ONCE to the verge of yon steep barrier came
         A roving school—boy; what the adventurer’s age
         Hath now escaped his memory—but the hour,
         One of a golden summer holiday,
         He well remembers, though the year be gone—
         Alone and devious from afar he came;
         And, with a sudden influx overpowered
         At sight of this seclusion, he forgot
         His haste, for hasty had his footsteps been
         As boyish his pursuits; and sighing said,                   10
         “What happy fortune were it here to live!
         And, if a thought of dying, if a thought
         Of mortal separation, could intrude
         With paradise before him, here to die!”
         No Prophet was he, had not even a hope,
         Scarcely a wish, but one bright pleasing thought,
         A fancy in the heart of what might be
         The lot of others, never could be his.
           The station whence he looked was soft and green,
         Not giddy yet aerial, with a depth                          20
         Of vale below, a height of hills above.
         For rest of body perfect was the spot,
         All that luxurious nature could desire;
         But stirring to the spirit; who could gaze
         And not feel motions there? He thought of clouds
         That sail on winds: of breezes that delight
         To play on water, or in endless chase
         Pursue each other through the yielding plain
         Of grass or corn, over and through and through,
         In billow after billow, evermore                            30
         Disporting—nor unmindful was the boy
         Of sunbeams, shadows, butterflies and birds;
         Of fluttering sylphs and softly—gliding Fays,
         Genii, and winged angels that are Lords
         Without restraint of all which they behold.
         The illusion strengthening as he gazed, he felt
         That such unfettered liberty was his,
         Such power and joy; but only for this end,
         To flit from field to rock, from rock to field,
         From shore to island, and from isle to shore,               40
         From open ground to covert, from a bed
         Of meadow—flowers into a tuft of wood;
         From high to low, from low to high, yet still
         Within the bound of this huge concave; here
         Must be his home, this valley be his world.
           Since that day forth the Place to him—'to me’
         (For I who live to register the truth
         Was that same young and happy Being) became
         As beautiful to thought, as it had been
         When present, to the bodily sense; a haunt                  50
         Of pure affections, shedding upon joy
         A brighter joy; and through such damp and gloom
         Of the gay mind, as ofttimes splenetic youth
         Mistakes for sorrow, darting beams of light
         That no self—cherished sadness could withstand;
         And now 'tis mine, perchance for life, dear Vale,
         Beloved Grasmere (let the wandering streams
         Take up, the cloud—capt hills repeat, the Name)
         One of thy lowly Dwellings is my Home.
           And was the cost so great? and could it seem              60
         An act of courage, and the thing itself
         A conquest? who must bear the blame? Sage man
         Thy prudence, thy experience, thy desires,
         Thy apprehensions—blush thou for them all.
           Yes the realities of life so cold,
         So cowardly, so ready to betray,
         So stinted in the measure of their grace
         As we pronounce them, doing them much wrong,
         Have been to me more bountiful than hope,
         Less timid than desire—but that is past.                   70
           On Nature’s invitation do I come,
         By Reason sanctioned. Can the choice mislead,
         That made the calmest fairest spot of earth
         With all its unappropriated good
         My own; and not mine only, for with me
         Entrenched, say rather peacefully embowered,
         Under yon orchard, in yon humble cot,
         A younger Orphan of a home extinct,
         The only Daughter of my Parents dwells.
           Ay, think on that, my heart, and cease to stir,           80
         Pause upon that and let the breathing frame
         No longer breathe, but all be satisfied.
         —Oh, if such silence be not thanks to God
         For what hath been bestowed, then where, where then
         Shall gratitude find rest? Mine eyes did ne’er
         Fix on a lovely object, nor my mind
         Take pleasure in the midst of happy thoughts,
         But either She whom now I have, who now
         Divides with me this loved abode, was there,
         Or not far off. Where’er my footsteps turned,               90
         Her voice was like a hidden Bird that sang,
         The thought of her was like a flash of light,
         Or an unseen companionship, a breath
         Of fragrance independent of the Wind.
         In all my goings, in the new and old
         Of all my meditations, and in this
         Favourite of all, in this the most of all.
         —What being, therefore, since the birth of Man
         Had ever more abundant cause to speak
         Thanks, and if favours of the Heavenly Muse                100
         Make him more thankful, then to call on Verse
         To aid him and in song resound his joy?
         The boon is absolute; surpassing grace
         To me hath been vouchsafed; among the bowers
         Of blissful Eden this was neither given
         Nor could be given, possession of the good
         Which had been sighed for, ancient thought fulfilled,
         And dear Imaginations realised,
         Up to their highest measure, yea and more.
