A Complaint

Original Text: 
William Wordsworth, Poems in Two Volumes (1807). See The Manuscript of William Wordsworth's Poems, in Two Volumes (1807): A Facsimile (London: British Library, 1984). bib MASS (Massey College, Toronto).
2Your love hath been, nor long ago,
3A fountain at my fond heart's door,
4Whose only business was to flow;
5And flow it did; not taking heed
6Of its own bounty, or my need.
7What happy moments did I count!
8Blest was I then all bliss above!
9Now, for that consecrated fount
10Of murmuring, sparkling, living love,
11What have I? shall I dare to tell?
12A comfortless and hidden well.
13A well of love--it may be deep--
14I trust it is,--and never dry:
15What matter? if the waters sleep
16In silence and obscurity.
17--Such change, and at the very door
18Of my fond heart, hath made me poor.


1] It seems certain that the changed friend was Coleridge. Wordsworth saw him for the first time in almost three years late in October 1806, and then for several months in the winter when Coleridge visited the Wordsworths during their stay at Coleorton, Sir George Beaumont's house in Leicestershire. Coleridge's long residence abroad, mostly in Malta, had been in the hope of restoring his health which had been much impaired by his addiction to drugs. The hope was not realized. Dorothy Wordsworth wrote: "never never did I feel such a shock as at the first sight of him [in Oct. 1806]. We all felt exactly in the same way--as if he were different from what we had expected to see...." The difference was not merely in appearance and physical health. All the members of the circle of old friends, including Coleridge, were unhappily aware of changes in feeling and relation. Back to Line
Publication Start Year: 
RPO poem Editors: 
J. R. MacGillivray
RPO Edition: 
3RP 2.388.