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WILLIAM WORDSWORTH

Intimations of Immortality from Recollections of Early Childhood


THERE was a time when meadow, ro!e, and stream,
The earth, and e!ery common siht,
To me did seem
A""arell#d in celestial liht,
The lory and the freshness of a dream$
It is not now as it hath %een of yore&''
T(rn wheresoe#er I may,
)y niht or day,
The thins which I ha!e seen I now can see no more$
The rain%ow comes and oes,
And lo!ely is the rose&
The moon doth with deliht
Loo* ro(nd her when the hea!ens are %are&
Waters on a starry niht
Are %ea(tif(l and fair&
The s(nshine is a lorio(s %irth&
)(t yet I *now, where#er I o,
That there hath "ass#d away a lory from the earth$
+ow, while the %irds th(s sin a ,oyo(s son,
And while the yo(n lam%s %o(nd
As to the ta%or#s so(nd,
To me alone there came a tho(ht of rief-
A timely (tterance a!e that tho(ht relief,
And I aain am stron-
The cataracts %low their tr(m"ets from the stee"&
+o more shall rief of mine the season wron&
I hear the echoes thro(h the mo(ntains thron,
The winds come to me from the fields of slee",
And all the earth is ay&
Land and sea
.i!e themsel!es (" to ,ollity,
And with the heart of May
Doth e!ery %east *ee" holiday&''
Tho( Child of /oy,
Sho(t ro(nd me, let me hear thy sho(ts, tho( ha""y
She"herd'%oy0
1e %lessed creat(res, I ha!e heard the call
1e to each other ma*e& I see
The hea!ens la(h with yo( in yo(r ,(%ilee&
My heart is at yo(r festi!al,
My head hath its coronal,
The f(lness of yo(r %liss, I feel''I feel it all$
O e!il day0 if I were s(llen
While Earth herself is adornin,
This sweet May'mornin,
And the children are c(llin
On e!ery side,
In a tho(sand !alleys far and wide,
2resh flowers& while the s(n shines warm,
And the %a%e lea"s (" on his mother#s arm-''
I hear, I hear, with ,oy I hear0
'')(t there#s a tree, of many, one,
A sinle field which I ha!e loo*#d ("on,
)oth of them s"ea* of somethin that is one-
The "ansy at my feet
Doth the same tale re"eat-
Whither is fled the !isionary leam3
Where is it now, the lory and the dream3
O(r %irth is %(t a slee" and a forettin-
The So(l that rises with (s, o(r life#s Star,
Hath had elsewhere its settin,
And cometh from afar-
+ot in entire foretf(lness,
And not in (tter na*edness,
)(t trailin clo(ds of lory do we come
2rom .od, who is o(r home-
Hea!en lies a%o(t (s in o(r infancy0
Shades of the "rison'ho(se %ein to close
4"on the rowin )oy,
)(t he %eholds the liht, and whence it flows,
He sees it in his ,oy&
The 1o(th, who daily farther from the east
M(st tra!el, still is +at(re#s "riest,
And %y the !ision s"lendid
Is on his way attended&
At lenth the Man "ercei!es it die away,
And fade into the liht of common day$
Earth fills her la" with "leas(res of her own&
1earnins she hath in her own nat(ral *ind,
And, e!en with somethin of a mother#s mind,
And no (nworthy aim,
The homely n(rse doth all she can
To ma*e her foster'child, her Inmate Man,
2oret the lories he hath *nown,
And that im"erial "alace whence he came$
)ehold the Child amon his new'%orn %lisses,
A si5 years# darlin of a "imy si6e0
See, where #mid wor* of his own hand he lies,
2retted %y sallies of his mother#s *isses,
With liht ("on him from his father#s eyes0
See, at his feet, some little "lan or chart,
Some frament from his dream of h(man life,
Sha"ed %y himself with newly'learned art&
A weddin or a festi!al,
A mo(rnin or a f(neral&
And this hath now his heart,
And (nto this he frames his son-
Then will he fit his ton(e
To dialo(es of %(siness, lo!e, or strife&
)(t it will not %e lon
Ere this %e thrown aside,
And with new ,oy and "ride
The little actor cons another "art&
2illin from time to time his #h(moro(s stae#
With all the 7ersons, down to "alsied Ae,