           Embrace me then, ye Hills, and close me in;              110
         Now in the clear and open day I feel
         Your guardianship; I take it to my heart;
         'Tis like the solemn shelter of the night.
         But I would call thee beautiful, for mild,
         And soft, and gay, and beautiful thou art
         Dear Valley, having in thy face a smile
         Though peaceful, full of gladness. Thou art pleased,
         Pleased with thy crags and woody steeps, thy Lake,
         Its one green island and its winding shores;
         The multitude of little rocky hills,                       120
         Thy Church and cottages of mountain stone
         Clustered like stars some few, but single most,
         And lurking dimly in their shy retreats,
         Or glancing at each other cheerful looks
         Like separated stars with clouds between.
         What want we? have we not perpetual streams,
         Warm woods, and sunny hills, and fresh green fields,
         And mountains not less green, and flocks and herds,
         And thickets full of songsters, and the voice
         Of lordly birds, an unexpected sound                       130
         Heard now and then from morn to latest eve,
         Admonishing the man who walks below
         Of solitude and silence in the sky?
         These have we, and a thousand nooks of earth
         Have also these, but nowhere else is found,
         Nowhere (or is it fancy?) can be found
         The one sensation that is here; 'tis here,
         Here as it found its way into my heart
         In childhood, here as it abides by day,
         By night, here only; or in chosen minds                    140
         That take it with them hence, where’er they go.
         —'Tis, but I cannot name it, 'tis the sense
         Of majesty, and beauty, and repose,
         A blended holiness of earth and sky,
         Something that makes this individual spot,
         This small abiding—place of many men,
         A termination, and a last retreat,
         A centre, come from wheresoe’er you will,
         A whole without dependence or defect,
         Made for itself, and happy in itself,                      150
         Perfect contentment, Unity entire.
           Bleak season was it, turbulent and bleak,
         When hitherward we journeyed side by side
         Through burst of sunshine and through flying showers;
         Paced the long vales—how long they were—and yet
         How fast that length of way was left behind,
         Wensley’s rich Vale, and Sedbergh’s naked heights.
         The frosty wind, as if to make amends
         For its keen breath, was aiding to our steps,
         And drove us onward like two ships at sea,                 160
         Or like two birds, companions in mid—air,
         Parted and reunited by the blast.
           Stern was the face of nature; we rejoiced
         In that stern countenance, for our souls thence drew
         A feeling of their strength. The naked trees,
         The icy brooks, as on we passed, appeared
         To question us. “Whence come ye, to what end?”
         They seemed to say, “What would ye,” said the shower,
         “Wild Wanderers, whither through my dark domain?”
         The sunbeam said, “Be happy.” When this vale               170
         We entered, bright and solemn was the sky
         That faced us with a passionate welcoming,
         And led us to our threshold. Daylight failed
         Insensibly, and round us gently fell
         Composing darkness, with a quiet load
         Of full contentment, in a little shed
         Disturbed, uneasy in itself as seemed,
         And wondering at its new inhabitants.
         It loves us now, this Vale so beautiful
         Begins to love us! by a sullen storm,                      180
         Two months unwearied of severest storm,
         It put the temper of our minds to proof,
         And found us faithful through the gloom, and heard
         The poet mutter his prelusive songs
         With cheerful heart, an unknown voice of joy
         Among the silence of the woods and hills;
         Silent to any gladsomeness of sound
         With all their shepherds.
                                    But the gates of Spring
         Are opened; churlish winter hath given leave
         That she should entertain for this one day,                190
         Perhaps for many genial days to come,
         His guests, and make them jocund.—They are pleased,
         But most of all the birds that haunt the flood
         With the mild summons; inmates though they be
         Of Winter’s household, they keep festival
         This day, who drooped, or seemed to droop, so long;
         They show their pleasure, and shall I do less?
         Happier of happy though I be, like them
         I cannot take possession of the sky,
         Mount with a thoughtless impulse, and wheel there          200
         One of a mighty multitude, whose way
         Is a perpetual harmony and dance
         Magnificent. Behold how with a grace
         Of ceaseless motion, that might scarcely seem
         Inferior to angelical, they prolong
         Their curious pastime, shaping in mid—air,
         And sometimes with ambitious wing that soars
         High as the level of the mountain tops,
         A circuit ampler than the lake beneath,
         Their own domain;—but ever, while intent                  210
         On tracing and retracing that large round,
         Their jubilant activity evolves
         Hundreds of curves and circlets, to and fro,
         Upwards and downwards; progress intricate
         Yet unperplexed, as if one spirit swayed
         Their indefatigable flight. 'Tis done,
         Ten times and more I fancied it had ceased,
         But lo! the vanished company again
         Ascending, they approach. I hear their wings
         Faint, faint at first; and then an eager sound             220
         Passed in a moment—and as faint again!
