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Like these frail snow-drops that together cling,
And nod their helmets, smitten by the wing
Of many a furious whirl-blast sweeping by.
Observe the faithful flowers!* if small to great


May lead the thoughts, thus struggling used to stand
The Emathian phalanx,† nobly obstinate;
And so the bright immortal Theban band, ‡
Whom onset, fiercely urged at Jove's command,
Might overwhelm, but could not separate !


Composed 1819.-Published 1819

This sonnet was first published along with The Waggoner. In the editions from 1820 to 1832 it was placed among the "Miscellaneous Sonnets." In 1835 it was included in the series of "Poems, composed or suggested during a tour, in the summer of 1833."-ED.

AMONG the mountains were we nursed, loved Stream! Thou near the eagle's nest—within brief sail,

Faint the beam

I, of his bold wing floating on the gale,
Where thy deep voice could lull me!
Of human life when first allowed to gleam
On mortal notice.-Glory of the vale,
Such thy meek outset, with a crown, though frail,
Kept in perpetual verdure by the steam


Of thy soft breath!-Less vivid wreath 1 entwined


1 1827.



* Compare in The Primrose of the Rock

The flowers, still faithful to the stems,
Their fellowship renew;

The stems are faithful to the root,
That worketh out of view;

And to the rock the root adheres

In every fibre true.


+ Macedonian; the district of Emathia being the original seat of the Macedonian monarchy.-ED.

An allusion to the so-called Sacred Band, whose successes under Pelopidas had so large a share in sustaining the Theban ascendency after the Battle of Leuctra (B.C. 371-366).-ED.

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Nemæan victor's brow; less bright was worn, Meed of some Roman chief—in triumph borne With captives chained; and shedding from his car The sunset splendours of a finished war

Upon the proud enslavers of mankind!


The Derwent has its source on the slopes of Glaramara; and an Eagle Crag rises above one of its affluents (the Langstrath beck, separating the Langstrath from the Greenup Valley). Doubtless there were eagles there in the last century when Wordsworth was born, and they would soar over Skiddaw and the Grasmere group of mountains towards Cockermouth, his birth-place.-Ed.


Composed 1819.-Published 1819

One of the "Miscellaneous Sonnets."-Ed.

WITH each recurrence of this glorious morn
That saw the Saviour in his human frame
Rise from the dead, erewhile the Cottage-dame
Put on fresh raiment-till that hour unworn:
Domestic 2 hands the home-bred wool had shorn,
And she who span it culled 3 the daintiest fleece,
In thoughtful reverence to the Prince of Peace,
Whose temples bled beneath the platted thorn.
A blest estate when piety sublime
These humble props disdained not!
O green dales!
Sad may I be who heard your sabbath chime
When Art's abused inventions were unknown;

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Kind Nature's various wealth was all your own;
And benefits were weighed in Reason's scales !

The following (incomplete) version of this Easter Sunday sonnet exists in MS. :


Erewhile to celebrate this glorious morn
That saw the unvanquished Saviour of mankind
Rise from the grave, the Ruler and the Hind
Put on fresh raiment, till that hour unworn,
Fair cloth of homebred wool which he had shorn,
Her hands had spun, culling her daintiest fleece,
Such reverence paid they to the Prince of Peace.
O blest estate, when Piety sublime
These humble props disdained not!
Banished for aye, from Britain's hills and vales
Extinct, or lingering in a happier clime,
Where our abused inventions are unknown
And benefits are weighed in Reason's scales?

Are thy flowers


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Composed 1819.-Published 1819

[I could write a treatise of lamentation upon the changes brought about among the cottages of Westmoreland by the silence of the spinning-wheel.* During long winter nights and wet days, the wheel upon which wool was spun gave employment to a great part of a family. The old man, however infirm, was able to card the wool, as he sate in a corner by the fire-side; and often, when a boy, have I admired the cylinders of carded wool which were softly laid upon each other by his side. Two wheels were often at work on the same floor; and others of the family, chiefly little children, were occupied in teasing and cleaning the wool to fit it for the hand of the carder. So that all, except the smallest infants, were contributing to

* Compare similar regrets in The Excursion.-ED.

mutual support. Such was the employment that prevailed in the pastoral vales. Where wool was not at hand, in the small rural towns, the wheel for spinning flax was almost in as constant use, if knitting was not preferred; which latter occupation has the advantage (in some cases disadvantage) that, not being of necessity stationary, it allowed of gossiping about from house to house, which good housewives reckoned an idle thing.-I. F.]

One of the "Miscellaneous Sonnets."-Ed.

GRIEF, thou hast lost an ever ready friend
Now that the cottage Spinning-wheel is mute;
And Care-a comforter that best could suit
Her froward mood, and softliest reprehend;
And Love-a charmer's voice, that used to lend, 5
More efficaciously than aught that flows
From harp or lute, kind influence to compose
The throbbing pulse-else troubled without end:
Even Joy could tell,1 Joy craving truce and rest
From her own overflow, what power sedate
On those revolving motions did await
Assiduously—to soothe her aching breast;
And, to a point of just relief, abate

The mantling triumphs of a day too blest.


The following version of the last seven lines of this sonnet is from a MS. copy of it :

The panting breast else troubled without end :
And fancy prized the murmuring spinning-wheel
In sympathies inexplicably fine,

Instilled a confidence how sweet to feel!
That ever, in the night calm, when the sheep
Upon their grassy beds lay couched in sleep,
The quickening spindle drew a trustier line.

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Composed 1819.-Published 1819*

[Suggested in front of Rydal Mount, the rocky parapet being the summit of Loughrigg Fell opposite. Not once only, but a hundred times, have the feelings of this sonnet been awakened by the same objects seen from the same place.-I. F.]

One of the "Miscellaneous Sonnets."-ED.

I WATCH, and long have watched, with calm regret Yon slowly-sinking star—immortal Sire

(So might he seem) of all the glittering quire! Blue ether still surrounds him-yet-and yet; But now the horizon's rocky parapet


Is reached, where, forfeiting his bright attire,
He burns-transmuted to a dusky fire—
Then pays submissively the appointed debt
To the flying moments, and is seen no more.1
Angels and gods! We struggle with our fate,
While health, power, glory, from their height decline,2
Depressed; and then extinguished and our state,
In this, how different, lost Star, from thine,
That no to-morrow shall our beams restore! †

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1 1837.

to a sullen fire,

That droops and dwindles; and, the appointed debt
To the flying moments paid, is seen no more.


2 1837.

glory, pitiably decline,


* This sonnet was omitted in the edition of 1827.-ED.
+ Compare Beattie's Hermit (stanza iii. 1. 5)—

Roll on then, fair orb, and with gladness pursue
The path that conducts thee to splendour again;
But man's faded glory no change shall renew;
Ah, fool! to exult in a glory so vain.


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