Verse > Anthologies > Ralph Waldo Emerson, ed. > Parnassus: An Anthology of Poetry
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Ralph Waldo Emerson, comp. (1803–1882).  Parnassus: An Anthology of Poetry.  1880.
 
The Pass of Kirkstone
By William Wordsworth (1770–1850)
 
(See full text.)

I.
WITHIN the mind strong fancies work,
A deep delight the bosom thrills,
Oft as I pass along the fork
Of these fraternal hills,
Where, save the rugged road, we find        5
No appanage of human kind,
Nor hint of man; if stone or rock
Seem not his handiwork to mock
By something cognizably shaped;
Mockery, or model roughly hewn,        10
And left as if by earthquake strewn,
Or from the flood escaped:
Altars for Druid service fit;
(But where no fire was ever lit,
Unless the glow-worm to the skies        15
Thence offer nightly sacrifice,)
Wrinkled Egyptian monument;
Green moss-grown tower; or hoary tent;
Tents of a camp that never shall be raised—
On which four thousand years have gazed!        20
 
II.
Ye ploughshares sparkling on the slopes!
Ye snow-white lambs that trip
Imprisoned ’mid the formal props
Of restless ownership!
Ye trees, that may to-morrow fall        25
To feed the insatiate prodigal!
Lawns, houses, chattels, groves, and fields,
All that the fertile valley shields;
Wages of folly, baits of crime,
Of life’s uneasy game the stake,        30
Playthings that keep the eyes awake
Of drowsy, dotard Time,—
O care! O guilt! O vales and plains,
Here, ’mid his own unvexed domains,
A genius dwells, that can subdue        35
At once all memory of You,—
Most potent when mists veil the sky,—
Mists that distort and magnify;
While the coarse rushes to the sweeping breeze
Sigh forth their ancient melodies!        40
 
III.
List to those shriller notes! that march
Perchance was on the blast,
When, through this height’s inverted arch,
Rome’s earliest legion passed!
They saw, adventurously impelled,        45
And older eyes than theirs beheld,
This block, and yon, whose church-like frame
Gives to this savage pass its name.
Aspiring Road! that lov’st to hide
Thy daring in a vapory bourn,        50
Not seldom may the hour return
When thou shalt be my guide.
 
 
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