Dr. Morillo

HON293i etexts

 

Wordsworth, William, 1770-1850
HitODE ON INTIMATIONS OF IMMORTALITY FROM RECOLLECTIONS OF EARLY CHILDHOOD


The Child is father of the Man;

And I could wish my days to be

Bound each to each by natural piety.


1   There was a time when meadow, grove, and stream,
2   The earth, and every common sight
3         To me did seem
4      Apparell'd in celestial light,
5   The glory and the freshness of a dream.
6   It is not now as it hath been of yore;---
7      Turn wheresoe'er I may,
8         By night or day,
9   The things which I have seen I now can see no more.

10         The rainbow comes and goes,
11         And lovely is the rose;
12         The moon doth with delight
13      Look round her when the heavens are bare;
14         Waters on a starry night
15         Are beautiful and fair;
16      The sunshine is a glorious birth;
17      But yet I know, where'er I go,
18   That there hath past away a glory from the earth.

19   Now, while the birds thus sing a joyous song,
20      And while the young lambs bound
21         As to the tabor's sound,

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22   To me alone there came a thought of grief:
23   A timely utterance gave that thought relief,
24         And I again am strong.
25   The cataracts blow their trumpets from the steep;---
26   No more shall grief of mine the season wrong:
27   I hear the echoes through the mountains throng,
28   The winds come to me from the fields of sleep,
29         And all the earth is gay;
30            Land and sea
31      Give themselves up to jollity,
32         And with the heart of May
33      Doth every beast keep holiday;---
34            Thou child of joy
35   Shout round me, let me hear thy shouts, thou happy Shepherd-boy!

36   Ye blesséd Creatures, I have heard the call
37      Ye to each other make; I see
38   The heavens laugh with you in your jubilee;
39      My heart is at your festival,
40         My head hath its coronal,
41   The fulness of your bliss, I feel---I feel it all.
42            Oh evil day! if I were sullen
43            While Earth herself is adorning
44               This sweet May-morning;
45            And the children are culling
46               On every side
47            In a thousand valleys far and wide,
48            Fresh flowers; while the sun shines warm
49   And the babe leaps up on his mother's arm:---
50            I hear, I hear, with joy I hear!
51            ---But there's a tree, of many, one,
52   A single field which I have look'd upon,
53   Both of them speak of something that is gone:
54               The pansy at my feet
55               Doth the same tale repeat:
56   Whither is fled the visionary gleam?
57   Where is it now, the glory and the dream?

58   Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting;
59   The Soul that rises with us, our life's Star,
60         Hath had elsewhere its setting
61            And cometh from afar;

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62         Not in entire forgetfulness,
63         And not in utter nakedness,
64   But trailing clouds of glory do we come
65            From God, who is our home:
66   Heaven lies about us in our infancy!
67   Shades of the prison-house begin to close
68            Upon the growing Boy,
69   But he beholds the light, and whence it flows,
70            He sees it in his joy;
71   The Youth, who daily farther from the east
72      Must travel, still is Nature's priest,
73         And by the vision splendid
74         Is on his way attended;
75   At length the Man perceives it die away,
76   And fade into the light of common day.

77   Earth fills her lap with pleasures of her own;
78   Yearnings she hath in her own natural kind,
79   And, even with something of a mother's mind
80         And no unworthy aim,
81      The homely nurse doth all she can
82   To make her foster-child, her inmate, Man,
83         Forget the glories he hath known,
84   And that imperial palace whence he came.

85   Behold the Child among his new-born blisses,
86   A six years' darling of a pigmy size!
87   See, where 'mid work of his own hand he lies,
88   Fretted by sallies of his mother's kisses,
89   With light upon him from his father's eyes!
90   See, at his feet, some little plan or chart,
91   Some fragment from his dream of human life,
92   Shaped by himself with newly-learnéd art;
93      A wedding or a festival,
94      A mourning or a funeral;
95         And this hath now his heart,
96      And unto this he frames his song:
97         Then will he fit his tongue
98   To dialogues of business, love, or strife;
99      But it will not be long
100      Ere this be thrown aside,
101      And with new joy and pride

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102   The little actor cons another part;
103   Filling from time to time his 'humorous stage'
104   With all the Persons, down to palsied Age,
105   That life brings with her in her equipage;
106      As if his whole vocation
107      Were endless imitation.

