The Tables Turned

Original Text: 
William Wordsworth and S. T. Coleridge, Lyrical Ballads (London: J. and A. Arch, 1798). No. 4 (Victoria College Library, Toronto). Photographic facsimile edition (Kobe, Japan: Konan Joshi Gakuen, 1980). PR 5869 L9 1798AA C. 1 ROBA.
2Or surely you'll grow double:
3Up! up! my Friend, and clear your looks;
4Why all this toil and trouble?
5The sun above the mountain's head,
6A freshening lustre mellow
7Through all the long green fields has spread,
8His first sweet evening yellow.
9Books! 'tis a dull and endless strife:
10Come, hear the woodland linnet,
11How sweet his music! on my life,
12There's more of wisdom in it.
13And hark! how blithe the throstle sings!
14He, too, is no mean preacher:
15Come forth into the light of things,
16Let Nature be your teacher.
17She has a world of ready wealth,
18Our minds and hearts to bless--
19Spontaneous wisdom breathed by health,
20Truth breathed by cheerfulness.
21One impulse from a vernal wood
22May teach you more of man,
23Of moral evil and of good,
24Than all the sages can.
25Sweet is the lore which Nature brings;
26Our meddling intellect
27Mis-shapes the beauteous forms of things:--
28We murder to dissect.
29Enough of Science and of Art;
30Close up those barren leaves;
31Come forth, and bring with you a heart
32That watches and receives.


1] In the "Advertisement" to the volume, Wordsworth wrote: "The lines entitled Expostulation and Reply and those which follow [The Tables Turned], arose out of conversation with a friend who was somewhat unreasonably attached to modern books of moral philosophy." The friend was probably William Hazlitt who visited Coleridge and Wordsworth in Somerset in the spring of 1798. See Hazlitt's essay "My First Acquaintance with Poets." Back to Line
Publication Start Year: 
RPO poem Editors: 
J. R. MacGillivray
RPO Edition: 
3RP 2.327.