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She weeps not for the wedding-day
Which was to be to-morrow:

Her hope was a further-looking hope,
And hers is a mother's sorrow.

He was a tree that stood alone,
And proudly did its branches wave;
And the root of this delightful tree
Was in her husband's grave!

Long, long in darkness did she sit,
And her first words were, "Let there be

In Bolton, on the field of Wharf,

A stately Priory!"

The stately Priory was reared;

And Wharf, as he moved along,

To matins joined a mournful voice,
Nor failed at even-song.

And the Lady prayed in heaviness

That looked not for relief!

But slowly did her succour come,
And a patience to her grief.

Oh there is never sorrow of heart
That shall lack a timely end,

If but to God we turn, and ask

Of Him to be our friend!

The Force of Prayer was included by Wordsworth amongst the "Poems proceeding from Sentiment and Reflection." There were no variations in the text of the poem from 1815 to 1850; but I have found, in a letter of Dorothy Wordsworth's to her friend, Miss Jane Pollard, the mother of Lady Monteagle-who has kindly lent it to me-the earliest

version of the poem, which differs considerably from the form in which it was first published in 1815. The letter is dated October 18th, 1807. It is as follows:

"What is good for a bootless bene?"

The Lady answer'd, "endless sorrow.”

Her words are plain; but the Falconer's words
Are a path that is dark to travel thorough.

These words I bring from the Banks of Wharf,

Dark words to front an ancient tale :

And their meaning is, whence can comfort spring
When prayer is of no avail ?

"What is good for a bootless bene?"
The Falconer to the Lady said,

And she made answer as ye have heard,
For she knew that her Son was dead.

She knew it from the Falconer's words
And from the look of the Falconer's eye,
And from the love that was in her heart
For her youthful Romelli.

Young Romelli to the Woods is gone,
And who doth on his steps attend?
He hath a greyhound in a leash,

A chosen forest Friend.

And they have reach'd that famous Chasm
Where he who dares may stride

Across the River Wharf, pent in
With rocks on either side.

And that striding place is call'd THE STRID,

A name which it took of yore;

A thousand years hath it borne that name,
And shall a thousand more.

And thither is young Romelli come ;

And what may now forbid

That He, perhaps for the hundredth time,

Shall bound across the Strid ?

He sprang in glee; for what cared he

That the River was strong, and the Rocks were steep?

But the greyhound in the Leash hung back

And check'd him in his leap.

The Boy is in the arms of Wharf,
And strangled with a merciless force;
For never more was young Romelli seen,
Till he was a lifeless corse.

Now is there stillness in the vale

And long unspeaking sorrow,

Wharf has buried fonder hopes

Than e'er were drown'd in Yarrow.*

If for a Lover the Lady wept

A comfort she might borrow

From death, and from the passion of death; Old Wharf might heal her sorrow.

She weeps not for the Wedding-day
That was to be to-morrow,+
Her hope was a farther-looking hope
And hers is a Mother's sorrow.

Oh was he not a comely tree?

And proudly did his branches wave;
And the Root of this delightful Tree
Is in her Husband's grave.

Long, long in darkness did she sit,
And her first word was, "Let there be

At Bolton, in the Fields of Wharf

A stately Priory.

And the stately Priory was rear'd,
And Wharf as he moved along,

To Matins joined a mournful voice,
Nor fail'd at Even-song.

And the Lady pray'd in heaviness

That wish'd not for relief;

But slowly did her succour come,
And a patience to her grief.

Oh there is never sorrow of heart

That shall lack a timely end,

If but to God we turn, and ask

Of him to be our Friend.

* Alluding to a Ballad of Logan.

+ From the same Ballad,

The poem of Samuel Rogers, to which Wordsworth refers in the Fenwick note, is named The Boy of Egremond. In begins

"Say, what remains when Hope is fled?"

She answered, "endless weeping!"

See Charles Lamb's remarks on The Force of Prayer, quoted in the Appendix to this volume.-ED.


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NOT 'mid the World's vain objects that enslave 1

The free-born Soul-that World whose vaunted skill

In selfish interest perverts the will,

Whose factions lead astray the wise and brave-
Not there; but in dark wood and rocky cave,
And hollow vale which foaming torrents fill
With omnipresent murmur as they rave
Down their steep beds, that never shall be still
Here, mighty Nature! in this school sublime
I weigh the hopes and fears of suffering Spain;
For her consult the auguries of time,

And through the human heart explore my way;
And look and listen-gathering, whence I may,2
Triumph, and thoughts no bondage can restrain.

Wordsworth began to write on the Convention of Cintra in November 1808, and sent two articles on the subject to the December (1808) and January (1809) numbers of The Courier. The subject grew in importance to him as he discussed it: and he threw his reflections on the

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subject into the form of a small treatise, the preface to which was dated 20th May 1809. The full title of this (so-called) "Tract" is "Concerning the Relations of Great Britain, Spain, and Portugal to each other, and to the common Enemy, at this crisis; and specifically as affected by the Convention of Cintra : the whole brought to the test of those Principles, by which alone the Independence and Freedom of Nations can be Preserved or Recovered."-ED.


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I DROPPED my pen; and listened to the Wind
That sang of trees up-torn and vessels tost-

A midnight harmony; and wholly lost

To the general sense of men by chains confined
Of business, care, or pleasure; or resigned

To timely sleep. Thought I, the impassioned strain,
Which, without aid of numbers, I sustain,
Like acceptation from the World will find.
Yet some with apprehensive ear shall drink
A dirge devoutly breathed o'er sorrows past;
And to the attendant promise will give heed—

The prophecy,-like that of this wild blast,

Which, while it makes the heart with sadness shrink,

Tells also of bright calms that shall succeed.

Compare the sonnet No. vII., of those "Dedicated to National Independence and Liberty," beginning

Not 'mid the world's vain objects that enslave.


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