yet remembered,
    Tales of
the times had scattered allMay-pole dance, and wreaths that decked
    Porch, door-way, or kirk-pillar; and of youths,
    Each with his maid, before the sun was up,
    By annual custom, issuing forth in troops,
    To drink the waters of some sainted well,
    And hang it round with garlands. Love survives;
    But, for such purpose, flowers no longer grow:
    The times, too sage, perhaps too proud, have dropped
These lighter graces, graces; and the rural ways
    And manners which it was my chance to see
childhood were severe and unadorned,looked upon
    The Were the unluxuriant produce of a life
    Intent on little but substantial needs,
    Yet beautiful and rich in beauty, beauty that was felt.
    But images of danger and distress
    And suffering, these took deepest hold of me,
    Man suffering among awful powers Powers and forms:Forms;
    Of this I heard heard, and saw enough to make
    The imagination restless Imagination restless; nor was free
    Myself from frequent perils. Nor perils; nor were tales
    Wanting, the tragedies of former times,
    Or hazards Hazards and strange escapes, which in my walks
    I carried with me among crags and woods
    And mountains; and
of these may here be told
    One as recorded by my household dame.
which the first falling of autumnal snowsrocks
    A shepherd Immutable, and his son one day went forth',everflowing streams,
    Thus did the matron's tale begin, 'to seekWhere'er I roamed, were speaking monuments.
    A straggler of their flock. They both Smooth life had ranged
    Upon this service the preceding day
    All over their own pastures and beyond,
    And now, at sunrise sallying out again,
    Renewed their search, begun where from Dove Crag—
    Ill home for bird so gentle they looked down
    On Deepdale Head, and Brothers Water (named
    From those two brothers that were drowned therein)
    Thence, northward, having passed by Arthur's Seat,
    To Fairfield's highest summit. On the right
    Leaving St Sunday's Pike, to Grisedale Tarn
    They shot,
flock and over that cloud-loving hill,
    Seat Sandal a fond lover of the clouds—
    Thence up Helvellyn, a superior mount
    With prospect underneath of Striding Edge
    And Grisedale's houseless vale, along the brink
    Of Russet Cove, and those two other coves,
    Huge skeletons of crags, which from the trunk
    Of old Helvellyn spread their arms abroad
    And make a stormy harbour for the winds.
    Far went those shepherds
shepherd in their devious quest,
    From mountain ridges peeping as they passed
    Down into every glen; at length the boy
    Said, "Father, with your leave I will go back,
    And range the ground which we have searched before."
    So speaking, southward down the hill the lad
    Sprang like a gust of wind, crying aloud,
    "I know where I shall find him." 'For take note',
    Said here my grey-haired dame, 'that though the storm
    Drive one of these poor creatures miles and miles,
    If he can crawl he will return again
    To his own hills, the spots where when a lamb
    He learnt to pasture at his mother's side.
    After so long a labour suddenly
    Bethinking him of this, the boy
    Pursued his way towards a brook whose course
    Was through that unfenced tract of mountain ground
    Which to his father's little farm belonged,
    The home and ancient birthright of their flock.
    Down the deep channel of the stream he went,
    Prying through every nook. Meanwhile the rain
    Began to fall upon the mountain tops,
    Thick storm and heavy which for three hours' space
old time,
    Abated not, Long springs and all that time the boy
    Was busy in his search, until at length
    He spied the sheep upon a plot of grass,
    An island in
tepid winters, on the brook. It was a place
    Remote and deep, piled round with rocks, where foot
    Of man or beast was seldom used to tread;
    But now, when everywhere the summer grass
    Had failed, this one adventurer, hunger-pressed,
    Had left his fellows,
delicate Galesus; and made his way aloneno less
    To the green plot of pasture in the brook.Those scattered along Adria's myrtle shores:
    Before the boy knew well what he Smooth life had seen,
    He leapt upon the island with proud heart
    And with a prophet's joy. Immediately
    The sheep sprang forward to the further shore
    And was borne headlong by the roaring flood.
    At this the boy looked round him,
herdsman, and his heart
    Fainted with fear. Thrice did he turn his face
snow-white herd
    To either brink, nor could he summon up
    The courage that was needful
triumphs and to leap back
    Cross the tempestuous torrent: so he stood,
sacrificial rites
    A prisoner Devoted, on the island, not without
    More than one thought of death and his last hour.
    Meanwhile the father had returned alone
    To his own house; and now at the approach
inviolable stream
    Of evening he went forth to meet his son,
    Conjecturing vainly for what cause the boy
    Had stayed so long. The shepherd took his way
    Up his own mountain grounds, where, as he walked
    Along the steep that overhung the brook
    He seemed to hear a voice, which was again
    Repeated, like the whistling of a kite.
