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Poem by William Wordsworth


The Pilgrim's Dream


 A Pilgrim, when the summer day
 Had closed upon his weary way,
 A lodging begged beneath a castle's roof;
 But him the haughty Warder spurned;
 And from the gate the Pilgrim turned,
 To seek such covert as the field
 Or heath-besprinkled copse might yield,
 Or lofty wood, shower-proof.

 He paced along; and, pensively,
 Halting beneath a shady tree,
 Whose moss-grown root might serve for couch or seat,
 Fixed on a Star his upward eye;
 Then, from the tenant of the sky
 He turned, and watched with kindred look,
 A Glow-worm, in a dusky nook,
 Apparent at his feet.

 The murmur of a neighbouring stream
 Induced a soft and slumbrous dream,
 A pregnant dream, within whose shadowy bounds
 He recognised the earth-born Star,
 And _That_ which glittered from afar;
 And (strange to witness!) from the frame
 Of the ethereal Orb, there came
 Intelligible sounds.

 Much did it taunt the humble Light
 That now, when day was fled, and night
 Hushed the dark earth, fast closing weary eyes,
 A very reptile could presume
 To show her taper in the gloom,
 As if in rivalship with One
 Who sate a ruler on his throne
 Erected in the skies.

 "Exalted Star!" the Worm replied,
 "Abate this unbecoming pride,
 Or with a less uneasy lustre shine;
 Thou shrink'st as momently thy rays
 Are mastered by the breathing haze;
 While neither mist, nor thickest cloud
 That shapes in heaven its murky shroud,
 Hath power to injure mine.

 But not for this do I aspire
 To match the spark of local fire,
 That at my will burns on the dewy lawn,
 With thy acknowledged glories;-No!
 Yet, thus upbraided, I may show
 What favours do attend me here,
 Till, like thyself, I disappear
 Before the purple dawn."

 When this in modest guise was said,
 Across the welkin seemed to spread
 A boding sound-for aught but sleep unfit!
 Hills quaked, the rivers backward ran;
 That Star, so proud of late, looked wan;
 And reeled with visionary stir
 In the blue depth, like Lucifer
 Cast headlong to the pit!

 Fire raged: and, when the spangled floor
 Of ancient ether was no more,
 New heavens succeeded, by the dream brought forth:
 And all the happy Souls that rode
 Transfigured through that fresh abode,
 Had heretofore, in humble trust,
 Shone meekly 'mid their native dust,
 The Glow-worms of the earth!

 This knowledge, from an Angel's voice
 Proceeding, made the heart rejoice
 Of Him who slept upon the open lea:
 Waking at morn he murmured not;
 And, till life's journey closed, the spot
 Was to the Pilgrim's soul endeared,
 Where by that dream he had been cheered
 Beneath the shady tree.



William Wordsworth


William Wordsworth's other poems:
  1. Monastery of Old Bangor
  2. To the Lady Eleanor Butler and the Hon. Miss Ponsonby
  3. Mona
  4. Miserrimus
  5. The Brownie

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