William Wordsworth

Helen Darbishire and Ernest De Selincourt (eds), The Poetical Works of William Wordsworth, Vol. 3: Miscellaneous Sonnets; Memorials of Various Tours; Poems to National Independence and Liberty; The Egyptian Maid; The River Duddon Series; The White Doe and Other Narrative Poems; Ecclesiastical Sonnets (Second Edition)

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Editor’s NoteXII

[Composed 1809.—Published November 16, 1809 (The Friend); 1815.]

  • Editor’s Note1Alas! what boots the long laborious quest
  • 2Of moral prudence, sought through good and ill;
  • Critical Apparatus3Or pains abstruse—to elevate the will,
  • Critical Apparatus4And lead us on to that transcendent rest
  • 5Where every passion shall the sway attest
  • 6Of Reason, seated on her sovereign hill;
  • 7What is it but a vain and curious skill,
  • 8If sapient Germany must lie deprest,
  • 9Beneath the brutal sword?—Her haughty Schools
  • 10Shall blush; and may not we with sorrow say,
  • 11A few strong instincts and a few plain rules,
  • 12Among the herdsmen of the Alps, have wrought
  • 13More for mankind at this unhappy day
  • 14Than all the pride of intellect and thought?

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Editor’s Note
p. 130. XII. Alas! what boots, etc.: In The Friend this sonnet was entitled "Sonnet suggested by the efforts of the Tyrolese, contrasted with the present state of Germany " (v. note to XIX. 2 infra).
Editor’s Note
1. Alas! what boots] from Lycidas, l. 64.
Critical Apparatus
XII. 3 pains 1815: pain 1809
Critical Apparatus
4 And 1815: Or 1809
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