Verse > William Wordsworth > Complete Poetical Works
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WRITTEN IN GERMANY

ON ONE OF THE COLDEST DAYS OF THE CENTURY

      A PLAGUE on your languages, German and Norse!
      Let me have the song of the kettle;
      And the tongs and the poker, instead of that horse
      That gallops away with such fury and force
      On this dreary dull plate of black metal.

      See that Fly,--a disconsolate creature! perhaps
      A child of the field or the grove;
      And, sorrow for him! the dull treacherous heat
      Has seduced the poor fool from his winter retreat,
      And he creeps to the edge of my stove.                          10

      Alas! how he fumbles about the domains
      Which this comfortless oven environ!
      He cannot find out in what track he must crawl,
      Now back to the tiles, then in search of the wall,
      And now on the brink of the iron.

      Stock-still there he stands like a traveller bemazed:
      The best of his skill he has tried;
      His feelers, methinks, I can see him put forth
      To the east and the west, to the south and the north;
      But he finds neither guide-post nor guide.                      20

      His spindles sink under him, foot, leg, and thigh!
      His eyesight and hearing are lost;
      Between life and death his blood freezes and thaws;
      And his two pretty pinions of blue dusky gauze
      Are glued to his sides by the frost.

      No brother, no mate has he near him--while I
      Can draw warmth from the cheek of my Love;
      As blest and as glad, in this desolate gloom,
      As if green summer grass were the floor of my room,
      And woodbines were hanging above.                               30

      Yet, God is my witness, thou small helpless Thing!
      Thy life I would gladly sustain
      Till summer come up from the south, and with crowds
      Of thy brethren a march thou should'st sound through the clouds,
      And back to the forests again!
                                                              1799.


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