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)

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Editor’s NoteXVfor the spot where the hermitage stood on st. herbert'sisland, derwent-water

[Composed 1800.—Published 1800.]M

  • Critical Apparatus1If thou in the dear love of some one Friend
  • 2Hast been so happy that thou know'st what thoughts
  • 3Will sometimes in the happiness of love
  • 4Make the heart sink, then wilt thou reverence
  • 5This quiet spot; and, Stranger! not unmoved
  • pg 2076Wilt thou behold this shapeless heap of stones,
  • 7The desolate ruins of St. Herbert's Cell.
  • 8Here stood his threshold; here was spread the roof
  • 9That sheltered him, a self-secluded Man,
  • 10After long exercise in social cares
  • 11And offices humane, intent to adore
  • 12The Deity, with undistracted mind,
  • 13And meditate on everlasting things,
  • Critical Apparatus14In utter solitude.—But he had left
  • 15A Fellow-labourer, whom the good Man loved
  • Critical Apparatus16As his own soul. And, when with eye upraised
  • 17To heaven he knelt before the crucifix,
  • 18While o'er the lake the cataract of Lodore
  • 19Pealed to his orisons, and when he paced
  • pg 20820Along the beach of this small isle and thought
  • Critical Apparatus21Of his Companion, he would pray that both
  • Critical Apparatus22(Now that their earthly duties were fulfilled)
  • 23Might die in the same moment. Nor in vain
  • 24So prayed he:—as our chronicles report,
  • Critical Apparatus25Though here the Hermit numbered his last day
  • 26Far from St. Cuthbert his belovèd Friend,
  • 27Those holy Men both died in the same hour.

Notes Settings


Editor’s Note
p. 206. XV. For the Spot where the Hermitage Stood, etc.: In 1815 placed among Poems referring to the Period of Old Age. The MS. readings are from two letters to Sir George and Lady Beaumont, dated Nov. 16 and Nov. 20, 1811. It is clear that the changes in the 1815 text date from about this time, when W. was at work on Inscriptions I–IV. But note that later he reverted to his original opening.
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XV. 1–14 so 1832: 1800–5 as text 1–4, but sick for sink 1802–5; and for ll. 5–14:
  • This quiet spot—St. Herbert hither came,
  • And here, for many seasons, from the world
  • Removed, and the affections of the world
  • He dwelt in solitude. 1800–5
  • This Island, guarded from profane approach
  • By mountains high and waters widely spread,
  • Is that recess to which St. Herbert came
  • In life's decline; a self-secluded Man,
  • After long exercise etc. as text … things.
  • —Stranger! this shapeless heap of stones and earth
  • (Long be its mossy covering undisturbed!)
  • Is reverenced as a vestige of the Abode
  • In which, through many seasons etc. as 1800, 1815–20
  • Stranger! this shapeless heap of stones and earth
  • Is the last relic of St. Herbert's Cell.
  • Here stood his threshold; here was spread the roof
  • That sheltered him, a self-secluded Man etc. as text
1827 MS. 1 as 1815,
  • but Seclusion which … chose for recess to which … came, and
  • Hither he came in life's austere decline,
  • And, Stranger! this black heap etc. for Stranger! this shapeless heap
MS 2, for Is that recess etc. has
  • Gave to St. Herbert a benign retreat.
  • Upon a Staff supported, and his Brow
  • White with the peaceful diadem of age,
  • Hither he came—a self-secluded Man etc. to things
  • Behold that shapeless heap etc.
  • 'Tis reverenced etc.
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14–15 But … labourer ]
  • He living here
  • This Island's sole inhabitant! had left
  • A Fellow-labourer MS. and 1800 only
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16–17 so 1815:
  • And when within his cave
  • Alone he
etc. 1800–5
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21 would pray 1802; had pray'd 1800
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22 not in 1800–5
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25 day 1815: days 1800–5
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