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1819

WITH the exception of The Haunted Tree, and the lines entitled September 1819, all the poems composed during the year 1819 were sonnets. Four of the latter were published along with Peter Bell, in the first edition of that poem; and other twelve, along with The Waggoner, which was first published in the same year. One of the twelve refers to the Old Hall of Donnerdale, and belongs to the series of Sonnets on the River Duddon, where it will be found (No. xxvII.) It was first published, along with those referring to Rydal, in the volume of 1819, and probably detached from the rest of the series, because originally it had no particular reference to the Old Hall in the Duddon Valley; but was (as Wordsworth indicates in the third of the Fenwick notes to the Duddon) "taken from a tradition belonging to Rydal Hall, which once stood, as is believed, upon a rocky and woody hill on the right hand as you go from Rydal to Ambleside, and was deserted from the superstitious fear here described, and the present site fortunately chosen instead."-Ed.

THIS, AND THE TWO FOLLOWING, WERE SUGGESTED BY MR. W. WESTALL'S VIEWS OF THE CAVES,* ETC., IN YORKSHIRE

This, and the two following sonnets, were first published in Blackwood's Magazine, vol. iv., January 1819, p. 471. They were reprinted in The Poetical Album, edited by Alaric Watts, in 1829 (Second Series, vol. i. pp. 332, 333) under the title, 1 1820.

Sonnets, suggested

1819.

* Wordsworth visited these caves with Edward Quillinan in 1821.-ED.

"The Caves of Yorkshire."

The same volume of the Album

contains (p. 43) the sonnet beginning—

Not Love, not War, nor the tumultuous swell.

In the 1819 edition of Peter Bell, p. 84, a note, prefatory to the four following sonnets, occurs to this effect: "The following Sonnets having lately appeared in Periodical Publications are here reprinted."-ED.

Composed 1819.-Published 1819

One of the "Miscellaneous Sonnets."-Ed.

PURE element of waters! wheresoe'er

Thou dost forsake thy subterranean haunts,

Green herbs, bright flowers, and berry-bearing plants,
Rise1 into life and in thy train appear :
And, through the sunny portion of the year,
Swift insects shine, thy hovering pursuivants :
And, if thy bounty fail, the forest pants;
And hart and hind and hunter with his spear,
Languish and droop together. Nor unfelt
In man's perturbèd soul thy sway benign;
And, haply, far within the marble belt
Of central earth, where tortured Spirits pine

For grace and goodness lost, thy murmurs melt

Their anguish,—and they blend sweet songs with thine.*

5

MALHAM COVE

Composed 1819.-Published 1819

One of the "Miscellaneous Sonnets."-ED.

WAS the aim frustrated by force or guile,
When giants scooped from out the rocky ground,

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*

Waters (as Mr. Westall informs us in the letterpress prefixed to his admirable views) are invariably found to flow through these caverns.-W. W.

Tier under tier, this semicirque profound?
(Giants the same who built in Erin's isle
That Causeway with incomparable toil !)—
O, had this vast theatric structure wound 1*
With finished sweep into a perfect round,

No mightier work had gained the plausive smile
Of all-beholding Phoebus! But, alas,

5

Vain earth! false world! Foundations must be laid 10
In Heaven; for, 'mid the wreck of IS and WAS,
Things incomplete and purposes betrayed
Make sadder transits o'er thought's optic glass
Than noblest objects utterly decayed.*

2

Malham Cove is a noble amphitheatre of perpendicular limestone rock, lying in regular strata, the height being 300 feet in the centre. The Aire issues from the rock at the base of the cliff, a considerable stream. Possibly Westall's picture of Malham Cove suggested to Wordsworth the Giant's Causeway in Ireland, and its legend. They have the same columnar appearance; although the former is limestone, and the latter basalt.-ED.

GORDALE

Composed 1819.-Published 1819

One of the "Miscellaneous Sonnets."-ED.

AT early dawn, or rather when the air 3
Glimmers with fading light, and shadowy Eve

1 1820.

Oh! had the Crescent stretched its horns, and wound
Blackwood's Magazine, January 1819.

2 1837.

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3 1819.

*

or when the warmer air,

Blackwood's Magazine, January 1819.

Compare the Fenwick note to The Excursion.-ED.

Is busiest to confer and to bereave;

Then, pensive Votary! let thy feet repair 1

To Gordale-chasm, terrific as the lair

Where the young lions couch; for so,2 by leave
Of the propitious hour, thou may'st perceive

The local Deity, with oozy hair

And mineral crown, beside his jagged urn,
Recumbent: Him thou may'st behold, who hides
His lineaments by day, yet there presides,

3

4

Teaching the docile waters how to turn,

Or (if need be) impediment to spurn,

And force their passage to 5 the salt-sea tides !

5

9

There are many legendary stories connected with the Yorkshire caves, particularly in the Giggleswick district; but I have been unable to trace any legend about the "local Deity" of Gordale. There is nothing in the letterpress of Westall's views, or in the "addenda" to West's Guide to the Lakes in Cumberland, about these legends. The chasm is a very remarkable cleft in the limestone rock, near Malham. Gray's description of Gordale, in his Journal (1796), may be referred to.—ED.

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COMPOSED DURING A STORM1

Composed 1819.-Published 1819

[Written in Rydal Woods, by the side of a torrent.—I. F.]

One of the "Miscellaneous Sonnets."-ED.

ONE who was suffering tumult in his soul
Yet failed to seek the sure relief of prayer,

Went forth his course surrendering to the care
Of the fierce wind, while mid-day lightnings prowl
Insidiously, untimely thunders growl;

While trees, dim-seen, in frenzied numbers, tear
The lingering remnant of their yellow hair,

And shivering wolves, surprised with darkness, howl
As if the sun were not. He raised his eye
Soul-smitten; for, that instant, did appear' 2
Large space ('mid dreadful clouds) of purest sky,
An azure disc 3__shield of Tranquillity;
Invisible, unlooked-for, minister

Of providential goodness ever nigh!

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"AERIAL ROCK-WHOSE SOLITARY BROW"

Composed 1819.-Published 1819

[A projecting point of Loughrigg, nearly in front of Rydal Thence looking at it, you are struck with the boldness

Mount.

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