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Best Famous William Wordsworth Poems


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by William Wordsworth |

The Tables Turned

An Evening Scene on the Same Subject

Up! up! my Friend, and quit your books;
Or surely you'll grow double:
Up! up! my Friend, and clear your looks;
Why all this toil and trouble?

The sun, above the mountain's head,
A freshening lustre mellow
Through all the long green fields has spread,
His first sweet evening yellow.

Books! 'tis a dull and endless strife:
Come, hear the woodland linnet,
How sweet his music! on my life,
There's more of wisdom in it.

And hark! how blithe the throstle sings!
He, too, is no mean preacher:
Come forth into the light of things,
Let Nature be your Teacher.

She has a world of ready wealth,
Our minds and hearts to bless—
Spontaneous wisdom breathed by health,
Truth breathed by cheerfulness.

One impulse from a vernal wood
May teach you more of man,
Of moral evil and of good,
Than all the sages can.

Sweet is the lore which Nature brings;
Our meddling intellect
Mis-shapes the beauteous forms of things:—
We murder to dissect.

Enough of Science and of Art;
Close up those barren leaves;
Come forth, and bring with you a heart
That watches and receives.


by William Wordsworth |

Lines Composed a Few Miles above Tintern Abbey

Five years have passed; five summers, with the length 
Of five long winters! and again I hear
These waters, rolling from their mountain-springs
With a soft inland murmur.  Once again
Do I behold these steep and lofty cliffs,
That on a wild secluded scene impress
Thoughts of more deep seclusion; and connect
The landscape with the quiet of the sky.
The day is come when I again repose
Here, under this dark sycamore, and view
These plots of cottage-ground, these orchard-tufts,
Which at this season, with their unripe fruits,
Are clad in one green hue, and lose themselves
'Mid groves and copses. Once again I see
These hedgerows, hardly hedgerows, little lines
Of sportive wood run wild; these pastoral farms,
Green to the very door; and wreaths of smoke
Sent up, in silence, from among the trees!
With some uncertain notice, as might seem
Of vagrant dwellers in the houseless woods,
Or of some Hermit's cave, where by his fire
The Hermit sits alone. 

                               These beauteous forms,
Through a long absence, have not been to me
As is a landscape to a blind man's eye;
But oft, in lonely rooms, and 'mid the din
Of towns and cities, I have owed to them,
In hours of weariness, sensations sweet,
Felt in the blood, and felt along the heart;
And passing even into my purer mind
With tranquil restoration—feelings too
Of unremembered pleasure; such, perhaps,
As have no slight or trivial influence
On that best portion of a good man's life,
His little, nameless, unremembered, acts
Of kindness and of love.  Nor less, I trust,
To them I may have owed another gift,
Of aspect more sublime; that blessed mood,
In which the burthen of the mystery,
In which the heavy and the weary weight
Of all this unintelligible world,
Is lightened—that serene and blessed mood,
In which the affections gently lead us on—
Until, the breath of this corporeal frame
And even the motion of our human blood
Almost suspended, we are laid asleep
In body, and become a living soul;
While with an eye made quiet by the power
Of harmony, and the deep power of joy,
We see into the life of things. 

                                           If this
Be but a vain belief, yet, oh! how oft—
In darkness and amid the many shapes
Of joyless daylight; when the fretful stir
Unprofitable, and the fever of the world,
Have hung upon the beatings of my heart—
How oft, in spirit, have I turned to thee,
O sylvan Wye! thou wanderer through the woods,
How often has my spirit turned to thee! 

