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Like an uneasy
snake. From hour to hour
We sate and sate, wondering as if the night
Had been ensnared by witchcraft. On the

rock

709

At last we stretched our weary limbs for sleep,
But could not sleep, tormented by the stings
Of insects, which, with noise like that of
noon,

Filled all the woods: the cry of unknown birds;
The mountains more by blackness visible
And their own size, than any outward light; 715
The breathless wilderness of clouds; the clock
That told, with unintelligible voice,

The widely parted hours; the noise of streams,
And sometimes rustling motions nigh at hand,
That did not leave us free from personal fear;
And, lastly, the withdrawing moon, that set 721
Before us, while she still was high in heaven;-
These were our food; and such a summer's
night

Followed that pair of golden days that shed On Como's Lake, and all that round it lay, 725 Their fairest, softest, happiest influence.

But here I must break off, and bid farewell To days, each offering some new sight, or fraught

With some untried adventure, in a course
Prolonged till sprinklings of autumnal snow 730
Checked our unwearied steps. Let this alone
Be mentioned as a parting word, that not
In hollow exultation, dealing out
Hyperboles of praise comparative;
Not rich one moment to be poor for ever;
Not prostrate, overborne, as if the mind
Herself were nothing, a mere pensioner
On outward forms-did we in presence stand

735

745

Of that magnificent region. On the front
Of this whole Song is written that my heart 740
Must, in such Temple, needs have offered up
A different worship. Finally, whate'er
I saw, or heard, or felt, was but a stream
That flowed into a kindred stream; a gale,
Confederate with the current of the soul,
To speed my voyage; every sound or sight,
In its degree of power, administered
To grandeur or to tenderness,-to the one
Directly, but to tender thoughts by means
Less often instantaneous in effect;
Led me to these by paths that, in the main,
Were more circuitous, but not less sure
Duly to reach the point marked out by Heaven.

750

Oh, most beloved Friend! a glorious time, A happy time that was; triumphant looks 755 Were then the common language of all eyes; As if awaked from sleep, the Nations hailed Their great expectancy: the fife of war Was then a spirit-stirring sound indeed, A blackbird's whistle in a budding grove. 760 We left the Swiss exulting in the fate

Of their near neighbours; and, when shortening fast

Our pilgrimage, nor distant far from home,
We crossed the Brabant armies on the fret
For battle in the cause of Liberty.

765

A stripling, scarcely of the household then
Of social life, I looked upon these things
As from a distance; heard, and saw, and felt,
Was touched, but with no intimate concern;
I seemed to move along them, as a bird
Moves through the air, or as a fish pursues
Its sport, or feeds in its proper element;
I wanted not that joy, I did not need

770

Such help; the ever-living universe,

Turn where I might, was opening out its glories, And the independent spirit of pure youth 776 Called forth, at every season, new delights Spread round my steps like sunshine o'er green fields.

BOOK SEVENTH.

RESIDENCE IN LONDON.

SIX changeful years have vanished since I first
Poured out (saluted by that quickening breeze
Which met me issuing from the City's walls)
A glad preamble to this Verse: I sang
Aloud, with fervour irresistible

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Of short-lived transport, like a torrent bursting, From a black thunder-cloud, down Scafell's side To rush and disappear. But soon broke forth (So willed the Muse) a less impetuous stream, That flowed awhile with unabating strength, 10 Then stopped for years; not audible again Before last primrose-time. Beloved Friend! The assurance which then cheered some heavy thoughts

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On thy departure to a foreign land
Has failed; too slowly moves the promised work.
Through the whole summer have I been at rest,
Partly from voluntary holiday,

And part through outward hindrance. But I heard,

After the hour of sunset yester-even,

Sitting within doors between light and dark, 20 A choir of redbreasts gathered somewhere near My threshold,-minstrels from the distant

woods

Sent in on Winter's service, to announce,

With preparation artful and benign,

That the rough lord had left the surly North 25
On his accustomed journey. The delight,
Due to this timely notice, unawares

Smote me, and, listening, I in whispers said,
"Ye heartsome Choristers, ye and I will be
Associates, and, unscared by blustering winds,
Will chant together." Thereafter, as the

shades

Of twilight deepened, going forth, I spied
A glow-worm underneath a dusky plume
Or canopy of yet unwithered fern,

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Clear-shining, like a hermit's taper seen Through a thick forest. Silence touched me

here

No less than sound had done before; the child
Of Summer, lingering, shining, by herself,
The voiceless worm on the unfrequented hills,
Seemed sent on the same errand with the choir
Of Winter that had warbled at my door,
And the whole year breathed tenderness and

love.

The last night's genial feeling overflowed Upon this morning, and my favourite grove, Tossing in sunshine its dark boughs aloft, As if to make the strong wind visible, Wakes in me agitations like its own, A spirit friendly to the Poet's task,

Which we will now resume with lively hope, Nor checked by aught of tamer argument, That lies before us, needful to be told.

Returned from that excursion, soon I bade Farewell for ever to the sheltered seats

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Of gowned students, quitted hall and bower, And every comfort of that privileged ground, 55

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