Verse > Anthologies > T. H. Ward, ed. > The English Poets > Vol. IV. Wordsworth to Rossetti
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Thomas Humphry Ward, ed.  The English Poets.  1880–1918.
Vol. IV. The Nineteenth Century: Wordsworth to Rossetti
 
Extracts from the Excursion: [Mist Opening in the Hills]
By William Wordsworth (1770–1850)
 
(See full text.)

  SO was he lifted gently from the ground,
And with their freight homeward the shepherds moved
Through the dull mist, I following—when a step,
A single step, that freed me from the skirts
Of the blind vapour, opened to my view        5
Glory beyond all glory ever seen
By waking sense or by the dreaming soul!
The appearance, instantaneously disclosed,
Was of a mighty city—boldly say
A wilderness of building, sinking far        10
And self-withdrawn into a boundless depth
Far sinking into splendour—without end!
Fabric it seemed of diamond and of gold,
With alabaster domes, and silver spires,
And blazing terrace upon terrace, high        15
Uplifted; here, serene pavilions bright,
In avenues disposed; there, towers begirt
With battlements that on their restless fronts
Bore stars—illumination of all gems!
By earthly nature had the effect been wrought        20
Upon the dark materials of the storm
Now pacified: on them, and on the coves
And mountain-steeps and summits, whereunto
The vapours had receded, taking there
Their station under a cerulean sky.        25
Oh, ’twas an unimaginable sight!
Clouds, mists, streams, watery rocks and emerald turf,
Clouds of all tincture, rocks and sapphire sky
Confused, commingled, mutually inflamed,
Molten together, and composing thus,        30
Each lost in each, that marvellous array
Of temple, palace, citadel, and huge
Fantastic pomp of structure without name,
In fleecy folds voluminous enwrapped.
Right in the midst, where interspace appeared        35
Of open court, an object like a throne
Under a shining canopy of state
Stood fixed; and fixed resemblance were seen
To implements of ordinary use,
But vast in size, in substance glorified;        40
Such as by Hebrew Prophets were beheld
In vision—forms uncouth of mightiest power
For admiration and mysterious awe.
This little Vale, a dwelling-place of Man,
Lay low beneath my feet; ’twas visible—        45
I saw not, but I felt that it was there.
That which I saw was the revealed abode
Of Spirits in beatitude.
 
 
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