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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 Notepg 165Editor’s NoteIIBrugès

  • 1Brugès I saw attired with golden light
  • 2(Streamed from the west) as with a robe of power:
  • Critical Apparatus3The splendour fled; and now the sunless hour,
  • Critical Apparatus4That, slowly making way for peaceful night,
  • 5Best suits with fallen grandeur, to my sight
  • Critical Apparatus6Offers the beauty, the magnificence,
  • Critical Apparatus7And sober graces, left her for defence
  • Critical Apparatus8Against the injuries of time, the spite
  • 9Of fortune, and the desolating storms
  • 10Of future war. Advance not—spare to hide,
  • 11O gentle Power of darkness! these mild hues;
  • 12Obscure not yet these silent avenues
  • 13Of stateliest architecture, where the Forms
  • 14Of nun-like females, with soft motion, glide!

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Editor’s Note
p. 165. II. Brugès: This is not the first poetical tribute which in our times has been paid to this beautiful City. Mr. Southey, in the "Poet's Pilgrimage", speaks of it in lines which I cannot deny myself the pleasure of connecting with my own.
  •           "Time hath not wronged her, nor hath Ruin sought
  •             Rudely her splendid Structures to destroy,
  •          Save in those recent days, with evil fraught,
  •             When Mutability, in drunken joy
  •          Triumphant, and from all restraint released,
  •          Let loose her fierce and many-headed beast.
  •          But for the scars in that unhappy rage
  •             Inflicted, firm she stands and undecayed;
  •          Like our first Sires, a beautiful old age
  •             Is hers in venerable years arrayed,
  •          And yet, to her, benignant stars may bring,
  •          What fate denies to man,—a second spring.
  •          When I may read of tilts in days of old,
  •             And tourneys graced by Chieftains of renown,
  •          Fair dames, grave citizens, and warriors bold,
  •             If fancy would portray some stately town,
  •          Which for such pomp fit theatre should be,
  •          Fair Brugès, I shall then remember thee." W. 1822.
In this city are many vestiges of the splendour of the Burgundian Dukedom, and the long black mantle universally worn by the females is probably a remnant of the old Spanish connection, which, if I do not much deceive myself, is traceable in the grave deportment of its inhabitants. Brugès is comparatively little disturbed by that curious contest, or rather conflict, of Flemish with French propensities in matters of taste, so conspicuous through other parts of Flanders. The hotel to which we drove at Ghent furnished an odd instance. In the passages were paintings and statues, after the antique, of Hebe and Apollo; and in the garden, a little pond, about a yard and a half in diameter, with a weeping willow bending over it, and under the shade of that tree, in the centre of the pond, a wooden painted statue of a Dutch or Flemish boor, looking ineffably tender upon his mistress, and embracing her. A living duck, tethered at the feet of the sculptured lovers, alternately tormented a miserable eel and itself with endeavours to escape from its bond and prison. Had we chanced to espy the hostess of the hotel in this quaint rural retreat, the exhibition would have been complete. She was a true Flemish figure, in the dress of the days of Holbein; her symbol of office, a weighty bunch of keys, pendent from her portly waist. In Brussels, the modern taste in costume, architecture, &c. has got the mastery; in Ghent there is a struggle: but in Brugès old images are still paramount, and an air of monastic life among the quiet goings-on of a thinly-peopled city is inexpressibly soothing; a pensive grace seems to be cast over all, even the very children.—Extract from Journal.—W. Adapted from D. W.'s Journal. On July 13 she wrote: "We entered Bruges by a long gently-winding street … . W. and Mr. M. walked out immediately, eager to view the city in the warm light of the setting sun … . Continued to walk through the silent town till ten o'clock … a cloistral silence felt in every corner and every open space." On July 14 M. W. wrote: "Yesterday was not a sunny day, and Bruges wanted no sunshine, its own outline in the gloom of evening needed no golden lustre. Yet this W. witnessed, when D. and I were not with him, the great Tower of the Market House bathed in gold!"
Editor’s Note
p. 169. X. Hymn. For the Boatmen etc.: "The river flows beside it calmly (though with strong motion as all these large rivers do) but after that point, to the bridge, the channel is rocky and therefore the stream turbulent. While passing under the garden-wall the peasant sailor, before he trusts his boat or timber-raft to the rocks and rapids, kneels down and prays for protection from danger, and a safe passage through the arches of the bridge. An image of Jesus on the cross is the visible object of his worship, which Mr Pickford, when he rebuilt his garden-wall, replaced in its station, out of respect to the piety or superstition of past and present times. During the passage an appropriate hymn is chaunted,—the thought touched our poet's fancy, and he has since composed the following verses for the Heidelberg Boatman."—D. W. Journal, July 28.
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II. 3 so 1837: 'Tis passed away etc. 1822–7: 'Tis past; and now the grave and sunless hour, 1832
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4 making way for 1832: introducing 1822–7
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6 the … the 1827: her … her 1822
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7 sober 1827, 1837: all the 1822, 1832
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8 injuries] insidiousness MS.
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