Verse > William Wordsworth > Complete Poetical Works


          HOPE rules a land for ever green:
          All powers that serve the bright-eyed Queen
              Are confident and gay;
          Clouds at her bidding disappear;
          Points she to aught?--the bliss draws near,
              And Fancy smooths the way.

          Not such the land of Wishes--there
          Dwell fruitless day-dreams, lawless prayer,
              And thoughts with things at strife;
          Yet how forlorn, should 'ye' depart                         10
          Ye superstitions of the 'heart',
              How poor, were human life!

          When magic lore abjured its might,
          Ye did not forfeit one dear right,
              One tender claim abate;
          Witness this symbol of your sway,
          Surviving near the public way,
              The rustic Wishing-gate!

          Inquire not if the faery race
          Shed kindly influence on the place,                         20
              Ere northward they retired;
          If here a warrior left a spell,
          Panting for glory as he fell;
              Or here a saint expired.

          Enough that all around is fair,
          Composed with Nature's finest care,
              And in her fondest love--
          Peace to embosom and content--
          To overawe the turbulent,
              The selfish to reprove.                                 30

          Yea! even the Stranger from afar,
          Reclining on this moss-grown bar,
              Unknowing, and unknown,
          The infection of the ground partakes,
          Longing for his Beloved--who makes
              All happiness her own.

          Then why should conscious Spirits fear
          The mystic stirrings that are here,
              The ancient faith disclaim?
          The local Genius ne'er befriends                            40
          Desires whose course in folly ends,
              Whose just reward is shame.

          Smile if thou wilt, but not in scorn,
          If some, by ceaseless pains outworn,
              Here crave an easier lot;
          If some have thirsted to renew
          A broken vow, or bind a true,
              With firmer, holier knot.

          And not in vain, when thoughts are cast
          Upon the irrevocable past,                                  50
              Some Penitent sincere
          May for a worthier future sigh,
          While trickles from his downcast eye
              No unavailing tear.

          The Worldling, pining to be freed
          From turmoil, who would turn or speed
              The current of his fate,
          Might stop before this favoured scene,
          At Nature's call, nor blush to lean
              Upon the Wishing-gate.                                  60

          The Sage, who feels how blind, how weak
          Is man, though loth such help to 'seek',
              Yet, passing, here might pause,
          And thirst for insight to allay
          Misgiving, while the crimson day
              In quietness withdraws;

          Or when the church-clock's knell profound
          To Time's first step across the bound
              Of midnight makes reply;
          Time pressing on with starry crest,                         70
          To filial sleep upon the breast
              Of dread eternity.



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