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The showers of the spring

Rouse the birds, and they sing;
If the wind do but stir for his proper delight,
Each leaf, that and this, his neighbour will kiss;
Each wave, one and t’other, speeds after his brother;
They are happy, for that is their right!

Wordsworth went up to London in April 1806, where he stayed two months. It was, doubtless, on that occasion that these lines were written. The title Stray Pleasures was first given to them in the edition of 1820. The verses were classed amongst the “Poems of the Fancy.” The year mentioned in the Fenwick note is incorrect. It was in 1790 that Wordsworth crossed France with his friend Jones.-ED.

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[Taken from life.]
An Orpheus ! an Orpheus ! yes, Faith may grow bold,
And take to herself all the wonders of old ;-
Near the stately Pantheon you'll meet with the same
In the street that from Oxford hath borrowed its name.

His station is there; and he works on the crowd,
He sways them with harmony merry and loud;
He fills with his power all their hearts to the brim-
Was aught ever heard like his fiddle and him ?

What an eager assembly! what an empire is this !
The weary have life, and the hungry have bliss;
The mourner is cheered, and the anxious have rest;
And the guilt-burthened soul is no longer opprest.

As the Moon brightens round her the clouds of the night,
So He, where he stands, is a centre of light;


It gleams on the face, there, of dusky-browed Jack,
And the pale-visaged Baker's, with basket on back.

That errand-bound ’Prentice was passing in hasteWhat matter! he's caught—and his time runs to waste ; The Newsman is stopped, though he stops on the fret; And the half-breathless Lamplighter-he's in the net!

The Porter sits down on the weight which he bore;
The Lass with her barrow wheels hither her store;
If a thief could be here he might pilfer at ease;
She sees the Musician, 'tis all that she sees!

He stands, backed by the wall;—he abates not his din ;
His hat gives him vigour, with boons dropping in,
From the old and the young, from the poorest : and there !
The one-pennied Boy has his penny to spare.

O blest are the hearers, and proud be the hand
Of the pleasure it spreads through so thankful a band;
I am glad for him, blind as he is all the while
If they speak 'tis to praise, and they praise with a smile.

That tall Man, a giant in bulk and in height,
Not an inch of his body is free from delight;
Can he keep himself still, if he would ? oh, not he!
The music stirs in him like wind through a tree.

Mark that Cripple who leans on his crutch ; ? like a tower
That long has leaned forward, leans hour after hour !
That Mother, whose spirit in fetters is bound,
While she dandles the Babe in her arms to the sound.

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Now, coaches and chariots! roar on like a stream:
Here are twenty souls happy as souls in a dream :
They are deaf to your murmurs—they care not for you,
Nor what ye are flying, nor what ye pursue !

This must be assigned to the same London visit, in the spring of 1806, referred to in the note to the previous poem. It was classed by Wordsworth amongst the “Poems of the Imagination.”—ED.


Comp. 1806. Pub. 1807. [Observed by me in Leicester-square, as here described.] What crowd is this? what have we here! we must not pass

it by;

A Telescope upon its frame, and pointed to the sky:
Long is it as a barber's pole, or mast of little boat,
Some little pleasure-skiff, that doth on Thames's waters float.

The Showman chooses well his place, 'tis Leicester's busy

Square; And is as happy in his night, for the heavens are blue and

fair; Calm, though impatient, is the crowd; each stands ready

with the fee, And envies him that's looking;—what an insight must it be!2

Yet, Showman, where can lie the cause? Shall thy Imple

ment have blame, A boaster, that when he is tried, fails, and is put to shame?

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Or is it good as others are, and be their eyes in fault ?
Their eyes, or minds ? or, finally, is yon resplendent vault ?1

Is nothing of that radiant pomp so good as we have here? Or gives a thing but small delight that never can be dear? The silver moon with all her vales, and hills of mightiest

fame, Doth she betray us when they're seen ? ora are they but a


Or is it rather that conceit rapacious is and strong,
And bounty never yields so much but it seems to do her

wrong? Or is it, that when human Souls a journey long have had And are returned into themselves, they cannot but be sad ?

Or must we be constrained to think that these Spectators

rude, Poor in estate, of manners base, men of the multitude, Have souls which never yet have risen, and therefore pros

trate lie ? No, no, this cannot be;-men thirst for power and majesty!3



or finally, is this resplendent vault ?

MS. letter, D. W. to Lady Beaumont,

Nov. 15, 1806, and 1807.

2 1827.

Do they betray us when they're seen? and are they but a name?

MS. letter, D. W. to Lady Beaumont,

Nov. 15, 1806, and 1807.

3 1807.

Or is it but unwelcome thought ! that these Spectators rude,
Poor in estate, of manners base, men of the multitude,
Have souls which never yet have risen, and therefore

prostrate lie,
Not to be lifted up at once to power and majesty ?

MS. letter, D. W. to Lady

Beaumont, Nov. 15, 1806.

Does, then, a deep and earnest thought the blissful mind

employ1 Of him who gazes, or has gazed ? a grave and steady joy, That doth reject all show of pride, admits no outward sign, Because not of this noisy world, but silent and divine !

Whatever be the cause,2 'tis sure that they who pry and

pore Seem to meet with little gain, seem less happy than before: One after One they take their turn, nor have I one espied That doth not slackly go away, as if dissatisfied.

Doubtless “observed ” during the visit to London in April and May 1806. Classed, like the former, amongst the “Poems of the Imagina tion.”—ED.

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(Written at Town-end, Grasmere. The echo came from Nab-scar, when I was walking on the opposite side of Rydal Mere. I will here mention, for my dear Sister's sake, that, while she was sitting alone one day high up on this part of Loughrigg Fell, she was so affected by the voice of the Cuckoo heard from the crags at some distance that she could not suppress a wish to have a stone inscribed with her name among the rocks from which the sound proceeded. On my return from my walk I recited these verses to Mrs Wordsworth.]

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Or does some deep and earnest joy

MS. letter, D. W. to Lady

Beaumont, Nov. 15, 1806.

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