And in the light of truth thy bondman let me live!
Note 1. It has seemed better to select from Wordsworth the earlier and more general religious poems, which are certainly poetical, rather than the later and more dogmatic, such as, The Primrose of the Rock, Inscriptions in a Hermits Cell, or some of the Ecclesiastical sonnets. From the great Ode it seemed allowable to extract the two parts which form its pith. The editor may be pardoned for pointing out to his younger readers that the opening lines of Childhood and Age are to be paraphrased: O, joy that there is still some life in our embers, namely, the remembrance of the departed glory. In explanation of the passage that follows, Wordsworth himself may be heard: Nothing was more difficult for me in childhood than to admit the notion of death as a state applicable to my own being. It was not so much from feelings of animal vivacity that my difficulty came, as from a sense of the indomitableness of the Spirit within me. I used to brood over the stories of Enoch and Elijah, and almost to persuade myself that, whatever might become of others, I should be translated in something of the same way to heaven. With a feeling congenial to this, I was often unable to think of external things as having external existence, and I communed with all that I saw, as something not apart from, but inherent in, my own immaterial nature. Many times while going to school have I grasped at a wall or tree to recall myself from this abyss of idealism to the reality. At that time I was afraid of such processes. In later periods of life I have deplored, as we have all reason to do, a subjugation of an opposite character, and have rejoiced over the remembrances, as is expressed in the lines
It will be understood that the two buts in the lines But for those obstinate questionings and But for those first affections are co-ordinate, both depending on the Not for these I raise which, considering the line above, for that which is most worthy to be blest, we may be bold to construe Not only for these I raise. [back]