Verse > William Wordsworth > Complete Poetical Works
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A CHARACTER

      I MARVEL how Nature could ever find space
      For so many strange contrasts in one human face:
      There's thought and no thought, and there's paleness and bloom
      And bustle and sluggishness, pleasure and gloom.

      There's weakness, and strength both redundant and vain;
      Such strength as, if ever affliction and pain
      Could pierce through a temper that's soft to disease,
      Would be rational peace--a philosopher's ease.

      There's indifference, alike when he fails or succeeds,
      And attention full ten times as much as there needs;            10
      Pride where there's no envy, there's so much of joy;
      And mildness, and spirit both forward and coy.

      There's freedom, and sometimes a diffident stare
      Of shame scarcely seeming to know that she's there,
      There's virtue, the title it surely may claim,
      Yet wants heaven knows what to be worthy the name.

      This picture from nature may seem to depart,
      Yet the Man would at once run away with your heart;
      And I for five centuries right gladly would be
      Such an odd such a kind happy creature as he.                   20
                                                              1800.


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