    At this, now knowing why, as oftentimes
    Long afterwards he has been heard to say,
    Down to the brook he went,
rich Clitumnus; and tracked its course
    Upwards among
the o'erhanging rocks nor thusgoat-herd lived
    Had he gone far, ere he espied As calmly, underneath the boy,
    Where on that little plot of ground he stood
pleasant brows
    Right in the middle of Of cool Lucretilis, where the roaring stream,
    Now stronger every moment and more fierce.
    The sight
pipe was such as no one could have seen
    Without distress and fear. The shepherd
    The outcry of his son, he stretched his staff
    Towards him, bade him leap which word scarce said,
    The boy was safe within his father's arms.'
    Smooth life had flock and shepherd in old time,
    Long springs and tepid winters on
Of Pan, Invisible God, thrilling the banksrocks
    Of delicate Galesus and no lessWith tutelary music, from all harm
    Those scattered along Adria's myrtle shores—
    Smooth life the herdman and his snow-white herd,
    To triumphs and to sacrificial rites
    Devoted, on the inviolable stream
    Of rich Clitumnus; and the goatherd lived
    As sweetly underneath the pleasant brows
    Of cool Lucretilis, where the pipe was heard
    Of Pan, the invisible God, thrilling the rocks
    With tutelary music, from all harm
    The fold protecting.
The fold protecting, I myself, mature
    In manhood then, have seen a pastoral tract
    Like one of these, where fancy Fancy might run wild,
    Though under skies less generous and serene;generous, less serene:
    Yet there, as There, for herself, her own delight had Nature framed
    A pleasure-ground, diffused a fair expanse
    Of level pasture, islanded with groves
    And banked with woody risings risings; but the plainPlain
    Endless, here opening widely out, and there
    Shut up in lesser lakes or beds of lawn
    And intricate recesses, creek or bay
    Sheltered within a shelter, where at large
    The shepherd strays, a rolling hut his home:home.
    Thither he comes with springtime, spring-time, there abides
    All summer, and at sunrise ye may hear
    His flute flageolet to liquid notes of love
or flagelet sprightly fife resounding far.
    There's not a nook or hold Nook is there none, nor tract of that vast space,space
    Nor strait where Where passage is, opens, but it the same shall have
    In turn its visitant, telling there his hours
    In unlaborious pleasure, with no task
    More toilsome than to carve a beechen bowl
    For spring or fountain, which the traveller findsfinds,
    When through the region he pursues at will
    His devious course.
course. A glimpse of such sweet life
    I saw when, from the melancholy walls
    Of Goslar, once imperial, I renewed
    My daily walk along that chearful plain,wide champaign,
    Which, That, reaching to her gates, spreads east and westwest,
    And northwards, from beneath the mountainous verge
    Of the Hercynian forest. Yet Yet, hail to you,you
    Your rocks Moors, mountains, headlands, and precipices, ye hollow vales,
    Ye long deep channels for the Atlantic's voice,
    Powers of my native region! Ye
that seize
    The heart with firmer grasp, your grasp! Your snows and streams
    Ungovernable, and your terrifying winds,
    That howled howl so dismally when I have beenfor him who treads
    Companionless among your awful solitudes!
    There, 'tis the shepherd's task the winter long
    To wait upon the storms: of their approach
    Sagacious, from the height he drives his flock
into sheltering coves, and feeds them there
    Through the hard time, long as the storm is 'locked'
coves he drives
    (So do they phrase it), bearing His flock, and thither from the stallshomestead bears
    A toilsome burthen burden up the craggy waysways,
    To strew And deals it out, their regular nourishment
on the frozen snow. And when the spring
    Looks out, and all the mountains pastures dance with lambs,
    He through the enclosures won from the steep waste,
And through the lower heights hath gone his rounds;
when the flock flock, with warmer weather weather, climbs
    Higher and higher, him his office leads
    To range among them through the hills dispersed,
watch their goings, whatsoever track
    Each wanderer chuses for itself a work
    That lasts the summer through. He
The wanderers choose. For this he quits his home
    At dayspring, day-spring, and no sooner doth the sun
    Begin to strike him with a fire-like heat,
    Than he lies down upon some shining place,rock,
    And breakfasts with his dog. When they have stolen,
    As is their wont, a pittance from strict time,
    For rest not needed or exchange of love,
    Then from his couch
he hath stayed—
    As for the most he doth beyond this time,
    He springs up with a bound, and then away!
    Ascending fast with his long pole in hand,
    Or winding in and out among the crags.
starts; and now his feet
    What need Crush out a livelier fragrance from the flowers
    Of lowly thyme, by Nature's skill enwrought
    In the wild turf: the lingering dews of morn
    Smoke round him, as from hill
to hill he hies,
    His staff protending like a hunter's spear,
    Or by its aid leaping from crag to crag,
    And o'er the brawling beds of unbridged streams.
