Lyrical Ballads, with other poems, by William Wordsworth

Lines left upon a Seat in a Yew-tree which stands near the Lake of Esthwaite, on a desolate part of the shore, yet commanding a beautiful prospect.

— Nay, Traveller! rest. This lonely yew-tree stands

Far from all human dwelling: what if here

No sparkling rivulet spread the verdant herb;

What if these barren boughs the bee not loves;

Yet, if the wind breathe soft, the curling waves,

That break against the shore, shall lull thy mind

By one soft impulse saved from vacancy.

                                        — Who he was

That piled these stones, and with the mossy sod

First covered o’er and taught this aged tree

With its dark arms to form a circling bower,

I well remember. — He was one who owned

No common soul. In youth by science nursed

And led by nature into a wild scene

Of lofty hopes, he to the world went forth,

A favored being, knowing no desire

Which genius did not hallow, ‘gainst the taint

Of dissolute tongues, and jealousy, and hate

And scorn, against all enemies prepared.

All but neglect. The world, for so it thought,

Owed him no service: he was like a plant

Fair to the sun, the darling of the winds,

But hung with fruit which no one, that passed by,

Regarded, and, his spirit damped at once,

With indignation did he turn away

And with the food of pride sustained his soul

In solitude. — Stranger! these gloomy boughs

Had charms for him; and here he loved to sit,

His only visitants a straggling sheep,

The stone-chat, or the glancing sand-piper;

And on these barren rocks, with juniper,

And heath, and thistle, thinly sprinkled o’er,

Fixing his downcast eye, he many an hour

A morbid pleasure nourished, tracing here

An emblem of his own unfruitful life:

And lifting up his head, he then would gaze

On the more distant scene; how lovely ’tis

Thou seest, and he would gaze till it became

Far lovelier, and his heart could not sustain

The beauty still more beauteous. Nor, that time

When Nature had subdued him to herself

Would he forget those beings, to whose minds,

Warm from the labours of benevolence,

The world, and man himself, appeared a scene

Of kindred loveliness: then he would sigh

With mournful joy, to think that others felt

What he must never feel: and so, lost man!

On visionary views would fancy feed,

Till his eye streamed with tears. In this deep vale

He died, this seat his only monument.

If thou be one whose heart the holy forms

Of young imagination have kept pure,

Stranger! henceforth be warned; and know, that pride,

Howe’er disguised in its own majesty,

Is littleness; that he, who feels contempt

For any living thing, hath faculties

Which he has never used; that thought with him

Is in its infancy. The man, whose eye

Is ever on himself, doth look on one,

The least of nature’s works, one who might move

The wise man to that scorn which wisdom holds

Unlawful, ever. O, be wiser thou!

Instructed that true knowledge leads to love,

True dignity abides with him alone

Who, in the silent hour of inward thought,

Can still suspect, and still revere himself,

In lowliness of heart.

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