Prelude Bk. 4


As one who hangs down-bending from the side

Of a slow-moving boat upon the breast

Of a still water, solacing himself

With such discoveries as his eye can make

Beneath him in the bottom of the deeps,

Sees many beauteous sights—weeds, fishes, flowers,

Grots, pebbles, roots of trees—and fancies more,

Yet often is perplexed, and cannot part

The shadow from the substance, rocks and sky,

Mountains and clouds, from that which is indeed

The region, and the things which there abide

In their true dwelling; now is crossed by a gleam

Of his own image, by a sunbeam now,

And motions that are sent he knows not whence,

Impediments that make his task more sweet;

Such pleasant office have we long pursued

Incumbent o’er the surface of past time

With like success.