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Assoiled from all encumbrance of our time,*
He only, if such breathe, in strains devout
Shall comprehend this victory sublime;
Shall worthily rehearse the hideous rout,

The triumph hail, which from their peaceful clime
Angels might welcome with a choral shout! 2



Composed 1816.-Published 1827

One of the "Sonnets dedicated to Liberty."-Ed.

EMPERORS and Kings, how oft have temples rung
With impious thanksgiving, the Almighty's scorn!
How oft above their altars have been hung
Trophies that led the good and wise to mourn
Triumphant wrong, battle of battle born,
And sorrow that to fruitless sorrow clung!

Now, from Heaven-sanctioned victory, Peace is sprung ; †
In this firm hour Salvation lifts her horn.

Glory to arms! But, conscious that the nerve

Of popular reason, long mistrusted, freed



1 1837.





Which the blest Angels, from their peaceful clime
Beholding, welcomed with a choral shout.


* "From all this world's encumbrance did himself assoil."-Spenser. W. W. 1816.

In a MS. copy of the sonnet, Wordsworth wrote it thus: "In the above is a line taken from Spenser

And hanging up his arms and warlike spoil,

From all this world's encumbrance did himself assoil.'



From the position of this sonnet in the edition of 1827, as well as from manifest internal evidence, it refers, like the two previous ones, to the battle of Waterloo. Illustrations of the first six lines of the sonnet are too numerous in mediæval history to require detailed allusion.-ED.



Your thrones, ye Powers, from duty fear to swerve!1
Be just, be grateful; nor, the oppressor's creed
Reviving, heavier chastisement deserve
Than ever forced unpitied hearts to bleed.



Composed 1816.-Published 1816

One of the "Sonnets dedicated to Liberty."--Ed.

DEAR Reliques! from a pit of vilest mould
Uprisen to lodge among ancestral kings;
And to inflict shame's salutary stings
On the remorseless hearts of men grown old
In a blind worship; men perversely bold
Even to this hour,-yet, some shall now forsake
Their monstrous Idol if the dead e'er spake,
To warn the living; if truth were ever told
By aught redeemed out of the hollow grave:
O murdered Prince! meek, loyal, pious, brave!
The power of retribution once was given :
But 'tis a rueful thought that willow bands
So often tie the thunder-wielding hands
Of Justice sent to earth from highest Heaven!

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Your Thrones, from duty, Princes! fear to swerve; 1827.

The first line of the title was added in the edition


of 1836, and continued afterwards.



Even to this hour; yet at this hour they quake;
And some their monstrous Idol shall forsake,
If to the living truth was ever told

By aught surrendered from the hollow grave:
To warn the living, truth were ever told



The Duc d'Enghien, grandson of the Prince de Condé, and only son of the Duc de Bourbon, born at Chantilly in 1772, commanded the corps of Emigrés gathered on the Rhine by his grandfather. After the peace of Luneville, he retired to Ettenheim, near Strasburg, in German territory. There he married the Princess Charlotte of Rohan-Rochefort, and lived peacefully as a private citizen. He was, though wholly innocent, suspected by Napoleon of complicity in the plot of Pichegru, Cadoudal (one of the Chouans), Moreau, and others, to overthrow him as first Consul, and to restore the Bourbon dynasty. "The Duke was residing at Ettenheim, in the neutral territory of Baden, when Bonaparte, in violation of international law and the rights of the German Empire, caused him to be seized on the night of 15th March by a party of French gens d'armes, and to be carried to the castle of Vincennes, where, after a sort of mock trial, he was shot in the fosse of the fortress, March 21st" (1804).-Dyer's Modern Europe (vol. iv. p. 378). The whole of the proceedings against the Duc d'Enghien were illegal (as was confessed by the presiding judge), and his execution was one of the blackest stains on the character of Napoleon. After the Restoration, in 1814, his remains were disinterred by order of Louis XVIII., and buried in the chapel of the castle at Vincennes, where the restored king erected a monument to his memory. The "pit of vilest mould mentioned in the sonnet, is, of course, the moat of the castle, and the phrase "to lodge among ancestral kings," refers to Vincennes having been a royal residence, where many princes died and were buried, e.g. Queen Jeanne (wife of Philippe le Bel), Louis le Hutin, and Charles le Bel. Vincennes is close to Paris, the fortress being only about five miles southeast of the Louvre. The chapel, which has a fine Gothic front, was begun in 1248, and was finished in 1552. monument to the Duc d'Enghien is in the old Sacristy. It consists of four figures in marble, representing the Duke, supported by Religion and bewailed by France, while Vengeance waits behind. It was executed by Deseine.-ED.




