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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 Notepg 14Editor’s NoteIIARTEGAL AND ELIDURE

(see the chronicle of geoffrey of monmouth, and milton's history of England)

[Composed 1815.—Published 1820]

  • Critical Apparatus1Where be the temples which in Britain's Isle,
  • 2For his paternal Gods, the Trojan raised?
  • 3Gone like a morning dream, or like a pile
  • 4Of clouds that in cerulean ether blazed!
  • 5Ere Julius landed on her white-cliffed shore,
  • 6    They sank, delivered o'er
  • 7To fatal dissolution; and, I ween,
  • 8No vestige then was left that such had ever been.
  • Critical Apparatus9Nathless, a British record (long concealed
  • 10In old Armorica, whose secret springs
  • 11No Gothic conqueror ever drank) revealed
  • Critical Apparatus12The marvellous current of forgotten things;
  • Editor’s Note13How Brutus came, by oracles impelled,
  • 14    And Albion's giants quelled,
  • 15A brood whom no civility could melt,
  • Editor’s Note16"Who never tasted grace, and goodness ne'er had felt."
  • 17By brave Corineus aided, he subdued,
  • 18And rooted out the intolerable kind;
  • 19And this too-long-polluted land imbued
  • 20With goodly arts and usages refined;
  • pg 1521Whence golden harvests, cities, warlike towers,
  • Critical Apparatus22    And pleasure's sumptuous bowers;
  • 23Whence all the fixed delights of house and home,
  • 24Friendships that will not break, and love that cannot roam.
  • 25O, happy Britain! region all too fair
  • Critical Apparatus26For self-delighting fancy to endure
  • 27That silence only should inhabit there,
  • 28Wild beasts, or uncouth savages impure!
  • 29But, intermingled with the generous seed,
  • Critical Apparatus30    Grew many a poisonous weed;
  • 31Thus fares it still with all that takes its birth
  • 32From human care, or grows upon the breast of earth.
  • Editor’s NoteCritical Apparatus33Hence, and how soon! that war of vengeance waged
  • 34By Guendolen against her faithless lord;
  • 35Till she, in jealous fury unassuaged,
  • 36Had slain his paramour with ruthless sword:
  • 37Then into Severn hideously defiled,
  • 38    She flung her blameless child,
  • 39Sabrina,—vowing that the stream should bear
  • Critical Apparatus40That name through every age, her hatred to declare.
  • Critical Apparatus41So speaks the Chronicle, and tells of Lear
  • 42By his ungrateful daughters turned adrift.
  • Critical Apparatus43Ye lightnings, hear his voice!—they cannot hear,
  • 44Nor can the winds restore his simple gift.
  • 45But One there is, a Child of nature meek,
  • 46    Who comes her Sire to seek;
  • 47And he, recovering sense, upon her breast
  • Critical Apparatus48Leans smilingly, and sinks into a perfect rest.
  • Critical Apparatus49There too we read of Spenser's fairy themes,
  • Editor’s Note50And those that Milton loved in youthful years;
  • 51The sage enchanter Merlin's subtle schemes;
  • 52The feats of Arthur and his knightly peers;
  • pg 1653Where England's Darling found a basis laid
  • 54To those dread scenes which on the tragic stage
  • 55To trembling multitudes his art displayed
  • Critical Apparatus56Of Arthur,—who, to upper light restored,
  • Critical Apparatus57    With that terrific sword
  • 58Which yet he brandishes for future war,
  • 59Shall lift his country's fame above the polar star!
  • 60What wonder, then, if in such ample field
  • Critical Apparatus61Of old tradition, one particular flower
  • 62Doth seemingly in vain its fragrance yield,
  • Critical Apparatus63And bloom unnoticed even to this late hour?
  • Critical Apparatus64Now, gentle Muses, your assistance grant,
  • 65    While I this flower transplant
  • 66Into a garden stored with Poesy;
  • 67Where flowers and herbs unite, and haply some weeds be,
  • 68That, wanting not wild grace, are from all mischief free!
