Графични страници
PDF файл
ePub

- Woe to them all ! but heaviest woe and shame
To that Bavarian who could first advancel
His banner in accursed league with France, *
First open traitor to the German name !2

THOUGHT OF A BRITON ON THE SUBJUGATION

OF SWITZERLAND.

[blocks in formation]

[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,
One of the mountains; each a mighty Voice :
In both from age to age thou didst rejoice,
They were thy chosen music, Liberty !
There came a Tyrant, and with holy glee
Thou fought'st against him; but hast vainly striven:
Thou from thy Alpine holds at length art driven,
Where not a torrent murmurs heard by thee.
Of one deep bliss thine ear hath been bereft:
Then cleave, O cleave to that which still is left;

[blocks in formation]

* 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
That Mountain floods should thunder as before,
And Ocean bellow from his rocky shore,
And neither awful Voice be heard by thee !

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
TRADE.

March, 1807.
Comp. 1807.

Pub. 1807.

CLARKSON ! it was an obstinate hill to climb:
How toilsome—nay, how dire—it was, by thee
Is known; by none, perhaps, so feelingly :
But thou, who, starting in thy fervent prime,
Didst first lead forth that enterprise sublime,
Hast heard the constant Voice its charge repeat,
Which, out of thy young heart's oracular seat,
First roused thee.-0 true yoke-fellow of Time,
Duty's intrepid liegeman, see, the palm 2
Is won, and by all Nations shall be worn!

[blocks in formation]

The blood-stained Writing is for ever torn;
And thou henceforth wilt have a good man's calm,
A great man's happiness; thy zeal shall find
Repose at length, firm friend of human kind!

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,

Comp. 1807.

Pub. 1815.
[Written at Town-end, Grasmere.]

A MONTH, sweet little-ones, is past
Since your dear Mother went away, -
And she to-morrow will return;
To-morrow is the happy day.

O blessed tidings ! thought of joy!
The eldest heard with steady glee;
Silent he stood; then laughed amain,-
And shouted, “Mother, come to me!"

[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small]

I told of hills, and far-off towns,
And long, long vales to travel through ;-
He listens, puzzled, sore perplexed,
But he submits ; what can he do ?

No strife disturbs his sister's breast;
She wars not with the mystery
Of time and distance, night and day ;
The bonds of our humanity.

Her joy is like an instinct, joy
Of kitten, bird, or summer fly;
She dances, runs without an aim,
She chatters in her ecstasy.

Her brother now takes up the note,
And echoes back his sister's glee:
They hug the infant in my arms,
As if to force his sympathy.

Then, settling into fond discourse,
We rested in the garden bower;
While sweetly shone the evening sun
In his departing hour.

We told o'er all that we had done,
Our rambles by the swift brook's side
Far as the willow-skirted pool,
Where two fair swans together glide.

We talked of change, of winter gone,
Of green leaves on the hawthorn spray,
Of birds that build their nests and sing,
And all "since mother went away!”

To her these tales they will repeat,
To her our new-born tribes will show,
The goslings green, the ass's colt,
The lambs that in the meadow go.

-But, see, the evening star comes forth !
To bed the children must depart;
A moment's heaviness they feel,
A sadness at the heart:

'Tis gone-and in a merry fit
They run up stairs in gamesome race;
I, too, infected by their mood,
I could have joined the wanton chase.

Five minutes past—and, O the change !
Asleep upon their beds they lie;
Their busy limbs in perfect rest,
And closed the sparkling eye.

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.

GIPSIES.
Comp. 1807.

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
Of the whole spectacle the same!

1 1827.

Yet are they here ?—the same unbroken knot

1807.

« ПредишнаНапред »