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

  I heard a thousand blended notes,
  While in a grove I sate reclined,
  In that sweet mood when pleasant thoughts
  Bring sad thoughts to the mind.

  To her fair works did Nature link 5
  The human soul that through me ran;
  And much it grieved my heart to think
  What man has made of man.

  Through primrose tufts, in that green [1] bower,
  The periwinkle trailed its wreaths; 10
  And ’tis my faith that every flower
  Enjoys the air it breathes. [B]

  The birds around me hopped and played,
  Their thoughts I cannot measure:—­
  But the least motion which they made, 15
  It seemed a thrill of pleasure.

  The budding twigs spread out their fan,
  To catch the breezy air;
  And I must think, do all I can,
  That there was pleasure there. 20

  If this belief from heaven be sent,
  If such be Nature’s holy plan, [2]
  Have I not reason to lament
  What man has made of man?

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This Alfoxden dell, once known locally as “The Mare’s Pool,” was a trysting-place of Wordsworth, Coleridge, and their friends.  Coleridge thus describes it, in his poem beginning “This Lime-Tree Bower, my Prison,” addressed to Charles Lamb: 

  The roaring dell, o’er-wooded, narrow, deep,
  And only speckled by the midday sun;
  Where its slim trunk the ash from rock to rock
  Flings arching like a bridge;—­that branchless ash,
  Unsunn’d and damp, whose few poor yellow leaves
  Ne’er tremble in the gale, yet tremble still,
  Fanned by the waterfall!

Of all the localities around Alfoxden, this grove is the one chiefly associated with Wordsworth.  There was no path to the waterfall, as suggested by the Poet to the owner of the place, in 1840; but, in 1880, I found the “natural sylvan bridge” restored.  An ash tree, having fallen across the glen, reproduced the scene exactly as it is described in the Fenwick note.—­Ed.

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VARIANTS ON THE TEXT

[Variant 1: 

1837.

    ... sweet 1798.]

[Variant 2: 

1837.

    If I these thoughts may not prevent,
    If such be of my creed the plan, 1798.

    If this belief from Heaven is sent,
    If such be nature’s holy plan, 1820.

    From Heaven if this belief be sent, 1827.]

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FOOTNOTES ON THE TEXT

[Footnote A:  See the Fenwick note to “A whirl-blast from behind the hill,” p. 238.—­Ed.]

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