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
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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