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- Woe to them all ! but heaviest woe and shame
THOUGHT OF A BRITON ON THE SUBJUGATION
[This was composed while pacing to and fro between the Hall of Coleorton, then rebuilding, and the principal Farm-house of the Estate, in which we lived for nine or ten months. I will here mention that the Song on the Restoration of Lord Clifford, as well as that on the Feast of Brougham Castle, were produced on the same ground.]
Two Voices are there; one is of the sea,
* On December 11, 1806, Napoleon concluded a treaty with Frederick Augustus, the Elector of Saxony-who had been secretly on the side of France all along-to whom he gave additional territories, and the title of King, admitting him into "the Confederation of the Rhine.” He had fallen, as one of the Prussian statesmen put it, into “ that lowest of degradations, to steal at another man's bidding.”—ED.
For, high-souled Maid, what sorrow would it be
In 1807, the whole of the Continent of Europe was prostrate under Napoleon. It is impossible to say to what special incident (if to any in particular) Wordsworth refers in the phrase, “with holy glee thou fought'st against him:" but, as the sonnet was composed at Coleorton in 1807—after Austerlitz and Jena, and Napoleon's practical mastery of Europe-our knowledge of the particular event or events in Swiss history to which he refers, would not add much to our understanding of the poem. In the Fenwick note Wordsworth incorrectly separates his song on the Restoration of Lord Clifford from that at the Feast of Brougham Castle. They are the same song.–Ed.
TO THOMAS CLARKSON, ON THE FINAL PASSING OF
THE BILL FOR THE ABOLITION OF THE SLAVE
CLARKSON ! it was an obstinate hill to climb:
The blood-stained Writing is for ever torn;
On the 25th of March 1807, the Royal assent was given to the Bill for the Abolition of the Slave Trade. The movement for its abolition was begun by Wilberforce, and carried on by Clarkson. Its abolition was voted by the House of Lords on the motion of Lord Grenville, and in the Commons on the motion of Charles James Fox on the 10th of June 1806. The bill was read a second time in the Lords on the 5th of February, and became law on the 25th of March 1807.—ED.
THE MOTHER'S RETURN.
BY MY SISTER,
A MONTH, sweet little-ones, is past
O blessed tidings ! thought of joy!
I told of hills, and far-off towns,
No strife disturbs his sister's breast;
Her joy is like an instinct, joy
Her brother now takes up the note,
Then, settling into fond discourse,
We told o'er all that we had done,
We talked of change, of winter gone,
To her these tales they will repeat,
-But, see, the evening star comes forth !
'Tis gone-and in a merry fit
Five minutes past—and, O the change !
The Fenwick note is inaccurate. These lines were written by Miss Wordsworth at Coleorton, on the eve of her brother and sister's return in the spring of 1807 from London, whither they had gone for a month
- Dorothy remaining at Coleorton, in charge of the children. The poem was placed by Wordsworth amongst those "referring to the period of childhood.”—ED.
Pub. 1807. [Composed at Coleorton. I had observed them, as here described, near Castle Donnington, on my way to and from Derby.] YET are they here the same unbroken knot 1 Of human Beings, in the self-same spot !
Men, women, children, yea the frame
Yet are they here ?—the same unbroken knot