And yet, for chastisement of these regrets, The memory of one particular hour Doth here rise up against me. 'Mid a throng Of maids and youths, old men, and matrons staid, A medley of all tempers, I had passed The night in dancing, gaiety, and mirth, With din of instruments and shuffling feet, And glancing forms, and tapers glittering, And unaimed prattle flying up and down ; Spirits upon the stretch, and here and there Slight shocks of young love-liking interspersed, Whose transient pleasure mounted to the head, And tingled through the veins. Ere we retired, The cock had crowed, and now the eastern sky Was kindling, not unseen, from humble copse And open field, through which the pathway wound, And homeward led my steps. Magnificent . The morning rose, in memorable pomp, Glorious as ere I had beheld-in front, The sea lay laughing at a distance ; near, The solid mountains shone, bright as the clouds, Grain-tinctured, drenched in empyrean light ; And in the meadows and the lower grounds Was all the sweetness of a common dawnDews, vapours, and the melody of birds, And labourers going forth to till the fields. Ah! need I say, dear Friend! that to the brim My heart was full ; I made no vows, but vows Were then made for me ; bond unknown to me Was given, that I should be, else sinning greatly, A dedicated Spirit. On I walked In thankful blessedness, which yet survives.


The brook and road Were fellow-travellers in this gloomy strait, And with them did we journey several hours At a slow pace. The immeasurable height Of woods decaying, never to be decayed, The stationary blasts of waterfalls, And in the narrow rent at every turn Winds thwarting winds, bewildered and forlorn, The torrents shooting from the clear blue sky, The rocks that muttered close upon our ears, Black drizzling crags that spake by the way-side As if a voice were in them, the sick sight And giddy prospect of the raving stream, The unfettered clouds and region of the Heavens, Tumult and peace, the darkness and the lightWere all like workings of one mind, the features Of the same face, blossoms upon one tree; Characters of the great Apocalypse, The types and symbols of Eternity, Of first, and last, and midst, and without end.


It was a close, warm, breezeless summer night, Wan, dull, and glaring, with a dripping fog Low-hung and thick that covered all the sky; But, undiscouraged, we began to climb The mountain-side. The mist soon girt us round, And, after ordinary travellers’ talk With our conductor, pensively we sank Each into commerce with his private thoughts : Thus did we breast the ascent, and by myself Was nothing either seen or heard that checked Those musings or diverted, save that once The shepherd's lurcher, who, among the crags Had to his joy unearthed a hedgehog, teased

His coiled-up prey with barkings turbulent.
This small adventure, for even such it seemed
In that wild place and at the dead of night,
Being over and forgotten, on we wound
In silence as before. With forehead bent
Earthward, as if in opposition set
Against an enemy, I panted up
With eager pace, and no less eager thoughts.
Thus might we wear a midnight hour away,
Ascending at loose distance each from each,
And I, as chanced, the foremost of the band ;
When at my feet the ground appeared to brighten,
And with a step or two seemed brighter still ;
Nor was time given to ask or learn the cause,
For instantly a light upon the turf
Fell like'a flash, and lo! as I looked up,
The Moon hung naked in a firmament
Of azure without cloud, and at my feet
Rested a silent sea of hoary mist.
A hundred hills their dusky backs upheaved
All over this still ocean; and beyond,
Far, far beyond, the solid vapours stretched,
In headlands, tongues, and promontory shapes,
Into the main Atlantic, that appeared
To dwindle, and give up his majesty,
Usurped upon far as the sight could reach.
Not so the ethereal vault ; encroachment none
Was there, nor loss; only the inferior stars
Had disappeared, or shed a fainter light
In the clear presence of the full-orbed Moon,
Who, from her sovereign elevation, gazed
Upon the billowy ocean, as it lay
All meek and silent, save that through a rift-
Not distant from the shore whereon we stood,
A fixed, abysmal, gloomy, breathing-place-
Mounted the roar of waters, torrents, streams
Innumerable, roaring with one voice !
Heard over earth and sea, and, in that hour,
For so it seemed, felt by the starry heavens.

When into air had partially dissolved That vision, given to spirits of the night And three chance human wanderers, in calm thought Reflected, it appeared to me the type Of a majestic intellect, its acts And its possessions, what it has and craves, What in itself it is, and would become. There I beheld the emblem of a mind That feeds upon infinity, that broods. Over the dark abyss, intent to hear Its voices issuing forth to silent light In one continuous stream ; a mind sustained By recognitions of transcendent power, In sense conducting to ideal form, In soul of more than mortal privilege. One function, above all, of such a mind Had Nature shadowed there, by putting forth, 'Mid circumstances awful and sublime, That mutual domination which she loves To exert upon the face of outward things, So moulded, joined, abstracted, so endowed With interchangeable supremacy, That men, least sensitive, see, hear, perceive, And cannot choose but feel. The power, which all Acknowledge when thus moved, which Nature thus To bodily sense exhibits, is the express Resemblance of that glorious faculty That higher minds bear with them as their own. This is the very spirit in which they deal With the whole compass of the universe : They from their native selves can send abroad Kindred mutations ; for themselves create A like existence ; and, whene'er it dawns Created for them, catch it, or are caught By its inevitable mastery, Like angels stopped upon the wing by sound Of harmony from Heaven's remotest spheres. Them the enduring and the transient both Serve to exalt; they build up greatest things

From least suggestions; ever on the watch,
Willing to work and to be wrought upon,
. They need not extraordinary calls
To rouse them ; in a world of life they live,
By sensible impressions not enthralled,
But by their quickening impulse made more prompt
To hold fit converse with the spiritual world,
And with the generations of mankind
Spread over time, past, present, and to come,
Age after age, till Time shall be no more.

[From the Excursion. 1795-1813.]


In genial mood, While at our pastoral banquet thus we sate, I could not, ever and anon, forbear To glance an upward look on two huge Peaks, That from some other vale peered into this. 'Those lusty twins,' exclaimed our host, 'if here It were your lot to dwell, would soon become Your prized companions.—Many are the notes Which, in his tuneful course, the wind draws forth From rocks, woods, caverns, heaths, and dashing shores; And well those lofty brethren bear their part In the wild concert-chiefly when the storm Rides high ; then all the upper air they fill With roaring sound, that ceases not to flow, Like smoke, along the level of the blast, In mighty current; theirs, too, is the song Of stream and headlong flood that seldom fails ; And, in the grim and breathless hour of noon, Methinks that I have heard them echo back The thunder's greeting. Nor have nature's laws Left them ungifted with a power to yield Music of finer tone; a harmony, So do I call it, though it be the hand Of silence, though there be no voice ;-the clouds,

« 前へ次へ »