         They tempt the sun to sport among their plumes;
         Tempt the smooth water, or the gleaming ice,
         To show them a fair image,—'tis themselves,
         Their own fair forms upon the glimmering plain
         Painted more soft and fair as they descend,
         Almost to touch,—then up again aloft,
         Up with a sally and a flash of speed,
         As if they scorned both resting—place and rest!
         —This day is a thanksgiving, 'tis a day                   230
         Of glad emotion and deep quietness;
         Not upon me alone hath been bestowed,
         Me rich in many onward—looking thoughts,
         The penetrating bliss; oh surely these
         Have felt it, not the happy choirs of spring,
         Her own peculiar family of love
         That sport among green leaves, a blither train!
           But two are missing, two, a lonely pair
         Of milk—white Swans; wherefore are they not seen
         Partaking this day’s pleasure? From afar                   240
         They came, to sojourn here in solitude,
         Choosing this Valley, they who had the choice
         Of the whole world. We saw them day by day,
         Through those two months of unrelenting storm,
         Conspicuous at the centre of the Lake
         Their safe retreat, we knew them well, I guess
         That the whole valley knew them; but to us
         They were more dear than may be well believed,
         Not only for their beauty, and their still
         And placid way of life, and constant love                  250
         Inseparable, not for these alone,
         But that 'their’ state so much resembled ours,
         They having also chosen this abode;
         They strangers, and we strangers, they a pair,
         And we a solitary pair like them.
         They should not have departed; many days
         Did I look forth in vain, nor on the wing
         Could see them, nor in that small open space
         Of blue unfrozen water, where they lodged
         And lived so long in quiet, side by side.                  260
         Shall we behold them consecrated friends,
         Faithful companions, yet another year
         Surviving, they for us, and we for them,
         And neither pair be broken? nay perchance
         It is too late already for such hope;
         The Dalesmen may have aimed the deadly tube,
         And parted them; or haply both are gone
         One death, and that were mercy given to both.
         Recall, my song, the ungenerous thought; forgive,
         Thrice favoured Region, the conjecture harsh               270
         Of such inhospitable penalty
         Inflicted upon confidence so pure.
         Ah! if I wished to follow where the sight
         Of all that is before my eyes, the voice
         Which speaks from a presiding spirit here,
         Would lead me, I should whisper to myself:
         They who are dwellers in this holy place
         Must needs themselves be hallowed, they require
         No benediction from the stranger’s lips,
         For they are blessed already; none would give              280
         The greeting “peace be with you” unto them,
         For peace they have; it cannot but be theirs,
         And mercy, and forbearance—nay—not these—
         'Their’ healing offices a pure good—will
         Precludes, and charity beyond the bounds
         Of charity—an overflowing love;
         Not for the creature only, but for all
         That is around them; love for everything
         Which in their happy Region they behold!
           Thus do we soothe ourselves, and when the thought        290
         Is passed, we blame it not for having come.
         —What if I floated down a pleasant stream,
         And now am landed, and the motion gone,
         Shall I reprove myself? Ah no, the stream
         Is flowing, and will never cease to flow,
         And I shall float upon that stream again.
         By such forgetfulness the soul becomes,
         Words cannot say how beautiful: then hail,
         Hail to the visible Presence, hail to thee,
         Delightful Valley, habitation fair!                        300
         And to whatever else of outward form
         Can give an inward help, can purify,
         And elevate, and harmonise, and soothe,
         And steal away, and for a while deceive
         And lap in pleasing rest, and bear us on
         Without desire in full complacency,
         Contemplating perfection absolute,
         And entertained as in a placid sleep.
           But not betrayed by tenderness of mind
         That feared, or wholly overlooked the truth,               310
         Did we come hither, with romantic hope
         To find in midst of so much loveliness
         Love, perfect love: of so much majesty
         A like majestic—frame of mind in those
         Who here abide, the persons like the place.
