Yarrow Revisited

Original Text: 
William Wordsworth, Yarrow Revisited, and Other Poems (London: Longman, 1835). B-10 4884 (Fisher Library).
2    Or seeks, a "winsome Marrow,"
3Was but an Infant in the lap
4    When first I looked on Yarrow;
5Once more, by Newark's Castle-gate
6    Long left without a warder,
7I stood, looked, listened, and with Thee,
8    Great Minstrel of the Border!
9Grave thoughts ruled wide on that sweet day,
10    Their dignity installing
11In gentle bosoms, while sere leaves
12    Were on the bough, or falling;
13But breezes played, and sunshine gleamed-
14    The forest to embolden;
15Reddened the fiery hues, and shot
16    Transparence through the golden.
17For busy thoughts the Stream flowed on
18    In foamy agitation;
19And slept in many a crystal pool
20    For quiet contemplation:
21No public and no private care
22    The freeborn mind enthralling,
23We made a day of happy hours,
24    Our happy days recalling.
25Brisk Youth appeared, the Morn of youth,
26    With freaks of graceful folly,-
27Life's temperate Noon, her sober Eve,
28    Her Night not melancholy;
29Past, present, future, all appeared
30    In harmony united,
31Like guests that meet, and some from far,
32    By cordial love invited.
33And if, as Yarrow, through the woods
34    And down the meadow ranging,
35Did meet us with unaltered face,
36    Though we were changed and changing;
37If, then, some natural shadows spread
38    Our inward prospect over,
39The soul's deep valley was not slow
40    Its brightness to recover.
41Eternal blessings on the Muse,
42    And her divine employment!
43The blameless Muse, who trains her Sons
44    For hope and calm enjoyment;
45Albeit sickness, lingering yet,
46    Has o'er their pillow brooded;
47And Care waylays their steps-a Sprite
48    Not easily eluded.
49For thee, O Scott! compelled to change
50    Green Eildon-hill and Cheviot
51For warm Vesuvio's vine-clad slopes;
52    And leave thy Tweed and Tiviot
53For mild Sorrento's breezy waves;
54    May classic Fancy, linking
55With native Fancy her fresh aid,
56    Preserve thy heart from sinking!
57Oh! while they minister to thee,
58    Each vying with the other,
59May Health return to mellow Age
60    With Strength, her venturous brother;
61And Tiber, and each brook and rill
62    Renowned in song and story,
63With unimagined beauty shine,
64    Nor lose one ray of glory!
65For Thou, upon a hundred streams,
66    By tales of love and sorrow,
67Of faithful love, undaunted truth
68    Hast shed the power of Yarrow;
69And streams unknown, hills yet unseen,
70    Wherever they invite Thee,
71At parent Nature's grateful call,
72    With gladness must requite Thee.
73A gracious welcome shall be thine,
74    Such looks of love and honour
75As thy own Yarrow gave to me
76    When first I gazed upon her;
77Beheld what I had feared to see,
78    Unwilling to surrender
79Dreams treasured up from early days,
80    The holy and the tender.
81And what, for this frail world, were all
82    That mortals do or suffer,
83Did no responsive harp, no pen,
84    Memorial tribute offer?
85Yea, what were mighty Nature's self?
86    Her features, could they win us,
87Unhelped by the poetic voice
88    That hourly speaks within us?
89Nor deem that localized Romance
90    Plays false with our affections;
91Unsanctifies our tears-made sport
92    For fanciful dejections:
93Ah, no! the visions of the past
94    Sustain the heart in feeling
95Life as she is-our changeful Life,
96    With friends and kindred dealing.
97Bear witness, Ye, whose thoughts that day
98    In Yarrow's groves were centred;
99Who through the silent portal arch
100    Of mouldering Newark entered;
101And clomb the winding stair that once
103By the "last Minstrel,"(not the last!)
104    Ere he his Tale recounted.
105Flow on for ever, Yarrow Stream!
106    Fulfil thy pensive duty,
107Well pleased that future Bards should chant
108    For simple hearts thy beauty;
109To dream-light dear while yet unseen,
110    Dear to the common sunshine,
111And dearer still, as now I feel,
112    To memory's shadowy moonshine!


1] Written 1831, published 1835. In the autumn of 1831, before Scott's departure for Italy in search of health. Wordsworth visited him, and in his company revisited Yarrow. Back to Line
102] See the Introduction to "The Lay of the Last Minstrel." Back to Line
Publication Start Year: 
RPO poem Editors: 
W. J. Alexander; William Hall Clawson
RPO Edition: 
RP (1916), pp. 231-32; RPO 1997.