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William Wordsworth

Helen Darbishire and Ernest De Selincourt (eds), The Poetical Works of William Wordsworth, Vol. 4: Evening Voluntaries; Itinerary Poems of 1833; Poems of Sentiment and Reflection; Sonnets Dedicated to Liberty and Order; Miscellaneous Poems; Inscriptions; Selections From Chaucer; Poems Referring to the Period of Old Age; Epitaphs and Elegiac Pieces; Ode-Intimations of Immortality (Second Edition)

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Editor’s Notepg 266Editor’s NoteIXSONNET

[Composed January, 1846.—Published 1850.]

  • 1Why should we weep or mourn, Angelic boy,
  • 2For such thou wert ere from our sight removed,
  • 3Holy, and ever dutiful—beloved
  • 4From day to day with never-ceasing joy,
  • 5And hopes as dear as could the heart employ
  • 6In aught to earth pertaining? Death has proved
  • 7His might, nor less his mercy, as behoved—
  • 8Death conscious that he only could destroy
  • 9The bodily frame. That beauty is laid low
  • 10To moulder in a far-off field of Rome;
  • 11But Heaven is now, blest Child, thy Spirit's home:
  • Critical Apparatus12When such divine communion, which we know,
  • 13Is felt, thy Roman burial-place will be
  • 14Surely a sweet remembrancer of Thee.

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Editor’s Note
p. 266. IX. Sonnet: "On Christmas eve we received a letter from Mrs. John Wordsworth then and still at Rome, communicating the death of her youngest son, nearly five years old … . The child … was one of the noblest creatures both in mind and body I ever saw." —W. W. to a cousin, Jan. 2, 1846 (L.Y., p. 1272). To Henry Reed, W. wrote on Jan. 23 saying that his "state of feeling" upon this and other recent bereavements "had vented itself" in this sonnet and that beginning "Where lies the Truth", v. p. 19 supra.
Critical Apparatus
IX. 12 such] this MS.
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