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and makes me at this day incapable of bearing without injury any strong light by day or night. My acquaintance with books has therefore been far short of my wishes; and on this account, to acknowledge the services daily and hourly done me by my family and friends, this note is written.-I. F.]

One of the " Poems of Sentiment and Reflection."-ED.

“A LITTLE onward lend thy guiding hand

To these dark steps, a little further on!"*

–What trick of memory to my voice hath brought This mournful iteration? For though Time,

The Conqueror, crowns the Conquered, on this brow Planting his favourite silver diadem,

Nor he, nor minister of his-intent

To run before him, hath enrolled me yet,

Though not unmenaced, among those who lean
Upon a living staff, with borrowed sight.

-O my own Dora, my belovèd child !1†

Should that day come-but hark! the birds salute
The cheerful dawn, brightening for me the east;
For me, thy natural leader, once again
Impatient to conduct thee, not as erst

A tottering infant, with compliant stoop
From flower to flower supported; but to curb
Thy nymph-like step swift bounding o'er the lawn,+

1 1850.

-O my Antigone, beloved child!





*The opening lines of Milton's Samson Agonistes. Compare also The Wanderings of Cain (canto ii. 1. 1), by S. T. Coleridge: "A little farther, O my father, yet a little farther, and we shall come into the open moonlight." "Lead on, my child!" said Cain; "guide me, little child!"-ED. Dora Wordsworth died in 1847, a loss which cast a gloom over her father's remaining years; and it is not without interest that in the last revision of the text of his poems, in the year of his own death, he substituted O my own Dora, my beloved child!

for the earlier reading,

O my Antigone, beloved child!

Compare in the lines on Lucy, beginning, "Three

and shower" (vol. ii. p. 81)

She shall be sportive as the fawn
That wild with glee across the lawn
up the mountain springs.

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Along the loose rocks, or the slippery verge
Of foaming torrents.1-From thy orisons
Come forth; and, while the morning air is yet
Transparent as the soul of innocent youth,
Let me, thy happy guide, now point thy way,
And now precede thee, winding to and fro,
Till we by perseverance gain the top

Of some smooth ridge, whose brink precipitous
Kindles intense desire for powers withheld

From this corporeal frame; whereon who stands,
Is seized with strong incitement to push forth



His arms, as swimmers use, and plunge—dread thought,
For pastime plunge into the "abrupt abyss," *
Where ravens spread their plumy vans, at ease!

And yet more gladly thee would I conduct
Through woods and spacious forests,-to behold
There, how the Original of human art,
Heaven-prompted Nature, measures and erects
Her temples, fearless for the stately work,

Though waves, to every breeze, 2 its high-arched roof,
And storms the pillars rock. But we such schools
Of reverential awe will chiefly seek

In the still summer noon, while beams of light,
Reposing here, and in the aisles beyond
Traceably gliding through the dusk, recal
To mind the living presences of nuns ;
A gentle, pensive, white-robed sisterhood,
Whose saintly radiance mitigates the gloom
Of those terrestrial fabrics, where they serve,
To Christ, the Sun of righteousness, espoused.

1 1837.






2 1837.

Though waves in every breeze

* Compare Paradise Lost, book ii. 1. 409.-ED.



Now also shall the page of classic lore,
To these glad eyes from bondage freed, again
Lie open; and the book of Holy Writ,
Again unfolded, passage clear shall yield

To heights more glorious still, and into shades
More awful, where, advancing hand in hand,
We may be taught, O Darling of my care!
To calm the affections, elevate the soul,
And consecrate our lives to truth and love.1

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Composed 1816.-Published 1820


[Written at Rydal Mount. The lady was Miss Blackett, then residing with Mr. Montagu Burgoyne at Fox-Ghyll. were tempted to remain too long upon the mountain; and I, imprudently, with the hope of shortening the way led her among the crags and down a steep slope which entangled us in difficulties that were met by her with much spirit and courage.-I. F.]


One of the "Poems of the Imagination."-ED.


INMATE of a mountain-dwelling,

Thou hast clomb aloft, and gazed
From the watch-towers of Helvellyn;
Awed, delighted, and amazed!

Re-open now thy everlasting gates,

Thou Fane of Holy Writ! ye classic Domes,

To these glad orbs from darksome bondage freed,

Unfold again your portals! Passage lies

Through you to heights more glorious still, and shades
More awful, where this Darling of my care,

Advancing with me hand in hand, may learn,
Without forsaking a too earnest world,
To calm the affections, elevate the soul,

And consecrate her life to truth and love.



Potent was the spell that bound thee

Not unwilling to obey : 1

For 2 blue Ether's arms, flung round thee,
Stilled the pantings of dismay.

Lo! the dwindled woods and meadows;
What a vast abyss is there!

Lo! the clouds, the solemn shadows,
And the glistenings-heavenly fair!

And a record of commotion
Which a thousand ridges yield;
Ridge, and gulf, and distant ocean
Gleaming like a silver shield!

Maiden! now take flight ;—inherit 3
Alps or Andes they are thine!
With the morning's roseate Spirit,
Sweep their length of snowy line;

Or survey their 4 bright dominions
In the gorgeous colours drest
Flung from off the purple pinions,
Evening spreads throughout the west !5


In the moment of dismay,

2 1832. While .

3 1845.

MS. and 1820.


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With these stanzas to Miss Blackett, compare those addressed by Wordsworth to his sister, published in 1807, under the title To a Young Lady, who had been reproached for taking Long Walks in the Country; and the poem entitled Louisa, after accompanying her on a Mountain Excursion, also referring to his sister (vol. ii. pp. 362, 365).—Ed.

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*A mountain in Asia, dividing Armenia from Assyria, whence the river Tigris has its source.

Satan, bowing low,

Throws his steep flight in many an aery wheel,

Nor staid till on Niphates' top he lights.

Paradise Lost, book iii. ll. 736-742.


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