    Philosophy, methinks, at Fancy's call,
    Might deign to
follow him through what he does
    Or sees in his day's march? He feels himselfmarch; himself he feels,
    In those vast regions where his service islies,
    A freeman, wedded to his life of hope
    And hazard, and hard labour interchanged
    With that majestic indolence so dear
    To native man.
man. A rambling schoolboy, thusthus,
    Have I beheld him; without knowing why,
felt his presence in his own domaindomain,
    As of a lord and master, or a power,
    Or genius, under Nature, under God,
    Presiding Presiding; and severest solitude
    Seemed Had more commanding oft looks when he was there.
    Seeking When up the raven's nest and suddenly
    Surprized with vapours, or
lonely brooks on rainy days
    When Angling I have angled up went, or trod the lonely brooks,trackless hills
    Mine eyes have By mists bewildered, suddenly mine eyes
glanced upon him, him distant a few steps off,steps,
    In size a giant, stalking through the thick fog,
    His sheep like Greenland bears. At other times,bears; or, as he stepped
    When round Beyond the boundary line of some shady promontory turning,hill-shadow,
    His form hath flashed upon me me, glorified
    By the deep radiance of the setting sun;sun:
    Or him have I descried in distant sky,
    A solitary object and sublime,
    Above all height, height! like an aĆ«rial cross,aerial cross
    As it is stationed on some Stationed alone upon a spiry rock
    Of the Chartreuse, for worship. Thus was man
    Ennobled outwardly before mine eyes,my sight,
    And thus my heart at first was early introduced
    To an unconscious love and reverence
    Of human nature; hence the human form
    To me was like became an index of delight,
    Of grace and honour, power and worthiness.
    Meanwhile, Meanwhile this creature spiritual almost
    As those of books, but more exalted far,far;
    Far more of an imaginative form
    Was not a Corin of the groves, who lives
    For his own fancies, or to dance by the hour
    In coronal, with Phyllis in the midst,
    But, for the purpose of kind, a man
    With the most common husband, father learned,
    Could teach, admonish, suffered with the rest
    From vice and folly, wretchedness and fear.

    Of this I little saw, cared less for it,
    But something must have felt.
    Call ye these appearances
    Which I beheld of shepherds in my youth,
    This sanctity of Nature given to man,
    A shadow, a delusion? ye who are fed
    By the dead letter, not the spirit of things,
    Whose truth is not a motion or a shape
    Instinct with vital functions, but a block
    Or waxen image which yourselves have made,
    And ye adore. But blessbd be
Than the God
    Of Nature and
gay Corin of man that this was so,
    That men did at
the first present themselves
    Before my untaught eyes thus purified,
    Removed, and at a distance that was fit.
    And so we all of us in some degree
    Are led to knowledge, whencesoever led,
    And howsoever were it otherwise,
    And we found evil fast as we find good
groves, who lives
    In our first years, For his own fancies, or think that it is found,
    How could
to dance by the innocent heart bear up and live?
    But doubly fortunate my lot: not here
    Alone, that something of a better life
    Perhaps was round me than it is In coronal, with Phyllis in the privilege
    Of most to move in, but that first I looked
    At man through objects that were great and fair,
    Was, for the purposes of kind, a man
    With the most common; husband, father; learned,
    Could teach, admonish; suffered with the rest
    From vice and folly, wretchedness and fear;
    Of this I little saw, cared less for it,
    But something must have felt.

    First communed with him by their help. Call ye these appearances.—
    Which I beheld of shepherds in my youth,
    This sanctity of Nature given to man—
    A shadow, a delusion, ye who pore
    On the dead letter, miss the spirit of things;
    Whose truth is not a motion or a shape
    Instinct with vital functions, but a block
    Or waxen image which yourselves have made,
    And ye adore! But blessed be the God
    Of Nature and of Man that this was so;
    That men before my inexperienced eyes
    Did first present themselves thus purified,
    Removed, and to a distance that was fit:
    And so we all of us in some degree
    Are led to knowledge, wheresoever led,
    And howsoever; were it otherwise,
    And we found evil fast as we find good
    In our first years, or think that it is found,
    How could the innocent heart bear up and live!
    But doubly fortunate my lot; not here
    Alone, that something of a better life
    Perhaps was round me than it is the privilege
    Of most to move in, but that first I looked
    At Man through objects that were great or fair;
    First communed with him by their help.
And thus
    Was founded a sure safeguard and defence
    Against the weight of meanness, selfish cares,
    Coarse manners, vulgar passions, that beat in
    On all sides from the ordinary world
    In which we traffic. Starting from this point,point
    I had my face towards turned toward the truth, began
    With an advantage, advantage furnished with by that kind
    Of prepossession prepossession, without which the soul
    Receives no knowledge that can bring forth good—
    No genuine insight ever comes to her—
    Happy in this, that I with Nature walked,
    Not having a too early intercourse
    With the deformities of crowded life,
    And those ensuing laughters and contempts
    Self-pleasing, which if we would wish to think
    With admiration and respect of man
    Will not permit us, but pursue the mind
    That to devotion willingly would be raised,
    Into the temple of the temple's heart.