  • 69A King more worthy of respect and love
  • 70Than wise Gorbonian ruled not in his day;
  • 71And grateful Britain prospered far above
  • 72All neighbouring countries through his righteous sway;
  • 73He poured rewards and honours on the good;
  • 74    The oppressor he withstood;
  • Critical Apparatus75And while he served the Gods with reverence due,
  • 76Fields smiled, and temples rose, and towns and cities grew.
  • Critical Apparatus77He died, whom Artegal succeeds—his son;
  • 78But how unworthy of that sire was he!
  • 79A hopeful reign, auspiciously begun,
  • 80Was darkened soon by foul iniquity.
  • 81From crime to crime he mounted, till at length
  • 82    The nobles leagued their strength
  • 83With a vexed people, and the tyrant chased;
  • 84And on the vacant throne his worthier Brother placed.
  • 85And to that chronicle be praise decreed
  • 86For this, that there we read
  • 87Of Merlin's insight into future years
  • Critical Apparatus88And all the mighty feats of Arthur and his peers MS.
  • pg 17Critical Apparatus89From realm to realm the humbled Exile went,
  • Critical Apparatus90Suppliant for aid his kingdom to regain;
  • 91In many a court, and many a warrior's tent,
  • Editor’s Note92He urged his persevering suit in vain.
  • 93Him, in whose wretched heart ambition failed,
  • 94    Dire poverty assailed;
  • 95And, tired with slights his pride no more could brook,
  • 96He towards his native country cast a longing look.
  • 97Fair blew the wished-for wind—the voyage sped;
  • Critical Apparatus98He landed; and by many dangers scared,
  • 99"Poorly provided, poorly followed,"
  • 100To Calaterium's forest he repaired.
  • 101How changed from him who, born to highest place,
  • 102    Had swayed the royal mace,
  • 103Flattered and feared, despised yet deified,
  • 104In Troynovant, his seat by silver Thames's side!
  • Critical Apparatus105From that wild region where the crownless king
  • Critical Apparatus106Lay in concealment with his scanty train,
  • 107Supporting life by water from the spring,
  • 108And such chance food as outlaws can obtain,
  • Critical Apparatus109Unto the few whom he esteems his friends
  • 110    A messenger he sends;
  • 111And from their secret loyalty requires
  • 112Shelter and daily bread,—the sum of his desires.
  • pg 18113While he the issue waits, at early morn
  • 114Wandering by stealth abroad, he chanced to hear
  • 115A startling outcry made by hound and horn,
  • 116From which the tusky wild boar flies in fear;
  • 117And, scouring toward him o'er the grassy plain,
  • 118    Behold the hunter train!
  • 119He bids his little company advance
  • 120With seeming unconcern and steady countenance.
  • 121The royal Elidure, who leads the chase,
  • 122Hath checked his foaming courser:—can it be!
  • Critical Apparatus123Methinks that I should recognise that face,
  • 124Though much disguised by long adversity!
  • 125He gazed rejoicing, and again he gazed,
  • 126    Confounded and amazed—
  • 127"It is the king, my brother!" and, by sound
  • 128Of his own voice confirmed, he leaps upon the ground.
  • 129Long, strict, and tender was the embrace he gave,
  • Critical Apparatus130Feebly returned by daunted Artegal;
  • 131Whose natural affection doubts enslave,
  • 132And apprehensions dark and criminal.
  • 133Loth to restrain the moving interview,
  • 134The attendant lords withdrew;
  • 135And, while they stood upon the plain apart,
  • 136Thus Elidure, by words, relieved his struggling heart.
  • 137"By heavenly Powers conducted, we have met;
  • 138—O Brother! to my knowledge lost so long,
  • 139But neither lost to love, nor to regret,
  • 140Nor to my wishes lost;—forgive the wrong,
  • 141(Such it may seem) if I thy crown have borne,
  • Critical Apparatus142    Thy royal mantle worn:
  • 143I was their natural guardian; and 'tis just
  • 144That now I should restore what hath been held in trust."
  • 145A while the astonished Artegal stood mute,
  • 146Then thus exclaimed: "To me, of titles shorn,
  • 147And stripped of power! me, feeble, destitute,
  • 148To me a kingdom! spare the bitter scorn:
  • pg 19149If justice ruled the breast of foreign kings,
  • Critical Apparatus150      Then, on the wide-spread wings
  • 151Of war, had I returned to claim my right;
  • 152This will I here avow, not dreading thy despite."
