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135

140

O joy! that in our embers
Is something that doth live,
That nature yet remembers

What was so fugitive.
The thought of our past years in me doth breed
Perpetual benediction : not, indeed,
For that which is most worthy to be blest,
Delight and liberty, the simple creed
Of childhood, whether busy or at rest,
With new-fledged hope still fluttering in his breast.

Not for these I raise

The song of thanks and praise;
But for those obstinate questionings
Of sense and outward things,
Fallings from us, vanishings;

Blank misgivings of a creature
Moving about in worlds not realized,
High instincts before which our mortal nature
Did tremble like a guilty thing surprised !

But for those first affections,

Those shadowy recollections,

Which, be they what they may,
Are yet the fountain light of all our day,
Are yet a master light of all our seeing;

Uphold us, cherish, and have power to make
Our noisy years seem moments in the being
Of the eternal Silence: truths that wake,

To perish never;
Which neither listlessness, nor mad endeavor,

145

150

155

LITERARY ANALYSIS.—140. obstinate questionings. See Wordsworth's note, page 300.

142. Fallings from us, vanishings: that is, fits of utter dreaminess and abstraction, when nothing material seems solid, but everything mere mist and shadow.

153. seem moments: that is, seem but moments.

160

Nor man nor boy,
Nor all that is at enmity with joy,
Can utterly abolish or destroy!

Hence, in a season of calm weather,

Though inland far we be,
Our souls have sight of that immortal sea

Which brought us hither,

Can in a moment travel thither,
And see the children sport upon the shore,
And hear the mighty waters rolling evermore.

165

170

175

X.
Then sing, ye birds, sing, sing a joyous song,

And let the young lambs bound

As to the tabor's sound !
We in thought will join your throng,

Ye that pipe and ye that play,
Ye that through your hearts to-day

Feel the gladness of the May !
What though the radiance which was once so bright
Be now forever taken from my sight,
Though nothing can bring back the hour
Of splendor in the grass, of glory in the flower;

We will grieve not-rather find
Strength in what remains behind;
In the primal sympathy.
Which, having been, must ever be;
In the soothing thoughts that spring
Out of human suffering ;

In the faith that looks through death,
In years that bring the philosophic mind.

18.

LITERARY ANALYSIS. -160-166. The pupil will observe the grandeur of the thought imaged in these splendid lines, which should be committed to memory.

167-169. Then sing ... sound. What kind of sentence grammatically? 174-185. What kind of sentence rhetorically? 185. In ... mind. Explain.

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190

And O ye fountains, meadows, hills, and groves,
Forebode not any severing of our loves !
Yet in my heart of hearts I feel your might;
I only have relinquished one delight,
To live beneath your more habitual sway.
I love the brooks which down their channels fret,
Even more than when I tripped lightly as they ;
The innocent brightness of a new-born day

Is lovely yet;
The clouds that gather round the setting sun
Do take a sober coloring from an eye
That hath kept watch o'er man's mortality!
Another race hath been, and other palms are won.
Thanks to the human heart by which we live,
Thanks to its tenderness, its joys, and fears,
To me the meanest flower that blows can give
Thoughts that do often lie too deep for tears.

195

200

LITERARY ANALYSIS.—189. only. What does the word modify?
201, 202. With what beautiful thought does the poem close ?

NOTE BY WORDSWORTH. - This was composed during my residence at Town-End, Grasmere. Two years at least passed between the writing of the first four stanzas and the remaining part. To the attentive and competent reader the whole sufficiently explains itself, but there may be no harm in adverting here to particular feelings or experiences of my own mind on which the structure of the poem partly rests. Nothing was more difficult for me in childhood than to admit the notion of death as a state applicable to my own being. I have elsewhere said,

A simple child
That lightly draws its breath
And feels its life in every limb,
What should it know of death?

But it was not so much from the source of animal vivacity that my difficulty came as from a sense of the indomitableness of the spirit within me. I used to brood over the stories of Enoch and Elijah, and almost persuade myself that, whatever might become of others, I should be translated in something of the same way to heaven. With a feeling congenial to this, I was often unable to think of external things as having external existence, and I com

muned with all that I saw as something not apart from, but inherent in, my own immaterial nature. Many times while going to school have I grasped at a wall or tree to recall myself from this abyss of idealism to the reality. At that time I was afraid of mere processes. In later periods of life I have deplored, as we have all reason to do, a subjugation of an opposite character, and have rejoiced over the remembrances, as is expressed in the lines Obstinate Questionings, etc. To that dreamlike vividness and splendor which invests objects of sight in childhood, every one, I believe, if he would look back, could bear testimony, and I need not dwell upon it here ; but having in the poem regarded it as a presumptive evidence of a prior state of existence, I think it right to protest against a conclusion which has given pain to some good and pious persons, that I meant to inculcate such a belief. It is far too shadowy a notion to be recommended to faith as more than an element in our instincts of immortality. But let us bear in mind that though the idea is not advanced in Revelation, there is nothing there to contradict it, and the fall of man presents an analogy in its favor. Accordingly, a pre-existent state has entered into the creed of many nations, and among all persons acquainted with classic literature is known as an ingredient in Platonic philosophy. Archimedes said that he could move the world if he had a point whereon to rest his machine. Who has not felt the same aspirations as regards his own mind ? Having to wield some of its elements when I was impelled to write this poem on the immortality of the soul, I took hold of the notion of preexistence as having sufficient foundation in humanity for authorizing me to make for my purpose the best use of it I could as a poet.

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CHARACTERIZATION BY R. H. HUTTON.' 1. The most striking feature of Scott's romances is that, for the most part, they are pivoted on public rather than mere private interests and passions. With but few exceptions—The An

From Sir Walter Scott, by Richard H. Hutton.

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