    Yet do not deem, my friend, though thus No genuine insight ever comes to her.
    From the restraint of over-watchful eyes
I speakmoved about, year after year,
    Of man as having taken in Happy, and now most thankful that my mindwalk
    A place thus Was guarded from too early which might almost seemintercourse
    Preeminent, With the deformities of crowded life,
    And those ensuing laughters and contempts,
    Self-pleasing, which, if we would wish to think
    With a due reverence on earth's rightful lord,
    Here placed to be the inheritor of heaven,
    Will not permit us; but pursue the mind,
    That to devotion willingly would rise,
    Into the temple and the temple's heart.
    Yet deem not, Friend!
that this was really so.human kind with me
    Thus early took a place pre-eminent;
Nature herself was was, at this unripe timetime,
    But secondary to my own pursuits
    And animal activities, and all
    Their trivial pleasures. And long afterwardspleasures; and when these had drooped
    When those had died away, And gradually expired, and Nature didNature, prized
    For her own sake become sake, became my joy, even then,
    And upwards through late youth until not less
    Than three-and-twenty summers had been told,
    And upwards through late youth, until not less
    Than two-and-twenty summers had been told.

    Was man Man in my affections and regards
    Subordinate to her, her awful visible forms
    And viewless agencies agencies: a passion, she,
    A rapture often, and immediate joylove
    Ever at hand; he distant, but he, only a gracedelight
    Occasional, and an accidental thought,grace,
    His hour being not yet come. Far less had then
    The inferior creatures, beast or bird, attuned
    My spirit to that gentleness of love,
    (Though they had long been carefully observed),
Won from me those minute obeisances
    Of tenderness tenderness, which I may number now
    With my first blessings. Nevertheless, on these
    The light of beauty did not fall in vain,
    Or grandeur circumfuse them to no end.
    Why should I speak of tillers of the soil?—
    The ploughman and his team; or men and boys
    In festive summer busy with the rake,
    Old men and ruddy maids, and little ones
    All out together, and in sun and shade
    Dispersed among the hay-grounds alder-fringed;
    The quarryman, far heard, that blasts the rock;
    The fishermen in pairs, the one to row,
    And one to drop the net, plying their trade
    "Mid tossing lakes and tumbling boats' and winds
    Whistling; the miner, melancholy man,
    That works by taper-light, while all the hills
    Are shining with the glory of the day.
But when that first poetic faculty
    Of plain imagination Imagination and severesevere,
    No longer a mute influence of the soul,
    An element Ventured, at some rash Muse's earnest call,
    To try her strength among harmonious words;
    And to book-notions and the rules
of art
    Did knowingly conform itself; there came
the nature's inner self—
    Began to have some promptings to put on
    A visible shape, and to the works of art,
    The notions and the images of books,
    Did knowingly conform itself (by these
    Enflamed, and proud of that her new delight),
    There came among these shapes of human life
    A wilfulness of fancy and conceit
    Which gave them new importance to the mind
    And Nature and her objects beautified
    These fictions, as, in some sort, in their turn
    They banished her.
simple shapes of human life
    A wilfulness of fancy and conceit;
    And Nature and her objects beautified
    These fictions, as in some sort, in their turn,
    They burnished her.
From touch of this new power
    Nothing was safe: the elder-tree that grew
    Beside the well-known charnel-house had then
    A dismal look, look: the yew-tree had its ghostghost,
    That took its his station there for ornament.ornament:
    Then common death was none, common mishap,The dignities of plain occurrence then
    But matter for this humour everywhere,Were tasteless, and truth's golden mean, a point
    The tragic super-tragic, else left short.Where no sufficient pleasure could be found.
    Then, if a widow widow, staggering with the blow
    Of her distress distress, was known to have made turned her waysteps
    To the cold grave in which her husband slept,
    One night, or haply more than one one, through pain
    Or half-insensate impotence of mind—
    The fact was caught at greedily, and there
    She was a visitant the whole year through,
    Wetting the turf with never-ending tears,
    And all the storms of heaven must beat on her.
    The fact was caught at greedily, and there
    She must be visitant the whole year through,
    Wetting the turf with never-ending tears.
Through wild quaint obliquities could I might pursue
    Among all objects of the fields and groves
These cravings: cravings; when the foxglove, one by one,
    Upwards through every stage of its the tall stemstem,
    Had shed its bells, and stood by beside the waysidepublic way its bells,
    Dismantled, with a single one perhapsAnd stood of all dismantled, save the last
    Left at the tapering ladder's top, with which the plantthat seemed
    Appeared to stoop, To bend as doth a slender blades blade of grass
    Tipped with a bead of rain or dew, behold,
    If such a sight were seen, would fancy bring
    Some vagrant thither with her babes and seat her
rain-drop, Fancy loved to seat,
    Upon the turf beneath Beneath the stately flower,
    Drooping in sympathy and making so
plant despoiled, but crested still
    A melancholy crest above the headWith this last relic, soon itself to fall,
    Of the lorn creature, while her Some vagrant mother, whose arch little ones,
    All unconcerned with by her unhappy dejected plight,
    Were sporting Laughed as with rival eagerness their hands
the purple cups that layround them lay,
    Scattered upon Strewing the ground. There was a copse,
    An upright bank of wood and woody rock
    That opposite our rural dwelling stood,
turfs green slope.
