Helen Darbishire and Ernest De Selincourt (eds), The Poetical Works of William Wordsworth, Vol. 4: Evening Voluntaries; Itinerary Poems of 1833; Poems of Sentiment and Reflection; Sonnets Dedicated to Liberty and Order; Miscellaneous Poems; Inscriptions; Selections From Chaucer; Poems Referring to the Period of Old Age; Epitaphs and Elegiac Pieces; Ode-Intimations of Immortality (Second Edition)

Find Location in text

Main Text

pg 165Editor’s NoteXIITO THE LADY FLEMINGon seeing the foundation preparing for the erectionof rydal chapel, westmoreland

[Composed January, 1823.—Published 1827.]


  • 1Blest is this Isle—our native Land;
  • 2Where battlement and moated gate
  • 3Are objects only for the hand
  • 4Of hoary Time to decorate;
  • 5Where shady hamlet, town that breathes
  • Critical Apparatus6Its busy smoke in social wreaths,
  • 7No rampart's stern defence require,
  • 8Nought but the heaven-directed spire,
  • 9And steeple tower (with pealing bells
  • 10Far-heard)—our only citadels.


  • 11O Lady! from a noble line
  • 12Of chieftains sprung, who stoutly bore
  • 13The spear, yet gave to works divine
  • 14A bounteous help in days of yore,
  • 15(As records mouldering in the Dell
  • 16Of Nightshade1 haply yet may tell;)
  • 17Thee kindred aspirations moved
  • 18To build, within a vale beloved,
  • 19For Him upon whose high behests
  • 20All peace depends, all safety rests.


  • Critical Apparatus21How fondly will the woods embrace
  • 22This daughter of thy pious care,
  • 23Lifting her front with modest grace
  • 24To make a fair recess more fair;
  • 25And to exalt the passing hour;
  • pg 166Critical Apparatus26Or soothe it with a healing power
  • 27Drawn from the Sacrifice fulfilled,
  • 28Before this rugged soil was tilled,
  • 29Or human habitation rose
  • 30To interrupt the deep repose!


  • Critical Apparatus31Well may the villagers rejoice!
  • Critical Apparatus32Nor heat, nor cold, nor weary ways,
  • 33Will be a hindrance to the voice
  • 34That would unite in prayer and praise;
  • 35More duly shall wild wandering Youth
  • 36Receive the curb of sacred truth,
  • Critical Apparatus37Shall tottering Age, bent earthward, hear
  • Critical Apparatus38The Promise, with uplifted ear;
  • 39And all shall welcome the new ray
  • 40Imparted to their sabbath-day.


  • Critical Apparatus41Nor deem the Poet's hope misplaced,
  • 42His fancy cheated—that can see
  • 43A shade upon the future cast,
  • 44Of time's pathetic sanctity;
  • 45Can hear the monitory clock
  • 46Sound o'er the lake with gentle shock
  • 47At evening, when the ground beneath
  • 48Is ruffled o'er with cells of death;
  • 49Where happy generations lie,
  • 50Here tutored for eternity.


  • 51Lives there a man whose sole delights
  • 52Are trivial pomp and city noise,
  • 53Hardening a heart that loathes or slights
  • 54What every natural heart enjoys?
  • pg 167Critical Apparatus55Who never caught a noon-tide dream
  • 56From murmur of a running stream;
  • 57Could strip, for aught the prospect yields
  • 58To him, their verdure from the fields;
  • Editor’s Note59And take the radiance from the clouds
  • 60In which the sun his setting shrouds.


  • Critical Apparatus61A soul so pitiably forlorn,
  • 62If such do on this earth abide,
  • 63May season apathy with scorn,
  • 64May turn indifference to pride;
  • 65And still be not unblest—compared
  • 66With him who grovels, self-debarred
  • 67From all that lies within the scope
  • 68Of holy faith and Christian hope;
  • Critical Apparatus69Or, shipwreck'd, kindles on the coast
  • 70False fires, that others may be lost.


  • Critical Apparatus71Alas! that such perverted zeal
  • Critical Apparatus72Should spread on Britain's favoured ground!
  • 73That public order, private weal,
  • 74Should e'er have felt or feared a wound
  • Critical Apparatus75From champions of the desperate law
  • 76Which from their own blind hearts they draw;
  • 77Who tempt their reason to deny
  • Critical Apparatus78God, whom their passions dare defy,
  • 79And boast that they alone are free
  • 80Who reach this dire extremity!

pg 168ix

  • Editor’s Note81But turn we from these "bold bad" men;
  • 82The way, mild Lady! that hath led
  • Editor’s Note83Down to their "dark opprobrious den,"
  • 84Is all too rough for Thee to tread.
  • Critical Apparatus85Softly as morning vapours glide
  • Critical Apparatus86Down Rydal-cove from Fairfield's side,
  • Critical Apparatus87Should move the tenor of his song
  • 88Who means to charity no wrong;
  • 89Whose offering gladly would accord
  • 90With this day's work, in thought and word.


