Imágenes de páginas

With those that stretch the neck and strain the eyes,
And crack the voice in rivalship, the crowd
Inviting; with buffoons against buffoons
Grimacing, writhing, screaming,-him who grinds
The hurdy-gurdy, at the fiddle weaves,
Rattles the salt-box, thumps the kettle-drum,
And him who at the trumpet puffs his cheeks,
The silver-collared Negro with his timbrel,
Equestrians, tumblers, women, girls, and boys,
Blue-breeched, pink-vested, with high-towering plumes.-
All moveables of wonder, from all parts,

Are here-Albinos, painted Indians, Dwarfs,
The Horse of knowledge, and the learned Pig,
The Stone-eater, the man that swallows fire,
Giants, Ventriloquists, the Invisible Girl,
The Bust that speaks and moves its goggling eyes,
The Wax-work, Clock-work, all the marvellous craft
Of modern Merlins, Wild Beasts, Puppet-shows,
All out-o'-the-way, far-fetched, perverted things,
All freaks of nature, all Promethean thoughts
Of man, his dullness, madness, and their feats
All jumbled up together, to compose

A parliament of Monsters. Tents and Booths
Meanwhile, as if the whole were one vast mill,
Are vomiting, receiving on all sides,

Men, Women, three-years' Children, Babes in arms.

Oh, blank confusion! true epitome

Of what the mighty City is herself,

To thousands upon thousands of her sons,-
Living amid the same perpetual whirl

Of trivial objects, melted and reduced

To one identity, by differences

That have no law, no meaning, and no end

Oppression, under which even highest minds
Must labour, whence the strongest are not free.
But though the picture weary out the eye,
By nature an unmanageable sight,

It is not wholly so to him who looks
In steadiness, who hath among least things
An under-sense of greatest; sees the parts
As parts, but with the feeling of the whole.
This, of all acquisitions, first awaits.

On sundry and most widely different modes
Of education, nor with least delight

On that through which I passed. Attention springs,
And comprehensiveness and memory flow,
From early converse with the works of God.
Among all regions; chiefly where appear
Most obviously simplicity and power.
Think, how the everlasting streams and woods,
Stretched and still stretching far and wide, exalt
The roving Indian, on his desert sands:
What grandeur not unfelt, what pregnant show
Of beauty, meets the sun-burnt Arab's eye:
And, as the sea propels, from zone to zone,
Its currents; magnifies its shoals of life
Beyond all compass; spreads, and sends aloft

Armies of clouds,-even so, its powers and aspects
Shape for mankind, by principles as fixed,

The views and aspirations of the soul
To majesty. Like virtue have the forms
Perennial of the ancient hills; nor less

The changeful language of their countenances

Quickens the slumbering mind, and aids the thoughts, However multitudinous, to move

With order and relation. This, if still,

As hitherto, in freedom I may speak,

Not violating any just restraint,
As may be hoped, of real modesty,-
This did I feel, in London's vast domain.
The spirit of Nature was upon me there;
The soul of Beauty and enduring Life
Vouchsafed her inspiration, and diffused,
Through meagre lines and colours, and the press

Of self-destroying, transitory things,

Composure, and ennobling Harmony.

Book Eighth.


WHAT Sounds are those, Helvellyn, that are heard Up to thy summit, through the depth of air

Ascending, as if distance had the power

To make the sounds more audible?

What crowd

Covers, or sprinkles o'er, yon village green?
Crowd seems it, solitary hill! to thee,

Though but a little family of men,

Shepherds and tillers of the ground-betimes
Assembled with their children and their wives,
And here and there a stranger interspersed.

They hold a rustic fair-a festival,

Such as, on this side now, and now on that,

Repeated through his tributary vales,

Helvellyn, in the silence of his rest,


Sees annually, if clouds towards either ocean

Dorothy Wordsworth alludes to one of these "Fairs" in her Grasmere Journal, Sept. 2, 1800. Her brothers William and John, with Coleridge, were all at Dove Cottage at that time. “They all went to Stickle Tarn. A very fine, warm, sunny, beautiful morning. We walked to the fair

Blown from their favourite resting-place, or mists
Dissolved, have left him an unshrouded head.
Delightful day it is for all who dwell

In the secluded glen, and eagerly

They give it welcome. Long ere heat of noon,
From byre or field the kine are brought; the sheep

Are penned in cotes; the chaffering is begun.
The heifer lows, uneasy at the voice

Of a new master; bleat the flocks aloud.
Booths are there none; a stall or two is here;
A lame man or a blind, the one to beg,
The other to make music; hither, too,
From far, with basket, slung upon her arm,

Of hawker's wares-books, pictures, combs, and pins—
Some aged woman finds her way again,
Year after year, a punctual visitant !
There also stands a speech-maker by rote,
Pulling the strings of his boxed raree-show;
And in the lapse of many years may come
Prouder itinerant, montebank, or he
Whose wonders in a covered wain lie hid.
But one there is, the loveliest of them all,
Some sweet lass of the valley, looking out
For gains, and who that sees her would not buy?
Fruits of her father's orchard are her wares,
And with the ruddy produce, she walks round.
Among the crowd, half pleased with, half ashamed
Of her new office, blushing restlessly.

The children now are rich, for the old to-day

It was a lovely moonlight night.

We talked much about our

house on Helvellyn. The moonlight shone only upon the village. It did not eclipse the village lights; and the sound of dancing and merriment came along the still air. I walked with Coleridge and William up the lane and by the church.


Are generous as the young; and, if content
With looking on, some ancient wedded pair
Sit in the shade together, while they gaze,
"A cheerful smile unbends the wrinkled brow,
The days departed start again to life,

And all the scenes of childhood reappear,

Faint, but more tranquil, like the changing sun
To him who slept at noon and wakes at eve." *
Thus gaiety and cheerfulness prevail,
Spreading from young to old, from old to young,
And no one seems to want his share.-Immense
Is the recess, the circumambient world
Magnificent, by which they are embraced.
They move about upon the soft green turf:
How little they, they and their doings, seem,
And all that they can further or obstruct!
Through utter weakness pitiably dear,

As tender infants are: and yet how great!

For all things serve them: them the morning light
Loves as it glistens on the silent rocks;

And them the silent rocks, which now from high
Look down upon them; the reposing clouds;
The wild brooks prattling from invisible haunts;
And old Helvellyn, conscious of the stir
Which animates this day their calm abode.

With deep devotion, Nature, did I feel,
In that enormous City's turbulent world
Of men and things, what benefit I owed
To thee, and those domains of rural peace,
Where to the sense of beauty first my heart

* These lines are from a descriptive Poem-Malvern Hills-by one of Wordsworth's oldest friends, and the publisher of the first edition of Lyrical Ballads, Mr Joseph Cottle of Bristol.-ED.

« AnteriorContinuar »