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And islands of Winander!-many a time, At evening, when the earliest stars began To move along the edges of the hills, Rising or setting, would he stand alone, Beneath the trees, or by the glimmering lake;
And there, with fingers interwoven, both hands Pressed closely palm to palm and to his mouth
Uplifted, he, as through an instrument, Blew mimic hootings to the silent owls, That they might answer him.--And they would shout
Across the watery vale, and shout again, Responsive to his call,-with quivering peals,
And long halloos, and screams, and
echoes loud Redoubled and redoubled; concourse wild
Would enter unawares into his mind With all its solemn imagery, its rocks, Its woods, and that uncertain heaven received
Into the bosom of the steady lake.
This boy was taken from his mates, and died
In childhood, ere he was full twelve years old.
Pre-eminent in beauty is the vale Where he was born and bred: the churchyard hangs
Upon a slope above the village-school; And through that church-yard when my way has led
On summer-evenings, I believe, that
A long half-hour together I have stood Mute-looking at the grave in which he lies! 1798. 1800.
Written in Germany; ntended as part of a poem on my own life. out struck out as not being wanted there... (Wordsworth).
IT seems a day
(I speak of one from many singled out) One of those heavenly days that cannot die; When, in the eagerness of boyish hope, I left our cottage-threshold, sallying forth
With a huge wallet o'er my shoulders slung,
A nutting-crook in hand; and turned my steps Tow'rd some far-distant wood, a Figure quaint,
Tricked out in proud disguise of cast-off weeds
Which for that service had been husbanded,
By exhortation of my frugal DameMotley accoutrement, of power to smile At thorns, and brakes, and brambles-and, in truth,
More ragged than need was! O'er pathless rocks.
Through beds of matted fern, and tangled thickets,
Forcing my way, I came to one dear nook Unvisited, where not a broken bough Drooped with its withered leaves, ungracious sign
Of devastation; but the hazels rose Tall and erect, with tempting clusters hung,
A virgin scene!-A little while I stood, Breathing with such suppression of the heart
As joy delights in; and, with wise restraint
Voluptuous, fearless of a rival, eyed
Among the flowers, and with the flowers I played;
A temper known to those, who, after long
And weary expectation, have been blest With sudden happiness beyond all hope. Perhaps it was a bower beneath whose leaves
The violets of five seasons re-appear And fade, unseen by any human eye; Where fairy water-breaks do murmur on For ever; and I saw the sparkling foam, And-with my cheek on one of those green stones
That, fleeced with moss, under the shady trees,
Lay round me, scattered like a flock of sheep-
I heard the murmur and the murmuring sound,
In that sweet mood when pleasure loves to pay
Tribute to ease; and, of its joy secure,
But he is weak; both Man and Boy,
Come hither in thy hour of strength; Come, weak as is a breaking wave! Here stretch thy body at full length; Or build thy house upon this grave.
In the School of -- is a tablet, on which are inscribed in gilt letters, the Names of the sev eral persons who have been Schoolmasters there since the foundation of the School, with the time at which they entered upon and quitted their office. Opposite to one of those names the Author wrote the following lines.
Such a Tablet as is here spoken of continued to be preserved in Hawkshead School, though the inscriptions were not brought down to our time. This and other poems connected with Matthew would not gain by a literal detail of facts. Like the Wanderer in "The Excursion," this Schoolmaster was made up of several both of his class and men of other occupations. I do not ask pardon for what there is of untruth in such verses, considered strictly as matters of fact. It is enough if, being true and consistent in spirit, they move and teach in a manner not unworthy of a Poet's calling. (Wordsworth.)
IF Nature, for a favorite child,
Read o'er these lines; and then review
Its history of two hundred years.
-When through this little wreck of fame,
Cipher and syllable! thine eye
And, if a sleeping tear should wake,
Poor Matthew, all his frolics o'er,
The sighs which Matthew heaved were sighs
Of one tired out with fun and madness;