Verse > William Wordsworth > Complete Poetical Works
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OCTOBER 1803

          WHEN, looking on the present face of things,
          I see one Man, of men the meanest too!
          Raised up to sway the world, to do, undo,
          With mighty Nations for his underlings,
          The great events with which old story rings
          Seem vain and hollow; I find nothing great:
          Nothing is left which I can venerate;
          So that a doubt almost within me springs
          Of Providence, such emptiness at length
          Seems at the heart of all things. But, great God!           10
          I measure back the steps which I have trod:
          And tremble, seeing whence proceeds the strength
          Of such poor Instruments, with thoughts sublime
          I tremble at the sorrow of the time.


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