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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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Critical ApparatusCritical ApparatusVII

[Composed 1834.—Published 1835.]

  • Editor’s NoteCritical Apparatus1The leaves that rustled on this oak-crowned hill,
  • 2And sky that danced among those leaves, are still;
  • Critical Apparatus3Rest smooths the way for sleep; in field and bower
  • 4Soft shades and dews have shed their blended power
  • 5On drooping eyelid and the closing flower;
  • 6Sound is there none at which the faintest heart
  • Critical Apparatus7Might leap, the weakest nerve of superstition start;
  • Critical Apparatus8Save when the Owlet's unexpected scream
  • 9Pierces the ethereal vault; and ('mid the gleam
  • 10Of unsubstantial imagery, the dream,
  • 11From the hushed vale's realities, transferred
  • 12To the still lake) the imaginative Bird
  • 13Seems, 'mid inverted mountains, not unheard.
  • 14  Grave Creature!—whether, while the moon shines bright
  • 15On thy wings opened wide for smoothest flight,
  • pg 9Critical Apparatus16Thou art discovered in a roofless tower,
  • 17Rising from what may once have been a lady's bower;
  • 18Or spied where thou sitt'st moping in thy mew
  • Critical Apparatus19At the dim centre of a churchyard yew;
  • Critical Apparatus20Or from a rifted crag or ivy tod
  • 21Deep in a forest, thy secure abode,
  • 22Thou giv'st, for pastime's sake, by shriek or shout,
  • Critical Apparatus23A puzzling notice of thy whereabout—
  • 24May the night never come, nor day be seen,
  • 25When I shall scorn thy voice or mock thy mien!
  • 26  In classic ages men perceived a soul
  • 27Of sapience in thy aspect, headless Owl!
  • 28Thee Athens reverenced in the studious grove;
  • 29And near the golden sceptre grasped by Jove,
  • 30His Eagle's favourite perch, while round him sate
  • 31The Gods revolving the decrees of Fate,
  • 32Thou, too, wert present at Minerva's side:
  • 33Hark to that second larum!—far and wide
  • 34The elements have heard, and rock and cave replied.

Notes Settings


Critical Apparatus
VII. MS. has the title "Twilight"
Critical Apparatus
p. 8. VII. The leaves that rustled on this oak-crowned hill: "Composed by the side of Grasmere Lake. The mountains that enclose the vale, especially towards Easedale, are most favourable to the reverberation of sound. There is a passage in The Excursion, towards the close of the fourth Book, where the voice of the raven in flight is traced through the modifications it undergoes, as I have often heard it in that vale and others of this district.
  •                                   'Often, at the hour
  •              When issue forth the first pale stars, is heard,
  •              Within the circuit of this fabric huge
  •              One voice—the solitary raven.' "—I. F.
Critical Apparatus
1–2 Ceased is the rustling … The sky … is still MS.
Editor’s Note
1–13. In one MS. these lines form the first part of a poem headed Twilight, of which the last lines are a first draft of IV, supra, ll. 20–31; v. app. crit.
Critical Apparatus
  • Advancing slowly from the faded West
  • Sleep treads a way prepared for him by Rest.
Critical Apparatus
7 superstition] fancy MS.
Critical Apparatus
8 at intervals the Owlet's scream MS.
Critical Apparatus
16 encountered in a moon-lit MS.
Critical Apparatus
  • Or in a glimmering Bam when thou dost chuse
  • (Wishing the Sun good speed) to mope and muse
Critical Apparatus
20 Or watch for food; or from an ivy tod MS.
Critical Apparatus
  • Or hast been robbed of liberty and joy
  • The drooping Captive of a thoughtless boy
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