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ODE.

INTIMATIONS OF IMMORTALITY FROM RECOLLECTIONS OF EARLY CHILDHOOD.

1.

The Child is Father of the Man;
And I could wish my days to be
Bound each to each by natural piety.
See page 73.

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4.

Ye blessed Creatures, I have heard the call
Ye to each other make; I see
The heavens laugh with you in your jubilee;
My heart is at your festival,
My head hath its coronal,

The fulness of your bliss, I feel- I feel it all.
Oh evil day! if I were sullen
While Earth herself is adorning,
This sweet May-morning,
And the Children are culling
On every side,

In a thousand valleys far and wide,

Fresh flowers; while the sun shines w: rm,

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And by the vision splendid
Is on his way attended;

A length the Man perceives it die away,
And fade into the light of common day.

6.

Earth fills her lap with pleasures of her own; Yearnings she hath in her own natural kind, And, even with something of a Mother's mind, And no unworthy aim,

The homely Nurse doth all she can To make her Foster-child, her Inmate Man, Forget the glories he hath known, And that imperial palace whence he came.

7.

Behold the child among his new-born blisses,
A six years' Darling of a pigmy size!

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See, where 'inid work of his own hand he lies,
Fretted
by sallies of his mother's kisses, (^
With light upon him from his father's eyes!
See, at his feet, some little plan or chart,
Some fragment from his dream of human life,
Shaped by himself with newly-learned art;
A wedding or a festival,
A mourning or a funeral;

And this hath now his heart,
And unto this he frames his song:
Then will he fit his tongue
dialogues of business, love, or strife;
But it will not be long

Ere this be thrown aside,
And with new joy and pride
The ittle Actor cons another part;
Willing from time to time his "humorous stage"
With all the Persons, down to palsied Age,
That Life brings with her in her equipage;

As if his whole vocation
Were endless imitation.

8.

Thou, whose rior semblance doth belie
Thy Souls immensity;
Thou best Philopher, who yet dost keep
Thy heritage, thou Eye among the blind,
That, deaf and silent, read'st the eternal deep,
Haunted for ever by the eternal mind, -

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Mighty Prophet! Seer blest!

On whom those truths do rest, Which we arc toiling all our lives to find, In darkness lost, the darkness of the grave; Thou, over whom thy Immortality Broods like the Day, a Master o'er a Slave, A Presence which is not to be put by; Thou little Child, yet glorious in the might Of heaven-born freedom on thy being's height, Why with such earnest pains dost thou provoke The years to bring the inevitable yoke,

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Thus blindly with thy blessedness at strife?
Full soon thy Soul shall have her earthly freight,
And custom lie upon thee with a weight,
Heavy as frost, and deep almost as life!*

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9.

O joy! that in our embers
Is something that doth live,
That nature yet remembers
What was so fugitive!

The thought of our past years in me doth breed
Perpetual benediction: not indeed
For that which is most worthy to be blest
Delight and liberty, the simple creed
Of Childhood, whether busy or at rest,
With new-fledged hope still fluttering in his breast:
Not for these I raise

The song of thanks and praise;
But for those obstinate questionings
Of sense and outward things
Fallings from us, vanishings;
Blank misgivings of a Creature
Moving about in worlds not realised,
High instincts before which our mortal Nature
Did tremble like a guilty thing surprised:

1

But for those first affections Those shadowy recollections, Which, be they what they may, Are yet the fountain light of all our day, Are yet a master light of all our seeing;

Uphold us, cherish, and have power to make
Our noisy years seem moments in the being 2
Of the eternal Silence: truths that wake,
To perish never;
Which neither listlessness, nor mad endeavour,
Nor Man nor Boy,
Nor all that is at enmity with joy,
Can utterly abolish or destroy!

Hence in a season of calm weather
Though inland far we be,

Our souls have sight of that immortal sea
Which brought us hither,

Can in a moment travel thither, And see the Children sport upon the shore, And hear the mighty waters rolling evermore.

We in thought will join your throng,

10.

Then sing, ye Birds, sing, sing a joyous song! And let the young Lambs bound As to the tabor's sound!

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Ye that pipe and ye that play,
Ye that through your hearts to-day
Feel the gladness of the May!

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What though the radiance which was once so bright Be now for ever taken from my sight,

*See "THE EXCURSION," Book IV.

"Alas! the endowment of Immortal Power," &e., [and Note 5 of Notes to "THE Excursion." — II. R.}

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-Ah! why in age

Do we revert so fondly to the walks

Of childhood—but that there the soul discerns
The dear memorial footsteps unimpaired
Of her own native vigour thence can hear
Reverberations; and a choral song,
Commingling with the incense that ascends
Undaunted toward the imperishable heavens
From her own lonely altar?

and the passage in “THE PRELUDE,” Book V:
Our childhood sits,

Our simple childhood, sits upon a throne
That hath more power than all the elements.
I guess not what this tells of Being past,
Nor what it augurs of the life to come; etc.

I only have relinquished one delight
To live beneath your more habitualsway

I love the Brooks which down their channels fret,
Even more than when I tripped lightly as they;
The innocent brightness of a new-born Day
Is lovely yet;

There was never yet the child of any promise (so far as the theoretic faculties are concerned) but awaked to the sense of beauty with the first gleam of reason; and I suppose there are few, among those who love Nature otherwise than by profession and at second-hand, who look not back to their youngest and least learned days as those of the most intense, superstitious, insatiable, and beatific perception of her splendours. And the bitter decline of this glorious feeling, though many note it not, partly owing to the cares and weight of manhood, which leave them not the time nor the liberty to look for their lost treasure, and partly to the human and divine affections which are appointed to take its place, yet has formed the subject, not indeed of lamentation, but of holy thankfulness for the witness it bears to the immortal origin and end of our nature,

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The Clouds that gather round the setting sun
Do take a sober colouring from an eye
That hath kept watch o'er man's mortality;
Another race hath been, and other palms are won.
Thanks to the human heart by which we live,
Thanks to its tenderness, its joys, and fears,
To me the meanest flower that blows can give
Thoughts that do often lie too deep for tears.

