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Or the night's darkness, or its cheerful face
Of beauty, by the changing moon adorned,
Would, with imperious admonition, then
Have scored thine age, and punctually timed
Thine infant history, on the minds of those
Who might have wandered with thee. — Mother's
Nor less than mother's love in other breasts,
Will, among us warm-clad and warmly housed,
Do for thee what the finger of the heavens
Doth all too often harshly execute
For thy unblest coevals, amid wilds
Where fancy has small liberty to grace
The affections, to exalt them or refine ;
And the maternal sympathy itself,
Though strong, is, in the main, a joyless tie
Of naked instinct, wound about the heart.
Happier, far happier, is thy lot and ours !
Even now — to solemnize thy helpless state,
And to enliven in the mind's regard
Thy passive beauty - parallels have risen,
Resemblances, or contrasts, that connect,
Within the region of a father's thoughts,
Thee and thy mate and sister of the sky.
And first ; — thy sinless progress, through a world
By sorrow darkened and by care disturbed,
Apt likeness bears to hers, through gathered clouds,
Moving untouched in silver purity,
And cheering ofttimes their reluctant gloom.
Fair are ye both, and both are free from stain :
But thou, how leisurely thou fill'st thy horn
With brightness ! leaving her to post along,
And range about, disquieted in change,
And still impatient of the shape she wears.
Once up, once down the hill, one journey, Babe,
That will suffice thee; and it seems that now
Thou hast foreknowledge that such task is thine;
Thou travellest so contentedly, and sleep'st
In such heedless peace. Alas! full soon
Hath this conception, grateful to behold,
Changed countenance, like an object sullied o'er
By breathing mist; and thine appears to be
A mournful labor, while to her is given
Hope, and a renovation without end.
- That smile forbids the thought; for on thy face
Smiles are beginning, like the beams of dawn,
To shoot and circulate; smiles have there been
Tranquil assurances that Heaven supports
The feeble motions of thy life, and cheers
Thy loneliness : or shall those smiles be called
Feelers of love, put forth as if to explore
This untried world, and to prepare thy way
Through a strait passage intricate and dim ?
Such are they; and the same are tokens, signs,
Which, when the appointed season hath arrived,
Joy, as her holiest language, shall adopt ;
And Reason’s godlike Power be proud to own.
“In Cairo's crowded streets
The impatient Merchant, wondering, waits in vain,
And Mecca saddens at the long delay.”
MY DEAR FRIEND:WHEN I sent you, a few weeks ago, the Tale of Peter Bell, you asked why THE WAGONER was not added. — To say the truth, — from the higher tone of imagination, and the deeper touches of passion aimed at in the former, I apprehended this little Piece could not accompany it without disadvantage. In the year 1806, if I am not mistaken, THE WAGONER was read to you in manuscript, and, as you have remembered it for so long a time, I am the more encouraged to hope, that, since the localities on which the Poem partly depends did not prevent its being interesting to you, it may prove acceptable to others. Being therefore in some measure the cause of its present appearance, you must allow me the gratification of inscribing it to you; in acknowledgment of the pleasure I have derived from your Writings, and of the high esteem with which
I am very truly yours,
WILLIAM WORDSWORTH. RYDAL MOUNT, May 20, 1819.
CANTO FIRST. 'T is spent, — this burning day of June ! Soft darkness o'er its latest gleams is stealing; The buzzing dor-hawk, round and round, is
That solitary bird
Is all that can be heard
In silence deeper far than that of deepest noon!
Confiding Glowworms, 't is a night Propitious to your earth-born light! But, where the scattered stars are seen In hazy straits the clouds between, Each, in his station twinkling not, Seems changed into a pallid spot. The mountains against heaven's grave weight Rise up, and grow to wondrous height. The air, as in a lion's den, Is close and hot; — and now and then Comes a tired and sultry breeze, With a haunting and a panting, Like the stifling of disease ; But the dews allay the heat, And the silence makes it sweet.
Hush, there is some one on the stir!
'T is Benjamin the Wagoner;
Who long hath trod this toilsome way,
Companion of the night and day.
That far-off tinkling's drowsy cheer,
Mixed with a faint yet grating sound
In a moment lost and found,
The Wain announces, — by whose side
Along the banks of Rydal Mere
He paces on, a trusty Guide.
Listen ! you can scarcely hear !
Hither he his course is bending ;-
Now he leaves the lower ground,
And, up the craggy hill ascending,
Many a stop and stay he makes,
Many a breathing-fit he takes; —
Steep the way and wearisome,
Yet all the while his whip is dumb!
The Horses have worked with right good-will, And so have gained the top of the hill ; He was patient, they were strong, And now they smoothly glide along, Recovering breath, and pleased to win The praises of mild Benjamin. Heaven shield him from mishap and snare! But why so early with this prayer ? Is it for threatenings in the sky ? Or for some other danger nigh? No; none is near him yet, though he Be one of much infirmity; For at the bottom of the brow, Where once the Dove and OLIVE-BOUGH Offered a greeting of good ale To all who entered Grasmere Vale, And called on him who must depart To leave it with a jovial heart, — There, where the Dove and OLIVE-BOUGH Once hung, a Poet harbors now, A simple water-drinking Bard ;