Saturday, March 15, 2008



William Wordworth, Written in March, While Resting on the Bridge at the Foot of Brother's Water:
  The cock is crowing,
  The stream is flowing,
  The small birds twitter,
  The lake doth glitter,
The green field sleeps in the sun;
  The oldest and youngest
  Are at work with the strongest;
  The cattle are grazing,
  Their heads never raising;
There are forty feeding like one!

  Like an army defeated
  The Snow hath retreated,
  And now doth fare ill
  On the top of the bare hill;
The Ploughboy is whooping—anon—anon:
  There's joy in the mountains;
  There's life in the fountains;
  Small clouds are sailing,
  Blue sky prevailing;
The rain is over and gone!
The poem wasn't really written in March, but on April 16, 1802. On that day Dorothy Wordsworth wrote in her Journal:
When we came to the foot of Brothers water, I left William sitting on the bridge & went along the path on the right side of the Lake through the wood—I was delighted with what I saw—the water under the boughs of the bare old trees, the simplicity of the mountains & the exquisite beauty of the path. There was one grey cottage. I repeated the Glowworm as I walked along—I hung over the gate, & thought I could have stayed for ever. When I returned I found William writing a poem descriptive of the sights & sounds we saw and heard. There was the gentle flowing of the stream, the glittering lively lake, green fields without a living creature to be seen on them, behind us, a flat pasture with 42 cattle feeding; to our left, the road leading to the hamlet, no smoke there, the sun shone on the bare roofs. The people were at work ploughing, harrowing & sowing—Lasses spreading dung, a dogs barking now & then, cocks crowing, birds twittering, the snow in patches at the top of the highest hills, yellow palms, purple and green twigs on the Birches, ashes with their glittering stems quite bare. The hawthorn a bright green with black stems under, the oak & the moss of the oaks glossy....William finished his poem before we got to the foot of Kirkstone. There were hundreds of cattle in the vale. There we ate our dinner. The walk up Kirkstone was very interesting. The Becks among the Rocks were all alive—Wm shewed me the little mossy streamlet which he had before loved when he saw its bright green track in the snow. The view above Ambleside, very beautiful. There we sate & looked down on the green vale. We watched the Crows at a little distance from us become white as silver as they flew in the sunshine, & when they went still farther they looked like shapes of water passing over the green fields.

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