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 NoteXVto ——

[Composed?—Published 1835.]

  • "Miss not the occasion: by the forelock take
  • That subtle Power, the never-halting Time,
  • Lest a mere moment's putting-off should make
  • Mischance almost as heavy as a crime."

  • Critical Apparatus1"Wait, prithee, wait!" this answer Lesbia threw
  • Critical Apparatus2Forth to her Dove, and took no further heed.
  • 3Her eye was busy, while her fingers flew
  • 4Across the harp, with soul-engrossing speed;
  • Critical Apparatus5But from that bondage when her thoughts were freed
  • 6She rose, and toward the close-shut casement drew,
  • pg 467Whence the poor unregarded Favourite, true
  • 8To old affections, had been heard to plead
  • 9With flapping wing for entrance. What a shriek
  • 10Forced from that voice so lately tuned to a strain
  • 11Of harmony!—a shriek of terror, pain,
  • 12And self-reproach! for, from aloft, a Kite
  • 13Pounced,—and the Dove, which from its ruthless beak
  • 14She could not rescue, perished in her sight!

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Editor’s Note
p. 45. XV. "Wait, prithee, wait": "The fate of this poor Dove, as described, was told to me at Brinsop Court, by the young lady to whom I have given the name of Lesbia."—I. F. The MS. of the poem is headed "On Ellen Loveday Walker". She was the daughter of the Rector of Brinsop. The lines prefixed to the sonnet are found at the bottom of the page on which it is copied, with another sonnet separating them.
Critical Apparatus
XV. 1 this answer] are words which MS.
Critical Apparatus
2–3 took … her ] sate—all further heed Suspended, while her joyous MS.
Critical Apparatus
  • But when her thoughts were from the thraldom freed
  • Of her own pastime, Lesbia rose and drew
  • Tow'rd the shut casement where the Favourite, true
  • In habits and affections, or through need
  • Of shelter, had sought entrance. O the shriek
  • Sent from that voice so lately to a strain
  • Of harmony attuned—the terror, pain,
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