William Wordsworth

L I N E S

WRITTEN A FEW MILES ABOVE

TINTERN ABBEY,
ON REVISITING THE BANKS OF THE WYE DURING

A TOUR,

July 13, 1798.


1   Five years have past; five summers, with the length
2   Of five long winters! and again I hear
3   These waters, rolling from their mountain-springs
4   With a soft inland murmur 1 .---Once again
5   Do I behold these steep and lofty cliffs,
6   That on a wild secluded scene impress
7   Thoughts of more deep seclusion; and connect
8   The landscape with the quiet of the sky.
9   The day is come when I again repose
10   Here, under this dark sycamore, and view
11   These plots of cottage-ground, these orchard-tufts,
12   Which at this season, with their unripe fruits,
13   Are clad in one green hue, and lose themselves
14   'Mid groves and copses. Once again I see
15   These hedge-rows, hardly hedge-rows, little lines
16   Of sportive wood run wild: these pastoral farms,
17   Green to the very door; and wreaths of smoke
18   Sent up, in silence, from among the trees!
19   With some uncertain notice, as might seem
20   Of vagrant dwellers in the houseless woods,
21   Or of some Hermit's cave, where by his fire
22   The Hermit sits alone.

22                                             These beauteous forms,
23   Through a long absence, have not been to me
24   As is a landscape to a blind man's eye:
25   But oft, in lonely rooms, and 'mid the din

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26   Of towns and cities, I have owed to them
27   In hours of weariness, sensations sweet,
28   Felt in the blood, and felt along the heart;
29   And passing even into my purer mind,
30   With tranquil restoration:---feelings too
31   Of unremembered pleasure: such, perhaps,
32   As have no slight or trivial influence
33   On that best portion of a good man's life,
34   His little, nameless, unremembered, acts
35   Of kindness and of love. Nor less, I trust,
36   To them I may have owed another gift,
37   Of aspect more sublime; that blessed mood,
38   In which the burthen of the mystery,
39   In which the heavy and the weary weight
40   Of all this unintelligible world,
41   Is lightened:---that serene and blessed mood,
42   In which the affections gently lead us on,---
43   Until, the breath of this corporeal frame
44   And even the motion of our human blood
45   Almost suspended, we are laid asleep
46   In body, and become a living soul:
47   While with an eye made quiet by the power
48   Of harmony, and the deep power of joy,
49   We see into the life of things.

49                                             If this
50   Be but a vain belief, yet, oh! how oft---
51   In darkness and amid the many shapes
52   Of joyless daylight; when the fretful stir
53   Unprofitable, and the fever of the world,
54   Have hung upon the beatings of my heart---
55   How oft, in spirit, have I turned to thee,
56   O sylvan Wye! thou wanderer thro' the woods,
57   How often has my spirit turned to thee!

58   And now, with gleams of half-extinguished thought,
59   With many recognitions dim and faint,
60   And somewhat of a sad perplexity,

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61   The picture of the mind revives again:
62   While here I stand, not only with the sense
63   Of present pleasure, but with pleasing thoughts
64   That in this moment there is life and food
65   For future years. And so I dare to hope,
66   Though changed, no doubt, from what I was when first
67   I came among these hills; when like a roe
68   I bounded o'er the mountains, by the sides
69   Of the deep rivers, and the lonely streams,
70   Wherever nature led: more like a man
71   Flying from something that he dreads, than one
72   Who sought the thing he loved. For nature then
73   (The coarser pleasures of my boyish days,
74   And their glad animal movements all gone by)
75   To me was all in all.---I cannot paint
76   What then I was. The sounding cataract
77   Haunted me like a passion: the tall rock,
78   The mountain, and the deep and gloomy wood,
79   Their colours and their forms, were then to me
80   An appetite; a feeling and a love,
81   That had no need of a remoter charm,
82   By thought supplied, nor any interest
83   Unborrowed from the eye.---That time is past,
84   And all its aching joys are now no more,
85   And all its dizzy raptures. Not for this
86   Faint I, nor mourn nor murmur; other gifts
87   Have followed; for such loss, I would believe,
88   Abundant recompence. For I have learned
89   To look on nature, not as in the hour
90   Of thoughtless youth; but hearing oftentimes
91   The still, sad music of humanity,
92   Nor harsh nor grating, though of ample power
93   To chasten and subdue. And I have felt
94   A presence that disturbs me with the joy
95   Of elevated thoughts; a sense sublime
96   Of something far more deeply interfused,
97   Whose dwelling is the light of setting suns,

