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 NoteVIIaix-la-chapelle

  • 1Was it to disenchant, and to undo,
  • 2That we approached the Seat of Charlemaine?
  • 3To sweep from many an old romantic strain
  • 4That faith which no devotion may renew!
  • Editor’s Note5Why does this puny Church present to view
  • 6Her feeble columns? and that scanty chair!
  • 7This sword that one of our weak times might wear!
  • 8Objects of false pretence, or meanly true!
  • 9If from a traveller's fortune I might claim
  • 10A palpable memorial of that day,
  • 11Then would I seek the Pyrenean Breach
  • Editor’s Note12That Roland clove with huge two-handed sway,
  • 13And to the enormous labour left his name,
  • Editor’s Note14Where unremitting frosts the rocky crescent bleach.

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Editor’s Note
p. 168. VII. Aix-la-Chapelle: "I went to the Cathedral, a curious building where are to be seen the chair of Charlemagne, on which the Emperors were formerly crowned, some marble pillars much older than his time, and many pictures … . The market place is a fine old square; but at Aix-la-Chapelle there is always a mighty preponderance of poverty and dulness, except in a few of the shewiest of the streets, and even there a flashy meanness, a slight patchery of things falling to pieces is everywhere visible."—D. W. Journal, July 20.
Editor’s Note
5. this puny Church] "The Chapel was not larger in appearance than the tiny rocky edifice at Buttermere."—M. W. Journal, July 20.
Editor’s Note
12. with huge two-handed sway] from Paradise Lost, vi. 251.
Editor’s Note
14. Where unremitting etc.] "Let a wall of rocks be imagined from three to six hundred feet in height, and rising between France and Spain, so as physically to separate the two kingdoms—let us fancy this wall curved like a crescent, with its convexity towards France. Lastly, let us suppose, that in the very middle of the wall, a breach of 300 feet wide has been beaten down by the famous Roland, and we may have a good idea of what the mountaineers call the 'Breche de Roland'."—Raymond's Pyrenees.—W. 1822.
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