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 NoteXVIIto the poet, john dyer

[Composed 1811.—Published 1820.]

  • 1Bard of the Fleece, whose skilful genius made
  • 2That work a living landscape fair and bright;
  • 3Nor hallowed less with musical delight
  • 4Than those soft scenes through which thy childhood strayed,
  • 5Those southern tracts of Cambria, "deep embayed,
  • Critical Apparatus6With green hills fenced, with ocean's murmur lulled;"
  • 7Though hasty Fame hath many a chaplet culled
  • Critical Apparatus8For worthless brows, while in the pensive shade
  • 9Of cold neglect she leaves thy head ungraced,
  • 10Yet pure and powerful minds, hearts meek and still,
  • 11A grateful few, shall love thy modest Lay,
  • Critical Apparatus12Long as the shepherd's bleating flock shall stray
  • 13O'er naked Snowdon's wide aerial waste;
  • 14Long as the thrush shall pipe on Grongar Hill!

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Editor’s Note
p. 10. XVII. To the poet, John Dyer: Sent by W. to Lady Beaumont in a letter of Nov. 20, 1811, as "written some time ago … . If you have not read The Fleece, I would strongly recommend it to you. The character of Dyer, as a patriot, a citizen, and a tenderhearted friend of humanity, was, in some respects, injurious to him as a poet, and has induced him to dwell, in his poems, upon processes which, however important in themselves, were unsusceptible of being poetically treated. Accordingly, his poem is in several places, dry and heavy, but its beauties are innumerable, and of a high order. In point of imagination, and purity of style, I am not sure that he is not superior to any writer in verse since the time of Milton … . In the above is one whole line from The Fleece, and two other expressions. When you read The Fleece, you will recognize them." (M.Y., p. 478.) The passage referred to is The Fleece, III. 437–8:
  •                     that soft tract
  • Of Cambria, deep-embayed, Dimetian land,
  • By green hills fenced, by ocean's murmur lulled.
The other expressions are from The Fleece, I. 92–5:
  •           … Derwent's naked peaks,
  • Snowdon and blue Plynlymmon, and the wide
  • Aerial sides of Cader-Yddris huge.
For other examples of W.'s admiration for Dyer v. his notes to Duddon Sonnets, p. 503, to Excursion, VIII. 111–12, and L.Y., p. 346.
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XVII. 6 With … with 1827: By … by 1820
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8 so 1827–32, 1845: Meek, thankful soul! the vernal day how short MS.; day too short 1819–20; Who found'st the longest summer day 1837–43 (with thy for his in l. 9)
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7 –8
  • Grieve not that Fame whose wreaths in haste are culled
  • Full oft for worthless brows
Critical Apparatus
12 The cowslip bank MS-1832, 1845: Are cowslip-bank 1837–8
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