William Wordsworth

Transcript

1 THE TABLES TURNED William Wordsworth AN EVENING SCENE ON THE SAME SUBJECT EXPOSTULATION AND REPLY UP! up! my Friend, and quit your books; "WHY, William, on that old grey stone, Or surely you'll grow double: Thus for the length of half a day, Up! up! my Friend, and clear your looks; Why, William, sit you thus alone, Why all this toil and trouble? And dream your time away? The sun, above the mountain's head, "Where are your books?--that light bequeathed A freshening lustre mellow To Beings else forlorn and blind! Through all the long green fields has spread, Up! up! and drink the spirit breathed His first sweet evening yellow. From dead men to their kind. Books! 'tis a dull and endless strife: "You look round on your Mother Earth, Come, hear the woodland linnet, As if she for no purpose bore you; How sweet his music! on my life, As if you were her first-born birth, There's more of wisdom in it. And none had lived before you!" And hark! how blithe the throstle sings! One morning thus, by Esthwaite lake, He, too, is no mean preacher: When life was sweet, I knew not why, Come forth into the light of things, To me my good friend Matthew spake, Let Nature be your teacher. And thus I made reply: She has a world of ready wealth, "The eye--it cannot choose but see; Our minds and hearts to bless-- We cannot bid the ear be still; Spontaneous wisdom breathed by health, Our bodies feel, where'er they be, Truth breathed by cheerfulness. Against or with our will. One impulse from a vernal wood "Nor less I deem that there are Powers May teach you more of man, Which of themselves our minds impress; Of moral evil and of good, That we can feed this mind of ours Than all the sages can. In a wise passiveness. Sweet is the lore which Nature brings; "Think you, 'mid all this mighty sum Our meddling intellect Of things for ever speaking, Mis-shapes the beauteous forms of things:-- That nothing of itself will come, We murder to dissect. But we must still be seeking? Enough of Science and of Art; "--Then ask not wherefore, here, alone, Close up those barren leaves; Conversing as I may, Come forth, and bring with you a heart I sit upon this old grey stone, That watches and receives. And dream my time away," 1

2 LINES Of aspect more sublime; that blessed mood, COMPOSED A FEW MILES ABOVE TINTERN ABBEY, ON REVISITING THE In which the burthen of the mystery, BANKS OF THE WYE DURING A TOUR. In which the heavy and the weary weight JULY 13, 1798 Of all this unintelligible world, Is lightened:--that serene and blessed mood, FIVE years have past; five summers, with the In which the affections gently lead us on,-- length Until, the breath of this corporeal frame Of five long winters! and again I hear And even the motion of our human blood These waters, rolling from their mountain- springs Almost suspended, we are laid asleep With a soft inland murmur.--Once again In body, and become a living soul: Do I behold these steep and lofty cliffs, While with an eye made quiet by the power That on a wild secluded scene impress Of harmony, and the deep power of joy, Thoughts of more deep seclusion; and connect We see into the life of things. The landscape with the quiet of the sky. If this The day is come when I again repose Be but a vain belief, yet, oh! how oft-- Here, under this dark sycamore, and view In darkness and amid the many shapes These plots of cottage-ground, these orchard- Of joyless daylight; when the fretful stir tufts, Unprofitable, and the fever of the world, Which at this season, with their unripe fruits, Have hung upon the beatings of my heart-- Are clad in one green hue, and lose themselves How oft, in spirit, have I turned to thee, 'Mid groves and copses. Once again I see O sylvan Wye! thou wanderer thro' the woods, These hedge-rows, hardly hedge-rows, little How often has my spirit turned to thee! lines And now, with gleams of half-extinguished Of sportive wood run wild: these pastoral farms, thought, Green to the very door; and wreaths of smoke With many recognitions dim and faint, Sent up, in silence, from among the trees! And somewhat of a sad perplexity, With some uncertain notice, as might seem The picture of the mind revives again: Of vagrant dwellers in the houseless woods, While here I stand, not only with the sense Or of some Hermit's cave, where by his fire Of present pleasure, but with pleasing thoughts The Hermit sits alone. That in this moment there is life and food These beauteous forms, For future years. And so I dare to hope, Through a long absence, have not been to me Though changed, no doubt, from what I was As is a landscape to a blind man's eye: when first But oft, in lonely rooms, and 'mid the din I came among these hills; when like a roe Of towns and cities, I have owed to them I bounded o'er the mountains, by the sides In hours of weariness, sensations sweet, Of the deep rivers, and the lonely streams, Felt in the blood, and felt along the heart; Wherever nature led: more like a man And passing even into my purer mind, Flying from something that he dreads, than one With tranquil restoration:--feelings too Who sought the thing he loved. For nature then Of unremembered pleasure: such, perhaps, (The coarser pleasures of my boyish days, As have no slight or trivial influence And their glad animal movements all gone by) On that best portion of a good man's life, To me was all in all.--I cannot paint His little, nameless, unremembered, acts What then I was. The sounding cataract Of kindness and of love. Nor less, I trust, Haunted me like a passion: the tall rock, To them I may have owed another gift, The mountain, and the deep and gloomy wood, 2

