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 NoteVIII[Composed 1812.—Published 1815.]

  • 1The fairest, brightest, hues of ether fade;
  • 2The sweetest notes must terminate and die;
  • 3O Friend! thy flute has breathed a harmony
  • 4Softly resounded through this rocky glade;
  • 5Such strains of rapture as1 the Genius played
  • 6In his still haunt of Bagdad's summit high;
  • 7He who stood visible to Mirza's eye,
  • 8Never before to human sight betrayed.
  • 9Lo, in the vale, the mists of evening spread!
  • 10The visionary Arches are not there,
  • 11Nor the green Islands, nor the shining Seas;
  • 12Yet sacred is to me this Mountain's head,
  • Critical Apparatus13Whence I have risen, uplifted on the breeze
  • 14Of harmony, above all earthly care.

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Editor’s Note
p. 5. VIII. The fairest, brightest, hues, etc.: "Suggested at Hacket, which is on the craggy ridge that rises between the two Langdales and looks towards Windermere. The cottage of Hacket was often visited by us, and at the time when this Sonnet was written, and long after, was occupied by the husband and wife described in the 'Excursion', where it is mentioned that she was in the habit of walking in the front of the dwelling with a light to guide her husband home at night. The same cottage is alluded to in the 'Epistle to Sir George Beaumont' as that from which the female peasant hailed us on our morning journey. The musician mentioned in the Sonnpt was the Rev. S. Tillbrook of Peter-house, who remodelled the Ivy Cottage at Rydal after he had purchased it."—I. F.
The date of the sonnet is fixed by a letter of D. W. to Mrs. Clarkson, July 31, 1812: "We spent Tuesday afternoon in a walk to Hackett, where we drank tea with our old Servant's Mother … . Tillbrook stationed himself on a rock and sounded his flute to the great delight of our party, the cows in the field, and a group of rustic children" (M.Y., p. 517).
Editor’s Note
1 See the "Vision of Mirza" in the "Spectator".
Critical Apparatus
VIII. 13 so 1837: From which I have been lifted etc. 1815–32
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