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elevated so exceedingly, with such a drunken humming in my brain, that my nature took refuge in quiet humbleness and gratitude to God."

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It will be observed that in his letter of December 21, Wordsworth mentions the order in which these three sonnets were composed in three consecutive days. In his subsequent arrangement of the sonnets he altered this order, assigning "While not a leaf seems faded" to September," " and "How clear, how keen," to "November I (another instance of the inaccuracy of his dates). The detailed statement in this letter to Haydon must be trusted, however, in preference to the " afterthought of the editions of 1820 and 1827. It may not be superfluous to note the dates of the first publication of this trilogy of sonnets, all of which Wordsworth sent to The Examiner.

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Composed October 1815.—Published January 28, 1816

[Suggested on the banks of the Brathay by the sight of Langdale Pikes. It is delightful to remember these moments of far-distant days, which probably would have been forgotten if the impression had not been transferred to verse. The same observation applies to the next.*—I. F.]

One of the "Miscellaneous Sonnets." In the editions of 1816 and 1820 the title was November 1, 1815.-ED.

How clear, how keen, how marvellously bright
The effluence from yon distant mountain's head,
Which, strewn with snow smooth as the sky can shed,1

1 1837.

as smooth as Heaven can shed, 1816. smooth as the heaven can shed, 1832.

i.e. the sonnet entitled Composed during a Storm, which followed November 1 in the edition in which the Fenwick notes first appeared.

Shines like another sun-on mortal sight

Uprisen, as if to check approaching Night,

And all her twinkling stars. Who now would tread, If so he might, yon mountain's glittering headTerrestrial, but a surface, by the flight

Of sad mortality's earth-sullying wing,


Unswept, unstained? Nor shall the aërial Powers IO
Dissolve that beauty, destined to endure,
White, radiant, spotless, exquisitely pure,
Through all vicissitudes, till genial Spring
Has1 filled the laughing vales with welcome flowers.

This sonnet originally appeared in The Examiner, January 28, 1816. It is rare indeed, if ever, that the Langdale Pikes retain the first snows of November till spring; although, as described in another poem, the cove on Helvellyn, in which Red Tarn lies-sheltered from the sun, and high up on the mountain-may Keep till June December's snow.

See Fidelity (vol. iii. p. 44), and the note to the sonnet addressed to Haydon, p. 62 of this vol.-Ed.


Composed October 1815.-Published February 11, 1816

["For me, who under kindlier laws." This conclusion has more than once, to my great regret, excited painfully sad feelings in the hearts of young persons fond of poetry and poetic composition, by contrast of their feeble and declining health with that state of robust constitution which prompted me to rejoice in a season of frost and snow as more favourable to the Muses than summer itself.-I. F.]

One of the "Miscellaneous Sonnets."-Ed.




WHILE not a leaf seems faded; while the fields,
With ripening harvest 1 prodigally fair,


In brightest sunshine bask; this nipping air,

Sent from some distant clime where Winter wields

His icy scimitar, a foretaste yields

Of bitter change, and bids the flowers beware;
And whispers to the silent birds, "Prepare

Against the threatening foe your trustiest shields."
For me, who under kindlier laws belong
To Nature's tuneful quire, this rustling dry

Through leaves yet green,2 and yon crystalline sky,
Announce a season potent to renew,

'Mid frost and snow, the instinctive joys of song, And nobler cares than listless summer knew.



This sonnet was first published in The Examiner, February II, 1816. See the note to the sonnet addressed to Haydon,

p. 62.-ED.


Published 1815

[Suggested at Hackett, which is on the craggy ridge that rises between the two Langdales, and looks towards Windermere. The Cottage of Hackett was often visited by us, and at the time when this Sonnet was written, and long after, was occupied by the husband and wife described in The Excursion, where it is mentioned that she was in the habit of walking in the front of the dwelling with a light to guide her husband home at night. The same cottage is alluded to in the Epistle to Sir George Beaumont, as that from which the female peasant hailed us on

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our morning journey. The musician mentioned in the sonnet was the Rev. Samuel Tillbrook of Peter-house, Cambridge, who remodelled the Ivy Cottage at Rydal after he had purchased it.-I. F.]

One of the "Miscellaneous Sonnets."-Ed.

THE fairest, brightest, hues of ether fade;
The sweetest notes must terminate and die;
O Friend! thy flute has breathed a harmony
Softly resounded through this rocky glade;
Such strains of rapture as the Genius played
In his still haunt on Bagdad's summit high;
He who stood visible to Mirza's eye,
Never before to human sight betrayed.
Lo, in the vale, the mists of evening spread!
The visionary Arches are not there,

Nor the green Islands, nor the shining Seas;
Yet sacred is to me this Mountain's head,
Whence I have risen, uplifted 1 on the breeze
Of harmony, above all earthly care.




The following reference to Mr. Tillbrook, referred to in the Fenwick note, is from the Diary, Correspondence, etc., of Henry Crabb Robinson, September 5, 1816 :—" An evening was spent at Wordsworth's. Mr. Tillbrook, of Cambridge, formerly Thomas Clarkson's tutor, was there. Mr. Walter sang some airs to Mr. Tillbrook's flute."-ED.

1 1837.

From which I have been lifted

* See the vision of Mirza in the Spectator.-W. W. 1815.



Published 1815

One of the "Miscellaneous Sonnets."-ED.

"WEAK is the will of Man, his judgment blind;
"Remembrance persecutes, and Hope betrays ;
"Heavy is woe;—and joy, for human-kind,

"A mournful thing, so transient is the blaze!"
Thus might he paint our lot of mortal days
Who wants the glorious faculty assigned
To elevate the more-than-reasoning Mind,
And colour life's dark cloud with orient rays.
Imagination is that sacred power,
Imagination lofty and refined:


'Tis hers to pluck the amaranthine flower

Of Faith, and round the Sufferer's temples bind
Wreaths that endure affliction's heaviest shower,
And do not shrink from sorrow's keenest wind.




Published 1815

One of the "Miscellaneous Sonnets."-ED.

HAIL, Twilight, sovereign of one peaceful hour!
Not dull art Thou as undiscerning Night;
But studious only to remove from sight

* Compare the distinction Wordsworth draws between Fancy and Imagination in his "Preface" to the Poems published in 1815, and his definition of the function of the Imagination in that essay.-ED.

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