3 Knowing that Nature never did betray Their colours and their forms, were then to me The heart that loved her; 'tis her privilege, An appetite; a feeling and a love, Through all the years of this our life, to lead That had no need of a remoter charm, From joy to joy: for she can so inform By thought supplied, nor any interest Unborrowed from the eye.--That time is past, The mind that is within us, so impress And all its aching joys are now no more, With quietness and beauty, and so feed And all its dizzy raptures. Not for this With lofty thoughts, that neither evil tongues, Rash judgments, nor the sneers of selfish men, Faint I, nor mourn nor murmur, other gifts Have followed; for such loss, I would believe, Nor greetings where no kindness is, nor all Abundant recompence. For I have learned The dreary intercourse of daily life, To look on nature, not as in the hour Shall e'er prevail against us, or disturb Of thoughtless youth; but hearing oftentimes Our cheerful faith, that all which we behold The still, sad music of humanity, Is full of blessings. Therefore let the moon Shine on thee in thy solitary walk; Nor harsh nor grating, though of ample power And let the misty mountain-winds be free To chasten and subdue. And I have felt To blow against thee: and, in after years, A presence that disturbs me with the joy When these wild ecstasies shall be matured Of elevated thoughts; a sense sublime Of something far more deeply interfused, Into a sober pleasure; when thy mind Shall be a mansion for all lovely forms, Whose dwelling is the light of setting suns, Thy memory be as a dwelling-place And the round ocean and the living air, For all sweet sounds and harmonies; oh! then, And the blue sky, and in the mind of man; If solitude, or fear, or pain, or grief, A motion and a spirit, that impels Should be thy portion, with what healing All thinking things, all objects of all thought, thoughts And rolls through all things. Therefore am I still Of tender joy wilt thou remember me, A lover of the meadows and the woods, And these my exhortations! Nor, perchance-- And mountains; and of all that we behold If I should be where I no more can hear From this green earth; of all the mighty world Thy voice, nor catch from thy wild eyes these Of eye, and ear,--both what they half create, gleams And what perceive; well pleased to recognise Of past existence--wilt thou then forget In nature and the language of the sense, That on the banks of this delightful stream The anchor of my purest thoughts, the nurse, We stood together; and that I, so long The guide, the guardian of my heart, and soul A worshipper of Nature, hither came Of all my moral being. Unwearied in that service: rather say Nor perchance, With warmer love--oh! with far deeper zeal If I were not thus taught, should I the more Of holier love. Nor wilt thou then forget, Suffer my genial spirits to decay: That after many wanderings, many years For thou art with me here upon the banks Of absence, these steep woods and lofty cliffs, Of this fair river; thou my dearest Friend, And this green pastoral landscape, were to me My dear, dear Friend; and in thy voice I catch More dear, both for themselves and for thy sake! The language of my former heart, and read My former pleasures in the shooting lights 1798. Of thy wild eyes. Oh! yet a little while May I behold in thee what I was once, My dear, dear Sister! and this prayer I make, 3

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