         Not from such hope, or aught of such belief,
         Hath issued any portion of the joy
         Which I have felt this day. An awful voice
         'Tis true hath in my walks been often heard,
         Sent from the mountains or the sheltered fields,           320
         Shout after shout—reiterated whoop,
         In manner of a bird that takes delight
         In answering to itself: or like a hound
         Single at chase among the lonely woods,
         His yell repeating; yet it was in truth
         A human voice—a spirit of coming night;
         How solemn when the sky is dark, and earth
         Not dark, nor yet enlightened, but by snow
         Made visible, amid a noise of winds
         And bleatings manifold of mountain sheep,                  330
         Which in that iteration recognise
         Their summons, and are gathering round for food,
         Devoured with keenness, ere to grove or bank
         Or rocky bield with patience they retire.
           That very voice, which, in some timid mood
         Of superstitious fancy, might have seemed
         Awful as ever stray demoniac uttered,
         His steps to govern in the wilderness;
         Or as the Norman Curfew’s regular beat
         To hearths when first they darkened at the knell:          340
         That shepherd’s voice, it may have reached mine ear
         Debased and under profanation, made
         The ready organ of articulate sounds
         From ribaldry, impiety, or wrath,
         Issuing when shame hath ceased to check the brawls
         Of some abused Festivity—so be it.
         I came not dreaming of unruffled life,
         Untainted manners; born among the hills,
         Bred also there, I wanted not a scale
         To regulate my hopes; pleased with the good                350
         I shrink not from the evil with disgust,
         Or with immoderate pain. I look for Man,
         The common creature of the brotherhood,
         Differing but little from the Man elsewhere,
         For selfishness and envy and revenge,
         Ill neighbourhood—pity that this should be—
         Flattery and double—dealing, strife and wrong.
           Yet is it something gained, it is in truth
         A mighty gain, that Labour here preserves
         His rosy face, a servant only here                         360
         Of the fireside or of the open field,
         A Freeman therefore sound and unimpaired:
         That extreme penury is here unknown,
         And cold and hunger’s abject wretchedness
         Mortal to body and the heaven—born mind:
         That they who want are not too great a weight
         For those who can relieve; here may the heart
         Breathe in the air of fellow—suffering
         Dreadless, as in a kind of fresher breeze
         Of her own native element, the hand                        370
         Be ready and unwearied without plea,
         From tasks too frequent or beyond its power,
         For languor or indifference or despair.
         And as these lofty barriers break the force
         Of winds,—this deep Vale, as it doth in part
         Conceal us from the storm, so here abides
         A power and a protection for the mind,
         Dispensed indeed to other solitudes
         Favoured by noble privilege like this,
         Where kindred independence of estate                       380
         Is prevalent, where he who tills the field,
         He, happy man! is master of the field,
         And treads the mountains which his Fathers trod.
           Not less than halfway up yon mountain’s side,
         Behold a dusky spot, a grove of Firs
         That seems still smaller than it is; this grove
         Is haunted—by what ghost? a gentle spirit
         Of memory faithful to the call of love;
         For, as reports the Dame, whose fire sends up
         Yon curling smoke from the grey cot below,                 390
         The trees (her first—born child being then a babe)
         Were planted by her husband and herself,
         That ranging o’er the high and houseless ground
         Their sheep might neither want from perilous storm
         Of winter, nor from summer’s sultry heat,
         A friendly covert; “and they knew it well,”
         Said she, “for thither as the trees grew up
         We to the patient creatures carried food
         In times of heavy snow.” She then began
         In fond obedience to her private thoughts                  400
         To speak of her dead husband; is there not
         An art, a music, and a strain of words
         That shall be life, the acknowledged voice of life,
         Shall speak of what is done among the fields,
         Done truly there, or felt, of solid good
         And real evil, yet be sweet withal,
         More grateful, more harmonious than the breath,
         The idle breath of softest pipe attuned
         To pastoral fancies? Is there such a stream
         Pure and unsullied flowing from the heart                  410
         With motions of true dignity and grace?
         Or must we seek that stream where Man is not?
         Methinks I could repeat in tuneful verse,
         Delicious as the gentlest breeze that sounds
         Through that aerial fir—grove—could preserve
         Some portion of its human history
         As gathered from the Matron’s lips, and tell
         Of tears that have been shed at sight of it,
         And moving dialogues between this Pair
         Who in their prime of wedlock, with joint hands            420
         Did plant the grove, now flourishing, while they
         No longer flourish, he entirely gone,
         She withering in her loneliness. Be this
         A task above my skill—the silent mind
         Has her own treasures, and I think of these,
         Love what I see, and honour humankind.
