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)
Editor’s NoteEditor’s NoteIVTO THE SONS OF BURNS,after visiting the grave of their father
[Stanzas ii, iii, iv, viii composed between June, 1805 and February, 1806, and published 1807: Stanzas i, v, vi, vii added 1827.]
"The Poet's grave is in a corner of the churchyard. We looked at it with melancholy and painful reflections, repeating to each other his own verses—'Is there a man whose judgment clear,' etc."—Extract from the Journal of my Fellow-traveller.
- Critical Apparatus1"Mid crowded obelisks and urns
- 2I sought the untimely grave of Burns;
- 3Sons of the Bard, my heart still mourns
- 4 With sorrow true;
- 5And more would grieve, but that it turns
- 6 Trembling to you!
- Critical Apparatus7Through twilight shades of good and ill
- 8Ye now are panting up life's hill,
- 9And more than common strength and skill
- 10 Must ye display;
- 11If ye would give the better will
- 12 Its lawful sway.
- pg 70Critical Apparatus13Hath Nature strung your nerves to bear
- 14Intemperance with less harm, beware!
- Critical Apparatus15But if the Poet's wit ye share,
- Critical Apparatus16 Like him can speed
- 17The social hour—of tenfold care
- 18 There will be need;
- Critical Apparatus19For honest men delight will take
- 20To spare your failings for his sake,
- 21Will flatter you,—and fool and rake
- 22 Your steps pursue;
- 23And of your Father's name will make
- 24 A snare for you.
- Critical Apparatus25Far from their noisy haunts retire,
- 26And add your voices to the quire
- 27That sanctify the cottage fire
- 28 With service meet;
- 29There seek the genius of your Sire,
- 30 His spirit greet;
- Editor’s Note31Or where, 'mid "lonely heights and hows,"
- 32He paid to Nature tuneful vows;
- 33Or wiped his honourable brows
- 34 Bedewed with toil,
- 35While reapers strove, or busy ploughs
- 36 Upturned the soil;
- 37His judgment with benignant ray
- 38Shall guide, his fancy cheer, your way;
- 39But ne'er to a seductive lay
- 40 Let faith be given;
- Editor’s Note41Nor deem that "light which leads astray,
- 42 Is light from Heaven."
- pg 7143Let no mean hope your souls enslave;
- 44Be independent, generous, brave;
- 45Your Father such example gave,
- 46 And such revere;
- 47But be admonished by his grave,
- 48 And think, and fear!
- Ye now are panting up life's hill!
- 'Tis twilight time of good and ill
- For honest men delight will take
- To shew you favor for his sake,
- Will MS.-1815
- For their beloved Poet's sake,
- Even honest men delight will take
- But yet the light that led astray
- Was light from Heaven.