Verse > Anthologies > Hunt and Lee, eds. > The Book of the Sonnet
Hunt and Lee, comps.  The Book of the Sonnet.  1867.
XVII. Death Conquering and Death Conquered
By William Wordsworth (1770–1850)
METHOUGHT I saw the footsteps of a throne
Which mists and vapors from mine eyes did shroud,—
Nor view of who might sit thereon allowed;
But all the steps and ground about were strown
With sights the ruefullest that flesh and bone        5
Ever put on; a miserable crowd,
Sick, hale, old, young, who cried before that cloud,
“Thou art our King, O Death! to thee we groan.”
Those steps I clomb; the mists before me gave
Smooth way; and I beheld the face of one        10
Sleeping alone within a mossy cave,
With her face up to heaven; that seemed to have
Pleasing remembrance of a thought foregone;
A lovely Beauty in a summer grave! 1
Note 1. I hope I am doing no injustice to Wordsworth. If so, the plenitude of his genius can afford it. But I have an impression of having met with this sonnet, or something very like it, before; I think, in Italian. [back]

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