Saturday, June 23, 2012

Classic Poetry ~ "The Prelude" by William Wordsworth

William Wordsworth (1770 - 1850)

Growth of a Poet's Mind; An Autobiographical PoemGrowth of a Poet's Mind; An Autobiographical Poem

an excerpt

Oh! yet a few short years of useful life,
And all will be complete, thy race be run,
Thy monument of glory will be raised;
Then, though (too weak to tread the ways of truth)
This age fall back to old idolatry,
Though men return to servitude as fast
As the tide ebbs, to ignominy and shame,
By nations, sink together, we shall still
Find solace--knowing what we have learnt to know,
Rich in true happiness if allowed to be
Faithful alike in forwarding a day
Of firmer trust, joint labourers in the work
(Should Providence such grace to us vouchsafe)
Of their deliverance, surely yet to come.
Prophets of Nature, we to them will speak
A lasting inspiration, sanctified
By reason, blest by faith: what we have loved,
Others will love, and we will teach them how;
Instruct them how the mind of man becomes
A thousand times more beautiful than the earth
On which he dwells, above this frame of things
(Which, 'mid all revolution in the hopes
And fears of men, doth still remain unchanged)
In beauty exalted, as it is itself
Of quality and fabric more divine.

"The Prelude" epitomizes the style and subject matter of English romanticism. Begun in 1799 and revised repeatedly over Wordsworth's lifetime, this fourteen book epic poem chronicles his spiritual progression and ushered in a new genre of poetry. The poet worked on "The Prelude" throughout his life; and its final publication occurred posthumously.

I prefer brevity in my own writing and in much of what I read, but this masterpiece holds the attention and tells a tale like few others. You can read the piece in its entirety at


  1. A great offering, Kim. Thanks so much. I find epic poetry difficult to read, but no one writes like the bards who penned the classics. It is amazing that he continued this poem all his life, aside from his other writings. What a legacy!

  2. I always liked Wordsworth, Kim! I don't think I have ever seen this one. Thank you for continuing to share such good stuff with us here.

  3. One of the most important documents in history. Ranks up there with Magna Carta.

  4. 1. speak the voice of everyday life
    2. speak in the voice of common man
    3. celebrate nature not subordinate it
    4. emotions/the personal became important
    5. imagination more important than knowledge
    6. fantasy/mystery/wonderment
    7. elevate the mundane to the Beautiful
    8. removed the vocation of poet from the leisure class
    9. rhyme no longer a prerequisite
    10. made music analogous to poetry
    11. made the subject of "strange" cultures a legit topic of poetry

    on, and on, and on ---

  5. however...when we opine rap lyrics, profanity, etc. let us blame the primary source --- wordsworth...when we opine the loss of the public person and our confessional lives...blame wordsworth for making the "I" rather than the "it" the starting point

  6. Thanks Kim! I was not familiar with this one~


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