  • 153"I do not blame thee," Elidure replied;
  • 154"But, if my looks did with my words agree,
  • 155I should at once be trusted, not defied,
  • 156And thou from all disquietude be free.
  • 157May the unsullied Goddess of the chase,
  • 158    Who to this blessed place
  • 159At this blest moment led me, if I speak
  • 160With insincere intent, on me her vengeance wreak!
  • 161"Were this same spear, which in my hand I grasp,
  • 162The British sceptre, here would I to thee
  • 163The symbol yield; and would undo this clasp,
  • 164If it confined the robe of sovereignty.
  • 165Odious to me the pomp of regal court,
  • Critical Apparatus166     And joyless sylvan sport,
  • 167While thou art roving, wretched and forlorn,
  • 168Thy couch the dewy earth, thy roof the forest thorn!"
  • 169Then Artegal thus spake: "I only sought
  • 170Within this realm a place of safe retreat;
  • 171Beware of rousing an ambitious thought;
  • Critical Apparatus172Beware of kindling hopes, for me unmeet!
  • 173Thou art reputed wise, but in my mind
  • 174    Art pitiably blind:
  • 175Full soon this generous purpose thou may'st rue,
  • 176When that which has been done no wishes can undo.
  • 177"Who, when a crown is fixed upon his head,
  • 178Would balance claim with claim, and right with right?
  • 179But thou—I know not how inspired, how led—
  • 180Wouldst change the course of things in all men's sight!
  • 181And this for one who cannot imitate
  • 182    Thy virtue, who may hate:
  • 183For, if, by such strange sacrifice restored,
  • 184He reign, thou still must be his king, and sovereign lord;
  • pg 20185"Lifted in magnanimity above
  • 186Aught that my feeble nature could perform,
  • 187Or even conceive; surpassing me in love
  • 188Far as in power the eagle doth the worm:
  • 189I, Brother! only should be king in name,
  • 190     And govern to my shame;
  • 191A shadow in a hated land, while all
  • 192Of glad or willing service to thy share would fall."
  • Critical Apparatus193"Believe it not," said Elidure; "respect
  • 194Awaits on virtuous life, and ever most
  • Editor’s NoteCritical Apparatus195Attends on goodness with dominion decked,
  • 196Which stands the universal empire's boast;
  • Critical Apparatus197This can thy own experience testify:
  • 198    Nor shall thy foes deny
  • 199That, in the gracious opening of thy reign,
  • Critical Apparatus200Our father's spirit seemed in thee to breathe again.
  • 201"And what if o'er that bright unbosoming
  • Critical Apparatus202Clouds of disgrace and envious fortune passed!
  • 203Have we not seen the glories of the spring
  • 204By veil of noontide darkness overcast?
  • 205The frith that glittered like a warrior's shield,
  • 206     The sky, the gay green field,
  • 207Are vanished; gladness ceases in the groves,
  • Critical Apparatus208And trepidation strikes the blackened mountain-coves.
  • Critical Apparatus209"But is that gloom dissolved? how passing clear
  • 210Seems the wide world, far brighter than before!
  • 211Even so thy latent worth will re-appear,
  • 212Gladdening the people's heart from shore to shore;
  • 213For youthful faults ripe virtues shall atone;
  • 214    Re-seated on thy throne,
  • 215Proof shalt thou furnish that misfortune, pain,
  • 216And sorrow, have confirmed thy native right to reign.
  • pg 21217"But, not to overlook what thou may'st know,
  • Editor’s NoteCritical Apparatus218Thy enemies are neither weak nor few;
  • 219And circumspect must be our course, and slow,
  • 220Or from my purpose ruin may ensue.
  • 221Dismiss thy followers;—let them calmly wait
  • 222    Such change in thy estate
  • 223As I already have in thought devised;
  • 224And which, with caution due, may soon be realized."