That Life %rins with her in her e8(i"ae&
As if his whole !ocation
Were endless imitation$
Tho(, whose e5terior sem%lance doth %elie
Thy so(l#s immensity&
Tho( %est "hiloso"her, who yet dost *ee"
Thy heritae, tho( eye amon the %lind,
That, deaf and silent, read#st the eternal dee",
Ha(nted for e!er %y the eternal mind,''
Mihty "ro"het0 Seer %lest0
On whom those tr(ths do rest,
Which we are toilin all o(r li!es to find,
In dar*ness lost, the dar*ness of the ra!e&
Tho(, o!er whom thy Immortality
)roods li*e the Day, a master o#er a sla!e,
A "resence which is not to %e "(t %y&
To whom the ra!e
Is %(t a lonely %ed witho(t the sense or siht
Of day or the warm liht,
A "lace of tho(ht where we in waitin lie&
Tho( little Child, yet lorio(s in the miht
Of hea!en'%orn freedom on thy %ein#s heiht,
Why with s(ch earnest "ains dost tho( "ro!o*e
The years to %rin the ine!ita%le yo*e,
Th(s %lindly with thy %lessedness at strife3
2(ll soon thy so(l shall ha!e her earthly freiht,
And c(stom lie ("on thee with a weiht,
Hea!y as frost, and dee" almost as life0
O ,oy0 that in o(r em%ers
Is somethin that doth li!e,
That nat(re yet remem%ers
What was so f(iti!e0
The tho(ht of o(r "ast years in me doth %reed
7er"et(al %enediction- not indeed
2or that which is most worthy to %e %lest''
Deliht and li%erty, the sim"le creed
Of childhood, whether %(sy or at rest,
With new'fleded ho"e still fl(tterin in his %reast-''
+ot for these I raise
The son of than*s and "raise&
)(t for those o%stinate 8(estionins
Of sense and o(tward thins,
2allins from (s, !anishins&
)lan* misi!ins of a Creat(re
Mo!in a%o(t in worlds not reali6ed,
Hih instincts %efore which o(r mortal +at(re
Did trem%le li*e a (ilty thin s(r"rised-
)(t for those first affections,
Those shadowy recollections,
Which, %e they what they may,
Are yet the fo(ntain'liht of all o(r day,
Are yet a master'liht of all o(r seein&
4"hold (s, cherish, and ha!e "ower to ma*e
O(r noisy years seem moments in the %ein
Of the eternal Silence- tr(ths that wa*e,
To "erish ne!er-
Which neither listlessness, nor mad endea!o(r,
+or Man nor )oy,
+or all that is at enmity with ,oy,
Can (tterly a%olish or destroy0
Hence in a season of calm weather
Tho(h inland far we %e,
O(r so(ls ha!e siht of that immortal sea
Which %ro(ht (s hither,
Can in a moment tra!el thither,
And see the children s"ort ("on the shore,
And hear the mihty waters rollin e!ermore$
Then sin, ye %irds, sin, sin a ,oyo(s son0
And let the yo(n lam%s %o(nd
As to the ta%or#s so(nd0
We in tho(ht will ,oin yo(r thron,
1e that "i"e and ye that "lay,
1e that thro(h yo(r hearts to'day
2eel the ladness of the May0
What tho(h the radiance which was once so %riht
)e now for e!er ta*en from my siht,
Tho(h nothin can %rin %ac* the ho(r
Of s"lendo(r in the rass, of lory in the flower&
We will rie!e not, rather find
Strenth in what remains %ehind&
In the "rimal sym"athy
Which ha!in %een m(st e!er %e&
In the soothin tho(hts that s"rin
O(t of h(man s(fferin&
In the faith that loo*s thro(h death,
In years that %rin the "hiloso"hic mind$
And O ye 2o(ntains, Meadows, Hills, and .ro!es,
2ore%ode not any se!erin of o(r lo!es0
1et in my heart of hearts I feel yo(r miht&
I only ha!e relin8(ish#d one deliht
To li!e %eneath yo(r more ha%it(al sway$
I lo!e the %roo*s which down their channels fret,
E!en more than when I tri""#d lihtly as they&
The innocent %rihtness of a new'%orn Day
Is lo!ely yet&
The clo(ds that ather ro(nd the settin s(n
Do ta*e a so%er colo(rin from an eye
That hath *e"t watch o#er man#s mortality&
Another race hath %een, and other "alms are won$
Than*s to the h(man heart %y which we li!e,
Than*s to its tenderness, its ,oys, and fears,
To me the meanest flower that %lows can i!e
Tho(hts that do often lie too dee" for tears$