Sidor som bilder

And with the heart of May
Doth every Beast keep holiday; —

Thou Child of Joy,

Shout round me, let me hear thy shouts, thou happy Shepherd-boy I


Ye blessed Creatures, I have heard the call

Ye to each other make; I see
The heavens langh 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.

O 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 warm,
And the Babe leaps up on his mother's arm:

1 hear, I hear, with joy I hear! —
But there's a Tree, of many, one,

A single Field which I have looked upon,
Both of them speak of something that is gone:
The Pansy at my feet
Doth the same tale repeat:
Whither is fled the visionary gleam ?
Where is it now, the glory and the dream ?


Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting:
The Soul that rises with us, our life's Star,

Hath had elsewhere its setting,
And cometh from afar:

Not in entire forgetful ness,

And not in utter nakedness,
But trailing clouds of glory do we come

From God, who is our home:
Heaven lies about us in our infancy!
Shades of the prison-house begin to close

Upon the growing Boy,
But He beholds the light, and whence it flows,

He sees it in his joy;

The Youth, who daily further from the East
Must travel, still is Nature's Priest,

And by the vision splendid

Is on his way attended;
At length the Man perceives it die away,
And fade into the light of common day.


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,
A six years' Darling of a pigmy size!
See, where 'mid 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
To dialogues of business, love, or strife;

But it will not be long

Ere this be thrown aside,

And with new joy and pride
The little actor cons another part;
Filling 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.


Thou, whoso exterior semblance doth belie

Thy soul's immensity;
Thou best Philosopher, who yet dost keep

t "Humorous stage" is stase whereon humours, that is, whims, erotehet?, OT fancies aru displayed. This is the old meaning of humour. So in Shakespeare ana Ben Jonsou, passim.

Thy heritage, thou Eye among the blind,
That, deaf and silent, read'st th' eternal deep,
Haunted for ever by th' eternal mind,—

Mighty Prophet! Seer blest!

On whom those truths do rest,
Which we are 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 th' inevitable yoke,
Thus blindly with thy blessedness at strife ?
Full soon thy Soul shall have her earthly freight,
And custom lie upon thce with a weight,
Heavy as frost, and deep almost as life!

4 As the matter is here viewed, the child, from the strength or instinctive action of an inward law, rests in the full conviction or assurance of that truth, namely, the immortality of the sonl, which the mature mind is ever struggling to make good by external proof and inference; becanse the latter, as the stern facts of our eondition press upon it, gets lost in the " dark valley;" that is, the grave cuts off froir it the vision of a life beyond.

5 The preceding part of this stanza has always been something of a poser to me. I have never been quite able to get over Coleridge's comment upon it: "Jn wh:it sense is a child of that age a philosopher I In what sense does he read ' th' eternal

scionsness? These would be tidings indeed; but such as would presuppose an immediate revelation to the inspired communicator, and require miracles to authenticate his inspiration. But if this be too wild and exorbitant to be suspected as having been the poet's meaning; if these mysterious gifts, faculties, and operaiions are ,iot accompanied with consciousness, who else is conscious of them? or how can it be called the child, if it be up part of the child's conscious being? " And ag.iin : " In what sense can the magnificent attributes, above quoted, be appropriated to ii child, which would not make them equally suitable toabcc,orildoiI,(>rajieldoffor-iI or even to a ship, or to the wind and waves that propel it? The omnipresent" Spirit works equally in them as in the child; and the child is equally unconscious of it as they."—On the other hand, Wordsworth, in his Essay upon Epitaphs, pursues the theme in a high strain of discourse from which I must be content to give a short extract: "forlorn, and cut off from communication with the best part of his nature, must that man be, who should derive the sense of immortalitjr, as it exists in the i.iiml of a child, from the same unthinking gaiety or liveliness of animal spirits with Which the lamb in the meadow, or any other irrational ereature is endowed; \vho should aseribe it, in short, to blank ignorance in the child; to an inability arising from the imperfect state of his faculties to come, in any point of his being, mto contaet wirh a notion of death: or to an unreflecting acquiescence in what had he:,n instilled into him! Has such an unfolder of the mysteries of nature, though he may have forgotten his former self, ever noticed the early, obstinate, and unappeasable inquisitiveness of children upon the subject of origination? This single fact proves outwardly the monstronsness of those suppositions: for, if we had no direct external testimony that the minds of very young children meditate feelingly upon (loi'.th and immortality, these inquiries, which we all know they are perpetually making concerning the whence, do necessarily include corresponding habits of interrogation concerning the whither. Origin and tendency are notions inseparably co-relative. We may, then, be justified in asserting, that the sense of immortality, if not a coexistent and twin birth with Reason, is among the earliest of her offspring: and wo nay further as ert, that from these conjoined, and under their countenance, tna unau affections are gradually formed and opened out."


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

The thought of pur past years in me doth breed
Perpetual benediction: not indeed
For that which is most worthy to be blest,—
Delight and liberty, the simple ereed
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:
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
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!

6 These "questionings of sense and outward things" are, I suppose, the qnes. faons which the soul puts to its visible surroundings, ever seeking from them what they have not to give: that is, the soul is so unahle to acquiesce in death as the end of its being, that it cannot choose but keep interrogating the world of sense lor answers which must come from a higher souree; and this is taken as arguing that the soul is itself framed and attuned to a world above and beyond the present. Thus the poet flnds canse to rejoice in the moral disappointments he has sustained,— to rejoice the glories he saw in childhood have fallen away from him, and van. ished under the pressure of experience; becanse all this is a sort of pledge that hia being has in it something greater and better than this world; that the soul's true home is in a world where life is unfailing and death is unknown. And so, in his view, for the purpose in question, the " philosophic mind " move than compensates the loss of the instinctive faith of childhood. Wordsworth hcru shows that the thought is at least a good one for poetical use; and I think it may be shown to be a good one for practical use. For, in fact, the strongest natural argument for a future life is, that the higher needs and instincts of our moral being are not met in this world: in other words, conscience and the present state of thing do not go together; the one does not answer to the other; nnd the world is full of beginnings that ar4 to be finished elsewhere, if finished at all. See page Mil, note 4.

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.

Then sing, ye Birds, sing, sing a joyous song!

And let the young Lambs bound

As to the tabor's sound!
We in thought will join your throng,

Ye that pipe and ye that play,

Ye that through your hearts to-day

Feel the gladness of the May!

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

Though nothing can bring back the hour
Of splendour in the grass, of glory in the flower;

We will grieve not, rather rind

Strength in what remains behind;

In the primal sympathy

Which having been must ever be;

In the soothing thoughts that spring

Out of human suffering ;

In the faith that looks through death,
In years that bring the philosophic mind.


And O, ye Fountains, Meadows, Hills, and Groves,

Forebode not any severing of our loves!

Yet in my heart of hearts I feel your might;

I only have rclinquish'd one delight

To live beneath your more habitual sway.

I love the Brooks which down their channels fret,

Even more than when I tripp'd lightly as they;

The innocent brightness of a new-born Day

Is lovely yet;

The Clouds that gather round the setting Sun
Do take a sober colouring from an eye
That hath kept wateh o'er man's mortality:
Another race hath been, and other palms are won.
Thanks to the human heart by which wo live,
Thanks to its tenderness, its joys, and fears,

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