Verse > William Wordsworth > Complete Poetical Works
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INSCRIPTIONS

SUPPOSED TO BE FOUND IN AND NEAR A HERMIT'S CELL, 1818

II

INSCRIBED UPON A ROCK

          PAUSE, Traveller! whosoe'er thou be
          Whom chance may lead to this retreat,
          Where silence yields reluctantly
          Even to the fleecy straggler's bleat;

          Give voice to what my hand shall trace,
          And fear not lest an idle sound
          Of words unsuited to the place
          Disturb its solitude profound.

          I saw this Rock, while vernal air
          Blew softly o'er the russet heath,                          10
          Uphold a Monument as fair
          As church or abbey furnisheth.

          Unsullied did it meet the day,
          Like marble, white, like ether, pure;
          As if, beneath, some hero lay,
          Honoured with costliest sepulture.

          My fancy kindled as I gazed;
          And, ever as the sun shone forth,
          The flattered structure glistened, blazed,
          And seemed the proudest thing on earth.                     20

          But frost had reared the gorgeous Pile
          Unsound as those which Fortune builds--
          To undermine with secret guile,
          Sapped by the very beam that gilds.

          And, while I gazed, with sudden shock
          Fell the whole Fabric to the ground;
          And naked left this dripping Rock,
          With shapeless ruin spread around!


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