  And now, with gleams of half-extinguished thought,
With many recognitions dim and faint,
And somewhat of a sad perplexity,
The picture of the mind revives again;
While here I stand, not only with the sense
Of present pleasure, but with pleasing thoughts
That in this moment there is life and food
For future years.  And so I dare to hope,
Though changed, no doubt, from what I was when first
I came among these hills; when like a roe
I bounded o'er the mountains, by the sides
Of the deep rivers, and the lonely streams,
Wherever nature led—more like a man
Flying from something that he dreads than one
Who sought the thing he loved.  For nature then
(The coarser pleasures of my boyish days
And their glad animal movements all gone by)
To me was all in all.—I cannot paint
What then I was. The sounding cataract
Haunted me like a passion; the tall rock,
The mountain, and the deep and gloomy wood,
Their colors and their forms, were then to me
An appetite; a feeling and a love,
That had no need of a remoter charm,
By thought supplied, not any interest
Unborrowed from the eye.—That time is past,
And all its aching joys are now no more,
And all its dizzy raptures. Not for this
Faint I, nor mourn nor murmur; other gifts
Have followed; for such loss, I would believe,
Abundant recompense.  For I have learned
To look on nature, not as in the hour
Of thoughtless youth; but hearing oftentimes
The still sad music of humanity,
Nor harsh nor grating, though of ample power
To chasten and subdue.  And I have felt
A presence that disturbs me with the joy
Of elevated thoughts; a sense sublime
Of something far more deeply interfused,
Whose dwelling is the light of setting suns,
And the round ocean and the living air, 
And the blue sky, and in the mind of man:
A motion and a spirit, that impels 
All thinking things, all objects of all thought,
And rolls through all things. Therefore am I still
A lover of the meadows and the woods,
And mountains; and of all that we behold
From this green earth; of all the mighty world
Of eye, and ear—both what they half create,
And what perceive; well pleased to recognize
In nature and the language of the sense
The anchor of my purest thoughts, the nurse, 
The guide, the guardian of my heart, and soul
Of all my moral being. 

                                   Nor perchance,
If I were not thus taught, should I the more
Suffer my genial spirits to decay:
For thou art with me here upon the banks
Of this fair river; thou my dearest Friend,
My dear, dear Friend; and in thy voice I catch
The language of my former heart, and read
My former pleasures in the shooting lights
Of thy wild eyes.  Oh! yet a little while
May I behold in thee what I was once,
My dear, dear Sister! and this prayer I make,
Knowing that Nature never did betray
The heart that loved her; 'tis her privilege,
Through all the years of this our life, to lead
From joy to joy: for she can so inform
The mind that is within us, so impress
With quietness and beauty, and so feed
With lofty thoughts, that neither evil tongues,
Rash judgments, nor the sneers of selfish men,
Nor greetings where no kindness is, nor all
The dreary intercourse of daily life,
Shall e'er prevail against us, or disturb
Our cheerful faith, that all which we behold
Is full of blessings.  Therefore let the moon
Shine on thee in thy solitary walk;
And let the misty mountain winds be free
To blow against thee: and, in after years,
When these wild ecstasies shall be matured
Into a sober pleasure; when thy mind
Shall be a mansion for all lovely forms,
Thy memory be as a dwelling place
For all sweet sounds and harmonies; oh! then,
If solitude, or fear, or pain, or grief,
Should be thy portion, with what healing thoughts
Of tender joy wilt thou remember me,
And these my exhortations! Nor, perchance—
If I should be where I no more can hear
Thy voice, nor catch from thy wild eyes these gleams
Of past existence—wilt thou then forget
That on the banks of this delightful stream
We stood together; and that I, so long
A worshipper of Nature, hither came
Unwearied in that service; rather say
With warmer love—oh! with far deeper zeal
Of holier love.  Nor wilt thou then forget,
That after many wanderings, many years
Of absence, these steep woods and lofty cliffs,
And this green pastoral landscape, were to me
More dear, both for themselves and for thy sake!


by William Wordsworth |

I Wandered Lonely As A Cloud

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, 
They 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 
Out-did 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 the show to me 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. 


by Robert Louis Stevenson |

Thou Strainest Through The Mountain Fern

 THOU strainest through the mountain fern,
A most exiguously thin Burn.
For all thy foam, for all thy din,
Thee shall the pallid lake inurn,
With well-a-day for Mr. Swin-Burne!
Take then this quarto in thy fin
And, O thou stoker huge and stern,
The whole affair, outside and in,
Burn!
But save the true poetic kin,
The works of Mr. Robert Burn'
And William Wordsworth upon Tin-Tern!


by Edgar Lee Masters |

Voltaire Johnson

 Why did you bruise me with your rough places
If you did not want me to tell you about them?
And stifle me with your stupidities,
If you did not want me to expose them?
And nail me with the nails of cruelty,
If you did not want me to pluck the nails forth
And fling them in your faces?
And starve me because I refused to obey you,
If you did not want me to undermine your tyranny?
I might have been as soul serene
As William Wordsworth except for you!
But what a coward you are, Spoon River,
When you drove me to stand in a magic circle
By the sword of Truth described!
And then to whine and curse your burns,
And curse my power who stood and laughed
Amid ironical lightning!