           No, we are not alone, we do not stand,
         My sister here misplaced and desolate,
         Loving what no one cares for but ourselves,
         We shall not scatter through the plains and rocks          430
         Of this fair Vale, and o’er its spacious heights,
         Unprofitable kindliness, bestowed
         On objects unaccustomed to the gifts
         Of feeling, which were cheerless and forlorn
         But few weeks past, and would be so again
         Were we not here; we do not tend a lamp
         Whose lustre we alone participate,
         Which shines dependent upon us alone,
         Mortal though bright, a dying, dying flame.
         Look where we will, some human hand has been               440
         Before us with its offering; not a tree
         Sprinkles these little pastures, but the same
         Hath furnished matter for a thought; perchance
         For some one serves as a familiar friend.
         Joy spreads, and sorrow spreads; and this whole Vale,
         Home of untutored shepherds as it is,
         Swarms with sensation, as with gleams of sunshine,
         Shadows or breezes, scents or sounds. Nor deem
         These feelings, though subservient more than ours
         To every day’s demand for daily bread,                     450
         And borrowing more their spirit and their shape
         From self—respecting interests; deem them not
         Unworthy therefore, and unhallowed—no,
         They lift the animal being, do themselves
         By nature’s kind and ever—present aid
         Refine the selfishness from which they spring,
         Redeem by love the individual sense
         Of anxiousness, with which they are combined.
         And thus it is that fitly they become
         Associates in the joy of purest minds:                     460
         They blend therewith congenially: meanwhile
         Calmly they breathe their own undying life
         Through this their mountain sanctuary; long
         Oh long may it remain inviolate,
         Diffusing health and sober cheerfulness,
         And giving to the moments as they pass
         Their little boons of animating thought
         That sweeten labour, make it seen and felt
         To be no arbitrary weight imposed,
         But a glad function natural to man.                        470
           Fair proof of this, newcomer though I be,
         Already have I gained; the inward frame,
         Though slowly opening, opens every day
         With process not unlike to that which cheers
         A pensive stranger journeying at his leisure
         Through some Helvetian Dell; when low—hung mists
         Break up and are beginning to recede;
         How pleased he is where thin and thinner grows
         The veil, or where it parts at once, to spy
         The dark pines thrusting forth their spiky heads;          480
         To watch the spreading lawns with cattle grazed;
         Then to be greeted by the scattered huts
         As they shine out; and 'see’ the streams whose murmur
         Had soothed his ear while 'they’ were hidden; how pleased
         To have about him which way e’er he goes
         Something on every side concealed from view,
         In every quarter something visible
         Half seen or wholly, lost and found again,
         Alternate progress and impediment,
         And yet a growing prospect in the main.                    490
           Such pleasure now is mine, albeit forced,
         Herein less happy than the Traveller,
         To cast from time to time a painful look
         Upon unwelcome things which unawares
         Reveal themselves, not therefore is my heart
         Depressed, nor does it fear what is to come;
         But confident, enriched at every glance,
         The more I see the more delight my mind
         Receives, or by reflection can create:
         Truth justifies herself, and as she dwells                 500
         With Hope, who would not follow where she leads?
           Nor let me pass unheeded other loves
         Where no fear is, and humbler sympathies.
         Already hath sprung up within my heart
         A liking for the small grey horse that bears
         The paralytic man, and for the brute
         In Scripture sanctified—the patient brute
         On which the cripple, in the quarry maimed,
         Rides to and fro: I know them and their ways.
         The famous sheep—dog, first in all the vale,               510
         Though yet to me a stranger, will not be
         A stranger long; nor will the blind man’s guide,
         Meek and neglected thing, of no renown!
         Soon will peep forth the primrose, ere it fades
         Friends shall I have at dawn, blackbird and thrush
         To rouse me, and a hundred warblers more!
         And if those Eagles to their ancient hold
         Return, Helvellyn’s Eagles! with the Pair
         From my own door I shall be free to claim
         Acquaintance, as they sweep from cloud to cloud.           520
         The owl that gives the name to Owlet—Crag
         Have I heard whooping, and he soon will be
         A chosen one of my regards. See there
         The heifer in yon little croft belongs
         To one who holds it dear; with duteous care
         She reared it, and in speaking of her charge
         I heard her scatter some endearing words
         Domestic, and in spirit motherly,
         She being herself a mother; happy Beast,
         If the caresses of a human voice                           530
         Can make it so, and care of human hands.
           And ye as happy under Nature’s care,
         Strangers to me and all men, or at least
         Strangers to all particular amity,
         All intercourse of knowledge or of love
         That parts the individual from his kind.
