Verse > Anthologies > T. H. Ward, ed. > The English Poets > Vol. IV. Wordsworth to Rossetti
Thomas Humphry Ward, ed.  The English Poets.  1880–1918.
Vol. IV. The Nineteenth Century: Wordsworth to Rossetti
By William Wordsworth (1770–1850)
SHE dwelt among the untrodden ways
  Beside the springs of Dove,
A Maid whom there were none to praise
  And very few to love:
A violet by a mossy stone        5
  Half hidden from the eye!
—Fair as a star, when only one
  Is shining in the sky.
She lived unknown, and few could know
  When Lucy ceased to be;        10
But she is in her grave, and, oh,
  The difference to me!
Three years she grew in sun and shower,
Then Nature said, ‘A lovelier flower
On earth was never sown;        15
This Child I to myself will take,
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        20
The Girl, in rock and plain,
In earth and heaven, in glade and bower,
Shall feel an overseeing power
To kindle or restrain.
She shall be sportive as the fawn        25
That wild with glee across the lawn
Or up the mountain springs;
And hers shall be the breathing balm,
And hers the silence and the calm
Of mute insensate things.        30
The floating clouds their state shall lend
To her; for her the willow bend;
Nor shall she fail to see
Even in the motions of the Storm
Grace that shall mould the Maiden’s form        35
By silent sympathy.
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,        40
And beauty born of murmuring sound
Shall pass into her face.
And vital feelings of delight
Shall rear her form to stately height,
Her virgin bosom swell;        45
Such thoughts to Lucy I will give
While 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!        50
She died, and left to me
This heath, this calm, and quiet scene;
The memory of what has been,
And never more will be.
A slumber did my spirit seal;
  I had no human fears:
She seemed a thing that could not feel
  The touch of earthly years.
No motion has she now, no force;
  She neither hears nor sees;        60
Rolled round in earth’s diurnal course,
  With rocks, and stones, and trees.

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