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Ernest De Selincourt (ed.), The Poetical Works of William Wordsworth, Vol. 2: Poems Founded on the Affections; Poems on the Naming of Places; Poems of the Fancy; Poems of the Imagination (Second Edition)

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Editor’s NoteEditor’s NoteXITO —

[Composed 1824.—Published 1827.]

  • 1Look at the fate of summer flowers,
  • 2Which blow at daybreak, droop ere even-song;
  • 3And, grieved for their brief date, confess that ours,
  • 4Measured by what we are and ought to be,
  • 5Measured by all that, trembling, we foresee,
  • 6  Is not so long!
  • pg 327If human Life do pass away,
  • 8Perishing yet more swiftly than the flower,
  • Critical Apparatus9If we are creatures of a winter's day;
  • 10What space hath Virgin's beauty to disclose
  • 11Her sweets, and triumph o'er the breathing rose?
  • 12    Not even an hour!
  • 13The deepest grove whose foliage hid
  • 14The happiest lovers Arcady might boast,
  • 15Could not the entrance of this thought forbid:
  • 16O be thou wise as they, soul-gifted Maid!
  • 17Nor rate too high what must so quickly fade,
  • 18    So soon be lost.
  • 19Then shall love teach some virtuous Youth
  • Editor’s Note20"To draw, out of the object of his eyes,"
  • Critical Apparatus21The while on thee they gaze in simple truth,
  • 22Hues more exalted, "a refined Form,"
  • 23That dreads not age, nor suffers from the worm,
  • 24    And never dies.

Notes Settings


Editor’s Note
P. 31. XI. To——. "Rydal Mount, 1824. Prompted by the undue importance attached to personal beauty by some dear friends of mine."—I. F. Dowden plausibly suggests that it was addressed to Dora, comparing it with The Longest Day, ll. 61–4.
Critical Apparatus
XI. 9 so 1836: Whose frail existence is but of a day 1827–32
Editor’s Note
20–2. From Spenser, Hymne in Honour of Beautie, 211–15:
  • But they which love indeede, looke otherwise,
  • With pure regard and spotlesse true intent,
  • Drawing out of the object of their eyes
  • A more refyned forme which they present
  • Unto their mind, voide of all blemishment.
Critical Apparatus
21 while 1836: whilst 1827–32
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