Verse > William Wordsworth > Complete Poetical Works
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"'TIS SAID, THAT SOME HAVE DIED FOR LOVE"

          'Tis said, that some have died for love:
          And here and there a churchyard grave is found
          In the cold north's unhallowed ground,
          Because the wretched man himself had slain,
          His love was such a grievous pain.
          And there is one whom I five years have known;
          He dwells alone
          Upon Helvellyn's side:
          He loved--the pretty Barbara died;
          And thus he makes his moan:                                 10
          Three years had Barbara in her grave been laid
          When thus his moan he made:

          "Oh, move, thou Cottage, from behind that oak!
          Or let the aged tree uprooted lie,
          That in some other way yon smoke
          May mount into the sky!
          The clouds pass on; they from the heavens depart.
          I look--the sky is empty space;
          I know not what I trace;
          But when I cease to look, my hand is on my heart.           20

          "Oh! what a weight is in these shades! Ye leaves,
          That murmur once so dear, when will it cease?
          Your sound my heart of rest bereaves,
          It robs my heart of peace.
          Thou Thrush, that singest loud--and loud and free,
          Into yon row of willows flit,
          Upon that alder sit;
          Or sing another song, or choose another tree.

          "Roll back, sweet Rill! back to thy mountain-bounds,
          And there for ever be thy waters chained!                   30
          For thou dost haunt the air with sounds
          That cannot be sustained;
          If still beneath that pine-tree's ragged bough
          Headlong yon waterfall must come,
          Oh let it then be dumb!
          Be anything, sweet Rill, but that which thou art now.

          "Thou Eglantine, so bright with sunny showers,
          Proud as a rainbow spanning half the vale,
          Thou one fair shrub, oh! shed thy flowers,
          And stir not in the gale.                                   40
          For thus to see thee nodding in the air,
          To see thy arch thus stretch and bend,
          Thus rise and thus descend,--
          Disturbs me till the sight is more than I can bear."

          The Man who makes this feverish complaint
          Is one of giant stature, who could dance
          Equipped from head to foot in iron mail.
          Ah gentle Love! if ever thought was thine
          To store up kindred hours for me, thy face
          Turn from me, gentle Love! nor let me walk                  50
          Within the sound of Emma's voice, nor know
          Such happiness as I have known to-day.
                                                              1800.


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