Imágenes de páginas

The unconquerable strength of love ;
Bear witness, rueful Yarrow !

But thou, that didst appear so fair
To fond imagination,

Dost rival in the light of day

Her delicate creation :

Meek loveliness is round thee spread,

A softness still and holy;

The grace of forest charms decayed,



And pastoral melancholy.

[blocks in formation]

The shattered front of Newark's Towers,
Renowned in Border story.*



Fair scenes for childhood's opening bloom,
For sportive youth to stray in ;

For manhood to enjoy his strength;

And age to wear away in!


Yon cottage seems a bower of bliss,

A covert for protection

Of tender thoughts, that nestle there—
The brood of chaste affection.1

[blocks in formation]

*Newark Castle, a “large, square, roofless, ancient castle, scene of Sir Walter Scott's Lay of the Last Minstrel, four miles west by north of


(Wilson's Gazetteer of Scotland.)-ED.

How sweet, on this autumnal day,
The wild-wood 1 fruits to gather,
And on my True-love's forehead plant
A crest of blooming heather!

And what if I enwreathed my own!
'Twere no offence to reason;

The sober Hills thus deck their brows
To meet the wintry season.

I see but not by sight alone,
Loved Yarrow, have I won thee;
A ray of fancy still survives-
Her sunshine plays upon thee !
Thy ever-youthful waters keep
A course of lively pleasure;

[blocks in formation]

And gladsome notes my lips can breathe,
Accordant to the measure.


The vapours linger round the Heights,
They melt, and soon must vanish;

One hour is theirs, nor more is mine

Sad thought, which I would banish,
But that I know, where'er I go,

Thy genuine image, Yarrow !

Will dwell with me- -to heighten joy,
And cheer my mind in sorrow.


Compare Yarrow Unvisited, vol. ii. p. 411; also Yarrow Revisited, composed in 1831; and Principal Shairp's Essay entitled "The Three Yarrows," in his Aspects of Poetry. "I meant to mention Yarrow Visited, with that stanza, 'But thou, that didst appear so fair'; than which I think no lovelier stanza can be found in the wide world of poetry ;--yet the poem, on the whole, seems condemned to leave behind it a melancholy of imperfect satisfaction, as if you had wronged the feeling with which, in what preceded it, you had resolved never to visit it, and as if the Muse had determined, in the most

1 1827.

The wild wood's


delicate manner, to make you, and scarce make you, feel it. Else, it is far superior to the other, which has but one exquisite verse in it, the last but one, or the last two: this is all fine, except perhaps that that of 'studious ease, and generous cares,' has a little tinge of the less romantic about it." Charles Lamb to Wordsworth, in 1815. (See The Letters of Charles Lamb, edited by Alfred Ainger, vol. i. p. 286.)-ED.



Composed 1814.--Published 1815

One of the " Epitaphs and Elegiac Pieces."-ED.

To public notice, with reluctance strong,
Did I deliver this unfinished Song;

Yet for one happy issue ;—and I look
With self-congratulation on the Book

Which pious, learned, MURFITT saw and read ;-
Upon my thoughts his saintly Spirit fed;


He conned the new-born Lay with grateful heart—
Foreboding not how soon he must depart;

Unweeting that to him the joy was given

Which good men take with them from earth to heaven. 10

The Annals of Kendal- an octavo volume containing information on all subjects of historical or antiquarian interest connected with the town-contains no reference to Mr. Murfitt, except a copy of the inscription on his monument. He was instituted vicar of Kendal in 1806, and died on the 7th November 1814. The following is a copy of the inscription.

1 1845.

Written, November 13, 1814,


* i.e. Yarrow Unvisited.-ED.

To the Memory of

The Reverend Matthew Murfitt, A. M.
Vicar of Kendal

And formerly Fellow of Trinity College

Who died Nov. 7, 1814, aged 50 years.
He was a pious, learned, and eloquent Divine,
A sincere Friend, a kind husband,

And in every relation of Life

A most worthy man.

The monument is erected against the north wall of the Parish Church of Kendal.

The phrase in the second line of the sonnet, "this unfinished Song," refers to The Excursion being only part of a longer unfinished poem, The Recluse. (See the preface to the edition of



IN 1815 few poems were written, with the exception of the Dedication to The White Doe of Rylstone, one or two sonnets, and Artegal and Elidure. If we were to trust entirely to the Fenwick note to Laodamia, Artegal and Elidure would require to be transferred, along with it and Dion, to 1814. When Wordsworth, in 1845, separated the Ode, beginning

Imagination-ne'er before content

from the Ode, the morning of the Day appointed for a General Thanksgiving, January 18, 1816, he gave to the former the date 1815; and it is possible that it was composed towards the close of that year. But it was originally published in 1816 as part of the Thanksgiving Ode; and, although (in conformity with the plan of adopting the Author's latest view of his own text) it is printed by itself,- -as finally approved by him,—it is not placed in the year 1815, but in 1816. The chief reason for this is, that it is kindred in theme, structure, and tendency with the other Odes belonging to that year; and it seems better -when there is a doubt as to the date—to bring together those poems that are kindred in character. It does not follow, how

ever, that part of the Thanksgiving Ode itself may not have been written in 1815. Wordsworth, writing to Southey in 1816, said :—"It is a poem composed, or supposed to be composed, on the morning of the thanksgiving." Those belonging to the year 1815 are, therefore, few in number.-ED.


In trellised shed, with clustering roses gay, etc.

Although this Dedication was only written in April 1815, it has, for obvious reasons, been already published-along with the

« AnteriorContinuar »