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   English Poetry II: From Collins to Fitzgerald.
The Harvard Classics.  1909–14.
 
395. Lucy
 
William Wordsworth (1770–1850)
 
 
I

STRANGE fits of passion have I known:
  And I will dare to tell,
But in the lover’s ear alone,
  What once to me befell.
 
When she I loved look’d every day        5
  Fresh as a rose in June,
I to her cottage bent my way,
  Beneath an evening moon.
 
Upon the moon I fix’d my eye,
  All over the wide lea;        10
With quickening pace my horse drew nigh
  Those paths so dear to me.
 
And now we reach’d the orchard-plot;
  And, as we climb’d the hill,
The sinking moon to Lucy’s cot        15
  Came near and nearer still.
 
In one of those sweet dreams I slept,
  Kind Nature’s gentlest boon!
And all the while my eyes I kept
  On the descending moon.        20
 
My horse moved on; hoof after hoof
  He raised, and never stopp’d:
When down behind the cottage roof,
  At once, the bright moon dropp’d.
 
What fond and wayward thoughts will slide        25
  Into a lover’s head!
‘O mercy!’ to myself I cried,
  ‘If Lucy should be dead!’
 
II

She dwelt among the untrodden ways
  Beside the springs of Dove;        30
A maid whom there were none to praise,
  And very few to love.
 
A violet by a mossy stone
  Half-hidden from the eye!
—Fair as a star, when only one        35
  Is shining in the sky.
 
She lived unknown, and few could know
  When Lucy ceased to be;
But she is in her grave, and, O!
  The difference to me!        40
 
III

I travell’d among unknown men
  In lands beyond the sea;
Nor, England! did I know till then
  What love I bore to thee.
 
’Tis past, that melancholy dream!        45
  Nor will I quit thy shore
A second time, for still I seem
  To love thee more and more.
 
Among thy mountains did I feel
  The joy of my desire;        50
And she I cherish’d turn’d her wheel
  Beside an English fire.
 
Thy mornings show’d, thy nights conceal’d
  The bowers where Lucy play’d;
And thine too is the last green field        55
  That Lucy’s eyes survey’d.
 
IV

Three years she grew in sun and shower;
Then Nature said, ‘A lovelier flower
On earth was never sown:
This child I to myself will take;        60
She shall be mine, and I will make
A lady of my own.
 
‘Myself will to my darling be
Both law and impulse: and with me
The girl, in rock and plain,        65
In earth and heaven, in glade and bower,
Shall feel an overseeing power
To kindle or restrain.
 
‘She shall be sportive as the fawn
That wild with glee across the lawn        70
Or up the mountain springs;
And her’s shall be the breathing balm,
And her’s the silence and the calm
Of mute insensate things.
 
‘The floating clouds their state shall lend        75
To her; for her the willow bend;
Nor shall she fail to see
E’en in the motions of the storm
Grace that shall mould the maiden’s form
By silent sympathy.        80
 
‘The stars of midnight shall be dear
To her; and she shall lean her ear
In many a secret place
Where rivulets dance their wayward round,
And beauty born of murmuring sound        85
Shall pass into her face.
 
‘And vital feelings of delight
Shall rear her form to stately height,
Her virgin bosom swell;
Such thoughts to Lucy I will give        90
Where she and I together live
Here in this happy dell.’
 
Thus Nature spake—The work was done—
How soon my Lucy’s race was run!
She died, and left to me        95
This heath, this calm and quiet scene;
The memory of what has been,
And never more will be.
 
V

A slumber did my spirit seal;
  I had no human fears:        100
She seem’d a thing that could not feel
  The touch of earthly years.
 
No motion has she now, no force;
  She neither hears nor sees;
Roll’d round in earth’s diurnal course        105
  With rocks, and stones, and trees.
 

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