  • 91Heaven prosper it! may peace, and love,
  • 92And hope, and consolation, fall,
  • 93Through its meek influence, from above,
  • 94And penetrate the hearts of all;
  • 95All who, around the hallowed Fane,
  • 96Shall sojourn in this fair domain;
  • 97Grateful to Thee, while service pure,
  • 98And ancient ordinance, shall endure,
  • 99For opportunity bestowed
  • 100To kneel together, and adore their God!


1 Bekangs Ghyll—or the dell of the Nightshade—in which stands St. Mary's Abbey in Low Furness.

Notes Settings


Editor’s Note
p. 165. XII. To the Lady Fleming: "After thanking in prose Lady Fleming for the service she had done to her neighbourhood by erecting this Chapel, I have nothing to say beyond the expression of regret that the Architect did not furnish an elevation better suited to the site in a narrow mountain-pass, and, what is of more consequence, better constructed in the interior for the purposes of worship. It has no chancel; the altar is unbecomingly confined; the pews are so narrow as to preclude the possibility of kneeling; there is no vestry; and what ought to have been first mentioned, the font, instead of standing at its proper place at the Entrance, is thrust into the farther end of a little Pew. When these defects shall be pointed out to the munificent Patroness, they will, it is hoped, be corrected."—I. F.
W. dated the poem 1823, and on the second MS. is written Jan. 24, 1823; but on Dec. 21, 1822, D. W. writes of it to H. C. R. as "just written". But as she speaks of it as "about eighty Lines" and says that William will "send it hereafter" (instead of enclosing it with her letter) we may assume that at that date it was only in rough draft. MS. 1, in S. H.'s hand, which has 80 lines, is dated January. Before 1845 this and the following poem were placed among Poems of Sentiment and Reflection.
Critical Apparatus
XII. 6 busy … social ] tranquil … silver MS. 1
Critical Apparatus
21–3 so MS. 1, 1832:
  • Even Strangers, slackening here their pace,
  • Shall bless this work of pious care,
  • Lifting its
Critical Apparatus
21–30, 31–40 in reverse order 1827
Critical Apparatus
  • With saintly thoughts on Him whose power
  • The circuit of these mountains filled
  • Ere the primaeval
MS. 1
Critical Apparatus
31–50 not in MS. 1
Critical Apparatus
32 Nor storms henceforth MS.
Critical Apparatus
38 caught with steadfast ear; MS. shall be free to hear MS.
Critical Apparatus
41–50 not in MS. 2
Critical Apparatus
41–6 so 1832:
  • Not yet the corner stone is laid
  • With solemn rite; but Fancy sees
  • The tower time-stricken, and in shade
  • Embosomed of coeval trees;
  • Hears, o'er the lake, the warning clock
  • As it shall sound with gentle shock
Critical Apparatus
55 noon-tide] soothing MS. 1
Editor’s Note
59–60. Cf. Ode: Intimations of Immortality, 196–7.
Critical Apparatus
  • Fields—sunset clouds—and sky of morn
  • Opening in splendor deep and wide ——
  • That Worldling may renounce with scorn,
  • And in his chosen seat abide;
  • A Spirit not unblest—compared
  • With One who fosters disregard
  • For etc.
MS. 1
Critical Apparatus
69–70 so 1827, 1845:
  • Yea, strives for others to bedim
  • The glorious Light too pure for him
MS. 2, 1832–43; strives that lustre … For others, which has failed for him MS. 1
Critical Apparatus
71 perverted] distempered MS. 1
Critical Apparatus
72 favoured] happy MS. 1
Critical Apparatus
  • From Scoffers leagued in desperate plot
  • To make their own the general lot;
MS. 2 From reckless (lawless) Men who etc. corr. to From impious Anarchists MS. 1
Critical Apparatus
78 dare] do MS. 1
Editor’s Note
81. "bold bad" men] Faerie Queene, i. i. 37.
Editor’s Note
83. "dark opprobrious den"] Paradise Lost, ii. 58.
Critical Apparatus
85–6 Soft as the morning mists that glide Through MS. 1
Critical Apparatus
86 so 1832: Through Mosedale-cove from Carrock's side 1827
Critical Apparatus
87 tenor] motion MS. 1
logo-footer Copyright © 2019. All rights reserved.
Access is brought to you by Log out