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HOW SWEET IT IS, WHEN MOTHER FANCY ROCKS
So narrow seemed the brooks, the fields so small !1
A Juggler's balls old Time about him tossed;
I looked, I stared, I smiled, I laughed; and all
The weight of sadness was in wonder lost.
Doubtless the “Vale” referred to is that of Hawkshead ; the Brooks, the one that feeds Esthwaite, and Sawrey beck, but above all, " the famous brook within our garden boxed.” (See The Prelude, passim, and The Fountain.)-ED.
How sweet it is, when mother Fancy rocks
The wayward brain, to saunter through a wood!
An old place, full of many a lovely brood,
Tall trees, green arbours, and ground-flowers in flocks;
And wild rose tip-toe upon hawthorn stocks,
Like a bold Girl, who plays her agile pranks?
At Wakes and Fairs with wandering Mountebanks,-
When she stands cresting the Clown's head, and mocks
The crowd beneath her. Verily I think,
Such place to me is sometimes like a dream
Or map of the whole world: thoughts, link by link,
Enter through ears and eyesight, with such gleam
Of all things, that at last in fear I shrink,
And leap at once from the delicious stream.
To see the Trees, which I had thought so tall,
Mere dwarfs; the Brooks so narrow, Fields so small. 1807.
Like to a bonny Lass, who plays her pranks.
“they are of the sky,
And from our earthly memory fade away.”
THOSE words were uttered as in pensive mood 1
We turned, departing from that solemn sight : 2
A contrast and reproach to gross delight,
And life's unspiritual pleasures daily wooed !
But now upon this thought I cannot brood;
It is unstable as a dream of night;3
Nor will I praise a cloud, however bright,
Disparaging Man's gifts, and proper food.
Grove, isle, with every shape of sky-built dome, 4
Though clad in colours beautiful and pure,
Find in the heart of man no natural home :
The immortal Mind craves objects that endure:
These cleave to it; from these it cannot roam,
Nor they from it: their fellowship is secure.
COMPOSED BY THE SIDE OF GRASMERE LAKE.
Pub. 1819. CLOUDS, lingering yet, extend in solid bars 5 Through the grey west; and lo! these waters, steeled
Mine eyes, yet lingering on that solemn sight:
It is unstable, and deserts me quite ;
The Grove, the sky-built Temple, and the Dome, 1807.
Eve's lingering clouds extend in solid bars.
By breezeless air to smoothest polish, yield A vivid repetition of the stars; Jove, Venus, and the ruddy crest of Mars Amid his fellows beauteously revealed At happy distance from earth's groaning field, Where ruthless mortals wage incessant wars. Is it a mirror ?-or the nether Sphere Opening to view the abyss in which she feeds Her own calm fires ?1 But list! a voice is near; Great Pan himself low-whispering through the reeds, “ Be thankful, thou; for, if unholy deeds Ravage the world, tranquillity is here !” Notwithstanding the date given by Wordsworth to this sonnet, it must be assigned to the previous year, for the reason stated in the prefatory note to the poems belonging to 1806 (see p. 1). It was first published along with The Waggoner in 1819.—ED.
With how sad steps, O Moon, thou climb’st the sky,
How silently, and with how wan a face !*
Where art thou ? Thou so often seen on high ?
Running among the clouds a Wood-nymph's race !
Unhappy Nuns, whose common breath's a sigh
Which they would stifle, move at such a pace!
The northern Wind, to call thee to the chase,
Must blow to-night his bugle horn. Had I
The power of Merlin, Goddess ! this should be:
And all the stars, fast as the clouds were riven,
Should sally forth, to keep thee company,
Hurrying and sparkling through the clear blue heaven ; 3
But, Cynthia ! should to thee the palm be given,
Queen both for beauty and for majesty.
The sonnet of Sir Philip Sidney's, from which the two first lines of this one are taken, is No. XXXI. of his Astrophel and Stella.-Ed.
The world is too much with us : late and soon,
Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers :
Little we see in Nature that is ours ;
We have given our hearts away, a sordid boon !
This Sea that bares her bosom to the moon;
The winds that will be howling at all hours,
And are up-gathered now like sleeping flowers ;
For this, for everything, we are out of tune;
And all the Stars, now shrouded up in heaven,
And the keen Stars, fast as the clouds were riven, 1827.
Should sally forth, an emulous company, 1827-1832.
1836 returns to text of 1807.
What strife would then be yours, fair Creatures, driven
Now up, now down, and sparkling in your glee !
Sparkling and hurrying through the clear blue heaven. 1827.
All hurrying with thee through the clear blue heaven.
In that keen sport along the plain of heaven,
Hurrying and sparkling through the clear blue Heaven.
in emulous company,
Sparkling and hurrying through the clear blue Heaven.
With emulous brightness through the clear blue Heaven.
It moves us not. -Great God! I'd rather be
A Pagan suckled in a creed outworn;
So might I, standing on this pleasant lea,
Have glimpses that would make me less forlorn;
Have sight of Proteus rising from the sea ;1
Or hear old Triton blow his wreathed horn.
The "pleasant lea” referred to in this sonnet is unknown. It may have been on the Cumbrian coast, or in the Isle of Man. Before 1805, Wordsworth had lived for four weeks in the Isle of Man, in daily sight of Peele Castle.—ED.
WITH Ships the sea was sprinkled far and nigh,
Like stars in heaven, and joyously it showed ;
Some lying fast at anchor in the road,
Some veering up and down, one knew not why.
A goodly Vessel did I then espy
Come like a giant from a haven broad;
And lustily along the bay she strode,
Her tackling rich, and of apparel high.
This Ship was nought to me, nor I to her,
Yet I pursued her with a Lover's look;
This Ship to all the rest did I prefer :
When will she turn, and whither? She will brook
No tarrying: where She comes the winds must stir:
On went She, and due north her journey took.
Probably observed during the visit to the Isle of Man, referred to in the note to the previous sonnet.- ED.
Have sight of Proteus coming from the sea.