    In which a sparkling patch of A diamond light
    Was in bright weather duly to be seen
    On summer afternoons, within the wood
(Whene'er the same place. 'Twas doubtless nothing moresummer sun, declining, smote
    Than a black rock, which, A smooth rock wet with constant springs,springs) was seen
    Glistered far seen Sparkling from out its lurking-place
    As soon as ever the declining sun
a copse-clad bank that rose
    Had smitten it. Beside Fronting our cottage cottage. Oft beside the hearth
    Sitting Seated, with open door, a hundred timesoften and long
    Upon this restless lustre have I gazed, that seemedgazed,
    To have some meaning which I could not find—
    And now it was a burnished shield, I fancied,
    Suspended over a knight's tomb, who lay
    Inglorious, buried in the dusky wood;
    An entrance now into some magic cave,
    Or palace for a fairy of the rock.
That made my fancy restless as itself.
    Nor would I, though not certain whence the cause'Twas now for me a burnished silver shield
    Of Suspended over a knight's tomb, who lay
    Inglorious, buried in
the effulgence, thither have repaireddusky wood:
    Without a precious bribe, and day by dayAn entrance now into some magic cave
    And month Or palace built by month I saw fairies of the spectacle,rock;
    Nor ever once could I have visited the spotbeen bribed to disenchant
    Unto this hour. Thus sometimes were The spectacle, by visiting the shapesspot.
    Of Thus wilful fancy grafted upon feelings
    Of the imagination, and they rose
    In worth accordingly.
    My present theme
Fancy, in no hurtful mood,
    Is to retrace the way that led me onEngrafted far-fetched shapes on feelings bred
    Through Nature to the love of human-kind;By pure Imagination: busy Power
    Nor could I She was, and with such object overlook
    The influence of this power which turned itself
her ready pupil turned
    Instinctively to human passions, thingsthen
    Least understood ,of this adulterate power,
    For so it may be called, and without wrong,
    When with that first compared. Yet in
understood. Yet, 'mid the midstfervent swarm
    Of these vagaries, with an eye so rich
    As mine was through the chance, on me not wasted,
    Of having been brought up in such
bounty of a grand
    And lovely region region, I had forms distinct
    To steady me. These thoughts did oft revolveme: each airy thought revolved
    About some centre palpable, Round a substantial centre, which at once
    Incited them it to motion, and controlled,
    And whatsoever shape the fit might take,
    And whencesoever it might come, I still
    At all times had a real solid world
    Of images about me,
did not pine
pine like one in cities bred might do as thou,bred,
    Beloved friend, hast told me that thou didst,As was thy melancholy lot, dear Friend!
    Great spirit Spirit as thou art art, in endless dreams
    Of sickness, sickliness, disjoining, joining things,joining, things
    Without the light of knowledge. Where the harmharm,
    If If, when the woodman languished with disease
    From sleeping night Induced by night among sleeping nightly on the woodsground
    Within his sod-built cabin, Indian-wise,
    I called the pangs of disappointed lovelove,
    And all the long sad etcetera of such thoughtthe wrong,
    To help him to his grave? meanwhile Meanwhile the man,
    If not already from the woods retired
    To die at home, was haply, as I knew,
    Pining alone among the Withering by slow degrees, 'mid gentle airs,
    Birds, running streams, and hills so beautiful
    On golden evenings, while the charcoal-pilecharcoal pile
    Breathed up its smoke, an image of his ghost
    Or spirit that was full soon to must take its her flight.
    There came Nor shall we not be tending towards that point
    Of sound humanity to which our Tale
    Leads, though by sinuous ways, if here I show
    How Fancy, in
a time season when she wove
    Those slender cords, to guide the unconscious Boy
    For the Man's sake, could feed at Nature's call
    Some pensive musings which might well beseem
    Maturer years.
    A grove there is whose boughs
    Stretch from the western marge
of greater dignity,Thurstonmere
    Which had been gradually prepared, and nowWith length of shade so thick, that whoso glides
    Rushed Along the line of low-roofed water, moves
in a cloister. Once while, in that shade
    Loitering, I watched the golden beams of light
    Flung from the setting sun,
as if they reposed
    In silent beauty
on wings the time in whichnaked ridge
    The pulse Of a high eastern hill thus flowed my thoughts
    In a pure stream
of being words fresh from the heart:
    Dear native Regions, wheresoe'er shall close
    My mortal course, there will I think on you;
    Dying, will cast on you a backward look;
    Even as this setting sun (albeit the Vale
    Is no where touched by one memorial gleam)
    Doth with the fond remains of his last power
    Still linger, and a farewell lustre sheds,
    On the dear mountain-tops where first he rose.
