William Wordsworth (1770-1850)

Lines Composed a Few Miles above Tintern Abbey, On Revisiting the Banks of the Wye during a Tour. July 13, 1798

1Five years have past; five summers, with the length

2Of five long winters! and again I hear

3These waters, rolling from their mountain-springs

4With a soft inland murmur.--Once again

5Do I behold these steep and lofty cliffs,

6That on a wild secluded scene impress

7Thoughts of more deep seclusion; and connect

8The landscape with the quiet of the sky.

9The day is come when I again repose

10Here, under this dark sycamore, and view

11These plots of cottage-ground, these orchard-tufts,

12Which at this season, with their unripe fruits,

13Are clad in one green hue, and lose themselves

14'Mid groves and copses. Once again I see

15These hedge-rows, hardly hedge-rows, little lines

16Of sportive wood run wild: these pastoral farms,

17Green to the very door; and wreaths of smoke

18Sent up, in silence, from among the trees!

19With some uncertain notice, as might seem

20Of vagrant dwellers in the houseless woods,

21Or of some Hermit's cave, where by his fire

22The Hermit sits alone.

22These beauteous forms,

23Through a long absence, have not been to me

24As is a landscape to a blind man's eye:

25But oft, in lonely rooms, and 'mid the din

26Of towns and cities, I have owed to them,

27In hours of weariness, sensations sweet,

28Felt in the blood, and felt along the heart;

29And passing even into my purer mind

30With tranquil restoration:--feelings too

31Of unremembered pleasure: such, perhaps,

32As have no slight or trivial influence

33On that best portion of a good man's life,

34His little, nameless, unremembered, acts

35Of kindness and of love. Nor less, I trust,

36To them I may have owed another gift,

37Of aspect more sublime; that blessed mood,

38In which the burthen of the mystery,

39In which the heavy and the weary weight

40Of all this unintelligible world,

41Is lightened:--that serene and blessed mood,

42In which the affections gently lead us on,--

43Until, the breath of this corporeal frame

44And even the motion of our human blood

45Almost suspended, we are laid asleep

46In body, and become a living soul:

47While with an eye made quiet by the power

48Of harmony, and the deep power of joy,

49We see into the life of things.

49If this

50Be but a vain belief, yet, oh! how oft--

51In darkness and amid the many shapes

52Of joyless daylight; when the fretful stir

53Unprofitable, and the fever of the world,

54Have hung upon the beatings of my heart--

55How oft, in spirit, have I turned to thee,

56O sylvan Wye! thou wanderer thro' the woods,

57How often has my spirit turned to thee!

58And now, with gleams of half-extinguished thought,

59With many recognitions dim and faint,

60And somewhat of a sad perplexity,

61The picture of the mind revives again:

62While here I stand, not only with the sense

63Of present pleasure, but with pleasing thoughts

64That in this moment there is life and food

65For future years. And so I dare to hope,

66Though changed, no doubt, from what I was when first

67I came among these hills; when like a roe

68I bounded o'er the mountains, by the sides

69Of the deep rivers, and the lonely streams,

70Wherever nature led: more like a man

71Flying from something that he dreads, than one

72Who sought the thing he loved. For nature then

73(The coarser pleasures of my boyish days

74And their glad animal movements all gone by)

75To me was all in all.--I cannot paint

76What then I was. The sounding cataract

77Haunted me like a passion: the tall rock,

78The mountain, and the deep and gloomy wood,

79Their colours and their forms, were then to me

80An appetite; a feeling and a love,

81That had no need of a remoter charm,

82By thought supplied, not any interest

83Unborrowed from the eye.--That time is past,

84And all its aching joys are now no more,

85And all its dizzy raptures. Not for this

86Faint I, nor mourn nor murmur; other gifts

87Have followed; for such loss, I would believe,

88Abundant recompense. For I have learned

89To look on nature, not as in the hour

90Of thoughtless youth; but hearing oftentimes

91The still sad music of humanity,

92Nor harsh nor grating, though of ample power

93To chasten and subdue.--And I have felt

94A presence that disturbs me with the joy

95Of elevated thoughts; a sense sublime

96Of something far more deeply interfused,

97Whose dwelling is the light of setting suns,

98And the round ocean and the living air,

99And the blue sky, and in the mind of man:

100A motion and a spirit, that impels

101All thinking things, all objects of all thought,

102And rolls through all things. Therefore am I still

103A lover of the meadows and the woods

104And mountains; and of all that we behold

105From this green earth; of all the mighty world

106Of eye, and ear,--both what they half create,

107And what perceive; well pleased to recognise

108In nature and the language of the sense

109The anchor of my purest thoughts, the nurse,

110The guide, the guardian of my heart, and soul

111Of all my moral being.

