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This poem, by William Wordsworth, was written in 1803 in honor of Robert Burns, a Scots poet (1759-1796)
Seven Years After His Death
I shiver, Spirit fierce and bold, at thought of what I now behold:
As vapors breathed from dungeons cold, strike pleasure dead,
So sadness comes from out the mould where Burns is laid.
And have I then thy bones so near, and thou forbidden to appear?
As if it were thyself that’s here I shrink with pain;
And both my wishes and my fear alike are vain.
Off weight-nor press on weight! -away Dark thoughts!-
they came, but not to stay;
With chastened feelings would I pay the tribute due
To him, and aught that hides his clay from mortal view.
Fresh as the flower, whose modest worth he sang, his genius "glinted" forth,
Rose like a star that touching earth, for so it seems,
Doth glorify its humble birth with matchless beams.
The piercing eye, the thoughtful brow,the struggling heart, where be they now?
Full soon the Aspirant of the plough, the prompt, the brave,
Slept, with the obscurest, in the low and silent grave.
I mourned with thousands, but as one more deeply grieved,
For he was gone whose light I hailed when first it shone
And showed my youth how verse may build a princely throne
On humble truth.
Alas! where’er the current tends, regret pursues and with it blends,-
Huge Criffel’s hoary top ascends by Skiddaw seen,-
Neighbors we were, and loving friends we might have been;
True friends though diversely inclined;
But heart with heart and mind with mind,
Where the main fibres are entwined,
Through Nature’s skill,
May even by contraries be joined
More lcosely still.
The tear will start, and let it flow;
Thou "poor Inhabitant below,"
At this dread moment -even so-
Might we together
Have sat and talked where gowans blow,
or on wild heather.
What treasures would have then been placed
Within my reach; of knowledge graced
By fancy what a rich repast!
But why go on ?-
Oh! spare to sweep, thou mournful blast, his grave grass-grown.
There, too, a Son, his joy and pride,
(Not three weeks past the Stripling died,)
Lies gathered to his Father’s side, soul-moving sight!
Yet one to which is not denied some sad delight:
For he is safe, a quiet bed
Hath early found among the dead
Harbored where none can be misled,
Wronged, or distrest;
And surely here it maybe said that such are blest.
And oh for Thee, by pitying grace
Checked oft-times in a devious race,
May He who halloweth the place where man is laid
Receive thy Spirit in the embrace
For which it prayed!
Sighing I turned away; but ere
Night fell I heard, or seemed to hear,
Music that sorrow comes not near,
A ritual hymn,
Chaunted in love that casts out fear
William Wordsworth, born April 7, 1770
To Wordsworth poetry was the record and analysis of the human spirit. He strove to take chaos and make symmetry and beauty out of it. This beauty he presented was mostly found in simplicity and in harmony with nature. It is for a good reason that he chose to go back to the country from which he was born in order to keep a daily association with the out-of-doors. His genius removed what Coleridge called "the film of familiarity" and showed in simple verse a sublime beauty that appeared to be hidden from our everyday sight.
The Castle Lady casting out fear with love !