Verse > William Wordsworth > Complete Poetical Works
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TO THE DAISY

          SWEET Flower! belike one day to have
          A place upon thy Poet's grave,
          I welcome thee once more:
          But He, who was on land, at sea,
          My Brother, too, in loving thee,
          Although he loved more silently,
          Sleeps by his native shore.

          Ah! hopeful, hopeful was the day
          When to that Ship he bent his way,
          To govern and to guide:                                     10
          His wish was gained: a little time
          Would bring him back in manhood's prime
          And free for life, these hills to climb;
          With all his wants supplied.

          And full of hope day followed day
          While that stout Ship at anchor lay
          Beside the shores of Wight;
          The May had then made all things green;
          And, floating there, in pomp serene,
          That Ship was goodly to be seen,                            20
          His pride and his delight!

          Yet then, when called ashore, he sought
          The tender peace of rural thought:
          In more than happy mood
          To your abodes, bright daisy Flowers!
          He then would steal at leisure hours,
          And loved you glittering in your bowers
          A starry multitude.

          But hark the word!--the ship is gone;--
          Returns from her long course:--anon                         30
          Sets sail:--in season due,
          Once more on English earth they stand:
          But, when a third time from the land
          They parted, sorrow was at hand
          For Him and for his crew.

          Ill-fated Vessel!--ghastly shock!
          --At length delivered from the rock,
          The deep she hath regained;
          And through the stormy night they steer;
          Labouring for life, in hope and fear,                       40
          To reach a safer shore--how near,
          Yet not to be attained!

          "Silence!" the brave Commander cried:
          To that calm word a shriek replied,
          It was the last death-shriek.
          --A few (my soul oft sees that sight)
          Survive upon the tall mast's height;
          But one dear remnant of the night--
          For Him in vain I seek.

          Six weeks beneath the moving sea                            50
          He lay in slumber quietly;
          Unforced by wind or wave
          To quit the Ship for which he died,
          (All claims of duty satisfied;)
          And there they found him at her side;
          And bore him to the grave.

          Vain service! yet not vainly done
          For this, if other end were none,
          That He, who had been cast
          Upon a way of life unmeet                                   60
          For such a gentle Soul and sweet,
          Should find an undisturbed retreat
          Near what he loved, at last--

          That neighbourhood of grove and field
          To Him a resting-place should yield,
          A meek man and a brave!
          The birds shall sing and ocean make
          A mournful murmur for 'his' sake;
          And Thou, sweet Flower, shalt sleep and wake
          Upon his senseless grave.                                   70
                                                              1805.


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