108   Thou, whose exterior semblance doth belie
109      Thy soul's immensity;
110   Thou best philosopher, who yet dost keep
111   Thy heritage, thou eye among the blind,
112   That, deaf and silent, read'st the eternal deep,
113   Haunted for ever by the eternal Mind,---
114      Mighty Prophet! Seer blest!
115      On whom those truths do rest
116   Which we are toiling all our lives to find,
117   In darkness lost, the darkness of the grave;
118   Thou, over whom thy Immortality
119   Broods like the day, a master o'er a slave,
120   A Presence which is not to be put by;
121   Thou little child, yet glorious in the might
122   Of heaven-born freedom on thy being's height,
123   Why with such earnest pains dost thou provoke
124   The years to bring the inevitable yoke,
125   Thus blindly with thy blessedness at strife?
126   Full soon thy soul shall have her earthly freight,
127   And custom lie upon thee with a weight
128   Heavy as frost, and deep almost as life!

129         O joy! that in our embers
130         Is something that doth live,
131         That Nature yet remembers
132         What was so fugitive!
133   The thought of our past years in me doth breed
134   Perpetual benediction: not indeed
135   For that which is most worthy to be blest,
136   Delight and liberty, the simple creed
137   Of Childhood, whether busy or at rest,
138   With new-fledged hope still fluttering in his breast:---
139         ---Not for these I raise
140         The song of thanks and praise;
141      But for those obstinate questionings

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142      Of sense and outward things,
143      Fallings from us, vanishings;
144      Blank misgivings of a creature
145   Moving about in worlds not realized,
146   High instincts, before which our mortal nature
147   Did tremble like a guilty thing surprized:
148      But for those first affections,
149      Those shadowy recollections,
150         Which, be they what they may,
151   Are yet the fountain-light of all our day,
152   Are yet a master-light of all our seeing;
153      Uphold us, cherish, and have power to make
154   Our noisy years seem moments in the being
155   Of the eternal Silence: truths that wake,
156            To perish never;
157   Which neither listlessness, nor mad endeavour,
158            Nor man nor boy
159   Nor all that is at enmity with joy,
160   Can utterly abolish or destroy!
161      Hence, in a season of calm weather
162         Though inland far we be,
163   Our souls have sight of that immortal sea
164            Which brought us hither;
165         Can in a moment travel thither---
166   And see the children sport upon the shore,
167   And hear the mighty waters rolling evermore.

168   Then, sing ye birds, sing, sing a joyous song!
169         And let the young lambs bound
170         As to the tabor's sound!
171      We, in thought, will join your throng
172         Ye that pipe and ye that play,
173         Ye that through your hearts to-day
174         Feel the gladness of the May!
175   What though the radiance which was once so bright
176   Be now for ever taken from my sight,
177      Though nothing can bring back the hour
178   Of splendour in the grass, of glory in the flower;
179         We will grieve not, rather find
180         Strength in what remains behind;
181         In the primal sympathy
182         Which having been must ever be;

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183         In the soothing thoughts that spring
184         Out of human suffering;
185         In the faith that looks through death,
186   In years that bring the philosophic mind.

187   And O, ye Fountains, Meadows, Hills, and Groves,
188   Forbode not any severing of our loves!
189   Yet in my heart of hearts I feel your might;
190   I only have relinquish'd one delight
191   To live beneath your more habitual sway:
192   I love the brooks which down their channels fret
193   Even more than when I tripp'd lightly as they;
194   The innocent brightness of a new-born day Is lovely yet;
195   The clouds that gather round the setting sun
196   Do take a sober colouring from an eye
197   That hath kept watch o'er man's mortality;
198   Another race hath been, and other palms are won.
199   Thanks to the human heart by which we live,
200   Thanks to its tenderness, its joys, and fears,
201   To me the meanest flower that blows can give
202   Thoughts that do often lie too deep for tears.

 

--[from Miscellanies and Collections, 1750-1900: The Golden Treasury (1891-1897) ]

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