Extract from Home at Grasmere
Deep pools, tall trees, black chasms, and dizzy crags –
I loved to look in them, to stand and read
Their looks forbidding, read and disobey,
Sometimes in act, and evermore in thought.
With impulses which only were by these
Surpassed in strength, I heard of danger met
Or sought with courage, enterprize forlorn,
By one, sole keeper of his own intent,
Or by a resolute few, who for the sake
Of glory fronted multitudes in arms.
Yea, to this day I swell with like desire;
I cannot at this moment read a tale
Of two brave Vessels matched in deadly fight
And fighting to the death, but I am pleased
More than a wise Man ought to be; I wish,
I burn, I struggle, and in soul am there.
But me hath Nature tamed and bade me seek
For other agitations or be calm,
Hath dealt with me as with a turbulent stream –
Some Nurseling of the Mountains which she leads
Through quiet meadows after it has learned
Its strength and had its triumph and its joy,
Its desperate course of tumult and of glee.
That which in stealth by nature was performed
Hath Reason sanctioned. Her deliberate Voice
Hath said, ‘Be mild and love all gentle things;
Thy glory and thy happiness be there.
Yet fear (though thou confide in me) no want
Of aspirations which have been – of foes
To wrestle with and victory to complete,
Bounds to be leapt and darkness to explore.
That which enflamed thy infant heart – the love,
The longing, the contempt, the undaunted quest –
These shall survive, though changed their office, these
Shall live; it is not in their power to die.’
Then farewell to the Warrior’s deeds, farewell
All hope, which once and long was mine, to fill
The heroic trumpet with the muse’s breath!
Yet in this peaceful Vale we will not spend
Unheard-of days, though loving peaceful thoughts;
A Voice shall speak, and what will be the Theme?
On Man, on Nature, and on human Life,
Thinking in solitude, from time to time
I feel sweet passions traversing my Soul
Like Music; unto these, where’er I may,
I would give utterance in numerous verse.
Of truth, of grandeur, beauty, love, and hope –
Hope for this earth and hope beyond the grave –
Of virtue and of intellectual power,
Of blessed consolations in distress,
Of joy in widest commonalty spread,
Of the individual mind that keeps its own
Inviolate retirement, and consists
With being limitless the one great Life –
I sing; fit audience let me find though few!