111Nor perchance,

112If I were not thus taught, should I the more

113Suffer my genial spirits to decay:

114For thou art with me here upon the banks

115Of this fair river; thou my dearest Friend,

116My dear, dear Friend; and in thy voice I catch

117The language of my former heart, and read

118My former pleasures in the shooting lights

119Of thy wild eyes. Oh! yet a little while

120May I behold in thee what I was once,

121My dear, dear Sister! and this prayer I make,

122Knowing that Nature never did betray

123The heart that loved her; 'tis her privilege,

124Through all the years of this our life, to lead

125From joy to joy: for she can so inform

126The mind that is within us, so impress

127With quietness and beauty, and so feed

128With lofty thoughts, that neither evil tongues,

129Rash judgments, nor the sneers of selfish men,

130Nor greetings where no kindness is, nor all

131The dreary intercourse of daily life,

132Shall e'er prevail against us, or disturb

133Our cheerful faith, that all which we behold

134Is full of blessings. Therefore let the moon

135Shine on thee in thy solitary walk;

136And let the misty mountain-winds be free

137To blow against thee: and, in after years,

138When these wild ecstasies shall be matured

139Into a sober pleasure; when thy mind

140Shall be a mansion for all lovely forms,

141Thy memory be as a dwelling-place

142For all sweet sounds and harmonies; oh! then,

143If solitude, or fear, or pain, or grief,

144Should be thy portion, with what healing thoughts

145Of tender joy wilt thou remember me,

146And these my exhortations! Nor, perchance--

147If I should be where I no more can hear

148Thy voice, nor catch from thy wild eyes these gleams

149Of past existence--wilt thou then forget

150That on the banks of this delightful stream

151We stood together; and that I, so long

152A worshipper of Nature, hither came

153Unwearied in that service: rather say

154With warmer love--oh! with far deeper zeal

155Of holier love. Nor wilt thou then forget,

156That after many wanderings, many years

157Of absence, these steep woods and lofty cliffs,

158And this green pastoral landscape, were to me

159More dear, both for themselves and for thy sake!


1] First published in 1798, as the concluding poem of Lyrical Ballads. Composed on July 13, 1798, while Wordsworth and his sister were returning by the valley of the Wye, in south Wales, to Bristol after a walking tour of several days. "Not a line of it was altered and not any part of it written down till I reached Bristol." The poems planned for Lyrical Ballads were already in the hands of the printer in Bristol when Tintern Abbey, so different in theme and style, was added to the volume.

152] In a letter of 1815 to a friend, Wordsworth denied that he was "A worshipper of Nature." He blamed the misunderstanding on "A passionate expression, uttered incautiously in the poem upon the Wye...."

Online text copyright © 2005, Ian Lancashire for the Department of English, University of Toronto.
Published by the Web Development Group, Information Technology Services, University of Toronto Libraries.

Original text: William Wordsworth and S. T. Coleridge, Lyrical Ballads (London: J. and A. Arch, 1798). No. 4. (Victoria College Library, Toronto). Photographic facsimile edition (Kobe, Japan: Konan Joshi Gakuen, 1980). PR 5869 L9 1798A C. 1 Robarts Library.
First publication date: 1798
RPO poem editor: J. R. MacGillivray
RP edition: 3RP 2.328.
Recent editing: 2:2002/3/15

Rhyme: unrhyming

William Wordsworth (1770-1850)

Ode: Intimations of Immortality from Recollections of Early Childhood

The child is father of the man;

And I could wish my days to be

Bound each to each by natural piety.

(Wordsworth, "My Heart Leaps Up")

1There was a time when meadow, grove, and stream,

2The earth, and every common sight,

3To me did seem

4Apparelled in celestial light,

5The glory and the freshness of a dream.

6It is not now as it hath been of yore;--

7Turn wheresoe'er I may,

8By night or day.

