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IN THE PASS OF KILLICRANKY,
An invasion being expected, October 1803
Composed October 1803.-Published 1807
From 1807 to 1820 this sonnet was one of those "dedicated to Liberty.' In 1827 it was included among the "Memorials of a Tour in Scotland, 1803." From 1807 to 1820 the title was simply October, 1803.-ED.
SIX thousand veterans practised in war's game,
Against an equal host that wore the plaid,
Shepherds and herdsmen.--Like a whirlwind came
For them whom precept and the pedantry
O for a single hour of that Dundee,*
Who on that day the word of onset gave!
Like conquest would the Men of England see;
The following is from Dorothy Wordsworth's Recollections of a Tour made in Scotland, 1803 'Thursday, September 8th. Before breakfast we walked to the Pass of Killicrankie. A very fine scene; the river Garry forcing its way down a deep chasm between rocks, at the foot of high rugged hills covered with wood, to a great height. The pass did not, however, impress us with awe, or a sensation of difficulty or danger, according to our expectations; but, the road being at a considerable height on the side of the hill, we at first only
* See an anecdote related in Mr. Scott's Border Minstrelsy.--W. W. 1807.
"Oh for an hour of Dundee was an exclamation of Gordon of Glenbucket at Sheriffmuir.-ED.
looked into the dell or chasm. It is much grander seen from below, near the river's bed. Everybody knows that this Pass is famous in military history. When we were travelling in Scotland, an invasion was hourly looked for, and one could not but think with some regret of the times when, from the now depopulated Highlands forty or fifty thousand men might have been poured down for the defence of the country, under such leaders as the Marquis of Montrose or the brave man who had so distinguished himself upon the ground where we were standing. I will transcribe a sonnet suggested to William by this place, and written in Oct. 1803.”—ED.
Composed October 1803.-Published 1807 *
Included among the "Sonnets dedicated to Liberty"; re-named in 1845, "Poems dedicated to National Independence and Liberty."-ED.
SHOUT, for a mighty Victory is won!
On British ground the Invaders are laid low;
The breath of Heaven has drifted them like snow,
And left them lying in the silent sun,
Never to rise again!—the work is done.
Come forth, ye old men, now in peaceful show
And greet your sons! drums beat and trumpets blow!
The edition of 1840 returns to the text of 1807.
*I.e. in the edition of 1807, but this sonnet was previously printed in 1803 in The Poetical Register, vol. iii. p. 340, in the Anti-Gallican (1804), and in the Poetical Repository (1805).—ED.
h grander seen from nows that this Pass
were travelling in for, and one could nes when, from the ousand men might the country, under
he brave man who nd where we were ed to William by
to Liberty": onal Independ
LINES ON THE EXPECTED INVASION, 1803 437
And even the prospect of our brethren slain,1
This sonnet, as the title indicates, does not refer to an actual victory; because, since the Norman conquest, no "Invaders" have ever set foot "on British ground." It was written like the two preceding sonnets, and the one that follows it"in anticipation" of Napoleon's project for the invasion of England being actually carried out; a project never realised. The assembling of the immense French army destined for this purpose-one of the finest brought together since the days of the Roman legions-between the mouths of the Seine and the Texel, roused the spirit of English patriotism as it had never been roused before. Three hundred thousand volunteers were enlisted in Great Britain by the 10th of August 1803; "all the male population of the kingdom from seventeen years of age to fifty-five were divided into classes to be successively armed and exercised" (Dyer). The story of the failure of Napoleon's scheme is too well known to be repeated in this note. Wordsworth seems to have written his sonnet in anticipation of what he believed would have been the inevitable issue of events, had the French army actually landed on British soil.-ED.
LINES ON THE EXPECTED INVASION
Composed 1803.- Published 1842
Included among the "Poems dedicated to National Independence and Liberty."-ED.
COME ye-who, if (which Heaven avert !) the Land
The loss and e'en the prospect of the slain, MS. 1803.
Like gallant Falkland, by the Monarch's side,
And, like the Pyms and Miltons of that day,
Would keep, perhaps with many a fruitless tear,
END OF VOL. II
Printed by R. & R. CLARK, LIMITED, Edinburgh.