Imágenes de páginas

our acquaintance with dear Miss Fenwick, who has always stigmatized one line of it as vulgar, and worthy only of having been composed by a country squire.]


I am not One who much or oft delight
To season my fireside with personal talk,-
Of friends, who live within an easy walk,
Or neighbours, daily, weekly in my sight :
And, for my chance-acquaintance, ladies bright,
Sons, mothers, maidens withering on the stalk,
These all wear out of me, like Forms with chalk
Painted on rich men's floors, for one feast night.
Better than such discourse doth silence long,
Long, barren silence, square with my desire ;
To sit without emotion, hope, or aim,
In the loved presence of my cottage-fire,
And listen to the flapping of the flame,
Or kettle whispering its faint undersong.


[ocr errors]

“Yet life,” you say, “is life; we have seen and see,
And with a living pleasure we describe ;
And fits of sprightly malice do but bribe
The languid mind into activity.
Sound sense, and love itself, and mirth and glee
Are fostered by the comment and the gibe.”
Even be it so: yet still among your tribe,
Our daily world's true Worldlings, rank not me!
Children are blest, and powerful; their world lies
More justly balanced; partly at their feet,

[merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors]



By my half-kitchen my half-parlour fire.


And part far from them :sweetest melodies
Are those that are by distance made more sweet;
Whose mind is but the mind of his own eyes,
He is a Slave; the meanest we can meet !


Wings have we,-and as far as we can go
We may find pleasure: wilderness and wood,
Blank ocean and mere sky, support that mood
Which with the lofty sanctifies the low.
Dreams, books, are each a world ; and books, we know,
Are a substantial world, both pure and good :
Round these, with tendrils strong as flesh and blood,
Our pastime and our happiness will grow.
There find I personal themes, a plenteous store,
Matter wherein right voluble I am,
To which I listen with a ready ear;1
Two shall be named, pre-eminently dear,—2
The gentle Lady married to the Moor ;
And heavenly Una, with her milk-white Lamb.


Nor can I not believe but that hereby
Great gains are mine; for thus I live remote
From evil-speaking ; rancour, never sought,
Comes to me not; malignant truth, or lie.
Hence have I genial seasons, hence have I

[ocr errors]


Then do I find a never-failing store
Of personal themes, and such as I love best;
Matter wherein right voluble I am :


2 1827.

Two will I mention dearer than the rest,


Smooth passions, smooth discourse, and joyous thought:
And thus from day to day my little boat
Rocks in its harbour, lodging peaceably.
Blessings be with them—and eternal praise,
Who gave us nobler loves, and nobler cares,
The Poets, who on earth have made us heirs
Of truth and pure delight by heavenly lays !
Oh! might my name be numbered among theirs,
Then gladly would I end my mortal days.

The stanza referred to as disliked by Miss Fenwick is the first.

The text of this poem was little altered, and was fixed in 1829. The

half-kitchen and half-parlour fire

of 1807, was a reminiscence of Dove Cottage, which we regret to lose in the later editions.

In the Baptistery of Westminster Abbey, there is a statue of Wordsworth of great merit by Frederick Thrupp, placed there by the late Dean Stanley, beside busts of Keble, Maurice, and Charles Kingsley. Underneath the statue of Wordsworth are the four lines from Personal Talk

Blessings be with them—and eternal praise,
Who gave us nobler loves, and nobler cares-
The Poets, who on earth have made us heirs
Of truth and pure delight by heavenly lays !

Dean Stanley found it difficult to select from Wordsworth's poems the lines most appropriate for inscription, and adopted this at the suggestion of his friend, Principal Shairp. With the l nes

Whose mind is but the mind of his own eyes,
He is a Slave, &c.,

compare The Prelude, Book XII. (Vol. III. p. 368)—

I knew a maid,
A young enthusiast who escaped these bonds;
Her eye was not the mistress of her heart.



Intended more particularly for the perusal of those who may have

happened to be enamoured of some beautiful Place of Retreat, in the Country of the Lakes.

[blocks in formation]

WELL may'st thou halt—and gaze with brightening eye !1
The lovely Cottage in the guardian nook
Hath stirred thee deeply; with its own dear brook,
Its own small pasture, almost its own sky!
But covet not the Abode :—forbear to sigh,2
As many do, repining while they look ;
Intruders—who would tear from Nature's book 3
This precious leaf, with harsh impiety. 4
Think what the home must be if it were thine,5
Even thine, though few thy wants !-Roof, window, door,
The very flowers are sacred to the Poor,
The roses to the porch which they entwine:
Yea, all, that now enchants thee, from the day
On which it should be touched, would melt away.S

[ocr errors]
[blocks in formation]

Think what the Home would be if it were thine,




would melt and melt away.


With the lines

its own dear brook, Its own small pasture, almost its own sky! compare those in Peter Bell

Where deep and low the hamlets lie
Beneath their little patch of sky,
And little lot of stars.

The Cottage at Town-end, Grasmere— where this Sonnet was composed—may have suggested it. Some of the details, however, are scarcely applicable to Dove Cottage; the “brook” (referred to elsewhere) is outside the orchard ground, and there is scarcely anything in the garden to warrant the phrase, “ its own small pasture.” It is unnecessary to localise the allusions.--Ed.

[blocks in formation]

“ BELOVED Vale!” I said, “When I shall con
Those many records of my childish years,
Remembrance of myself and of my peers
Will press me down: to think of what is gone
Will be an awful thought, if life have one."
But, when into the Vale I came, no fears
Distressed me; from mine eyes escaped no tears;
Deep thought, or dread remembrance, had I none.2
By doubts and thousand petty fancies crost 3
I stood, of simple shame the blushing Thrall;


[blocks in formation]

Distressed me; I looked round, I shed no tears;


[blocks in formation]
« AnteriorContinuar »