[See also the passage in "THE EXCURSION," Book IX: | to one whose authority is almost without appeal in all questions relating to the influence of external things upon the pure human soul.

1803-6.

Not for these I raise

The song of thanks and praise,
But for those obstinate questionings
Of sense, and outward things,
Falling from us: vanishings,
Blank misgivings of a creature
Moving about in worlds not realized.

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And if it were possible for us to recollect all the unaccountable and happy instincts of the careless time, and to reason upon them with the maturer judgment, we might arrive at more right results than either the philosophy or the sophisticated practice of art has yet attained. But we lose the perceptions before we are capable of methodizing or comparing them." Ruskin's "Modern Painters," Vol. II., p. 36., Part. III., Ch. v., Sect. 1.

* Etenim qui velit acutius indagare causas propensæ in antiqua sæcula voluntatis, mirum ni conjectura incidat aliquando in commentum illud Pythagoræ, docentis, animarum nostrarum non tum fieri initium, cum in hoc mundo nascimur: immo ex ignota quadam regione venire cas, in sua quamque corpora; neque tam penitus Lethæo potu imbui, quin permanet quasi quidam anteactæ ætatis sapor; hunc autem excitari identidem, et nescio, quo sensu percipi, tacito quidem illo et obscuro, sed percipi tamen. Atque hac ferme sententia extat summi hac memoria Poeta nobilissimum carmen; nempe non aliam ob causam tangi pueritiæ recordationem exquisita illa ac pervagata

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THE PRELUDE;

OR,

GROWTH OF A POET'S MIND.

AN AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL POEM.

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ADVERTISEMENT.

THE following Poem was commenced in the beginning of the year 1799, and completed in the summer of 1805.

The design and occasion of the work are described by the Author in his Preface to the EXCURSION, first published in 1814, where he thus speaks: —

"Several years ago, when the Author retired to his native mountains with the hope of being enabled to construct a literary work that might live, it was a reasonable thing that he should take a review of his own mind, and examine how far Nature and Education had qualified him for such an employment.

The First Book of the First Part of the RECLUSE still remains in manuscript; but the Third Part was only planned. The materials of which it would have been formed have, however, been incorporated, for the most part, in the Author's other Publications, written subsequently to the EXCURSION.

"As subsidiary to this preparation, he undertook to record, in verse, the origin and progress of his own powers, as far as he was acquainted with them.

"That work, addressed to a dear friend, most distinguished for his knowledge and genius, and to whom the author's intellect is deeply indebted, has been long finished; and the result of the investigation which gave rise to it, was a determination to compose a philosophical Poem, containing views of Man, Nature, and Society, and to be entitled the Recluse;' as having for its principal subject the sensations and opinions of a poet living in retirement. "The preparatory Poem is biographical, and conducts the history of the Author's mind to the point when he was emboldened to hope that his faculties were sufficiently matured for entering upon the arduous labour which he had proposed to himself; and the two works have the same kind of relation to each other, if he may so express himself, as the Ante-chapel has to the body of a Gothic Church. Continuing this allusion, he may be permitted to add, that his minor pieces, which have been long before the public, when they shall be properly arranged, will be Composed on the Night after his recitation of a Poem on the found by the attentive reader to have such connection with Growth of an Individual Mind. the main work as may give them claim to be likened to the little cells, oratories, and sepulchral recesses, ordinarily included in those edifices."

TO WILLIAM WORDSWORTH.

Such was the Author's language in the year 1814.

It will thence be seen, that the present poem was intended to be introductory to the RECLUSE, and that the RECLUSE, if completed, would have consisted of Three Parts. Of these, the Second Part alone, viz., the EXCURSION, was finished, and given to the world by the Author.

The Friend, to whom the present Poem is addressed, was the late SAMUEL TAYLOR COLERIDGE, who was

resident in Malta, for the restoration of his health, when the greater part of it was composed.

Mr. Coleridge read a considerable portion of the Poem while he was abroad; and his feelings, on hearing it recited by the Author (after his return to his own country) are recorded in nis Verses, addressed to Mr. Wordsworth, which will be found in the "Sibylline Leaves," p. 197, ed. 1817, or "Poetical Works, by S. T. Coleridge," Vol. I., p. 206.

RYDAL MOUNT, July 13th, 1850.*

[* In connecting "THE PRELUDE" with the Author's "Poetical Works," it is proper to add that it was published as a posthumous poem. William Wordsworth died at Rydal Mount, on Tuesday the 23d of April, 1850: on the 7th of the same month he had completed his 80th year. Coleridge's poem, referred to in the above advertisement, is here inserted for the convenience of the reader, and as a fit introduction to “THE PRELUDE." —H. R.]

FRIEND of the Wise! and Teacher of the Good!
Into my heart have I received that lay
More than historic, that prophetic lay,
Wherein (high theme by thee first sung aright)
Of the foundations and the building up
Of a Human Spirit thou hast dared to tell
What may be told to the understanding mind
Revealable; and what within the mind,
By vital breathings secret as the soul
Of vernal growth, oft quickens in the heart
Thoughts all too deep for words!

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