Much the greatest part of this poem was composed during my walks
upon the banks of the Loire in the years 1791, 1792. I will only
notice that the description of the valley filled with mist,
beginning--"In solemn shapes," was taken from that beautiful
region of which the principal features are Lungarn and Sarnen.
Nothing that I ever saw in nature left a more delightful
impression on my mind than that which I have attempted, alas! how
feebly, to convey to others in these lines. Those two lakes have
always interested me especially, from bearing, in their size and
other features, a resemblance to those of the North of England. It
is much to be deplored that a district so beautiful should be so
unhealthy as it is.
THE REV. ROBERT JONES,
FELLOW OF ST. JOHN'S COLLEGE, CAMBRIDGE.
However desirous I might have been of giving you proofs of
the high place you hold in my esteem, I should have been cautious
of wounding your delicacy by thus publicly addressing you, had not
the circumstance of our having been companions among the Alps,
seemed to give this dedication a propriety sufficient to do away
any scruples which your modesty might otherwise have suggested.
In inscribing this little work to you, I consult my heart. You
know well how great is the difference between two companions
lolling in a post-chaise, and two travellers plodding slowly along
the road, side by side, each with his little knapsack of
necessaries upon his shoulders. How much more of heart between the
I am happy in being conscious that I shall have one reader who
will approach the conclusion of these few pages with regret. You
they must certainly interest, in reminding you of moments to which
you can hardly look back without a pleasure not the less dear from
a shade of melancholy. You will meet with few images without
recollecting the spot where we observed them together;
consequently, whatever is feeble in my design, or spiritless in my
colouring, will be amply supplied by your own memory.
With still greater propriety I might have inscribed to you a
description of some of the features of your native mountains,
through which we have wandered together, in the same manner, with
so much pleasure. But the sea-sunsets, which give such splendour
to the vale of Clwyd, Snowdon, the chair of Idris, the quiet
village of Bethgelert, Menai and her Druids, the Alpine steeps of
the Conway, and the still more interesting windings of the wizard
stream of the Dee, remain yet untouched. Apprehensive that my
pencil may never be exercised on these subjects, I cannot let slip
this opportunity of thus publicly assuring you with how much
affection and esteem
- I am, dear Sir,
- Most sincerely yours,
- W. WORDSWORTH.
- London, 1793.
Happiness (if she had been to be found on earth) among the charms of Nature--Pleasures of the pedestrian Traveller--Author crosses France to the Alps--Present state of the Grande Chartreuse--Lake of Como--Time, Sunset--Same Scene, Twilight---Same Scene, Morning; its voluptuous Character; Old man and forest-cottage music--River Tusa--Via Mala and Grison Gipsy--Sckellenen-thal--Lake of Uri--Stormy sunset--Chapel of William Tell--Force of local emotion--Chamois-chaser--View of the higher Alps--Manner of life of a Swiss mountaineer, interspersed with views of the higher Alps--Golden age of the Alps--Life and views continued--Ranz des Vaches, famous Swiss Air--Abbey of Einsiedlen and its pilgrims--Valley of Chamouny--Mont Blanc--Slavery of Savoy--Influence of liberty on cottage-happiness--France--Wish for the Extirpation of slavery--Conclusion.