William Wordsworth

Here you will find the Long Poem An Evening Walk, Addressed to a Young Lady of poet William Wordsworth

An Evening Walk, Addressed to a Young Lady

The young Lady to whom this was addressed was my Sister. It was 
composed at school, and during my two first College vacations. 
There is not an image in it which I have not observed; and now, in 
my seventy-third year, I recollect the time and place where most 
of them were noticed. I will confine myself to one instance: 

"Waving his hat, the shepherd, from the vale, 
Directs his winding dog the cliffs to scale,-- 
The dog, loud barking, 'mid the glittering rocks, 
Hunts, where his master points, the intercepted flocks." 

I was an eye-witness of this for the first time while crossing the 
Pass of Dunmail Raise. Upon second thought, I will mention another 

"And, fronting the bright west, yon oak entwines 
Its darkening boughs and leaves, in stronger lines." 

This is feebly and imperfectly expressed, but I recollect 
distinctly the very spot where this first struck me. It was in the 
way between Hawkshead and Ambleside, and gave me extreme pleasure. 
The moment was important in my poetical history; for I date from 
it my consciousness of the infinite variety of natural appearances 
which had been unnoticed by the poets of any age or country, so 
far as I was acquainted with them; and I made a resolution to 
supply, in some degree, the deficiency. I could not have been at 
that time above fourteen years of age. The description of the 
swans, that follows, was taken from the daily opportunities I had 
of observing their habits, not as confined to the gentleman's 
park, but in a state of nature. There were two pairs of them that 
divided the lake of Esthwaite and its in-and-out-flowing streams 
between them, never trespassing a single yard upon each other's 
separate domain. They were of the old magnificent species, bearing 
in beauty and majesty about the same relation to the Thames swan 
which that does to the goose. It was from the remembrance of those 
noble creatures I took, thirty years after, the picture of the 
swan which I have discarded from the poem of Dion. While I was a 
schoolboy, the late Mr. Curwen introduced a little fleet of those 
birds, but of the inferior species, to the lake of Windermere. 
Their principal home was about his own island; but they sailed 
about into remote parts of the lake, and, either from real or 
imagined injury done to the adjoining fields, they were got rid of 
at the request of the farmers and proprietors, but to the great 
regret of all who had become attached to them, from noticing their 
beauty and quiet habits. I will conclude my notice of this poem by 
observing that the plan of it has not been confined to a 
particular walk or an individual place,--a proof (of which I was 
unconscious at the time) of my unwillingness to submit the poetic 
spirit to the chains of fact and real circumstance. The country is 
idealised rather than described in any one of its local aspects. 

General Sketch of the Lakes--Author's regret of his youth which 
was passed amongst them--Short description of Noon--Cascade-- 
Noontide Retreat--Precipice and sloping Lights--Face of Nature as 
the Sun declines--Mountain-farm, and the Cock--Slate-quarry-- 
Sunset--Superstition of the Country connected with that moment-- 
Swans--Female Beggar--Twilight-sounds--Western Lights--Spirits-- 

FAR from my dearest Friend, 'tis mine to rove 
Through bare grey dell, high wood, and pastoral cove; 
Where Derwent rests, and listens to the roar 
That stuns the tremulous cliffs of high Lodore; 
Where peace to Grasmere's lonely island leads, 
To willowy hedge-rows, and to emerald meads; 
Leads to her bridge, rude church, and cottaged grounds, 
Her rocky sheepwalks, and her woodland bounds; 
Where, undisturbed by winds, Winander sleeps 
'Mid clustering isles, and holly-sprinkled steeps; 
Where twilight glens endear my Esthwaite's shore, 
And memory of departed pleasures, more. 
Fair scenes, erewhile, I taught, a happy child, 
The echoes of your rocks my carols wild: 
The spirit sought not then, in cherished sadness, 
A cloudy substitute for failing gladness, 
In youth's keen eye the livelong day was bright, 
The sun at morning, and the stars at night, 
Alike, when first the bittern's hollow bill 
Was heard, or woodcocks roamed the moonlight hill. 
In thoughtless gaiety I coursed the plain, 
And hope itself was all I knew of pain; 
For then, the inexperienced heart would beat 
At times, while young Content forsook her seat, 
And wild Impatience, pointing upward, showed, 
Through passes yet unreached, a brighter road. 
Alas! the idle tale of man is found 
Depicted in the dial's moral round; 
Hope with reflection blends her social rays 
To gild the total tablet of his days; 
Yet still, the