Lyrical Ballads, with other poems, by William Wordsworth

There was a Boy, &c

There was a Boy, ye knew him well, ye Cliffs

And Islands of Winander! many a time,

At evening, when the stars had just begun

To move along the edges of the hills,

Rising or setting, would he stand alone,

Beneath the trees, or by the glimmering lake,

And there, with fingers interwoven, both hands

Press’d closely palm to palm and to his mouth

Uplifted, he, as through an instrument,

Blew mimic hootings to the silent owls

That they might answer him. And they would shout

Across the wat’ry vale and shout again

Responsive to his call, with quivering peals,

And long halloos, and screams, and echoes loud

Redoubled and redoubled, a wild scene

Of mirth and jocund din. And, when it chanced

That pauses of deep silence mock’d his skill,

Then, sometimes, in that silence, while he hung

Listening, a gentle shock of mild surprize

Has carried far into his heart the voice

Of mountain torrents, or the visible scene

Would enter unawares into his mind

With all its solemn imagery, its rocks,

Its woods, and that uncertain heaven, receiv’d

Into the bosom of the steady lake.

Fair are the woods, and beauteous is the spot,

The vale where he was born: the Church-yard hangs

Upon a slope above the village school,

And there along that bank when I have pass’d

At evening, I believe, that near his grave

A full half-hour together I have stood,

Mute — for he died when he was ten years old.

Last updated Sunday, March 27, 2016 at 12:02