Verse > William Wordsworth > Complete Poetical Works
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HINT FROM THE MOUNTAINS

FOR CERTAIN POLITICAL PRETENDERS

          "WHO but hails the sight with pleasure
          When the wings of genius rise,
          Their ability to measure
              With great enterprise;
          But in man was ne'er such daring
          As yon Hawk exhibits, pairing
          His brave spirit with the war in
              The stormy skies!

          "Mark him, how his power he uses,
          Lays it by, at will resumes!                                10
          Mark, ere for his haunt he chooses
              Clouds and utter glooms!
          There, he wheels in downward mazes;
          Sunward now his flight he raises,
          Catches fire, as seems, and blazes
              With uninjured plumes!"--

                                 ANSWER

          "Stranger, 'tis no act of courage
          Which aloft thou dost discern;
          No bold 'bird' gone forth to forage
            'Mid the tempest stern;                                   20
          But such mockery as the nations
          See, when public perturbations
          Lift men from their native stations
              Like yon TUFT OF FERN;

          "Such it is; the aspiring creature
          Soaring on undaunted wing,
          (So you fancied) is by nature
              A dull helpless thing,
          Dry and withered, light and yellow;--
          'That' to be the tempest's fellow!                          30
          Wait--and you shall see how hollow
              Its endeavouring!"
                                                              1817.


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