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98   And the round ocean and the living air,
99   And the blue sky, and in the mind of man:
100   A motion and a spirit, that impels
101   All thinking things, all objects of all thought,
102   And rolls through all things. Therefore am I still
103   A lover of the meadows and the woods,
104   And mountains; and of all that we behold
105   From this green earth; of all the mighty world
106   Of eye, and ear,---both what they half create 2 ,
107   And what perceive; well pleased to recognise
108   In nature and the language of the sense,
109   The anchor of my purest thoughts, the nurse,
110   The guide, the guardian of my heart, and soul
111   Of all my moral being.

111                                             Nor perchance,
112   If I were not thus taught, should I the more
113   Suffer my genial spirits to decay:
114   For thou art with me here upon the banks
115   Of this fair river; thou my dearest Friend,
116   My dear, dear Friend; and in thy voice I catch
117   The language of my former heart, and read
118   My former pleasures in the shooting lights
119   Of thy wild eyes. Oh! yet a little while
120   May I behold in thee what I was once,
121   My dear, dear Sister! and this prayer I make,
122   Knowing that Nature never did betray
123   The heart that loved her; 'tis her privilege,
124   Through all the years of this our life, to lead
125   From joy to joy: for she can so inform
126   The mind that is within us, so impress
127   With quietness and beauty, and so feed
128   With lofty thoughts, that neither evil tongues,
129   Rash judgments, nor the sneers of selfish men,
130   Nor greetings where no kindness is, nor all
131   The dreary intercourse of daily life,
132   Shall e'er prevail against us, or disturb

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133   Our cheerful faith, that all which we behold
134   Is full of blessings. Therefore let the moon
135   Shine on thee in thy solitary walk;
136   And let the misty mountain-winds be free
137   To blow against thee: and, in after years,
138   When these wild ecstasies shall be matured
139   Into a sober pleasure; when thy mind
140   Shall be a mansion for all lovely forms,
141   Thy memory be as a dwelling-place
142   For all sweet sounds and harmonies; oh! then,
143   If solitude, or fear, or pain, or grief,
144   Should be thy portion, with what healing thoughts
145   Of tender joy wilt thou remember me,
146   And these my exhortations! Nor, perchance---
147   If I should be where I no more can hear
148   Thy voice, nor catch from thy wild eyes these gleams
149   Of past existence---wilt thou then forget
150   That on the banks of this delightful stream
151   We stood together; and that I, so long
152   A worshipper of Nature, hither came
153   Unwearied in that service: rather say
154   With warmer love---oh! with far deeper zeal
155   Of holier love. Nor wilt thou then forget,
156   That after many wanderings, many years
157   Of absence, these steep woods and lofty cliffs,
158   And this green pastoral landscape, were to me
159   More dear, both for themselves and for thy sake!

1798.



 



NOTES

^ [Footnote 1
The river is not affected by the tides a few miles above Tintern.

^ [Footnote 2
This line has a close resemblance to an admirable line of Young's, the exact expression of which I do not recollect.

source:

http://collections.chadwyck.com.www.lib.ncsu.edu:2048/searchFulltext.do?id=Z300542993&divLevel=3&queryId=../session/1230657137_28803&trailId=11DEE62E231&area=e_poetry&forward=textsFT&warn=Yes&size=10Kb

Facsimile of 1798 edition of Lyrical Ballads

http://etc.dal.ca/lballads/London98/frames.html