The Poetical Works of William Wordsworth — Volume 1 eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 540 pages of information about The Poetical Works of William Wordsworth — Volume 1.

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LINES LEFT UPON A SEAT IN A YEW-TREE, WHICH STANDS NEAR THE LAKE OF ESTHWAITE, ON A DESOLATE PART OF THE SHORE, COMMANDING [A] A BEAUTIFUL PROSPECT

Composed 1795.—­Published 1798

[Composed in part at school at Hawkshead.  The tree has disappeared, and the slip of Common on which it stood, that ran parallel to the lake, and lay open to it, has long been enclosed; so that the road has lost much of its attraction.  This spot was my favourite walk in the evenings during the latter part of my school-time.  The individual whose habits and character are here given, was a gentleman of the neighbourhood, a man of talent and learning, who had been educated at one of our Universities, and returned to pass his time in seclusion on his own estate.  He died a bachelor in middle age.  Induced by the beauty of the prospect, he built a small summer-house, on the rocks above the peninsula on which the Ferry House [B] stands.  This property afterwards passed into the hands of the late Mr. Curwen.  The site was long ago pointed out by Mr. West, in his ‘Guide’, as the pride of the Lakes, and now goes by the name of “The Station.”  So much used I to be delighted with the view from it, while a little boy, that some years before the first pleasure house was built, I led thither from Hawkshead a youngster about my own age, an Irish boy, who was a servant to an itinerant conjurer.  My notion was to witness the pleasure I expected the boy would receive from the prospect of the islands below and the intermingling water.  I was not disappointed; and I hope the fact, insignificant as it may appear to some, may be thought worthy of note by others who may cast their eye over these notes.—­I.  F.]

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From 1815 to 1843 these ‘Lines’ were placed by Wordsworth among his “Poems of Sentiment and Reflection.”  In 1845, they were classed among “Poems written in Youth.”—­Ed.

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THE POEM

  Nay, Traveller! rest.  This lonely Yew-tree stands
  Far from all human dwelling:  what if here
  No sparkling rivulet spread the verdant herb? 
  What if the bee love not these barren boughs? [1]
  Yet, if the wind breathe soft, the curling waves, 5
  That break against the shore, shall lull thy mind
  By one soft impulse saved from vacancy. 
                              Who he was
  That piled these stones and with the mossy sod
  First covered, and here taught this aged Tree [2] 10
  With its dark arms to form a circling bower, [3]
  I well remember.—­He was one who owned
  No common soul.  In youth by science nursed,
  And led by nature into a wild scene
  Of lofty hopes, he to the world went forth 15

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Project Gutenberg
The Poetical Works of William Wordsworth — Volume 1 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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