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William Wordsworth - Romantic poetry
William Wordsworth

William Wordsworth  (1770 - 1850)
Portrait by William Shuter (1798)

Romantic poems

I Wandered Lonely As a Cloud
She was a Phantom of Delight
The Solitary Reaper
The Lucy Poems
Solitude

  I Wandered Lonely As a Cloud

 
I wandered lonely as a cloud 
That floats on high o'er vales and hills, 
When all at once I saw a crowd, 
A host, of golden daffodils; 
Beside the lake, beneath the trees, 
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze. 

Continuous as the stars that shine 
And twinkle on the milky way, 
The stretched in never-ending line 
Along the margin of a bay: 
Ten thousand saw I at a glance, 
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance. 

The waves beside them danced; but they 
Outdid the sparkling waves in glee; 
A poet could not but be gay, 
In such a jocund company; 
I gazed -- and gazed -- but little thought 
What wealth to me the show had brought: 

For oft, when on my couch I lie 
In vacant or in pensive mood, 
They flash upon that inward eye 
Which is the bliss of solitude; 
And then my heart with pleasure fills, 
And dances with the daffodils.




  She was a Phantom of Delight

 
She was a phantom of delight 
When first she gleamed upon my sight; 
A lovely Apparition, sent 
To be a moment's ornament; 
Her eyes as stars of Twilight fair; 
Like Twilight's, too, her dusky hair; 
But all things else about her drawn 
From May-time and the cheerful Dawn; 
A dancing Shape, an Image gay, 
To haunt, to startle, and way-lay. 

I saw her upon a nearer view, 
A Spirit, yet a Woman too! 
Her household motions light and free, 
And steps of virgin liberty; 
A countenance in which did meet 
Sweet records, promises as sweet; 
A Creature not too bright or good 
For human nature's daily food; 
For transient sorrows, simple wiles, 
Praise, blame, love, kisses, tears and smiles. 

And now I see with eye serene 
The very pulse of the machine; 
A Being breathing thoughtful breath, 
A Traveler between life and death; 
The reason firm, the temperate will, 
Endurance, foresight, strength, and skill; 
A perfect Woman, nobly planned, 
To warm, to comfort, and command; 
And yet a Spirit still, and bright, 
With something of angelic light.




  The Solitary Reaper

From Memorials of a Tour in Scotland (1803)

Behold her, single in the field, Yon solitary Highland Lass! Reaping and singing by herself; Stop here, or gently pass! Alone she cuts and binds the grain, And sings a melancholy strain; O listen! for the Vale profound Is overflowing with the sound. No Nightingale did ever chaunt More welcome notes to weary bands Of travellers in some shady haunt, Among Arabian sands: A voice so thrilling ne'er was heard In spring-time from the Cuckoo-bird, Breaking the silence of the seas Among the farthest Hebrides. Will no one tell me what she sings?-- Perhaps the plaintive numbers flow For old, unhappy, far-off things, And battles long ago: Or is it some more humble lay, Familiar matter of to-day? Some natural sorrow, loss, or pain, That has been, and may be again? Whate'er the theme, the Maiden sang As if her song could have no ending; I saw her singing at her work, And o'er the sickle bending;-- I listened, motionless and still; And, as I mounted up the hill The music in my heart I bore, Long after it was heard no more.




  THE LUCY POEMS


I.
  
STRANGE fits of passion have I known: 
And I will dare to tell, 
But in the lover's ear alone, 
What once to me befell. 
  
When she I loved look'd every day 
Fresh as a rose in June, 
I to her cottage bent my way, 
Beneath an evening moon. 
  
Upon the moon I fix'd my eye, 
All over the wide lea; 
With quickening pace my horse drew nigh 
Those paths so dear to me. 
  
And now we reach'd the orchard-plot; 
And, as we climb'd the hill, 
The sinking moon to Lucy's cot 
Came near and nearer still. 
  
In one of those sweet dreams I slept, 
Kind Nature's gentlest boon! 
And all the while my eyes I kept 
On the descending moon. 
  
My horse moved on; hoof after hoof 
He raised, and never stopp'd: 
When down behind the cottage roof, 
At once, the bright moon dropp'd. 
  
What fond and wayward thoughts will slide 
Into a lover's head! 
'O mercy!' to myself I cried, 
'If Lucy should be dead!' 
  
II.
  
SHE dwelt among the untrodden ways 
Beside the springs of Dove, 
A Maid whom there were none to praise 
And very few to love: 
  
A violet by a mossy stone 
Half hidden from the eye! 
Fair as a star, when only one 
Is shining in the sky. 
  
She lived unknown, and few could know 
When Lucy ceased to be; 
But she is in her grave, and oh, 
The difference to me! 
  
