Lyrical Ballads, with other poems, by William Wordsworth

A Character

In the antithetical Manner.

I marvel how Nature could ever find space

For the weight and the levity seen in his face:

There’s thought and no thought, and there’s paleness and bloom,

And bustle and sluggishness, pleasure and gloom.

There’s weakness, and strength both redundant and vain;

Such strength, as if ever affliction and pain

Could pierce through a temper that’s soft to disease,

Would be rational peace — a philosopher’s ease.

There’s indifference, alike when he fails and succeeds,

And attention full ten times as much as there needs,

Pride where there’s no envy, there’s so much of joy;

And mildness, and spirit both forward and coy.

There’s freedom, and sometimes a diffident stare

Of shame scarcely seeming to know that she’s there.

There’s virtue, the title it surely may claim,

Yet wants, heaven knows what, to be worthy the name.

What a picture! ’tis drawn without nature or art,

— Yet the Man would at once run away with your heart,

And I for five centuries right gladly would be

Such an odd, such a kind happy creature as he.

http://ebooks.adelaide.edu.au/w/wordsworth/william/lyrical/poem58.html

Last updated Tuesday, March 4, 2014 at 12:30