9The things which I have seen I now can see no more.

10The Rainbow comes and goes,

11And lovely is the Rose,

12The Moon doth with delight

13Look round her when the heavens are bare,

14Waters on a starry night

15Are beautiful and fair;

16The sunshine is a glorious birth;

17But yet I know, where'er I go,

18That there hath past away a glory from the earth.

19Now, while the birds thus sing a joyous song,

20And while the young lambs bound

21As to the tabor's sound,

22To me alone there came a thought of grief:

23A timely utterance gave that thought relief,

24And I again am strong:

25The cataracts blow their trumpets from the steep;

26No more shall grief of mine the season wrong;

27I hear the Echoes through the mountains throng,

28The Winds come to me from the fields of sleep,

29And all the earth is gay;

30Land and sea

31Give themselves up to jollity,

32And with the heart of May

33Doth every Beast keep holiday;--

34Thou Child of Joy,

35Shout round me, let me hear thy shouts, thou happy Shepherd-boy.

36Ye blessèd creatures, I have heard the call

37Ye to each other make; I see

38The heavens laugh with you in your jubilee;

39My heart is at your festival,

40My head hath its coronal,

41The fulness of your bliss, I feel--I feel it all.

42Oh evil day! if I were sullen

43While Earth herself is adorning,

44This sweet May-morning,

45And the Children are culling

46On every side,

47In a thousand valleys far and wide,

48Fresh flowers; while the sun shines warm,

49And the Babe leaps up on his Mother's arm:--

50I hear, I hear, with joy I hear!

51--But there's a Tree, of many, one,

52A single field which I have looked upon,

53Both of them speak of something that is gone;

54The Pansy at my feet

55Doth the same tale repeat:

56Whither is fled the visionary gleam?

57Where is it now, the glory and the dream?

58Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting:

59The Soul that rises with us, our life's Star,

60Hath had elsewhere its setting,

61And cometh from afar:

62Not in entire forgetfulness,

63And not in utter nakedness,

64But trailing clouds of glory do we come

65From God, who is our home:

66Heaven lies about us in our infancy!

67Shades of the prison-house begin to close

68Upon the growing Boy,

69But he beholds the light, and whence it flows,

70He sees it in his joy;

71The Youth, who daily farther from the east

72Must travel, still is Nature's Priest,

73And by the vision splendid

74Is on his way attended;

75At length the Man perceives it die away,

76And fade into the light of common day.

77Earth fills her lap with pleasures of her own;

78Yearnings she hath in her own natural kind,

79And, even with something of a Mother's mind,

80And no unworthy aim,

81The homely Nurse doth all she can

82To make her Foster-child, her Inmate Man,

83Forget the glories he hath known,

84And that imperial palace whence he came.

85Behold the Child among his new-born blisses,

86A six years' Darling of a pigmy size!

87See, where 'mid work of his own hand he lies,

88Fretted by sallies of his mother's kisses,

89With light upon him from his father's eyes!

90See, at his feet, some little plan or chart,

91Some fragment from his dream of human life,

92Shaped by himself with newly-learn{`e}d art

93A wedding or a festival,

94A mourning or a funeral;

95And this hath now his heart,

96And unto this he frames his song:

97Then will he fit his tongue

98To dialogues of business, love, or strife;

99But it will not be long

100Ere this be thrown aside,

101And with new joy and pride

102The little Actor cons another part;

103Filling from time to time his "humorous stage"

104With all the Persons, down to palsied Age,

105That Life brings with her in her equipage;

106As if his whole vocation

107Were endless imitation.

108Thou, whose exterior semblance doth belie

109Thy Soul's immensity;

110Thou best Philosopher, who yet dost keep

111Thy heritage, thou Eye among the blind,

112That, deaf and silent, read'st the eternal deep,

113Haunted for ever by the eternal mind,--

114Mighty Prophet! Seer blest!

115On whom those truths do rest,

116Which we are toiling all our lives to find,

117In darkness lost, the darkness of the grave;

118Thou, over whom thy Immortality

119Broods like the Day, a Master o'er a Slave,

120A Presence which is not to be put by;

121Thou little Child, yet glorious in the might

122Of heaven-born freedom on thy being's height,

123Why with such earnest pains dost thou provoke