  • 225The Story tells what courses were pursued,
  • 226Until king Elidure, with full consent
  • Critical Apparatus227Of all his peers, before the multitude,
  • 228Rose,—and, to consummate this just intent,
  • Critical Apparatus229Did place upon his brother's head the crown,
  • 230     Relinquished by his own;
  • 231Then to his people cried, "Receive your lord,
  • 232Gorbonian's first-born son, your rightful king restored!"
  • pg 22233The people answered with a loud acclaim:
  • 234Yet more;—heart-smitten by the heroic deed,
  • 235The reinstated Artegal became
  • 236Earth's noblest penitent; from bondage freed
  • 237Of vice—thenceforth unable to subvert
  • 238     Or shake his high desert.
  • 239Long did he reign; and, when he died, the tear
  • 240Of universal grief bedewed his honoured bier.
  • 241Thus was a Brother by a Brother saved;
  • 242With whom a crown (temptation that hath set
  • 243Discord in hearts of men till they have braved
  • 244Their nearest kin with deadly purpose met)
  • 245'Gainst duty weighed, and faithful love, did seem
  • 246     A thing of no esteem;
  • 247And, from this triumph of affection pure,
  • 248He bore the lasting name of "pious Elidure!"

Notes Settings


Editor’s Note
p. 14. II. Artegal and Elidure. "Rydal Mount. This was written in the year 1815, as a token of affectionate respect for the memory of Milton. ''I have determined,' says he, in his preface to his History of England, 'to bestow the telling over even of these reputed tales, be it for nothing else but in favour of our English Poets and Rhetoricians, who by their art will know how to use them judiciously.'"—I. F. (The quotation comes not from the Preface, but Bk. I, end of paragraph 2. E. Q.'s copy of the I. F. note, the only one known to be extant, has "wit" for "art".) The "reputed tale" is thus told by Milton: "Gorbonian, the eldest of his [Morindus'] five sons, than whom a juster man lived not in his age, was a great builder of temples, and gave to all what was their due: to his gods, devout worship: to men of desert, honour and preferment: to the commons, encouragement in their labours and trades, defence and protection from injuries and oppressions: so that the land flourished above her neighbours: violence and wrong seldom were heard of. His death was a general loss: he was buried in Trinovant. "Archigallo, the second brother, followed not his example: but depressed the ancient nobility: and, by peeling the wealthier sort, stuffed his treasury, and took the right way to be deposed. "Elidure, the next brother, surnamed the Pious, was set up in his place: a mind so noble, and so moderate, as almost is incredible to have been ever found. For, having held the sceptre five years, hunting one day in the forest of Calater, he chanced to meet his deposed brother, wandering in a mean condition: who had been long in vain beyond the seas, importuning foreign aids to his restorement; and was now, in a poor habit, with only ten followers, privately returned to find subsistence among his secret friends. At the unexpected sight of him, Elidure himself also then but thinly accompanied, runs to him with open arms; and after many dear and sincere welcomings, conveys him to the city Alclud: there hides him in his own bedchamber. Afterwards feigning himself sick, summons all his peers, as about greatest affairs, where admitting them one by one, as if his weakness endured not the disturbance of more at once, causes them, willing or unwilling, once more to swear allegiance to Archigallo. Whom, after reconciliation made on all sides, he leads to York: and, from his head, places the crown on the head of his brother. Who thenceforth, vice itself dissolving in him, and forgetting her firmest hold, with the admiration of a deed so heroic, became a true converted man; ruled worthily ten years, died, and was buried in Caerleir. Thus was a brother saved by a brother, to whom love of a crown, the thing that so often dazzles and vitiates mortal men, for which thousands of nearest blood have destroyed each other, was in respect of brotherly dearness, a contemptible thing." The theme of "brotherly dearness" which attracted W. to the story, accounts for his placing the poem next to The Brothers.
Three MSS. of the poem are known to me; (1) an incomplete rough draft in W. W.'s hand, (2) one begun by S. H., but completed by W. W.; (3) by M. W. (probable date 1817).
