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