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INTIMATIONS OF IMMORTALITY FROM RECOLLECTIONS OF EARLY CHILDHOOD.
The Child is Father of the Man;
Ye blessed Creatures, I have heard the call
The fulness of your bliss, I feel- I feel it all.
In a thousand valleys far and wide,
Fresh flowers; while the sun shines w: rm,
And by the vision splendid
A length the Man perceives it die away,
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.
Behold the child among his new-born blisses,
See, where 'inid work of his own hand he lies,
And this hath now his heart,
Ere this be thrown aside,
As if his whole vocation
Thou, whose rior semblance doth belie
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,
Thus blindly with thy blessedness at strife?
O joy! that in our embers
The thought of our past years in me doth breed
The song of thanks and praise;
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
Hence in a season of calm weather
Our souls have sight of that immortal sea
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,
Then sing, ye Birds, sing, sing a joyous song! And let the young Lambs bound As to the tabor's sound!
Ye that pipe and ye that play,
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.}
-Ah! why in age
Do we revert so fondly to the walks
Of childhood—but that there the soul discerns
and the passage in “THE PRELUDE,” Book V:
Our simple childhood, sits upon a throne
I only have relinquished one delight
I love the Brooks which down their channels fret,
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,
The Clouds that gather round the setting sun
[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.
Not for these I raise
The song of thanks and praise,
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
GROWTH OF A POET'S MIND.
AN AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL POEM.
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!