Verse > William Wordsworth > Complete Poetical Works



      WISDOM and Spirit of the universe!
      Thou Soul, that art the Eternity of thought!
      And giv'st to forms and images a breath
      And everlasting motion! not in vain,
      By day or star-light, thus from my first dawn
      Of childhood didst thou intertwine for me
      The passions that build up our human soul;
      Not with the mean and vulgar works of Man;
      But with high objects, with enduring things,
      With life and nature; purifying thus                            10
      The elements of feeling and of thought,
      And sanctifying by such discipline
      Both pain and fear,--until we recognise
      A grandeur in the beatings of the heart.
        Nor was this fellowship vouchsafed to me
      With stinted kindness. In November days,
      When vapours rolling down the valleys made
      A lonely scene more lonesome; among woods
      At noon; and 'mid the calm of summer nights,
      When, by the margin of the trembling lake,                      20
      Beneath the gloomy hills, homeward I went
      In solitude, such intercourse was mine:
      Mine was it in the fields both day and night,
      And by the waters, all the summer long.
      And in the frosty season, when the sun
      Was set, and, visible for many a mile,
      The cottage-windows through the twilight blazed,
      I heeded not the summons: happy time
      It was indeed for all of us; for me
      It was a time of rapture! Clear and loud                        30
      The village-clock tolled six--I wheeled about,
      Proud and exulting like an untired horse
      That cares not for his home.--All shod with steel
      We hissed along the polished ice, in games
      Confederate, imitative of the chase
      And woodland pleasures,--the resounding horn,
      The pack loud-chiming, and the hunted hare.
      So through the darkness and the cold we flew,
      And not a voice was idle: with the din
      Smitten, the precipices rang aloud;                             40
      The leafless trees and every icy crag
      Tinkled like iron; while far-distant hills
      Into the tumult sent an alien sound
      Of melancholy, not unnoticed while the stars,
      Eastward, were sparkling clear, and in the west
      The orange sky of evening died away.
        Not seldom from the uproar I retired
      Into a silent bay, or sportively
      Glanced sideway, leaving the tumultuous throng,
      To cut across the reflex of a star;                             50
      Image, that, flying still before me, gleamed
      Upon the glassy plain: and oftentimes,
      When we had given our bodies to the wind,
      And all the shadowy banks on either side
      Came sweeping through the darkness, spinning still
      The rapid line of motion, then at once
      Have I, reclining back upon my heels,
      Stopped short; yet still the solitary cliffs
      Wheeled by me--even as if the earth had rolled
      With visible motion her diurnal round!                          60
      Behind me did they stretch in solemn train,
      Feebler and feebler, and I stood and watched
      Till all was tranquil as a summer sea.



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