Sonnets from The River Duddon: After-Thought
William Wordsworth, The River Duddon, A Series of Sonnets; Vaudracour and Julia; and Other Poems (London: Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme, and Brown, 1820). B-10 8507 (Fisher Rare Book Library, Toronto).
2As being past away.--Vain sympathies!
3For, backward, Duddon! as I cast my eyes,
4I see what was, and is, and will abide;
5Still glides the Stream, and shall for ever glide;
6The Form remains, the Function never dies;
8We Men, who in our morn of youth defied
9The elements, must vanish;--be it so!
10Enough, if something from our hands have power
11To live, and act, and serve the future hour;
12And if, as toward the silent tomb we go,
13Through love, through hope, and faith's transcendent dower,
14We feel that we are greater than we know.
1] This sonnet is a postscript to a series of sonnets, written at intervals between 1806 or 1807 and 1820, in which the poet follows the course of the river Duddon from its source, where Westmoreland, Cumberland and Lancashire meet, to the sea. Back to Line
7] Cf. Moschus, Lament for Bion, 102, "But we mighty and strong, we men so wise in our wisdom," from that part of the poem in which Moschus speaks of the mortality of man as contrasted with the yearly revival of vegetation. Back to Line
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RPO poem Editors:
J. R. MacGillivray