Friday, October 26, 2012

Wordsworth and the Nights

From The Prelude, by William Wordsworth ( published in 1850 but worked on during the poet's entire life, and a must read for everyone, wiki:

I had a precious treasure at that time,
A little yellow canvass-covered book,
A slender abstract of the Arabian Tales;
And when I learned, as now I first did learn
From my companions in this new abode,
That this dear prize of mine was but a block
Hewn from a mighty quarry — in a word,
That there were four large volumes, laden all
With kindred matter — ’twas in truth to me
A promise scarcely earthly. Instantly
I made a league, a covenant with a friend
Of my own age, that we should lay aside
The monies we possessed, and hoard up more,
Till our joint Savings had amassed enough
To make this book our own. Through several months
Religiously did we preserve that vow,
And spite of all temptation hoarded up,
And hoarded up; but firmness failed at length,
Nor were we ever masters of our wish.

And afterwards, when, to my father’s house
Returning at the holidays, I found
That golden store of books which I had left
Open to my enjoyment once again,
What heart was mine! Full often through the course
Of those glad respites in the summertime
When armed with rod and line we went abroad
For a whole day together, I have lain
Down by thy side, O Derwent, murmuring stream,
On the hot stones and in the glaring sun,
And there have read, devouring as I read,
Defrauding the day’s glory — desperate –
Till with a sudden bound of smart reproach
Such as an idler deals with in his shame,
I to my sport betook myself again.

From The Prelude, Book V, li. 482-515

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