by William Wordsworth |

Composed Upon Westminster Bridge

 Earth has not anything to show more fair:
Dull would he be of soul who could pass by
A sight so touching in its majesty:
This City now doth like a garment wear
The beauty of the morning; silent , bare,
Ships, towers, domes, theatres, and temples lie
Open unto the fields, and to the sky,
All bright and glittering in the smokeless air.
Never did the sun more beautifully steep
In his first splendour, valley, rock, or hill;
Ne'er saw I, never felt a calm so deep!
The river glideth at his own sweet will:
Dear God! the very houses seem asleep;
And all that mighty heart is lying still!


by William Wordsworth |

Lines Written In Early Spring

 I heard a thousand blended notes,
While in a grove I sate reclined,
In that sweet mood when pleasant thoughts
Bring sad thoughts to the mind.

To her fair works did Nature link
The human soul that through me ran;
And much it grieved my heart to think
What man has made of man.

Through primrose tufts, in that green bower,
The periwinkle trailed its wreaths;
And 'tis my faith that every flower
Enjoys the air it breathes.

The birds around me hopped and played,
Their thoughts I cannot measure:--
But the least motion which they made
It seemed a thrill of pleasure.

The budding twigs spread out their fan,
To catch the breezy air;
And I must think, do all I can,
That there was pleasure there.

If this belief from heaven be sent,
If such be Nature's holy plan,
Have I not reason to lament
What man has made of man?


by William Wordsworth |

London 1802

 Milton! thou should'st be living at this hour:
England hath need of thee: she is a fen
Of stagnant waters: altar, sword, and pen,
Fireside, the heroic wealth of hall and bower,
Have forfeited their ancient English dower
Of inward happiness. We are selfish men;
Oh! raise us up, return to us again;
And give us manners, virtue, freedom, power.
Thy soul was like a Star, and dwelt apart:
Thou hadst a voice whose sound was like the sea:
Pure as the naked heavens, majestic, free,
So didst thou travel on life's common way,
In cheerful godliness; and yet thy heart
The lowliest duties on herself did lay.


by William Wordsworth |

Resolution And Independence

 I 

There was a roaring in the wind all night; 
The rain came heavily and fell in floods; 
But now the sun is rising calm and bright; 
The birds are singing in the distant woods; 
Over his own sweet voice the Stock-dove broods; 
The Jay makes answer as the Magpie chatters; 
And all the air is filled with pleasant noise of waters. 

II 

All things that love the sun are out of doors; 
The sky rejoices in the morning's birth; 
The grass is bright with rain-drops;--on the moors 
The hare is running races in her mirth; 
And with her feet she from the plashy earth 
Raises a mist, that, glittering in the sun, 
Runs with her all the way, wherever she doth run. 

III 

I was a Traveller then upon the moor, 
I saw the hare that raced about with joy; 
I heard the woods and distant waters roar; 
Or heard them not, as happy as a boy: 
The pleasant season did my heart employ: 
My old remembrances went from me wholly; 
And all the ways of men, so vain and melancholy. 

IV 

But, as it sometimes chanceth, from the might 
Of joy in minds that can no further go, 
As high as we have mounted in delight 
In our dejection do we sink as low; 
To me that morning did it happen so; 
And fears and fancies thick upon me came; 
Dim sadness--and blind thoughts, I knew not, nor could name. 

V 

I heard the sky-lark warbling in the sky; 
And I bethought me of the playful hare: 
Even such a happy Child of earth am I; 
Even as these blissful creatures do I fare; 
Far from the world I walk, and from all care; 
But there may come another day to me-- 
Solitude, pain of heart, distress, and poverty. 

VI 

My whole life I have lived in pleasant thought, 
As if life's business were a summer mood; 
As if all needful things would come unsought 
To genial faith, still rich in genial good; 
But how can He expect that others should 
Build for him, sow for him, and at his call 
Love him, who for himself will take no heed at all? 

VII 

I thought of Chatterton, the marvellous Boy, 
The sleepless Soul that perished in his pride; 
Of Him who walked in glory and in joy 
Following his plough, along the mountain-side: 
By our own spirits are we deified: 
We Poets in our youth begin in gladness; 
But thereof come in the end despondency and madness. 

