Nutting

Original Text: 
William Wordsworth and S. T. Coleridge, Lyrical Ballads, 2nd edn. (London: Longman, 1800). No. 5, 1 (c.1,2), 2(c.1) (Victoria College Library, Toronto).
2(I speak of one from many singled out)
3One of those heavenly days that cannot die;
4When, in the eagerness of boyish hope,
5I left our cottage-threshold, sallying forth
6With a huge wallet o'er my shoulders slung,
7A nutting-crook in hand; and turned my steps
8Tow'rd some far-distant wood, a Figure quaint,
9Tricked out in proud disguise of cast-off weeds
10Which for that service had been husbanded,
12Motley accoutrement, of power to smile
13At thorns, and brakes, and brambles,--and, in truth,
14More ragged than need was! O'er pathless rocks,
15Through beds of matted fern, and tangled thickets,
16Forcing my way, I came to one dear nook
17Unvisited, where not a broken bough
18Drooped with its withered leaves, ungracious sign
19Of devastation; but the hazels rose
20Tall and erect, with tempting clusters hung,
21A virgin scene!--A little while I stood,
22Breathing with such suppression of the heart
23As joy delights in; and, with wise restraint
24Voluptuous, fearless of a rival, eyed
25The banquet;--or beneath the trees I sate
26Among the flowers, and with the flowers I played;
27A temper known to those, who, after long
28And weary expectation, have been blest
29With sudden happiness beyond all hope.
30Perhaps it was a bower beneath whose leaves
31The violets of five seasons re-appear
32And fade, unseen by any human eye;
33Where fairy water-breaks do murmur on
34For ever; and I saw the sparkling foam,
35And--with my cheek on one of those green stones
36That, fleeced with moss, under the shady trees,
37Lay round me, scattered like a flock of sheep--
38I heard the murmur, and the murmuring sound,
39In that sweet mood when pleasure loves to pay
40Tribute to ease; and, of its joy secure,
41The heart luxuriates with indifferent things,
42Wasting its kindliness on stocks and stones,
43And on the vacant air. Then up I rose,
44And dragged to earth both branch and bough, with crash
45And merciless ravage: and the shady nook
46Of hazels, and the green and mossy bower,
47Deformed and sullied, patiently gave up
48Their quiet being: and, unless I now
49Confound my present feelings with the past;
50Ere from the mutilated bower I turned
51Exulting, rich beyond the wealth of kings,
52I felt a sense of pain when I beheld
53The silent trees, and saw the intruding sky.--
55In gentleness of heart; with gentle hand
56Touch--for there is a spirit in the woods.

Notes

1] Composed in Germany late in 1798 and quoted by Dorothy Wordsworth in a letter of December 21 (?). Wordsworth said that it was "intended as a part of a poem on my own life [The Prelude], but struck out as not being wanted there." In an early notebook (1799?) the poem is preceded by a passage addressed to and reproaching his "beloved Friend," named Lucy, for being a ravager of the autumn woods, as the poet remembers himself to have been in boyhood. Back to Line
11] My frugal Dame: Mrs. Tyson in whose cottage Wordsworth and his brothers lived during their years at Hawkshead Grammar School. Back to Line
54] dearest Maiden: presumably, the Lucy addressed in the introduction to the poem which was omitted on publication. Back to Line
Publication Start Year: 
1800
RPO poem Editors: 
J. R. MacGillivray
RPO Edition: 
3RP 2.334.
Rhyme: