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Poem by William Wordsworth
For the Spot Where the Hermitage Stood on St. Herbert’s Island, Derwent Water
IF thou in the dear love of some one friend Hast been so happy that thou know’st what thoughts Will sometimes in the happiness of love Make the heart sink, then wilt thou reverence This quiet spot; and, Stranger! not unmoved Wilt thou behold this shapeless heap of stones, The desolate ruins of St. Herbert’s cell. Here stood his threshold; here was spread the roof That sheltered him, a self-secluded man, After long exercise in social cares And offices humane, intent to adore The Deity, with undistracted mind, And meditate on everlasting things, In utter solitude. But he had left A fellow-laborer, whom the good man loved As his own soul. And when, with eye upraised To heaven, he knelt before the crucifix, While o’er the lake the cataract of Lodore Pealed to his orisons, and when he paced Along the beach of this small isle and thought Of his companion, he would pray that both (Now that their earthly duties were fulfilled) Might die in the same moment. Nor in vain So prayed he;—as our chronicles report, Though here the hermit numbered his last day Far from St. Cuthbert, his beloved friend, Those holy men both died in the same hour.
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