Not for this Faint I, nor mourn nor murmur: other gifts Have followed, for such loss, I would believe, Abundant recompence. For I have learned To look on nature, not as in the hour Of thoughtless youth, but hearing oftentimes The still, sad music of humanity, Not harsh nor grating, though of ample power To chasten and subdue. And I have felt A presence that disturbs me with the joy Of elevated thoughts; a sense sublime Of something far more deeply interfused, Whose dwelling is the light of setting suns, And the round ocean, and the living air, And the blue sky, and in the mind of man, A motion and a spirit, that impels All thinking things, all objects of all thought, And rolls through all things.
Therefore am I still A lover of the meadows and the woods, And mountains; and of all that we behold From this green earth; of all the mighty world Of eye and ear, both what they half-create, And what perceive; well pleased to recognize In nature and the language of the sense, The anchor of my purest thoughts, the nurse, The guide, the guardian of my heart, and soul Of all my moral being. Therefore let the moon Shine on thee in thy solitary walk; And let the misty mountain winds be free To blow against thee: and in after years, When these wild ecstasies shall be matured Into a sober pleasure, when thy mind Shall be a mansion for all lovely forms, Thy memory be as a dwelling-place For all sweet sounds and harmonies; Oh!
Nor, perchance, If I should be, where I no more can hear Thy voice, nor catch from thy wild eyes these gleams Of past existence, wilt thou then forget That on the banks of this delightful stream We stood together; and that I, so long A worshipper of Nature, hither came, Unwearied in that service: rather say With warmer love, oh! Nor wilt thou then forget, That after many wanderings, many years Of absence, these steep woods and lofty cliffs, And this green pastoral landscape, were to me More dear, both for themselves, and for thy sake.
Wordsworth read copious amounts of eighteenth-century poetry, and there is much of the style of the time—albeit deeply transformed—in his writing, too.
The Lyrical Ballads of was a revolutionary book, and contained one of the entries here no. It enjoyed a quiet early life, and was republished in with a huge Preface by Wordsworth in which he laid out many of his deep convictions and insightful observations on what the art of poetry is, has been, and what it ought to be. The Abbey—that is, the place itself—is on the Welsh border. Wordsworth had seen it and its surrounding landscape five years before he wrote the poem and, on revisiting, transmuted his deep feelings on the place into this ode, which is addressed to his beloved sister, Dorothy.
I am not alone in thinking this the greatest lyric poem in English. Nor am I alone in being unable to read it without tears:. There is in the lines of this Ode a moving, quiet music, which Wordsworth was never to match again, great though his later achievements were.
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The weaving together of the landscape description and its psychological effect remains unmatched:. From these beautiful descriptions, Wordsworth departs into a meditation on the benison which such scenes are to the memory:.
But this is not the only beneficent influence which the poet has enjoyed; there has been something even deeper than this:. There are not really any words, to my mind, adequate to praise these lines justly. Let us move on therefore. For nature then The coarse pleasures of my boyish days And their glad animal movements all gone by To me was all in all. It is dear, and it is tragic. Of course he cannot adequately describe himself: to do so would be to describe nature exhaustively too!
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Not for this Faint I, nor mourn, nor murmur; other gifts Have followed; for such loss, I would believe, Abundant recompense. These last three lines are surely amongst the greatest written by anyone—at least in English. But Wordsworth must always add a sense of the spiritual and sublime to his humane insights, and so follows the impressive passage:. Again, this is Wordsworth at his most doctrinal: it is at once the most impressive and least beautiful, because we can find so many objections to its argument for beauty.
It is, again, that striving, unsubdued idealism of Wordsworth—exclusive, grand, unreal—and he will go on to address this very objection in a short space in the poem. But for this verse paragraph he is to conclude that he is. The most beautiful, and tear-provoking, moment in the poem comes now, as Wordsworth turns to address his silent sister Dorothy:.
Loaded with such a sense of due thanksgiving, and weighed with such reflections as we have seen, Wordsworth then makes a prayer to Dorothy:. Stunningly beautiful though this is, it is as nothing but prelude to what comes next. He continues his words to Dorothy:. Nor wilt thou then forget, That after many wanderings, many years Of absence, these steep woods and lofty cliffs, And this green pastoral landscape, were to me More dear, both for themselves, and for thy sake!
