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536.

Ode Intimations of Immortality from Recollections of Early Childhood


William Wordsworth. 17701850 THERE was a time when meadow, grove, and stream, The earth, and every common sight, To me did seem !!arell"d in celestial light, The glory and the #reshness o# a dream. 5 $t is not now as it hath %een o# yore&' T(rn wheresoe"er $ may, )y night or day, The things which $ have seen $ now can see no more. The rain%ow comes and goes, 10 nd lovely is the rose& The moon doth with delight *oo+ ro(nd her when the heavens are %are& Waters on a starry night re %ea(ti#(l and #air& 15 The s(nshine is a glorio(s %irth& )(t yet $ +now, where"er $ go, That there hath !ass"d away a glory #rom the earth. ,ow, while the %irds th(s sing a -oyo(s song, nd while the yo(ng lam%s %o(nd .0 s to the ta%or"s so(nd, To me alone there came a tho(ght o# grie#/ timely (tterance gave that tho(ght relie#, nd $ again am strong/ The cataracts %low their tr(m!ets #rom the stee!& .5 ,o more shall grie# o# mine the season wrong& $ hear the echoes thro(gh the mo(ntains throng, The winds come to me #rom the #ields o# slee!, nd all the earth is gay& *and and sea 00 1ive themselves (! to -ollity, nd with the heart o# 2ay 3oth every %east +ee! holiday&' Tho( 4hild o# 5oy, 6ho(t ro(nd me, let me hear thy sho(ts, tho( ha!!y 05 6he!herd7%oy8 9e %less:d creat(res, $ have heard the call 9e to each other ma+e& $ see

The heavens la(gh with yo( in yo(r -(%ilee& 2y heart is at yo(r #estival, ;0 2y head hath its coronal, The #(lness o# yo(r %liss, $ #eel'$ #eel it all. < evil day8 i# $ were s(llen While Earth hersel# is adorning, This sweet 2ay7morning, ;5 nd the children are c(lling <n every side, $n a tho(sand valleys #ar and wide, =resh #lowers& while the s(n shines warm, nd the %a%e lea!s (! on his mother"s arm/' $ hear, $ hear, with -oy $ hear8 ')(t there"s a tree, o# many, one, single #ield which $ have loo+"d (!on, )oth o# them s!ea+ o# something that is gone/ The !ansy at my #eet 55 3oth the same tale re!eat/ Whither is #led the visionary gleam> Where is it now, the glory and the dream> <(r %irth is %(t a slee! and a #orgetting/ The 6o(l that rises with (s, o(r li#e"s 6tar, ?0 Hath had elsewhere its setting, nd cometh #rom a#ar/ ,ot in entire #orget#(lness, nd not in (tter na+edness, )(t trailing clo(ds o# glory do we come ?5 =rom 1od, who is o(r home/ Heaven lies a%o(t (s in o(r in#ancy8 6hades o# the !rison7ho(se %egin to close @!on the growing )oy, )(t he %eholds the light, and whence it #lows, He sees it in his -oy& The 9o(th, who daily #arther #rom the east 2(st travel, still is ,at(re"s !riest, nd %y the vision s!lendid $s on his way attended& 75 t length the 2an !erceives it die away, nd #ade into the light o# common day. Earth #ills her la! with !leas(res o# her own& 9earnings she hath in her own nat(ral +ind, nd, even with something o# a mother"s mind, nd no (nworthy aim, The homely n(rse doth all she can

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To ma+e her #oster7child, her $nmate 2an, =orget the glories he hath +nown, nd that im!erial !alace whence he came.

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)ehold the 4hild among his new7%orn %lisses, siA years" darling o# a !igmy siBe8 6ee, where "mid wor+ o# his own hand he lies, =retted %y sallies o# his mother"s +isses, With light (!on him #rom his #ather"s eyes8 C0 6ee, at his #eet, some little !lan or chart, 6ome #ragment #rom his dream o# h(man li#e, 6ha!ed %y himsel# with newly7learn:d art& wedding or a #estival, mo(rning or a #(neral& C5 nd this hath now his heart, nd (nto this he #rames his song/ Then will he #it his tong(e To dialog(es o# %(siness, love, or stri#e& )(t it will not %e long 100 Ere this %e thrown aside, nd with new -oy and !ride The little actor cons another !art& =illing #rom time to time his "h(moro(s stage" With all the Dersons, down to !alsied ge, 105 That *i#e %rings with her in her eE(i!age& s i# his whole vocation Were endless imitation. Tho(, whose eAterior sem%lance doth %elie Thy so(l"s immensity& 110 Tho( %est !hiloso!her, who yet dost +ee! Thy heritage, tho( eye among the %lind, That, dea# and silent, read"st the eternal dee!, Ha(nted #or ever %y the eternal mind,' 2ighty !ro!het8 6eer %lest8 115 <n whom those tr(ths do rest, Which we are toiling all o(r lives to #ind, $n dar+ness lost, the dar+ness o# the grave& Tho(, over whom thy $mmortality )roods li+e the 3ay, a master o"er a slave, 1.0 !resence which is not to %e !(t %y& To whom the grave $s %(t a lonely %ed witho(t the sense or sight <# day or the warm light, !lace o# tho(ght where we in waiting lie& 1.5 Tho( little 4hild, yet glorio(s in the might

