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John Bartlett (1820–1905).  Familiar Quotations, 10th ed.  1919.
 
Page 483
 
 
William Wordsworth. (1770–1850) (continued)
 
5078
    Sad fancies do we then affect,
In luxury of disrespect
To our own prodigal excess
Of too familiar happiness.
          Ode to Lycoris.
5079
    That kill the bloom before its time,
And blanch, without the owner’s crime,
The most resplendent hair.
          Lament of Mary Queen of Scots.
5080
    The sightless Milton, with his hair
Around his placid temples curled;
And Shakespeare at his side,—a freight,
If clay could think and mind were weight,
For him who bore the world!
          The Italian Itinerant.
5081
    Meek Nature’s evening comment on the shows
That for oblivion take their daily birth
From all the fuming vanities of earth.
          Sky-Prospect from the Plain of France.
5082
    Turning, for them who pass, the common dust
Of servile opportunity to gold.
          Desultory Stanza.
5083
    Babylon,
Learned and wise, hath perished utterly,
Nor leaves her speech one word to aid the sigh
That would lament her.
          Ecclesiastical Sonnets. Part i. xxv.Missions and Travels.
5084
    As thou these ashes, little brook, wilt bear
Into the Avon, Avon to the tide
Of Severn, Severn to the narrow seas,
Into main ocean they, this deed accursed
An emblem yields to friends and enemies
How the bold teacher’s doctrine, sanctified
By truth, shall spread, throughout the world dispersed. 1
          Ecclesiastical Sonnets. Part ii. xvii.To Wickliffe.
 
Note 1.
In obedience to the order of the Council of Constance (1415), the remains of Wickliffe were exhumed and burned to ashes, and these cast into the Swift, a neighbouring brook running hard by; and “thus this brook hath conveyed his ashes into Avon, Avon into Severn, Severn into the narrow seas, they into the main ocean. And thus the ashes of Wickliffe are the emblem of his doctrine, which now is dispersed all the world over.”—Thomas Fuller: Church History, sect. ii. book iv. paragraph 53.

What Heraclitus would not laugh, or what Democritus would not weep?… For though they digged up his body, burned his bones, and drowned his ashes, yet the word of God and truth of his doctrine, with the fruit and success thereof, they could not burn.—Fox: Book of Martyrs, vol. i. p. 606 (edition, 1611).

“Some prophet of that day said,—
“‘The Avon to the Severn runs,
The Severn to the sea;
And Wickliffe’s dust shall spread abroad
Wide as the waters be.’”
Daniel Webster: Address before the Sons of New Hampshire, 1849.

These lines are similarly quoted by the Rev. John Cumming in the “Voices of the Dead.” [back]
 

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