    Enough of humble arguments; recall,
    My Song! those high emotions which thy voice
    Has heretofore made known; that bursting forth
    Of sympathy, inspiring and inspired,
everywhere a vital pulse was felt,
    When And all the several frames of things, like starsstars,
    Through every magnitude distinguishable,
    Were Shone mutually indebted, or half confounded lost
in each the other's blaze,blaze, a galaxy
    One galaxy of Of life and joy. Then roseglory. In the midst stood Man,
    Man, Outwardly, inwardly contemplated, and presentcontemplated,
    In my own being, As, of all visible natures, crown, though born
    Of dust, and kindred
to the worm; a loftier height—
    As of all visible natures crown, and first
    In capability of feeling what
    Was to be felt, in being rapt away
    By the divine effect of power and love—
    As, more than any thing we know, instinct
    With godhead, and by reason and by will
    Acknowledging dependency sublime.
    Erelong, transported hence as Both in a dream,perception and discernment, first
    In every capability of rapture,
    Through the divine effect of power and love;
    As, more than anything we know, instinct
    With godhead, and, by reason and by will,
    Acknowledging dependency sublime.
    Ere long, the lonely mountains left,
I found myself begirt moved,
    Begirt, from day to day,
with temporal shapes
    Of vice and folly thrust upon my view,
    Objects of sport sport, and ridicule ridicule, and scorn,
    Manners and characters discriminate,
    And little busy bustling passions that eclipsed,eclipse,
    As well they might, the impersonated thought,
    The idea idea, or abstraction of the kind.
    An idler among academic bowers,
    Such was my new condition condition, as at large
    Hath Has been set forth forth; yet here the vulgar light
    Of present, actual, superficial life,
    Gleaming through colouring of other times,
    Old usages and local privilege,
    Thereby was Was welcomed, softened, almost solemnized,
    And rendered apt and pleasing to the view.
if not solemnised.
    This notwithstanding, being brought more near
    As I was now to guilt To vice and guilt, forerunning wretchedness,
    I trembled, thought thought, at times, of human life at timeslife
    With an indefinite terror and dismay,
    Such as the storms and angry elements
    Had bred in me; but gloomier far, a dim
    Analogy to uproar and misrule,
    Disquiet, danger, and obscurity.
    It might be told (but wherefore speak of things
    Common to all?) that, seeing, I essayedwas led
    To give relief, began Gravely to deem myself
    A moral agent,
ponder judging between good
    And evil evil, not as for the mind's delight
    But for her safety, guidance one who was to act—
    As sometimes to the best of my weak means
    I did, by human sympathy impelled,
    And through dislike and most offensive pain
    Was to the truth conducted of this faith
    Never forsaken, that by acting well,
    And understanding, I should learn to love
    The end of life and every thing we know.
    Preceptmss stern, that didst instruct me next,As sometimes to the best of feeble means
    I did, by human sympathy impelled:
    And, through dislike and most offensive pain,
    Was to the truth conducted; of this faith
    Never forsaken, that, by acting well,
    And understanding, I should learn to love
    The end of life, and everything we know.
    Grave Teacher, stern Preceptress! for at times
    Thou canst put on an aspect most severe;
London, to thee I willingly return.
    Erewhile my verse played only idly with the flowers
    Enwrought upon the mantle, thy mantle; satisfied
    With this that amusement, and a simple look
    Of childlike child-like inquisition now and then
    Cast upwards on thine eye thy countenance, to puzzle outdetect
    Some inner meanings which might harbour there.
    Yet did But how could I not give way to this in mood so light mood
    Wholly beguiled, as one incapable
    Of higher things, and ignorant that high things
    Were round me. Never shall I forget Keeping such fresh remembrance of the hour,day,
    The moment rather say, when, When, having thriddedthridded the long labyrinth
    The labyrinth of Of the suburban villages,
    At length
villages, I did unto myself first seemfirst
    To enter the great city. Entered thy vast dominion? On the roof
    Of an itinerant vehicle I sate,
    With vulgar men about me, vulgar trivial forms
    Of houses, pavement, streets, of men and things,
    Mean shapes on every side; but, at the time,
    When to myself it fairly might be said
    (The very moment that I seemed to know)
    'The threshold now is overpast', great God!
    That aught external to the living mind
    Should have such mighty sway, yet so it was:
    A weight of ages did at once descend
    Upon my heart no thought embodied, no
    Distinct remembrances, but weight and power,

    Mean shapes on every side: but, at the instant,
    When to myself it fairly might be said,
    The threshold now is overpast, (how strange
    That aught external to the living mind
    Should have such mighty sway! yet so it was),
    A weight of ages did at once descend
    Upon my heart; no thought embodied, no
    Distinct remembrances, but weight and power,.

