Verse > William Wordsworth > Complete Poetical Works
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"ALAS! WHAT BOOTS THE LONG LABORIOUS QUEST"

          ALAS! what boots the long laborious quest
          Of moral prudence, sought through good and ill;
          Or pains abstruse--to elevate the will,
          And lead us on to that transcendent rest
          Where every passion shall the sway attest
          Of Reason, seated on her sovereign hill;
          What is it but a vain and curious skill,
          If sapient Germany must lie deprest,
          Beneath the brutal sword?--Her haughty Schools
          Shall blush; and may not we with sorrow say--               10
          A few strong instincts and a few plain rules,
          Among the herdsmen of the Alps, have wrought
          More for mankind at this unhappy day
          Then all the pride of intellect and thought?
                                                              1809.


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