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.

  No swinging sign-board creaked from cottage elm
  To stay his steps with faintness overcome;
  ’Twas dark and void as ocean’s watery realm
  Roaring with storms beneath night’s starless gloom;
  No gipsy cower’d o’er fire of furze or broom; 140
  No labourer watched his red kiln glaring bright,
  Nor taper glimmered dim from sick man’s room;
  Along the waste no line of mournful light
  From lamp of lonely toll-gate streamed athwart the night.


  At length, though hid in clouds, the moon arose; 145
  The downs were visible—­and now revealed
  A structure stands, which two bare slopes enclose. 
  It was a spot, where, ancient vows fulfilled,
  Kind pious hands did to the Virgin build
  A lonely Spital, the belated swain 150
  From the night terrors of that waste to shield: 
  But there no human being could remain,
  And now the walls are named the “Dead House” of the plain.


  Though he had little cause to love the abode
  Of man, or covet sight of mortal face, 155
  Yet when faint beams of light that ruin showed,
  How glad he was at length to find some trace
  Of human shelter in that dreary place. 
  Till to his flock the early shepherd goes,
  Here shall much-needed sleep his frame embrace. 160
  In a dry nook where fern the floor bestrows
  He lays his stiffened limbs,—­his eyes begin to close;


  When hearing a deep sigh, that seemed to come
  From one who mourned in sleep, he raised his head,
  And saw a woman in the naked room 165
  Outstretched, and turning on a restless bed: 
  The moon a wan dead light around her shed. 
  He waked her—­spake in tone that would not fail,
  He hoped, to calm her mind; but ill he sped,
  For of that ruin she had heard a tale 170
  Which now with freezing thoughts did all her powers assail;


  Had heard of one who, forced from storms to shroud,
  Felt the loose walls of this decayed Retreat
  Rock to incessant neighings shrill and loud,
  While his horse pawed the floor with furious heat; 175
  Till on a stone, that sparkled to his feet,
  Struck, and still struck again, the troubled horse: 
  The man half raised the stone with pain and sweat,
  Half raised, for well his arm might lose its force
  Disclosing the grim head of a late murdered corse. 180


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