Helen Darbishire and Ernest De Selincourt (eds), The Poetical Works of William Wordsworth, Vol. 1: Poems Written in Youth; Poems Referring to the Period of Childhood (Second Edition)

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Editor’s NoteV

THE DOG—AN IDYLLIUM

Quicquid est hominum venustiorum Lugete. Fies nobilium tu quoque.

  • 1Where were ye, nymphs, when the remorseless deep
  • 2Clos'd o'er your little favourite's hapless head?
  • 3For neither did ye mark with solemn dream
  • 4In Derwent's rocky woods the white Moonbeam
  • 5Pace like a Druid o'er the haunted steep;
  • 6Nor in Winander's stream.
  • 7Then did ye swim with sportive smile
  • 8From fairy-templed isle to isle,
  • 9Which hear her far-off ditty sweet
  • 10Yet feel not ev'n the milkmaid's feet.
  • 11What tho' he still was by my side
  • 12When, lurking near, I there have seen
  • 13Your faces white, your tresses green,
  • 14Like water lillies floating on the tide?
  • 15He saw not, bark'd not, he was still
  • 16As the soft moonbeam sleeping on the hill,
  • 17Or when ah! cruel maids, ye stretched him stiff and chill.
  • Editor’s Note18If, while I gaz'd to Nature blind,
  • 19In the calm Ocean of my mind
  • 20Some new-created image rose
  • 21In full-grown beauty at its birth
  • 22Lovely as Venus from the sea,
  • 23Then, while my glad hand sprung to thee,
  • 24We were the happiest pair on earth.

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Editor’s Note
p. 264. V. The Dog: n.d., but follows No. IV in notebook. The debt to Lycidas is obvious not only in the amusing opening couplet but in the use of the short line (6) and in the reference in 7 to the Druid ("the steep Where your old bards, the famous Druids lie"). But the Druid is not a purely literary reminiscence; W. knew some of the reputed British remains in his native district, and it is clear from several references in the early poems (cf. e.g. The Vale of Esthwaite, 32 foll.) that the Druids haunted his imagination long before his fateful visit to Stonehenge in 1793.
Editor’s Note
18–24. Cf. Prelude, (1805) iv. 84–108.
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