Critical Apparatus
  • Sunk are the Temples which as stories tell
  • In Britain's isle the Trojan Brutus reared
  • For his transplanted Gods therein to dwell,
  • Ere Julius landed on the white-cliffed shore
  • The sacred structures were delivered o'er
  • To utter dissolution whence I ween
  • A general doubt prevails if such have ever been MS.
Critical Apparatus
  • Where be the Temples which in Britain's isle
  • As legends tell the Trojan Founder reared?
  • Gone like a dream of morning; or a pile
  • Of gorgeous clouds that in the East appeared MS.
Another MS. omits stanza 1, and begins with l. 9. A British Record that had lain concealed.
Critical Apparatus
  • Yet in the wilds of Cambria lay concealed
  • By Snowdon's forests or by Voga's springs
  • A Book whose leaves to later time revealed
  • The wondrous course of long-forgotten things; MS.
Critical Apparatus
12 marvellous 1836: wondrous 1820–32
Editor’s Note
13–18. "This island … was desert and inhospitable; kept only by a remnant of giants, whose excessive force and tyranny had consumed the rest. Them Brutus destroys, and to his people divides the land…. To Corineus, Cornwall, as we now call it, fell by lot; the rather by him liked, for that the hugest giants in rocks and caves were said to lurk still there; which kind of monsters to deal with was his old exercise." Milton.
Editor’s Note
  • From Faerie Queene, II. x. 7
  • hideous Giants …
  • That never tasted grace nor goodnesse felt.
Critical Apparatus
  • And, for soft pleasure, bowers
  • And pleasure's peaceful bowers MSS.
Critical Apparatus
26 self-delighting fancy] fondly favouring Nature MS.
Critical Apparatus
30 Grew] Lurked MS
Critical Apparatus
33 war of vengeance] uncouth warfare MS. After l.
Editor’s Note
33–40. The story of Guendolen's revenge on Locrine, her faithless lord, is told both by Milton and by Spenser (F.Q. II. x. 17–19).
Critical Apparatus
40 one MS. places ll. 194–201
Critical Apparatus
41 Who has not wept the wrongs of aged Lear MS.
Critical Apparatus
43 Hear him ye elements MS.
Critical Apparatus
48 perfect] happy passing blissful MSS.
Critical Apparatus
  • Praised be this book, and honour'd be the page
  • Where England's Darling found a basis laid
  • To those dread scenes which on the tragic stage
  • To trembling multitudes his art displayed
  • And to that chronicle be praise decreed
  • For this, that there we read
  • Of Merlin's insight into future years
  • And all the mighty feats of Arthur and his peers
55 so 1836: Which yet he graspeth, meditating war MS.:
Which yet he wields in subterranean war 1820–32
Editor’s Note
50 (MS.). England's darling: a reminiscence of Gray's Progress of Poesy where Shakespeare is called "Nature's Darling".
Critical Apparatus
56 Shall spread his country's fame in conquest wide and far MS.
Critical Apparatus
  • What wonder then if 'mid the vast domain
  • Of that rich volume one particular Flower
  • Hath breathed its fragrance seemingly in vain
Critical Apparatus
61 Now, gentle] Ye gentle Ye bounteous MSS.
Critical Apparatus
63 stored with] of pure, stocked with, pure of MSS.
Critical Apparatus
64–5 Small garden which I tend in (I have tended long with, hath been tended long with) all humility MSS.
Critical Apparatus
75 that 1836: such MS., 1820–32
Critical Apparatus
77 foul iniquity] vilest tyranny MS.
Critical Apparatus
88 his pride 1836: which he MS., 1820–32
Critical Apparatus
89 so 1836: Towards his native soil he MS., 1820–32
Critical Apparatus
  • The winds and waves have aided him to reach
  • That coast the object of his heart's desire;
  • But while the crownless Sovereign trod the beach
  • His eyeballs kindle with revengeful ire,
  • As if incensed with all that he beholds
  • The fields, the naked wolds,
  • And those ten Followers, a helpless band
  • That to his fortunes cleave and wait on his command.
  • Bear with me, friends, said Artegal, ashamed;
  • Then with quick steps they dive into a wood
  • And from its shady boughs protection claimed
  • For light he feared, and open neighbourhood.
