Verse > William Wordsworth > Complete Poetical Works
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MEMORIALS OF A TOUR IN ITALY, 1837

XVII. AT THE EREMITE OR UPPER CONVENT OF CAMALDOLI

          WHAT aim had they, the Pair of Monks, in size
          Enormous, dragged, while side by side they sate,
          By panting steers up to this convent gate?
          How, with empurpled cheeks and pampered eyes,
          Dare they confront the lean austerities
          Of Brethren who, here fixed, on Jesu wait
          In sackcloth, and God's anger deprecate
          Through all that humbles flesh and mortifies?
          Strange contrast!--verily the world of dreams,
          Where mingle, as for mockery combined,                      10
          Things in their very essences at strife,
          Shows not a sight incongruous as the extremes
          That everywhere, before the thoughtful mind,
          Meet on the solid ground of waking life.


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