536. Ode



But it will not be long 100
        Ere this be thrown aside,
        And with new joy and pride
The little actor cons another part;
Filling from time to time his 'humorous stage'
With all the Persons, down to palsied Age, 105
That Life brings with her in her equipage;
        As if his whole vocation
        Were endless imitation.
 
Thou, whose exterior semblance doth belie
        Thy soul's immensity; 110
Thou best philosopher, who yet dost keep
Thy heritage, thou eye among the blind,
That, deaf and silent, read'st the eternal deep,
Haunted for ever by the eternal mind,—
        Mighty prophet! Seer blest! 115
        On whom those truths do rest,
Which we are toiling all our lives to find,
In darkness lost, the darkness of the grave;
Thou, over whom thy Immortality
Broods like the Day, a master o'er a slave, 120
A presence which is not to be put by;
          To whom the grave
Is but a lonely bed without the sense or sight
        Of day or the warm light,
A place of thought where we in waiting lie; 125
Thou little Child, yet glorious in the might
Of heaven-born freedom on thy being's height,
Why with such earnest pains dost thou provoke
The years to bring the inevitable yoke,
Thus blindly with thy blessedness at strife? 130
Full soon thy soul shall have her earthly freight,
And custom lie upon thee with a weight,
Heavy as frost, and deep almost as life!
 
        O joy! that in our embers
        Is something that doth live, 135
        That nature yet remembers
        What was so fugitive!
The thought of our past years in me doth breed
Perpetual benediction: not indeed
For that which is most worthy to be blest— 140
Delight and liberty, the simple creed
Of childhood, whether busy or at rest,
With new-fledged hope still fluttering in his breast:—
        Not for these I raise
        The song of thanks and praise; 145
    But for those obstinate questionings
    Of sense and outward things,
    Fallings from us, vanishings;
    Blank misgivings of a Creature
Moving about in worlds not realized, 150
High instincts before which our mortal Nature
Did tremble like a guilty thing surprised:
        But for those first affections,
        Those shadowy recollections,
      Which, be they what they may, 155
Are yet the fountain-light of all our day,
Are yet a master-light of all our seeing;
  Uphold us, cherish, and have power to make
Our noisy years seem moments in the being
Of the eternal Silence: truths that wake, 160
            To perish never:
Which neither listlessness, nor mad endeavour,
            Nor Man nor Boy,
Nor all that is at enmity with joy,
Can utterly abolish or destroy! 165
    Hence in a season of calm weather
        Though inland far we be,
Our souls have sight of that immortal sea
        Which brought us hither,
    Can in a moment travel thither, 170
And see the children sport upon the shore,
And hear the mighty waters rolling evermore.
 
Then sing, ye birds, sing, sing a joyous song!
        And let the young lambs bound
        As to the tabor's sound! 175
We in thought will join your throng,
      Ye that pipe and ye that play,
      Ye that through your hearts to-day
      Feel the gladness of the May!
What though the radiance which was once so bright 180
Be now for ever taken from my sight,
    Though nothing can bring back the hour
Of splendour in the grass, of glory in the flower;
      We will grieve not, rather find
      Strength in what remains behind; 185
      In the primal sympathy
      Which having been must ever be;
      In the soothing thoughts that spring
      Out of human suffering;
      In the faith that looks through death, 190
In years that bring the philosophic mind.
 
And O ye Fountains, Meadows, Hills, and Groves,
Forebode not any severing of our loves!
Yet in my heart of hearts I feel your might;
I only have relinquish'd one delight 195
To live beneath your more habitual sway.
I love the brooks which down their channels fret,
Even more than when I tripp'd lightly as they;
The innocent brightness of a new-born Day
            Is lovely yet; 200
The clouds that gather round the setting sun
Do take a sober colouring from an eye
That hath kept watch o'er man's mortality;
Another race hath been, and other palms are won.
Thanks to the human heart by which we live, 205
Thanks to its tenderness, its joys, and fears,
To me the meanest flower that blows can give
Thoughts that do often lie too deep for tears.
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Submitted by dawn_h_35 on March 20, 2020

Modified on March 05, 2023

3:48 min read
44

Quick analysis:

Scheme ABBXCCCDD EBFGFGHHGIJIEIKKEKKLLMNNM OPOQRRHRHHSSTTOUVUVWWXXYZYZUU1 1 1 UJJUU2 2 A3 3 AXXXKKUUGGJJYYXG XXKKX4 XX4 DEJDPXQX
Closest metre Iambic pentameter
Characters 4,415
Words 753
Stanzas 5
Stanza Lengths 9, 25, 39, 19, 17

William Wordsworth 1770–1850

William Wordsworth (7 April 1770 – 23 April 1850) was an English Romantic poet who, with Samuel Taylor Coleridge, helped to launch the Romantic Age in English literature with their joint publication Lyrical Ballads (1798). Wordsworth's magnum opus is generally considered to be The Prelude, a semi-autobiographical poem of his early years that he revised and expanded a number of times. It was posthumously titled and published by his wife in the year of his death, before which it was generally known as "the poem to Coleridge". Wordsworth was Poet Laureate from 1843 until his death from pleurisy on 23 April 1850. more…

All William Wordsworth 1770–1850 poems | William Wordsworth 1770–1850 Books

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