Wordsworth re-wrote and, more importantly, re-thought throughout his life. Of course we need every version he ever made to be on record. But, for reading, I would err towards his latest version first. Taken with these, we are then free to explore the earlier versions if it pleases us to do so. So, you may wonder, what edition of Wordsworth to read? I am afraid that neither the poet nor the reader is terribly well-served by the available modern editions.
However, both editions of Lyrical Ballads , and the much expanded have been issued in one attractive paperback volume, published by Oxford University Press, and this makes a beautiful, manageable way to begin with the young Wordsworth. Although Gill is a great Wordsworthian, as I have implied above, this huge and partial in both negative senses of the word edition is not worth the time, effort, or money.
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There is an attractive hardback Selected Poems from Everyman ; at some pages with a few interesting-looking post- and prefatory essays, it offers an curious, affordable option: most of the major poems are here with extracts from the long and Preludes , and some less well-known but interesting pieces besides. It is a substantial, curious, but partial Wordsworth which this volume offers. If there is any poet who has no need of these annotations, it is Wordsworth, the supreme poet of feeling.
He is almost completely free of that poetic compulsion dare I say it, vice to seem clever, and so hardly ever requires an explanatory note in order to acquire at least a basic understanding of his meaning. Perhaps the best option then is to search the second-hand market for a good old edition of Wordsworth, from the days when he was understood with a much more general sympathy. For this essay I was greatly helped by that of Thomas Hutchinson , revised by Ernest de Selincourt —although I was not assisted by the missing pages —62 which I hope is a feature unique to the copy from Leeds University Library!
Generally though, the older you go, the better, and I would have used the unrevised Hutchinson of if I could. Charles Eager is a scholar, teacher, and poet in Yorkshire, England. He is co-author of the poetry volume Synkronos with Vlad Condrin Toma. Although sold-out, it is available to be read freely online. Your exposition is masterful, and you exposed me to much more Wordsworth than I was familiar with.
As a man who has planted thousands of daffodil bulbs in his gardening career, I am not unhappy that you esteem his poem on that subject above so many others. Many thanks, Mr Anderson, for your kind words, by which I am very touched. Bulbs or poems,—both leave the world a better place! Your exposition is scholarly and reasoned. In my opinion this is the finest essay on any subject I have yet read on the SCP site. While embracing Wordsworth as the greatest English poet of his age I have, however, always stumbled over the recurring awkwardness in his use of rhyme.
In Tintern Abbey, however, Wordsworth sidesteps the rhyme entirely and gives us the greatest, most lyric and rhapsodic example of Romatic poetry in the English languag—period. The only thing that would improve the essay would be to cap the list at 7 and leave Daffodils off entirely.
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Many thanks, Mr Tweedie, for your kind and thoughtful words. Notify me of follow-up comments by email. Notify me of new posts by email. This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed. Home Poetry. The waves beside them danced; but they Out-did the sparkling waves in glee: A poet could not but be gay, In such a jocund company: I gazed—and gazed—but little thought What wealth the show to me had brought: For oft, when on my couch I lie In vacant or in pensive mood, They flash upon that inward eye Which is the bliss of solitude; And then my heart with pleasure fills, And dances with the daffodils.
But this is not all: if they are as numerous and so by implication glorious as the stars, moreover they out-perform the nearby waves in jollity: The waves beside them danced; but they Out-did the sparkling waves in glee. The Lucy Poems The little sequence of Lucy poems—five short stanzaic poems on the mysterious Lucy figure—are exceptional in the works of Wordsworth.
The cycle, which is so interlinked as fairly to be considered a unit, consists of five short poems: I. Fair as a star, when only one Is shining in the sky She lived unknown, and few could know When Lucy ceased to be. The fourth stanza begins, The floating clouds their state shall lend To her and the fifth, The stars of midnight shall be dear To her. Part Second The moving accident is not my trade. Views expressed by individual poets and writers on this website and by commenters do not represent the views of the entire Society.