1819 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

William Wordsworth

Anonymous, "Simplicity" Morning Chronicle (3 September 1819).



[Simplicity is a characteristic of the light species of poetry. — None has carried the simple so far as Mr. WORDSWORTH; and as I hold it good always to imitate perfection, I have taken him for my model. The piece in which these lines occur, has given most uneasiness to my ambition:—

"Violets, do what they will,
Wither'd on the ground must lie:
Daisies will be daisies still;
Daisies they must live and die." &c.
Vol. II. p. 116.

What scholar is not inferior to the master! What copy falls not short of the original! However, if I fail, be this my epitaph: "Magnis tamen excidit ausis."]

Fair women win the hearts of men,
Men the hearts of women too!
It has been so, the Lord knows when—
What then can the poor things do?

Their blue eyes will be blue eyes still,
Will have fire, and fire will warm;
Lips will be lips, say what they will,
And to kiss them, where's the harm?

To church, to marry, fair one, go—
Bells, in belfries, toll ding dong;
If your mother did not so,
Then your mother, child, was wrong.

A woman pregnant will look big—
If a daughter, then she spins;
And if a son, why let him dig,
But beware of having twins!