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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THE POEM

  At the corner of Wood Street, when daylight appears,
  Hangs a Thrush [1] that sings loud, it has sung for three years: 
  Poor Susan has passed by the spot, and has heard
  In the silence of morning the song of the Bird.

  ’Tis a note of enchantment; what ails her?  She sees 5
  A mountain ascending, a vision of trees;
  Bright volumes of vapour through Lothbury glide,
  And a river flows on through the vale of Cheapside.

  Green pastures she views [A] in the midst of the dale,
  Down which she so often has tripped with her pail; 10
  And a single small cottage, a nest like a dove’s,
  The one only [2] dwelling on earth that she loves.

  She looks, and her heart is in heaven:  but they fade,
  The mist and the river, the hill and the shade: 
  The stream will not flow, and the hill will not rise, 15
  And the colours have all passed away from her eyes! [3]

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VARIANTS ON THE TEXT

[Variant 1: 

1820.

    There’s a Thrush ... 1800.]

[Variant 2: 

1802.

    The only one ... 1800.]

[Variant 3:  The following stanza, in the edition of 1800, was omitted in subsequent ones: 

    Poor Outcast! return—­to receive thee once more
    The house of thy Father will open its door,
    And thou once again, in thy plain russet gown,
    May’st hear the thrush sing from a tree of its own. [i]]

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FOOTNOTE ON THE TEXT

[Footnote A:  Wordsworth originally wrote “sees.”  S.T.C. suggested “views.”—­Ed.]

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SUB-FOOTNOTE ON VARIANT 3

[Sub-Footnote i: 

“Susan stood for the representative of poor ‘Rus in urbe.’  There was quite enough to stamp the moral of the thing never to be forgotten; ‘bright volumes of vapour,’ etc.  The last verse of Susan was to be got rid of, at all events.  It threw a kind of dubiety upon Susan’s moral conduct.  Susan is a servant maid.  I see her trundling her mop, and contemplating the whirling phenomenon through blurred optics; but to term her ‘a poor outcast’ seems as much as to say that poor Susan was no better than she should be, which I trust was not what you meant to express.”

Charles Lamb to Wordsworth.  See ‘The Letters of Charles Lamb’, edited by Alfred Ainger, vol. i., p. 287.—­Ed.]

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1798

A NIGHT PIECE

Composed 1798.—­Published 1815.

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