    Power growing with the weight. Alas, under weight: alas! I feel
    That I am trifling. 'Twas trifling: 'twas a moment's pause:
    All that took place within me came and went
    As in a moment, and I only now
    Remember that it was a thing divine.
    All that took place within me came and went
    As in a moment; yet with Time it dwells,
    And grateful memory, as a thing divine.

    As when a traveller hath The curious traveller, who, from open dayday,
    With torches Hath passed with torches into some vault of earth,huge cave,
    The grotto Grotto of Antiparos, or the denDen
    Of Yordas among Craven's mountain tracts,In old time haunted by that Danish Witch,
    He Yordas; he looks around and sees the cavern spread and grow,vault
    Widening itself on all sides, sides; sees, or thinksthinks he sees,
    He sees, erelong, Erelong, the massy roof above his head,
    Which That instantly unsettles and recedes—
    Substance and shadow, light and darkness, all
    Commingled, making up a canopy
    Of shapes, and forms, and tendencies to shape,
    That shift and vanish, change and interchange
    Like spectres ferment quiet and sublime,
    Which, after a short space, works less and less
    Till, every effort, every motion gone,
    The scene before him lies in perfect view
    Exposed, and lifeless as a written book.
    But let him pause awhile and look again,
    Substance and shadow, light and darkness, all
    Commingled, making up a canopy
    Of shapes and forms and tendencies to shape
    That shift and vanish, change and interchange
    Like spectres, ferment silent and sublime!
    That after a short space works less and less,
    Till, every effort, every motion gone,
    The scene before him stands in perfect view
    Exposed, and lifeless as a written book!—
    But let him pause awhile, and look again,
    And a new quickening shall succeed, at first
    Beginning timidly, then creeping fast,
    Till the whole cave, so late a senseless mass,
    Busies the eye with images and forms
    Boldly assembled, here is shadowed forth
    From the projections, wrinkles, cavities,
    A variegated landscape, there the shape
    Of some gigantic warrior clad in mail,
    The ghostly semblance of a hooded monk,
    Veiled nun, or pilgrim resting on his staff:
    Strange congregation! yet not slow to meet
    Eyes that perceive through minds that can inspire.

    And a new quickening shall succeed, Even in such sort had I at firstfirst been moved,
    Beginning timidly, then creeping fastNor otherwise continued to be moved,
    Through all which he beholds: As I explored the senseless mass,
    In its projections, wrinkles, cavities,
    Through all its surface, with all colours streaming,
    Like a magician's airy pageant, parts,
    Unites, embodying everywhere some pressure
    Or image, recognised or new, some type
vast metropolis,
    Or picture Fount of the world forests my country's destiny and lakes,
    Ships, rivers, towers,
the warrior clad in mail,world's;
    The prancing steed, the pilgrim with his staff,That great emporium, chronicle at once
    A mitred bishop And burial-place of passions, and the throned king—
    A spectacle to which there is no end.
their home
    No otherwise had I at first been moved—
    With such a swell of feeling, followed soon
    By a blank sense of greatness passed away.—
    And afterwards continued to be moved,
    In presence of that vast metropolis,
    The fountain of my country's destiny
    And of the destiny of earth itself,
    That great emporium, chronicle at once
    And burial-place of passions, and their home
    Imperial, and chief living residence.
Imperial, their chief living residence.
    With strong sensations teeming as it did
    Of past and present, such a place must needs
    Have pleased me in those times. I sought not thenme, seeking knowledge at that time
    Knowledge, but craved for power Far less than craving power; yet knowledge came,
    Sought or unsought,
and power I foundinfluxes of power
    Came, of themselves, or at her call derived
In all things. Nothing had a circumscribedfits of kindliest apprehensiveness,
    And narrow influence; but From all objects, beingsides, when whate'er was in itself
    Themselves capacious, also found Capacious found, or seemed to find, in me
    Capaciousness and A correspondent amplitude of mind.mind;
    Such is the strength and glory of our youth.youth!
    The human nature unto which I felt
    That I belonged, and which I loved and reverenced,reverenced with love,
    Was not a punctual presence, but a spirit
    Living in Diffused through time and space, and far diffused.
    In this my joy, in this my dignity
with aid derived
    Consisted: the external universe,Of evidence from monuments, erect,
    By striking upon what is found within,Prostrate, or leaning towards their common rest
    Had given me this conception, with In earth, the helpwidely scattered wreck sublime
    Of vanished nations, or more clearly drawn
books and what they picture and record.
    'Tis true true, the history of my our native land,land
    With those of Greece compared and popular Rome
    Events not lovely nor magnanimous,
    But harsh and unaffecting in themselves;
    And in our high-wrought modern narratives
    Stript of their humanizing harmonising soul, the life
    Of manners and familiar incidents—
    Had never much delighted me.