         Whether in large communities ye keep
         From year to year, not shunning man’s abode,
         A settled residence, or be from far
         Wild creatures, and of many homes, that come               540
         The gift of winds, and whom the winds again
         Take from us at your pleasure; yet shall ye
         Not want for this your own subordinate place
         In my affections. Witness the delight
         With which erewhile I saw that multitude
         Wheel through the sky, and see them now at rest,
         Yet not at rest upon the glassy lake:
         They 'cannot’ rest—they gambol like young whelps;
         Active as lambs, and overcome with joy
         They try all frolic motions; flutter, plunge,              550
         And beat the passive water with their wings.
         Too distant are they for plain view, but lo!
         Those little fountains, sparkling in the sun,
         Betray their occupation, rising up
         First one and then another silver spout,
         As one or other takes the fit of glee,
         Fountains and spouts, yet somewhat in the guise
         Of plaything fireworks, that on festal nights
         Sparkle about the feet of wanton boys.
         —How vast the compass of this theatre,                    560
         Yet nothing to be seen but lovely pomp
         And silent majesty; the birch—tree woods
         Are hung with thousand thousand diamond drops
         Of melted hoar—frost, every tiny knot
         In the bare twigs, each little budding—place
         Cased with its several beads; what myriads these
         Upon one tree, while all the distant grove,
         That rises to the summit of the steep,
         Shows like a mountain built of silver light:
         See yonder the same pageant, and again                     570
         Behold the universal imagery
         Inverted, all its sun—bright features touched
         As with the varnish and the gloss of dreams.
         Dreamlike the blending also of the whole
         Harmonious landscape: all along the shore
         The boundary lost—the line invisible
         That parts the image from reality;
         And the clear hills, as high as they ascend
         Heavenward, so deep piercing the lake below.
         Admonished of the days of love to come                     580
         The raven croaks, and fills the upper air
         With a strange sound of genial harmony;
         And in and all about that playful band,
         Incapable although they be of rest,
         And in their fashion very rioters,
         There is a stillness, and they seem to make
         Calm revelry in that their calm abode.
         Them leaving to their joyous hours I pass,
         Pass with a thought the life of the whole year
         That is to come: the throng of woodland flowers            590
         And lilies that will dance upon the waves.
           Say boldly then that solitude is not
         Where these things are: he truly is alone,
         He of the multitude whose eyes are doomed
         To hold a vacant commerce day by day
         With Objects wanting life—repelling love;
         He by the vast metropolis immured,
         Where pity shrinks from unremitting calls,
         Where numbers overwhelm humanity,
         And neighbourhood serves rather to divide                  600
         Than to unite—what sighs more deep than his,
         Whose nobler will hath long been sacrificed;
         Who must inhabit under a black sky
         A city, where, if indifference to disgust
         Yield not to scorn or sorrow, living men
         Are ofttimes to their fellow—men no more
         Than to the forest Hermit are the leaves
         That hang aloft in myriads; nay, far less,
         For they protect his walk from sun and shower,
         Swell his devotion with their voice in storms,             610
         And whisper while the stars twinkle among them
         His lullaby. From crowded streets remote,
         Far from the living and dead Wilderness
         Of the thronged world, Society is here
         A true community—a genuine frame
         Of many into one incorporate.
         'That’ must be looked for here: paternal sway,
         One household, under God, for high and low,
         One family and one mansion; to themselves
         Appropriate, and divided from the world,                   620
         As if it were a cave, a multitude
         Human and brute, possessors undisturbed
         Of this Recess—their legislative Hall,
         Their Temple, and their glorious Dwelling—place.
           Dismissing therefore all Arcadian dreams,
         All golden fancies of the golden age,
         The bright array of shadowy thoughts from times
         That were before all time, or are to be
         Ere time expire, the pageantry that stirs
         Or will be stirring, when our eyes are fixed               630
         On lovely objects, and we wish to part
         With all remembrance of a jarring world,
         —Take we at once this one sufficient hope,
         What need of more? that we shall neither droop
         Nor pine for want of pleasure in the life
         Scattered about us, nor through want of aught
         That keeps in health the insatiable mind.
         —That we shall have for knowledge and for love
         Abundance, and that feeling as we do
         How goodly, how exceeding fair, how pure                   640
         From all reproach is yon ethereal vault,
         And this deep Vale, its earthly counterpart,
         By which and under which we are enclosed
         To breathe in peace; we shall moreover find
         (If sound, and what we ought to be ourselves,
         If rightly we observe and justly weigh)
         The inmates not unworthy of their home,
         The Dwellers of their Dwelling.
