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INTIMATIONS OF IMMORTALITY FROM RECOLLECTIONS OF EARLY
THERE was a time when meadow, grove, and stream,
The things which I have seen I now can see no more.
The rainbow comes and goes,
And lovely is the rose;
The moon doth with delight
Look round her when the heaven is bare;
Waters on a starry night
Are beautiful and fair;
The sunshine is a glorious birth;
But yet I know, where'er I go,
That there hath passed away a glory from the earth.
Now, while the birds thus sing a joyous song,
As to the tabor's sound,
To me alone there came a thought of grief:
The cataracts blow their trumpets from the steep;
Land and sea
Give themselves up to jollity,
Shout round me, let me hear thy shouts, thou happy
Ye blessed creatures, I have heard the call
Ye to each other make; I see
The heavens laugh with you in your jubilee;
My head hath its coronal,
The fulness of your bliss, I feel I feel it all.
While earth herself is adorning,
And the children are culling
On every side,
In a thousand valleys far and wide,
Fresh flowers; while the sun shines warm,
And the babe leaps up on his mother's arm;
I hear, I hear, with joy I hear!
But there's a tree, of many, one,
A single field which I have looked upon,
Both of them speak of something that is gone:
Doth the same tale repeat:
Whither is fled the visionary gleam?
Where is it now, the glory and the dream?
Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting:
The soul that rises with us, our life's star,
Not in entire forgetfulness,
And not in utter nakedness,
But trailing clouds of glory do we come
From God, who is our home.
Heaven lies about us in our infancy!
Shades of the prison-house begin to close
But he beholds the light, and whence it flows;
The youth who daily farther from the east
Is on his way attended;
At length the man perceives it die away,
Earth fills her lap with pleasures of her own;
The homely nurse doth all she can
To make her foster-child, her inmate man,
And that imperial palace whence he came.
See where, 'mid work of his own hand, he lies,
A wedding or a festival,
A mourning or a funeral;
And this hath now his heart,
Then will he fit his tongue
To dialogues of business, love, or strife.
Ere this be thrown aside,
And with new joy and pride
The little actor cons another part,
Filling from time to time his
With all the persons, down to palsied age,
As if his whole vocation
Were endless imitation.
Thou, whose exterior semblance doth belie
Thou best philosopher, who yet doth keep
Mighty prophet, seer blest!
On whom those truths do rest,
Thus blindly with thy blessedness at strife?
Full soon thy soul shall have her earthly freight,
Heavy as frost, and deep almost as life!
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,
Moving about in worlds not realized,
High instincts before which our mortal nature
Did tremble like a guilty thing surprised;
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
To perish never;
Which neither listlessness nor mad endeavor,
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,
Can in a moment travel thither,
And see the children sport upon the shore,
Then sing, ye birds, sing, sing a joyous song!
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
What though the radiance which was once so bright
Of splendour in the grass, of glory in the flower;
Which having been must ever be;
In the faith that looks through death,