Poetry by Wordsworth - Return to Poems
TO AN OCTOGENARIAN
AFFECTIONS lose their object; Time brings forth No successors; and, lodged in memory, If love exist no longer, it must die,-- Wanting accustomed food, must pass from earth, Or never hope to reach a second birth. This sad belief, the happiest that is left To thousands, share not Thou; howe'er bereft, Scorned, or neglected, fear not such a dearth. Though poor and destitute of friends thou art, Perhaps the sole survivor of thy race, 10 One to whom Heaven assigns that mournful part The utmost solitude of age to face, Still shall be left some corner of the heart Where Love for living Thing can find a place. 1846.
COMPOSED OR SUGGESTED DURING A TOUR IN THE SUMMER OF 1833
V. TO THE RIVER DERWENT
AMONG the mountains were we nursed, loved Stream Thou near the eagle's nest--within brief sail, I, of his bold wing floating on the gale, Where thy deep voice could lull me! Faint the beam Of human life when first allowed to gleam On mortal notice.--Glory of the vale, Such thy meek outset, with a crown, though frail, Kept in perpetual verdure by the steam Of thy soft breath!--Less vivid wreath entwined Nemaean victor's brow; less bright was worn, 10 Meed of some Roman chief--in triumph borne With captives chained; and shedding from his car The sunset splendours of a finished war Upon the proud enslavers of mankind! 1819.
MEMORIALS OF A TOUR IN SCOTLAND, 1803
XIII. THE MATRON OF JEDBOROUGH AND HER HUSBAND
AGE! twine thy brows with fresh spring flowers, And call a train of laughing Hours; And bid them dance, and bid them sing; And thou, too, mingle in the ring! Take to thy heart a new delight; If not, make merry in despite That there is One who scorns thy power:-- But dance! for under Jedborough Tower, A Matron dwells who, though she bears The weight of more than seventy years, Lives in the light of youthful glee, 10 And she will dance and sing with thee. Nay! start not at that Figure--there! Him who is rooted to his chair! Look at him--look again! for he Hath long been of thy family. With legs that move not, if they can, And useless arms, a trunk of man, He sits, and with a vacant eye; A sight to make a stranger sigh! Deaf, drooping, that is now his doom: 20 His world is in this single room: Is this a place for mirthful cheer? Can merry-making enter here? The joyous Woman is the Mate Of him in that forlorn estate! He breathes a subterraneous damp; But bright as Vesper shines her lamp: He is as mute as Jedborough Tower: She jocund as it was of yore, With all its bravery on; in times 30 When all alive with merry chimes, Upon a sun-bright morn of May, It roused the Vale to holiday. I praise thee, Matron! and thy due Is praise, heroic praise, and true! With admiration I behold Thy gladness unsubdued and bold: Thy looks, thy gestures, all present The picture of a life well spent: This do I see; and something more; 40 A strength unthought of heretofore! Delighted am I for thy sake; And yet a higher joy partake: Our Human-nature throws away Its second twilight, and looks gay; A land of promise and of pride Unfolding, wide as life is wide. Ah! see her helpless Charge! enclosed Within himself it seems, composed; To fear of loss, and hope of gain, 50 The strife of happiness and pain, Utterly dead! yet in the guise Of little infants, when their eyes Begin to follow to and fro The persons that before them go, He tracks her motions, quick or slow, Her buoyant spirit can prevail Where common cheerfulness would fail; She strikes upon him with the heat Of July suns; he feels it sweet; 60 An animal delight though dim! 'Tis all that now remains for him! The more I looked, I wondered more-- And, while I scanned them o'er and o'er, Some inward trouble suddenly Broke from the Matron's strong black eye-- A remnant of uneasy light, A flash of something over-bright! Nor long this mystery did detain My thoughts;--she told in pensive strain 70 That she had borne a heavy yoke, Been stricken by a twofold stroke; Ill health of body; and had pined Beneath worse ailments of the mind. So be it!--but let praise ascend To Him who is our lord and friend! Who from disease and suffering Hath called for thee a second spring; Repaid thee for that sore distress By no untimely joyousness; 80 Which makes of thine a blissful state; And cheers thy melancholy Mate!
Material taken from Colombia Universities' Wordsworth, William. 1888. Complete Poetical Works site.