    Had never much delighted me.
And less
    Than other minds I intellects had mine been used to owe
    The pleasure which I found in place or thing
    To lean upon extrinsic transitory accidents,circumstance
    To records Of record or traditions; tradition; but a sense
    Of what in the Great City had been here done, and suffered heredone
    Through ages, And suffered, and was doing, suffering, still,
    Weighed with me, could support the test of thought—
    Was like the enduring majesty and power
    Of independent nature. And not seldom
    Even individual remembrances,And, in despite of all that had gone by,
    By working on the shapes before my eyes,Or was departing never to return,
    Became like vital functions of the soul;There I conversed with majesty and power
    And out of what had been, what was, Like independent natures. Hence the place
    Was thronged with impregnations, impregnations like those wildsthe Wilds
    In which my early feelings had been nursed,nursed—
    Bare hills and valleys, full of caverns, rocks,
    And audible seclusions, dashing lakes,
    Echoes and waterfalls, and pointed crags
    That into music touch the passing wind.

    And naked valleys full of caverns, rocks,Here then my young imagination found
    And audible seclusions, dashing lakes,No uncongenial element; could here
    Echoes and waterfalls, and pointed cragsAmong new objects serve or give command,
    That into music touch Even as the passing wind.
    Thus here imagination also found
heart's occasions might require,
    An element that pleased her, tried her strengthTo forward reason's else too-scrupulous march.
    Among new objects, simplified, arranged,The effect was, still more elevated views
    Impregnated my knowledge, made it live—
    And the result was elevating thoughts
    Of human nature.
Of human nature. Neither guilt vice nor vice,guilt,
    Debasement of the undergone by body or the mind,
    Nor all the misery forced upon my sight,
    Which was Misery not lightly passed, but often sometimes scanned
    Most feelingly, could overthrow my trust
    In what we may become, 'may' become; induce belief
    that That I was ignorant, had been falsely taught,
    A solitary, who with vain conceits
    Had been inspired, and walked about in dreams.
    When from that rueful prospect, overcast
    And in eclipse, my meditations
From those sad scenes when meditation turned,
    Lo, every thing Lo! everything that was indeed divine
    Retained its purity inviolateinviolate,
    And unencroached upon, nay, seemed Nay brighter far
shone, by this deep shade in counterview, the portentous gloom
    Of opposition, Set off; such opposition as shewed itselfaroused
    To the eyes The mind of Adam, yet in Paradise
    Though fallen from bliss, when in the East he saw
    Darkness ere day's mid course, and morning light
    More orient in the western cloud, that drew
    'O'er O'er the blue firmament a radiant white,
    Descending slow with something heavenly fraught.'fraught.
    Add also, that among the multitudes
    Of that great city huge city, oftentimes was seen
    Affectingly set forth, more than elsewhere
    Is possible, the unity of man,
    One spirit over ignorance and vice
    Predominant, in good and evil heartshearts;
    One sense for moral judgments, as one eye
    For the sun's light. When strongly breathed uponThe soul when smitten thus
    By this sensation whencesoe'er it comes,a sublime 'idea', whencesoe'er
    Of Vouchsafed for union or communion doth the soul
    Rejoice as in her highest joy; for there,
    There chiefly, hath she feeling whence she is,
    And passing through all Nature rests with God.
    And is not, too, that vast abiding-place
    Of human creatures, turn where' er we may,
    Profusely sown with individual sights
    Of courage, and integrity, and truth,
    And tenderness, which, here set off by foil,
    Appears more touching? In the tender scenes
    Chiefly was my delight, and one of these
    Never will be forgotten. 'Twas a man,
    Whom I saw sitting in an open square
    Close to the iron paling that fenced in
    The spacious grass-plot: on the corner-stone
    Of the low wall in which the pales were fixed
    Sate this one man, and with a sickly babe
    Upon his knee, whom he had thither brought
communion, feeds
    For sunshine, and to breathe On the fresher air.
    Of those who passed,
pure bliss, and me who looked at him,
    He took no note; but in his brawny arms
    (The artificer was to the elbow bare,
    And from his work this moment had been stolen)
    He held the child, and, bending over it
    As if he were afraid both of the sun
    And of the air which he had come to seek,
    He eyed it
takes her rest with unutterable love.God.
    Thus from a very early age, O friend,Friend!
    My thoughts had been attracted more and more
by slow gradations towards human-kind,had been drawn
    And To human-kind, and to the good and ill of human life.ill
    Of human life: Nature had led me on, and now on;
    And oft amid the "busy hum"
I seemed
    To travel independent of her help,
    As if I had forgotten her her; but no,
    My fellow-beings still were unto meThe world of human-kind outweighed not hers
    Far less than she was: though In my habitual thoughts; the scale of lovelove,
    Were Though filling fast, 'twas light as yet daily, still was light, compared
    With that in which her 'her' mighty objects lay.