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A privilege whereby a work of his,

Proceeding from a source of untaught things,
Creative and enduring, may become

A power like one of Nature's. To a hope
Not less ambitious once, among the wilds
Of Sarum's Plain, my youthful spirit was raised
There, as I ranged at will the pastoral downs
Trackless and smooth, or paced the bare white


Lengthening in solitude their dreary line,
Time with his retinue of ages fled
Backwards, nor checked his flight until I saw
Our dim ancestral Past in vision clear;
Saw multitudes of men, and, here and there.
A single Briton clothed in wolf-skin vest,
With shield and stone-axe, stride across the wold;
The voice of spears was heard, the rattling spear
Shaken by arms of mighty bone, in strength,
Long mouldered, of barbaric majesty.

I called on Darkness, — but before the word
Was uttered, midnight darkness seemed to take
All objects from my sight; and lo! again
The Desert visible by dismal flames;
It is the sacrificial altar, fed

With living men,—how deep the groans! the voice
Of those that crowd the giant wicker thrills

The monumental hillocks, and the pomp
Is for both worlds, the living and the dead.
At other moments (for through that wide waste
Three summer days I roamed) where'er the Plain

Was figured o'er with circles, lines, or mounds, a work, as some divine,

That yet survive,
Shaped by the Druids, so to represent

Their knowledge of the heavens, and image forth

The constellations,
gently was I charmed
Into a waking dream, a reverie

That, with believing eyes, where'er I turned,
Beheld long-bearded teachers, with white wands
Uplifted, pointing to the starry sky,
Alternately, and plain below, while breath.
Of music swayed their motions, and the waste
Rejoiced with them and me in those sweet sounds.

This for the past, and things that may be viewed Or fancied in the obscurity of years From monumental hints and thou, O Friend! Pleased with some unpremeditated strains


That served those wanderings to beguile, hast said
That then and there my mind had exercised
Upon the vulgar forms of present things,
The actual world of our familiar days,
Yet higher power; had caught from them a tone,
An image, and a character, by books
Not hitherto reflected. Call we this
A partial judgment, and yet why? for then
We were as strangers; and I may not speak
Thus wrongfully of verse, however rude,
Which on thy young imagination, trained
In the great City, broke like light from far.
Moreover, each man's Mind is to herself

Witness and judge; and I remember well
That in life's every-day appearances
I seemed about this time to gain clear sight
Of a new world, a world, too, that was fit
To be transmitted, and to other eyes

Made visible; as ruled by those fixed laws
Whence spiritual dignity originates,
Which do both give it being and maintain
A balance, an ennobling interchange

Of action from without and from within;
The excellence, pure function, and best power
Both of the object seen and eye that sees.



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