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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Critical ApparatusXIIITO THE MOON


[Composed 1835.—Published 1837.]

  • Critical Apparatus1Queen of the stars!—so gentle, so benign,
  • 2That ancient Fable did to thee assign,
  • 3When darkness creeping o'er thy silver brow
  • 4Warned thee these upper regions to forego,
  • 5Alternate empire in the shades below—
  • 6A Bard, who, lately near the wide-spread sea
  • 7Traversed by gleaming ships, looked up to thee
  • 8With grateful thoughts, doth now thy rising hail
  • 9From the close confines of a shadowy vale.
  • 10Glory of night, conspicuous yet serene,
  • 11Nor less attractive when by glimpses seen
  • 12Through cloudy umbrage, well might that fair face,
  • 13And all those attributes of modest grace,
  • 14In days when Fancy wrought unchecked by fear,
  • 15Down to the green earth fetch thee from thy sphere,
  • 16To sit in leafy woods by fountains clear!
  • pg 1717   O still belov'd (for thine, meek Power, are charms
  • 18That fascinate the very Babe in arms,
  • 19While he, uplifted towards thee, laughs outright,
  • 20Spreading his little palms in his glad Mother's sight)
  • 21O still belov'd, once worshipped! Time, that frowns
  • 22In his destructive flight on earthly crowns,
  • 23Spares thy mild splendour; still those far-shot beams
  • 24Tremble on dancing waves and rippling streams
  • 25With stainless touch, as chaste as when thy praise
  • 26Was sung by Virgin-choirs in festal lays;
  • 27And through dark trials still dost thou explore
  • 28Thy way for increase punctual as of yore,
  • 29When teeming Matrons—yielding to rude faith
  • 30In mysteries of birth and life and death
  • 31And painful struggle and deliverance—prayed
  • 32Of thee to visit them with lenient aid.
  • 33What though the rites be swept away, the fanes
  • 34Extinct that echoed to the votive strains;
  • 35Yet thy mild aspect does not, cannot, cease
  • 36Love to promote and purity and peace;
  • 37And Fancy, unreproved, even yet may trace
  • 38Faint types of suffering in thy beamless face.
  • 39   Then, silent Monitress! let us—not blind
  • 40To worlds unthought of till the searching mind
  • 41Of Science laid them open to mankind—
  • 42Told, also, how the voiceless heavens declare
  • 43God's glory; and acknowledging thy share
  • 44In that blest charge; let us—without offence
  • 45To aught of highest, holiest, influence—
  • 46Receive whatever good 'tis given thee to dispense.
  • 47May sage and simple, catching with one eye
  • 48The moral intimations of the sky,
  • 49Learn from thy course, where'er their own be taken,
  • Critical Apparatus50"To look on tempests, and be never shaken;"
  • 51To keep with faithful step the appointed way
  • 52Eclipsing or eclipsed, by night or day,
  • 53And from example of thy monthly range
  • 54Gently to brook decline and fatal change;
  • 55Meek, patient, stedfast, and with loftier scope,
  • 56Than thy revival yields, for gladsome hope!

Notes Settings


Critical Apparatus
p. 16. XIII. To the Moon (Rydal): The variant of ll. 1–4, given in the app. crit., is a passage deleted from the draft of the previous poem (v. supra).
Critical Apparatus
XIII. 1–4
  • Queen of the Stars, as bright as when of yore
  • Whole nations knelt thy presence to adore
  • Thou to whom Fable gave (Truth loved thee so)
  • When thou [wert] doomed these regions
etc. MS.
Critical Apparatus
50. To look on tempests, etc.] Shakespeare, Sonnets, cxvi. 6.
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