<# heaven7%orn #reedom on thy %eing"s height, Why with s(ch earnest !ains dost tho( !rovo+e The years to %ring the inevita%le yo+e, Th(s %lindly with thy %lessedness at stri#e> 100 =(ll soon thy so(l shall have her earthly #reight, nd c(stom lie (!on thee with a weight, Heavy as #rost, and dee! almost as li#e8 < -oy8 that in o(r em%ers $s something that doth live, 105 That nat(re yet remem%ers What was so #(gitive8 The tho(ght o# o(r !ast years in me doth %reed Der!et(al %enediction/ not indeed =or that which is most worthy to %e %lest' 1;0 3elight and li%erty, the sim!le creed <# childhood, whether %(sy or at rest, With new7#ledged ho!e still #l(ttering in his %reast/' ,ot #or these $ raise The song o# than+s and !raise& 1;5 )(t #or those o%stinate E(estionings <# sense and o(tward things, =allings #rom (s, vanishings& )lan+ misgivings o# a 4reat(re 2oving a%o(t in worlds not realiBed, 150 High instincts %e#ore which o(r mortal ,at(re 3id trem%le li+e a g(ilty thing s(r!rised/ )(t #or those #irst a##ections, Those shadowy recollections, Which, %e they what they may, 155 re yet the #o(ntain7light o# all o(r day, re yet a master7light o# all o(r seeing& @!hold (s, cherish, and have !ower to ma+e <(r noisy years seem moments in the %eing <# the eternal 6ilence/ tr(ths that wa+e, 1?0 To !erish never/ Which neither listlessness, nor mad endeavo(r, ,or 2an nor )oy, ,or all that is at enmity with -oy, 4an (tterly a%olish or destroy8 1?5 Hence in a season o# calm weather Tho(gh inland #ar we %e, <(r so(ls have sight o# that immortal sea Which %ro(ght (s hither, 4an in a moment travel thither, 170 nd see the children s!ort (!on the shore,

nd hear the mighty waters rolling evermore. Then sing, ye %irds, sing, sing a -oyo(s song8 nd let the yo(ng lam%s %o(nd s to the ta%or"s so(nd8 175 We in tho(ght will -oin yo(r throng, 9e that !i!e and ye that !lay, 9e that thro(gh yo(r hearts to7day =eel the gladness o# the 2ay8 What tho(gh the radiance which was once so %right 180 )e now #or ever ta+en #rom my sight, Tho(gh nothing can %ring %ac+ the ho(r <# s!lendo(r in the grass, o# glory in the #lower& We will grieve not, rather #ind 6trength in what remains %ehind& 185 $n the !rimal sym!athy Which having %een m(st ever %e& $n the soothing tho(ghts that s!ring <(t o# h(man s(##ering& $n the #aith that loo+s thro(gh death, 1C0 $n years that %ring the !hiloso!hic mind. nd < ye =o(ntains, 2eadows, Hills, and 1roves, =ore%ode not any severing o# o(r loves8 9et in my heart o# hearts $ #eel yo(r might& $ only have relinE(ish"d one delight 1C5 To live %eneath yo(r more ha%it(al sway. $ love the %roo+s which down their channels #ret, Even more than when $ tri!!"d lightly as they& The innocent %rightness o# a new7%orn 3ay $s lovely yet& .00 The clo(ds that gather ro(nd the setting s(n 3o ta+e a so%er colo(ring #rom an eye That hath +e!t watch o"er man"s mortality& nother race hath %een, and other !alms are won. Than+s to the h(man heart %y which we live, Than+s to its tenderness, its -oys, and #ears, To me the meanest #lower that %lows can give Tho(ghts that do o#ten lie too dee! #or tears.

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