                                          And if this
         Were otherwise, we have within ourselves
         Enough to fill the present day with joy,                   650
         And overspread the future years with hope,
         Our beautiful and quiet home, enriched
         Already with a stranger whom we love
         Deeply, a stranger of our Father’s house,
         A never—resting Pilgrim of the Sea,
         Who finds at last an hour to his content
         Beneath our roof. And others whom we love
         Will seek us also, Sisters of our hearts,
         And one, like them, a Brother of our hearts,
         Philosopher and Poet, in whose sight                       660
         These mountains will rejoice with open joy.
         —Such is our wealth! O Vale of Peace we are
         And must be, with God’s will, a happy Band.
           Yet 'tis not to enjoy that we exist,
         For that end only; something must be done:
         I must not walk in unreproved delight
         These narrow bounds, and think of nothing more,
         No duty that looks further, and no care.
         Each Being has his office, lowly some
         And common, yet all worthy if fulfilled                    670
         With zeal, acknowledgment that with the gift
         Keeps pace a harvest answering to the seed.
         Of ill—advised Ambition and of Pride
         I would stand clear, but yet to me I feel
         That an internal brightness is vouchsafed
         That must not die, that must not pass away.
         Why does this inward lustre fondly seek
         And gladly blend with outward fellowship?
         Why do 'they’ shine around me whom I love?
         Why do they teach me, whom I thus revere?                  680
         Strange question, yet it answers not itself.
         That humble Roof embowered among the trees,
         That calm fireside, it is not even in them,
         Blest as they are, to furnish a reply
         That satisfies and ends in perfect rest.
         Possessions have I that are solely mine,
         Something within which yet is shared by none,
         Not even the nearest to me and most dear,
         Something which power and effort may impart;
         I would impart it, I would spread it wide:                 690
         Immortal in the world which is to come—
         Forgive me if I add another claim—
         And would not wholly perish even in this,
         Lie down and be forgotten in the dust,
         I and the modest Partners of my days
         Making a silent company in death;
         Love, knowledge, all my manifold delights,
         All buried with me without monument
         Or profit unto any but ourselves!
         It must not be, if I, divinely taught,                     700
         Be privileged to speak as I have felt
         Of what in man is human or divine.
           While yet an innocent little one, with a heart
         That doubtless wanted not its tender moods,
         I breathed (for this I better recollect)
         Among wild appetites and blind desires,
         Motions of savage instinct my delight
         And exaltation. Nothing at that time
         So welcome, no temptation half so dear
         As that which urged me to a daring feat,                   710
         Deep pools, tall trees, black chasms, and dizzy crags,
         And tottering towers: I loved to stand and read
         Their looks forbidding, read and disobey,
         Sometimes in act and evermore in thought.
         With impulses, that scarcely were by these
         Surpassed in strength, I heard of danger met
         Or sought with courage; enterprise forlorn
         By one, sole keeper of his own intent,
         Or by a resolute few, who for the sake
         Of glory fronted multitudes in arms.                       720
         Yea, to this hour I cannot read a Tale
         Of two brave vessels matched in deadly fight,
         And fighting to the death, but I am pleased
         More than a wise man ought to be; I wish,
         Fret, burn, and struggle, and in soul am there.
         But me hath Nature tamed, and bade to seek
         For other agitations, or be calm;
         Hath dealt with me as with a turbulent stream,
         Some nursling of the mountains which she leads
         Through quiet meadows, after he has learnt                 730
         His strength, and had his triumph and his joy,
         His desperate course of tumult and of glee.
         That which in stealth by Nature was performed
         Hath Reason sanctioned: her deliberate Voice
         Hath said; be mild, and cleave to gentle things,
         Thy glory and thy happiness be there.
         Nor fear, though thou confide in me, a want
         Of aspirations that have been—of foes
         To wrestle with, and victory to complete,
         Bounds to be leapt, darkness to be explored;               740
         All that inflamed thy infant heart, the love,
         The longing, the contempt, the undaunted quest,
         All shall survive, though changed their office, all
         Shall live, it is not in their power to die.
           Then farewell to the Warrior’s Schemes, farewell
         The forwardness of soul which looks that way
         Upon a less incitement than the Cause
         Of Liberty endangered, and farewell
         That other hope, long mine, the hope to fill
         The heroic trumpet with the Muse’s breath!                 750
         Yet in this peaceful Vale we will not spend
         Unheard—of days, though loving peaceful thought,
         A voice shall speak, and what will be the theme?
