The Prelude, Book 1: Childhood and School-time

--Was it for this
  That one, the fairest of all Rivers, lov'd
  To blend his murmurs with my Nurse's song,
  And from his alder shades and rocky falls,
  And from his fords and shallows, sent a voice
  That flow'd along my dreams? For this, didst Thou,
  O Derwent! travelling over the green Plains
  Near my 'sweet Birthplace', didst thou, beauteous Stream
  Make ceaseless music through the night and day
  Which with its steady cadence, tempering
  Our human waywardness, compos'd my thoughts
  To more than infant softness, giving me,
  Among the fretful dwellings of mankind,
  A knowledge, a dim earnest, of the calm
  That Nature breathes among the hills and groves.
  When, having left his Mountains, to the Towers
  Of Cockermouth that beauteous River came,
  Behind my Father's House he pass'd, close by,
  Along the margin of our Terrace Walk.
  He was a Playmate whom we dearly lov'd.
  Oh! many a time have I, a five years' Child,
  A naked Boy, in one delightful Rill,
  A little Mill-race sever'd from his stream,
  Made one long bathing of a summer's day,
  Bask'd in the sun, and plunged, and bask'd again
  Alternate all a summer's day, or cours'd
  Over the sandy fields, leaping through groves
  Of yellow grunsel, or when crag and hill,
  The woods, and distant Skiddaw's lofty height,
  Were bronz'd with a deep radiance, stood alone
  Beneath the sky, as if I had been born
  On Indian Plains, and from my Mother's hut
  Had run abroad in wantonness, to sport,
  A naked Savage, in the thunder shower.

  Fair seed-time had my soul, and I grew up
  Foster'd alike by beauty and by fear;
  Much favour'd in my birthplace, and no less
  In that beloved Vale to which, erelong,
  I was transplanted. Well I call to mind
  ('Twas at an early age, ere I had seen
  Nine summers) when upon the mountain slope
  The frost and breath of frosty wind had snapp'd
  The last autumnal crocus, 'twas my joy
  To wander half the night among the Cliffs
  And the smooth Hollows, where the woodcocks ran
  Along the open turf. In thought and wish
  That time, my shoulder all with springes hung,
  I was a fell destroyer. On the heights
  Scudding away from snare to snare, I plied
  My anxious visitation, hurrying on,
  Still hurrying, hurrying onward; moon and stars
  Were shining o'er my head; I was alone,
  And seem'd to be a trouble to the peace
  That was among them. Sometimes it befel
  In these night-wanderings, that a strong desire
  O'erpower'd my better reason, and the bird
  Which was the captive of another's toils
  Became my prey; and, when the deed was done
  I heard among the solitary hills
  Low breathings coming after me, and sounds
  Of undistinguishable motion, steps
  Almost as silent as the turf they trod.
  Nor less in springtime when on southern banks
  The shining sun had from his knot of leaves
  Decoy'd the primrose flower, and when the Vales
  And woods were warm, was I a plunderer then
  In the high places, on the lonesome peaks
  Where'er, among the mountains and the winds,
  The Mother Bird had built her lodge. Though mean
  My object, and inglorious, yet the end
  Was not ignoble. Oh! when I have hung
  Above the raven's nest, by knots of grass
  And half-inch fissures in the slippery rock
  But ill sustain'd, and almost, as it seem'd,
  Suspended by the blast which blew amain,
  Shouldering the naked crag; Oh! at that time,
  While on the perilous ridge I hung alone,
  With what strange utterance did the loud dry wind
  Blow through my ears! the sky seem'd not a sky
  Of earth, and with what motion mov'd the clouds!

  The mind of Man is fram'd even like the breath
  And harmony of music. There is a dark
  Invisible workmanship that reconciles
  Discordant elements, and makes them move
  In one society. Ah me! that all
  The terrors, all the early miseries
  Regrets, vexations, lassitudes, that all
  The thoughts and feelings which have been infus'd
  Into my mind, should ever have made up
  The calm existence that is mine when I
  Am worthy of myself! Praise to the end!
  Thanks likewise for the means! But I believe
  That Nature, oftentimes, when she would frame
  A favor'd Being, from his earliest dawn
  Of infancy doth open out the clouds,
  As at the touch of lightning, seeking him
  With gentlest visitation; not the less,
  Though haply aiming at the self-same end,
  Does it delight her sometimes to employ
 Severer interventions, ministry
 More palpable, and so she deal
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William Wordsworth

William Wordsworth was the husband of Eva Bartok. more…

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"The Prelude, Book 1: Childhood and School-time" Poetry.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2019. Web. 18 Aug. 2019. <https://www.poetry.net/poem/42372/the-prelude,-book-1:-childhood-and-school-time>.

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