Composed 1816.—Published 1820

[This poem was first introduced by a stanza that I have since transferred to the Notes, for reasons there given,* and I cannot comply with the request expressed by some of my friends that the rejected stanza should be restored.

I hope

*To the edition of 1837, and subsequent ones, Wordsworth appended the following note :

This poem began with the following stanza, which has been displaced on account of its detaining the reader too long from the subject, and as rather precluding, than preparing for, the due effect of the allusion to the genius of Plato :

Fair is the Swan, whose majesty, prevailing
O'er breezeless water, on Locarno's lake,
Bears him on while proudly sailing

He leaves behind a moon-illumined wake:
Behold! the mantling spirit of reserve
Fashions his neck into a goodly curve;

An arch thrown back between luxuriant wings
Of whitest garniture, like fir-tree boughs
To which, on some unruffled morning, clings
A flaky weight of winter's purest snows!
-Behold!-as with a gushing impulse heaves
That downy prow, and softly cleaves
The mirror of the crystal flood,

Vanish inverted hill,1 and shadowy wood,
And pendent rocks, where'er, in gliding state,
Winds the mute Creature without visible Mate

Or Rival, save the Queen of night
Showering down a silver light,

From heaven, upon her chosen favourite!

In the Fenwick note to An Evening Walk, vol. i. p. 5, after describing the two pairs of swans that frequented the lake of Esthwaite, Wordsworth says: "It was from the remembrance of those noble creatures, I took, thirty years after, the picture of the swan which I have discarded from the poem of Dion." After quoting the note, which explains the discarding of the above stanza, Professor Henry Reed remarks, It is a remarkable instance of the comparative sacrifice of a passage of great beauty to the poet's dutiful regard for the principles of his Art" (American edition of 1851, p. 415). Wordsworth's reasons for withdrawing the stanza are obvious; but it is perhaps not unworthy of mention that when I was editing a volume of Selections from Wordsworth, to which many members of "The Wordsworth Society" contributed, Robert Browning besought me, in the strongest terms, to restore that discarded stanza.-ED.

1 1820.

Vanish the dusky hill,


they will be content if it be, hereafter, immediately attached to the poem, instead of its being degraded to a place in the Notes.-I. F.]

From 1820 to 1843 Dion was classed among the "Poems of Sentiment and Reflection." In the edition of 1845 it was placed next to Laodamia among the "Poems of the Imagination."-ED.


SERENE, and fitted to embrace,

Where'er he turned, a swan-like grace1

Of haughtiness without pretence,
And to unfold a still magnificence,
Was princely Dion, in the power
And beauty of his happier hour.
And what pure homage then did wait

On Dion's virtues, while the lunar beam2
Of Plato's genius, from its lofty sphere,
Fell round him in the grove of Academe,
Softening their inbred dignity austere—
That he, not too elate

With self-sufficing solitude,

But with majestic lowliness endued,
Might in the universal bosom reign,
And from affectionate observance gain
Help, under every change of adverse fate.3

1 1837.


So pure, so bright, so fitted to embrace,
Where'er he turn'd, a natural grace

Nor less the homage that was seen to wait
On Dion's virtues, when the lunar beam

3 1820.

Softening his inbred dignity austere.

If on thy path the world delight to gaze,

MS. and 1820.

MS. and 1820.

Pride of the world-beware! for thou may'st live,
Like Dion, to behold the torch of Praise
Inverted in thy presence, and to give

Proof, for the historian's page and poet's lays,
That Peace, even Peace herself, is fugitive.


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