VIII 

Now, whether it were by peculiar grace, 
A leading from above, a something given, 
Yet it befell, that, in this lonely place, 
When I with these untoward thoughts had striven, 
Beside a pool bare to the eye of heaven 
I saw a Man before me unawares: 
The oldest man he seemed that ever wore grey hairs. 

IX 

As a huge stone is sometimes seen to lie 
Couched on the bald top of an eminence; 
Wonder to all who do the same espy, 
By what means it could thither come, and whence; 
So that it seems a thing endued with sense: 
Like a sea-beast crawled forth, that on a shelf 
Of rock or sand reposeth, there to sun itself; 

X 

Such seemed this Man, not all alive nor dead, 
Nor all asleep--in his extreme old age: 
His body was bent double, feet and head 
Coming together in life's pilgrimage; 
As if some dire constraint of pain, or rage 
Of sickness felt by him in times long past, 
A more than human weight upon his frame had cast. 

XI 

Himself he propped, limbs, body, and pale face, 
Upon a long grey staff of shaven wood: 
And, still as I drew near with gentle pace, 
Upon the margin of that moorish flood 
Motionless as a cloud the old Man stood, 
That heareth not the loud winds when they call 
And moveth all together, if it move at all. 

XII 

At length, himself unsettling, he the pond 
Stirred with his staff, and fixedly did look 
Upon the muddy water, which he conned, 
As if he had been reading in a book: 
And now a stranger's privilege I took; 
And, drawing to his side, to him did say, 
"This morning gives us promise of a glorious day." 

XIII 

A gentle answer did the old Man make, 
In courteous speech which forth he slowly drew: 
And him with further words I thus bespake, 
"What occupation do you there pursue? 
This is a lonesome place for one like you." 
Ere he replied, a flash of mild surprise 
Broke from the sable orbs of his yet-vivid eyes, 

XIV 

His words came feebly, from a feeble chest, 
But each in solemn order followed each, 
With something of a lofty utterance drest-- 
Choice word and measured phrase, above the reach 
Of ordinary men; a stately speech; 
Such as grave Livers do in Scotland use, 
Religious men, who give to God and man their dues. 

XV 

He told, that to these waters he had come 
To gather leeches, being old and poor: 
Employment hazardous and wearisome! 
And he had many hardships to endure: 
From pond to pond he roamed, from moor to moor; 
Housing, with God's good help, by choice or chance, 
And in this way he gained an honest maintenance. 

XVI 

The old Man still stood talking by my side; 
But now his voice to me was like a stream 
Scarce heard; nor word from word could I divide; 
And the whole body of the Man did seem 
Like one whom I had met with in a dream; 
Or like a man from some far region sent, 
To give me human strength, by apt admonishment. 

XVII 

My former thoughts returned: the fear that kills; 
And hope that is unwilling to be fed; 
Cold, pain, and labour, and all fleshly ills; 
And mighty Poets in their misery dead. 
--Perplexed, and longing to be comforted, 
My question eagerly did I renew, 
"How is it that you live, and what is it you do?" 

XVIII 

He with a smile did then his words repeat; 
And said, that, gathering leeches, far and wide 
He travelled; stirring thus about his feet 
The waters of the pools where they abide. 
"Once I could meet with them on every side; 
But they have dwindled long by slow decay; 
Yet still I persevere, and find them where I may." 

XIX 

While he was talking thus, the lonely place, 
The old Man's shape, and speech--all troubled me: 
In my mind's eye I seemed to see him pace 
About the weary moors continually, 
Wandering about alone and silently. 
While I these thoughts within myself pursued, 
He, having made a pause, the same discourse renewed. 

XX 

And soon with this he other matter blended, 
Cheerfully uttered, with demeanour kind, 
But stately in the main; and when he ended, 
I could have laughed myself to scorn to find 
In that decrepit Man so firm a mind. 
"God," said I, "be my help and stay secure; 
I'll think of the Leech-gatherer on the lonely moor!"


by William Wordsworth |

Written In March

 The cock is crowing,
The stream is flowing,
The small birds twitter,
The lake doth glitter
 The green field sleeps in the sun;
The oldest and youngest
Are at work with the strongest;
The cattle are grazing,
Their heads never raising;
 There are forty feeding like one!

Like an army defeated
The snow hath retreated,
And now doth fare ill
On the top of the bare hill;
 The plowboy is whooping—anon-anon:
There's joy in the mountains;
There's life in the fountains;
Small clouds are sailing,
Blue sky prevailing;
 The rain is over and gone!