III.
  
I TRAVELL'D among unknown men, 
In lands beyond the sea; 
Nor, England! did I know till then 
What love I bore to thee. 
  
'Tis past, that melancholy dream! 
Nor will I quit thy shore 
A second time; for still I seem 
To love thee more and more. 
  
Among the mountains did I feel 
The joy of my desire; 
And she I cherish'd turn'd her wheel 
Beside an English fire. 
  
Thy mornings show'd, thy nights conceal'd, 
The bowers where Lucy play'd; 
And thine too is the last green field 
That Lucy's eyes survey'd. 
  
IV.
  
THREE years she grew in sun and shower; 
Then Nature said, 'A lovelier flower 
On earth was never sown; 
This child I to myself will take; 
She shall be mine, and I will make 
A lady of my own. 
  
'Myself will to my darling be 
Both law and impulse; and with me 
The girl, in rock and plain, 
In earth and heaven, in glade and bower, 
Shall feel an overseeing power 
To kindle or restrain. 
  
'She shall be sportive as the fawn 
That wild with glee across the lawn 
Or up the mountain springs; 
And hers shall be the breathing balm, 
And hers the silence and the calm 
Of mute insensate things. 
  
'The floating clouds their state shall lend 
To her; for her the willow bend; 
Nor shall she fail to see 
Even in the motions of the storm 
Grace that shall mould the maiden's form 
By silent sympathy. 
  
'The stars of midnight shall be dear 
To her; and she shall lean her ear 
In many a secret place 
Where rivulets dance their wayward round, 
And beauty born of murmuring sound 
Shall pass into her face. 
  
'And vital feelings of delight 
Shall rear her form to stately height, 
Her virgin bosom swell; 
Such thoughts to Lucy I will give 
While she and I together live 
Here in this happy dell.' 
  
Thus Nature spake -- The work was done -- 
How soon my Lucy's race was run! 
She died, and left to me 
This heath, this calm and quiet scene; 
The memory of what has been, 
And never more will be. 
  
V.
  
SLUMBER did my spirit seal; 
I had no human fears: 
She seem'd a thing that could not feel 
The touch of earthly years. 
  
No motion has she now, no force; 
She neither hears nor sees; 
Roll'd round in earth's diurnal course, 
With rocks, and stones, and trees.




  Lucy Gray - Solitude


Oft had I heard of Lucy Gray,
And when I cross'd the Wild,
I chanc'd to see at break of day
The solitary Child.

No Mate, no comrade Lucy knew;
She dwelt on a wide Moor,
The sweetest Thing that ever grew
Beside a human door!

You yet may spy the Fawn at play,
The Hare upon the Green;
But the sweet face of Lucy Gray
Will never more be seen.

"To-night will be a stormy night,
You to the Town must go,
And take a lantern, Child, to light
Your Mother thro' the snow."

"That, Father! will I gladly do;
'Tis scarcely afternoon ---
The Minster-clock has just struck two,
And yonder is the Moon."

At this the Father rais'd his hook
And snapp'd a faggot-band;
He plied his work, and Lucy took
The lantern in her hand.

Not blither is the mountain roe;
With many a wanton stroke
Her feet disperse the powd'ry snow
That rises up like smoke.

The storm came on before its time,
She wander'd up and down,
And many a hill did Lucy climb
But never reach'd the Town.

The wretched Parents all that night
Went shouting far and wide;
But there was neither sound nor sight
To serve them for a guide.

At day-break on a hill they stood
That overlook'd the Moor;
And thence they saw the Bridge of Wood
A furlong from their door.

And now they homeward turn'd, cry'd,
"In Heaven we all shall meet!"
When in the snow the Mother spied
The print of Lucy's feet.

Then downwards from the steep hill's edge
They track'd the footmarks small;
And through the broken hawthorn-hedge,
And by the long stone-wall;

And then an open field they cross'd:
The marks were still the same;
They track'd them on, nor ever lost,
And to the Bridge they came.

They follow'd from the snowy bank
Those footmarks, one by one,
Into the middle of the plank,
And further there were none.

Yet some maintain that to this day
She is a living Child,
That you may see sweet Lucy Gray
Upon the lonesome Wild.

O'er rough and smooth she trips along,
And never looks behind;
And sings a solitary song
That whistles in the wind.


1799.
Published in Lyrical Ballads (2nd edition, 1800).






William Wordsworth - Yarrow River

John Keats - Poems (English)

Lord Byron - Poems (English)

Robert Browning - Poems (English)

Alfred Tennyson - Poems (English)

Alfred Tennyson - De dochter van de molenaar (Dutch/Nederlands)

S.T. Coleridge - Kubla Khan (English)

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