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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 NoteEditor’s NoteXIXOUR LADY OF THE SNOW

  • 1Meek Virgin Mother, more benign
  • 2Than fairest Star, upon the height
  • 3Of thy own mountain,1 set to keep
  • 4Lone vigils through the hours of sleep,
  • 5What eye can look upon thy shrine
  • 6Untroubled at the sight?
  • 7These crowded offerings as they hang
  • 8In sign of misery relieved,
  • 9Even these, without intent of theirs,
  • 10Report of comfortless despairs,
  • 11Of many a deep and cureless pang
  • 12And confidence deceived.
  • 13To Thee, in this aerial cleft,
  • 14As to a common centre, tend
  • Critical Apparatus15All sufferers that no more rely
  • Critical Apparatus16On mortal succour—all who sigh
  • 17And pine, of human hope bereft,
  • 18Nor wish for earthly friend.
  • 19pg 176And hence, O Virgin Mother mild!
  • 20Though plenteous flowers around thee blow,
  • 21Not only from the dreary strife
  • 22Of Winter, but the storms of life,
  • 23Thee have thy Votaries aptly styled,
  • 24Our Lady of the Snow.
  • 25Even for the Man who stops not here,
  • 26But down the irriguous valley hies,
  • 27Thy very name, O Lady! flings,
  • 28O'er blooming fields and gushing springs
  • Critical Apparatus29A tender sense of shadowy fear,
  • 30And chastening sympathies!
  • 31Nor falls that intermingling shade
  • 32To summer-gladsomeness unkind:
  • 33It chastens only to requite
  • 34With gleams of fresher, purer, light;
  • 35While, o'er the flower-enamelled glade,
  • 36More sweetly breathes the wind.
  • 37But on!—a tempting downward way,
  • 38A verdant path before us lies;
  • 39Clear shines the glorious sun above;
  • 40Then give free course to joy and love,
  • Editor’s Note41Deeming the evil of the day
  • 42Sufficient for the wise.

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Editor’s Note
p. 175. XIX. Our Lady of the Snow: "How delicious was the descent over the velvet turf, towards the Chapel of our Lady of the Snow!—seen below within a narrow steep glen. The air still fresh and cool, we gradually find ourselves enclosed by the declivities of the glen; those rugged steeps are hung with pine trees, narrow cataracts come down the clefts in unbroken white lines—or over the facings of rock, in drops and stages. Side by side with the central rivulet, we go on still descending, though with far slower pace, and come to the village of Rigi, and our Lady's Chapel cradled in the slip of the dell, and, at this tranquil time, lulled by the voices of the streams. The interior of the Chapel is hung with hundreds of offerings—staffs, crutches etc. etc., and pictures representing marvellous escapes, with written records of vows performed—and dangers averted through the gracious protection of our Lady of the Snow."—D. W. Journal, Aug. 19.
Editor’s Note
1 Mount Righi.
Critical Apparatus
XIX. 15 so 1837: All sufferings that no longer rest 1822–32
Critical Apparatus
16–17 who sigh And 1837: distrest That 1822–32
Critical Apparatus
29–30 so 1832: A holy Shadow soft and dear Of 1822–7
Editor’s Note
41–2. Matthew vi. 34. Hutchinson (Oxf. W., p. 339) puts "the evil … wise" in inverted commas, but on the authority of no previous text.
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