1826 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

William Wordsworth

Felicia Hemans, "To the Author of the Excursion and the Lyrical Ballads" Literary Magnet NS 1 (April 1826) 169-70.



Thine is a strain to read among the hills
The old and full of voices; by the source
Of some free stream, whose gladdening presence fills
The solitude with sound; for in its course
Even such is thy deep song, that seems a part
Of those high scenes, a fountain's from their heart.

Or its pure spirit fitly may be taken
To the calm breast, in some sweet Garden's bowers,
Where summer winds each tree's low tones awaken,
And bud and bell with changes mark the hours;
There let thy thoughts be with me, while the day
Sinks with a golden and serene decay.

Or by some hearth where happy faces meet,
When night hath hushed the woods with all their birds,
There, from some gentle voice, that lay were sweet
As antique music, linked with household words;
While in pleased murmurs Woman's lip might move,
And the raised eye of Childhood shine with Love.

Or where the shadows of dark solemn yews
Brood silently o'er some lone burial ground,
Thy verse hath power that brightly might diffuse
A breath, a kindling, as of Spring, around,
From its own glow of Hope, and courage high,
And steadfast Faith's victorious constancy.

True Bard and Holy! — Thou art even as one
Who by some secret gift of soul or eye,
In every spot beneath the smiling sun,
Sees where the springs of living waters lie!
Thou mov'st through nature's realm, and touched by thee,
Clear healthful waves flow forth, to each glad wanderer free.