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The Prelude
by
William Wordsworth


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(An excerpt from Book IV, "Summer Vacation," Lines 354-370)

 

When from our better selves we have too long
Been parted by the hurrying world, and droop,
Sick of its business, of its pleasures tired,
How gracious, how benign, is Solitude;
How potent a mere image of her sway;
Most potent when impressed upon the mind
With an appropriate human centre—hermit, 
Deep in the bosom of the wilderness;
Votary (in vast cathedral, where no foot
Is treading, where no other face is seen)
Kneeling at prayers; or watchman on the top
Of lighthouse, beaten by Atlantic waves;
Or as the soul of that great Power is met
Sometimes embodied on a public road,
When, for the night deserted, it assumes
A character of quiet more profound
Than pathless wastes.

This poem is in the public domain.

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William Wordsworth (1770 - 1850) was a British Romantic poet. Though he suffered much tragedy in his personal life, he also enjoyed several deeply satisfying friendships, including ones with fellow poet Samuel Coleridge, and with his sister Dorothy, a writer in her own right. Wordsworth traveled extensively and was deeply influenced by his love of nature; both passions are evident in many of his poems. He lived much of his life in England’s beautiful Lake District, and served as Poet Laureate of England from 1843 until his death.


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