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Now, while the birds thus sing a joyous song,
As to the tabor's sound,
To me alone there came a thought of grief:
The cataracts blow their trumpets from the steep;
Land and sea
Give themselves up to jollity,
And with the heart of May
Doth every Beast keep holiday;
Thou Child of Joy,
Shout round me, let me hear thy shouts, thou happy Shepherd-boy!
Ye blessed Creatures, I have heard the call
Ye to each other make; I see
The heavens laugh with you in your jubilee;
My head hath its coronal,
The fulness of your bliss, I feel-I feel it all.
While Earth herself is adorning,1
This sweet May-morning,
And the Children are culling 2
On every side,
In a thousand valleys far and wide,
Fresh flowers; while the sun shines warm, And the Babe leaps up on his Mother's arm :I hear, I hear, with joy I hear!
-But there's a Tree, of many, one,
A single Field which I have looked upon,
Doth the same tale repeat:
Whither is fled the visionary gleam?
Where is it now, the glory and the dream?
Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting:
And cometh from afar:
Not in entire forgetfulness,
And not in utter nakedness,
But trailing clouds of glory do we come
But He beholds the light, and whence it flows
The Youth, who daily farther from the east
Is on his way attended;
At length the Man perceives it die away,
And fade into the light of common day.
Earth fills her lap with pleasures of her own; Yearnings she hath in her own natural kind, And, even with something of a Mother's mind, And no unworthy aim,
The homely Nurse doth all she can To make her Foster-child, her Inmate Man, Forget the glories he hath known, And that imperial palace whence he came.
Behold the Child among his new-born blisses,
A mourning or a funeral,
And this hath now his heart,
And unto this he frames his song:
To dialogues of business, love, or strife;
But it will not be long
Ere this be thrown aside,
And with new joy and pride
The little Actor cons another part;
Filling from time to time his 'humorous stage'
That Life brings with her in her equipage;
Were endless imitation.
Thou, whose exterior semblance doth belie
Thou best Philosopher, who yet dost keep
On whom those truths do rest,
Which we are toiling all our lives to find,
Broods like the Day, a Master o'er a Slave,
Thus blindly with thy blessedness at strife?
And custom lie upon thee with a weight,
1 This line is not in the editions of 1807, 1815.
2 The editions of 1807 and 1815 have, after "put by
Is but a lowly bed without the sense or sight
A place of thought where we in waiting lie;
Of untamed pleasures, on thy Being's height.
O joy that in our embers
Is something that doth live,
What was so fugitive!
The thought of our past years in me doth breed
For that which is most worthy to be blest;
Of Childhood, whether busy or at rest,
With new-fledged hope still fluttering in his breast:-2 Not for these I raise
The song of thanks and praise;
But for those obstinate questionings
Of sense and outward things,
Blank misgivings of a Creature
Moving about in worlds not realised,
High instincts before which our mortal Nature
Those shadowy recollections,
Which, be they what they may,
Are yet the fountain light of all our day,
Are yet a master light of all our seeing;
Uphold us, cherish, and have power to make3