Editor’s Note
92. "poorly provided, poorly followed"] probably, as Nowell Smith suggests, not a verbally accurate quotation, but adapted from Milton's words, quoted supra, "in a poor habit, with only ten followers".
Critical Apparatus
  • Oft by imaginary terrors scared
  • And sometimes into real danger brought
  • To Calaterium's forest he repaired
  • And in its depth secure a refuge sought
Critical Apparatus
105 sum 1836: amount MS., 1820–32
Critical Apparatus
106 With his attendants here MS.
Critical Apparatus
109 so 1836: From which the tusky boar hath fled MS., 1820–32
Critical Apparatus
123 daunted] trembling, wondering MSS.
Critical Apparatus
  • Heir of Gorbonian, Brother, gladly met,
  • Whence comest thou etc.
Critical Apparatus
142 Had justice ruled in breasts etc. MS.
Critical Apparatus
150 the unsullied 1827: spotless Dian MSS., 1820
Critical Apparatus
166 Thou bear'st the name of wise MS.
Critical Apparatus
172 how inspired] whence inspired MS.
Critical Apparatus
193 breathe] rule MS.
Critical Apparatus
195 Clouds of disgrace] A cloud of time MS.
Editor’s Note
195. passed: W.'s texts all read "past", giving eye-rhyme with "cast"—but an impossible form for the preterite. That the spelling here is merely an oversight is shown by The Pass of Kirkstone 44 where "passed" rhymes with "blast", and by Duddon Sonnet XV, l. 14, infra, Vol III, p. 252, where past is corrected to pass'd.
Critical Apparatus
  • By noontide darkness veiled and overcast?
  • The Lake that glittered like a sunbright shield
Critical Apparatus
  • All vanish in a moment, as if night
  • Were sister to the sun, and darkness born of light
Critical Apparatus
  • But should the sun victorious glimmer forth
  • Far brighter seems the wide world than before;
  • Such power is latent in thy native worth
  • To spread delight and joy from shore to shore
Critical Apparatus
208 Give proof that long adversity and pain MS.
Critical Apparatus
209 native] inborn MS.
Critical Apparatus
  • The story tells that Artegal straitway
  • Was by his Brother privily convey'd
  • To a far distant city (at that day
  • Alcwyd named) whose fortress undismayed
  • By the hostility of mortals, stood
  • In sight of land and flood,
  • Obnoxious only on the lofty Rock
  • To the careering storm, and perilous lightning's stroke.
  • When this impregnable retreat was gained
  • In prudent furtherance of first intent
  • King Elidure a mortal sickness feigned
  • And to his mightiest Lords a summons sent.
  • Softly and one by one, into such gloom
  • As suits a sick man's room,
  • The attendants introduced each potent peer
  • There, singly and alone, his Sovereign's will to hear.
  • Said Elidure, Behold our rightful King
  • The banished Artegal before thee stands
  • Kneel, and renew to him the offering
  • Of thy allegiance: Justice this demands,
  • Immortal justice speaking through my voice.
  • Accept him and rejoice.
  • [ ? ] he will prove
  • Worthier than I have been of reverence and love.
  • If firm command and mild persuasion failed
  • To change the temper of an adverse mind,
  • With such by other engines he prevailed,
  • Threatening to fling their bodies to the wind
  • From the dread summit of the lonely block,
  • That castle-crested rock,
  • Alcwyd then, but now Dumbarton named
  • A memorable fort through spatious Albion famed.
  • Departing thence to York their way they bent
  • While the glad people flowers before them strewed;
  • And there King Elidure with full consent
  • Of all his peers before the multitude
  • Upon his brother's head replaced the crown
  • Relinquished by his own,
  • Triumph of justice and affection pure
  • Whence he the title gained of "pious" Elidure.
Editor’s Note
218–25. Note that the MS. version of these lines (v. app. crit.) is much closer to Milton than the published text,
Critical Apparatus
227 Through admiration of, And through strong feeling of MS.
Critical Apparatus
  • "A true converted Man" from bondage freed,
  • Of vice—henceforth unable to controul
  • The motion of his soul
  • And when he died the worthy and the brave
  • Shed tears of fond regret upon his honoured grave
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