           On Man, on Nature, and on Human Life,
         Musing in solitude, I oft perceive
         Fair trains of imagery before me rise,
         Accompanied by feelings of delight
         Pure, or with no unpleasing sadness mixed;
         And I am conscious of affecting thoughts
         And dear remembrances, whose presence soothes              760
         Or elevates the Mind, intent to weigh
         The good and evil of our mortal state.
         —To these emotions, whencesoe’er they come,
         Whether from breath of outward circumstance,
         Or from the Soul—an impulse to herself—
         I would give utterance in numerous verse.
         Of Truth, of Grandeur, Beauty, Love, and Hope,
         And melancholy Fear subdued by Faith;
         Of blessed consolations in distress;
         Of moral strength, and intellectual Power;                 770
         Of joy in widest commonalty spread;
         Of the individual Mind that keeps her own
         Inviolate retirement, subject there
         To Conscience only, and the law supreme
         Of that Intelligence which governs all—
         I sing:—"fit audience let me find though few!"
           So prayed, more gaining than he asked, the Bard—
         In holiest mood. Urania, I shall need
         Thy guidance, or a greater Muse, if such
         Descend to earth or dwell in highest heaven!               780
         For I must tread on shadowy ground, must sink
         Deep—and, aloft ascending, breathe in worlds
         To which the heaven of heavens is but a veil.
         All strength—all terror, single or in bands,
         That ever was put forth in personal form—
         Jehovah—with his thunder, and the choir
         Of shouting Angels, and the empyreal thrones—
         I pass them unalarmed. Not Chaos, not
         The darkest pit of lowest Erebus,
         Nor aught of blinder vacancy, scooped out                  790
         By help of dreams—can breed such fear and awe
         As fall upon us often when we look
         Into our Minds, into the Mind of Man—
         My haunt, and the main region of my song
         —Beauty—a living Presence of the earth,
         Surpassing the most fair ideal Forms
         Which craft of delicate Spirits hath composed
         From earth’s materials—waits upon my steps;
         Pitches her tents before me as I move,
         An hourly neighbour. Paradise, and groves                  800
         Elysian, Fortunate Fields—like those of old
         Sought in the Atlantic Main—why should they be
         A history only of departed things,
         Or a mere fiction of what never was?
         For the discerning intellect of Man,
         When wedded to this goodly universe
         In love and holy passion, shall find these
         A simple produce of the common day.
         —I, long before the blissful hour arrives,
         Would chant, in lonely peace, the spousal verse            810
         Of this great consummation:—and, by words
         Which speak of nothing more than what we are,
         Would I arouse the sensual from their sleep
         Of Death, and win the vacant and the vain
         To noble raptures; while my voice proclaims
         How exquisitely the individual Mind
         (And the progressive powers perhaps no less
         Of the whole species) to the external World
         Is fitted:—and how exquisitely, too—
         Theme this but little heard of among men—                820
         The external World is fitted to the Mind;
         And the creation (by no lower name
         Can it be called) which they with blended might
         Accomplish:—this is our high argument.
         —Such grateful haunts foregoing, if I oft
         Must turn elsewhere—to travel near the tribes
         And fellowships of men, and see ill sights
         Of madding passions mutually inflamed;
         Must hear Humanity in fields and groves
         Pipe solitary anguish; or must hang                        830
         Brooding above the fierce confederate storm
         Of sorrow, barricadoed evermore
         Within the walls of cities—may these sounds
         Have their authentic comment; that even these
         Hearing, I be not downcast or forlorn!—
         Descend, prophetic Spirit! that inspir’st
         The human Soul of universal earth,
         Dreaming on things to come; and dost possess
         A metropolitan temple in the hearts
         Of mighty Poets; upon me bestow                            840
         A gift of genuine insight; that my Song
         With star—like virtue in its place may shine,
         Shedding benignant influence, and secure
         Itself from all malevolent effect
         Of those mutations that extend their sway
         Throughout the nether sphere!—And if with this
         I mix more lowly matter; with the thing
         Contemplated, describe the Mind and Man
         Contemplating; and who, and what he was—
         The transitory Being that beheld                           850
         This Vision;—when and where, and how he lived;
         Be not this labour useless. If such theme
         May sort with highest objects, then—dread Power!
         Whose gracious favour is the primal source
         Of all illumination—may my Life
         Express the image of a better time,
         More wise desires, and simpler manners;—nurse
         My Heart in genuine freedom:—all pure thoughts
         Be with me;—so shall thy unfailing love
         Guide, and support, and cheer me to the end!               860

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