Verse > William Wordsworth > Complete Poetical Works
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NUTTING

      ---------------------IT seems a day
      (I speak of one from many singled out)
      One of those heavenly days that cannot die;
      When, in the eagerness of boyish hope,
      I left our cottage-threshold, sallying forth
      With a huge wallet o'er my shoulders slung,
      A nutting-crook in hand; and turned my steps
      Tow'rd some far-distant wood, a Figure quaint,
      Tricked out in proud disguise of cast-off weeds
      Which for that service had been husbanded,                      10
      By exhortation of my frugal Dame--
      Motley accoutrement, of power to smile
      At thorns, and brakes, and brambles,--and, in truth,
      More ragged than need was! O'er pathless rocks,
      Through beds of matted fern, and tangled thickets,
      Forcing my way, I came to one dear nook
      Unvisited, where not a broken bough
      Drooped with its withered leaves, ungracious sign
      Of devastation; but the hazels rose
      Tall and erect, with tempting clusters hung,                    20
      A virgin scene!--A little while I stood,
      Breathing with such suppression of the heart
      As joy delights in; and, with wise restraint
      Voluptuous, fearless of a rival, eyed
      The banquet;--or beneath the trees I sate
      Among the flowers, and with the flowers I played;
      A temper known to those, who, after long
      And weary expectation, have been blest
      With sudden happiness beyond all hope.
      Perhaps it was a bower beneath whose leaves                     30
      The violets of five seasons re-appear
      And fade, unseen by any human eye;
      Where fairy water-breaks do murmur on
      For ever; and I saw the sparkling foam,
      And--with my cheek on one of those green stones
      That, fleeced with moss, under the shady trees,
      Lay round me, scattered like a flock of sheep--
      I heard the murmur and the murmuring sound,
      In that sweet mood when pleasure loves to pay
      Tribute to ease; and, of its joy secure,                        40
      The heart luxuriates with indifferent things,
      Wasting its kindliness on stocks and stones,
      And on the vacant air. Then up I rose,
      And dragged to earth both branch and bough, with crash
      And merciless ravage: and the shady nook
      Of hazels, and the green and mossy bower,
      Deformed and sullied, patiently gave up
      Their quiet being: and, unless I now
      Confound my present feelings with the past;
      Ere from the mutilated bower I turned                           50
      Exulting, rich beyond the wealth of kings,
      I felt a sense of pain when I beheld
      The silent trees, and saw the intruding sky--
      Then, dearest Maiden, move along these shades
      In gentleness of heart; with gentle hand
      Touch--for there is a spirit in the woods.
                                                              1799.


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