Here you will find the Long Poem The Prelude, Book 1: Childhood and School-time of poet William Wordsworth
--Was it for this That one, the fairest of all Rivers, lov'd To blend his murmurs with my Nurse's song, And from his alder shades and rocky falls, And from his fords and shallows, sent a voice That flow'd along my dreams? For this, didst Thou, O Derwent! travelling over the green Plains Near my 'sweet Birthplace', didst thou, beauteous Stream Make ceaseless music through the night and day Which with its steady cadence, tempering Our human waywardness, compos'd my thoughts To more than infant softness, giving me, Among the fretful dwellings of mankind, A knowledge, a dim earnest, of the calm That Nature breathes among the hills and groves. When, having left his Mountains, to the Towers Of Cockermouth that beauteous River came, Behind my Father's House he pass'd, close by, Along the margin of our Terrace Walk. He was a Playmate whom we dearly lov'd. Oh! many a time have I, a five years' Child, A naked Boy, in one delightful Rill, A little Mill-race sever'd from his stream, Made one long bathing of a summer's day, Bask'd in the sun, and plunged, and bask'd again Alternate all a summer's day, or cours'd Over the sandy fields, leaping through groves Of yellow grunsel, or when crag and hill, The woods, and distant Skiddaw's lofty height, Were bronz'd with a deep radiance, stood alone Beneath the sky, as if I had been born On Indian Plains, and from my Mother's hut Had run abroad in wantonness, to sport, A naked Savage, in the thunder shower. Fair seed-time had my soul, and I grew up Foster'd alike by beauty and by fear; Much favour'd in my birthplace, and no less In that beloved Vale to which, erelong, I was transplanted. Well I call to mind ('Twas at an early age, ere I had seen Nine summers) when upon the mountain slope The frost and breath of frosty wind had snapp'd The last autumnal crocus, 'twas my joy To wander half the night among the Cliffs And the smooth Hollows, where the woodcocks ran Along the open turf. In thought and wish That time, my shoulder all with springes hung, I was a fell destroyer. On the heights Scudding away from snare to snare, I plied My anxious visitation, hurrying on, Still hurrying, hurrying onward; moon and stars Were shining o'er my head; I was alone, And seem'd to be a trouble to the peace That was among them. Sometimes it befel In these night-wanderings, that a strong desire O'erpower'd my better reason, and the bird Which was the captive of another's toils Became my prey; and, when the deed was done I heard among the solitary hills Low breathings coming after me, and sounds Of undistinguishable motion, steps Almost as silent as the turf they trod. Nor less in springtime when on southern banks The shining sun had from his knot of leaves Decoy'd the primrose flower, and when the Vales And woods were warm, was I a plunderer then In the high places, on the lonesome peaks Where'er, among the mountains and the winds, The Mother Bird had built her lodge. Though mean My object, and inglorious, yet the end Was not ignoble. Oh! when I have hung Above the raven's nest, by knots of grass And half-inch fissures in the slippery rock But ill sustain'd, and almost, as it seem'd, Suspended by the blast which blew amain, Shouldering the naked crag; Oh! at that time, While on the perilous ridge I hung alone, With what strange utterance did the loud dry wind Blow through my ears! the sky seem'd not a sky Of earth, and with what motion mov'd the clouds! The mind of Man is fram'd even like the breath And harmony of music. There is a dark Invisible workmanship that reconciles Discordant elements, and makes them move In one society. Ah me! that all The terrors, all the early miseries Regrets, vexations, lassitudes, that all The thoughts and feelings which have been infus'd Into my mind, should ever have made up The calm existence that is mine when I Am worthy of myself! Praise to the end! Thanks likewise for the means! But I believe That Nature, oftentimes, when she would frame A favor'd Being, from his earliest dawn Of infancy doth open out the clouds, As at the touch of lightning, seeking him With gentlest visitation; not the less, Though haply aiming at the self-same end, Does it delight her sometimes to employ Severer interventions, ministry More palpable, and so she dealt with me. One evening (surely I was led by her) I went alone into a Shepherd's Boat, A Skiff that to a Willow tree was tied Within a rocky Cave, its usual home. 'Twas by the shores of Patterdale, a Vale Wherein I was a Stranger, thither come A School-boy Traveller, at the Holidays.