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A Collection of Short Poems by William Wordsworth

Below you'll find a variety of shorter poems and sonnets by William Wordsworth. This assortment includes, "Admonition to a Traveller," "Composed at Neidpath Castle, the Property of Lord Queensberry," "Composed upon Westminster Bridge," "I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud," "It is a Beauteous Evening, Calm and Free" (a.k.a. "By the Sea"), "It is not to be thought of that the Flood," "London, 1802," "My Heart Leaps Up," "On the Extinction of the Venetian Republic," "The Reverie of Poor Susan," "September, 1802, near Dover," "A Slumber Did My Spirit Seal," "To a Skylark," "To Sleep," "To Toussaint L'Ouverture," "Two Voices are there" (a.k.a. "England and Switzerland" or "Thought of a Briton on the Subjugation of Switzerland"), "When I Have Borne in Memory what has Tamed," "The World Is Too Much With Us," "Written in London, September, 1802," and "Written in March," and others.


To see all available titles by other authors, drop by our index of free books alphabetized by author or arranged alphabetically by title.


Potential uses for the free books, stories and prose we offer
* Rediscovering an old favorite book, poem or story.
* Bibliophiles expanding their collection of public domain ebooks at no cost.
* Teachers trying to locate a free online copy of a classic poem or short story for use in the classroom.


NOTE: We try to present these classic poetic works as they originally appeared in print. As such, they sometimes contain adult themes, offensive language, typographical errors, and often utilize unconventional, older, obsolete or intentionally incorrect spelling and/or punctuation conventions.


"Admonition to a Traveller" by William Wordsworth

Admonition to a Traveller

by William Wordsworth


Yes, there is holy pleasure in thine eye!
--The lovely cottage in the guardian nook
Hath stirr'd thee deeply; with its own dear brook,
Its own small pasture, almost its own sky!
But covet not the abode; O do not sigh
As many do, repining while they look,
Intruders who would tear from Nature's book
This precious leaf with harsh impiety:
--Think what the home must be if it were thine,
Even thine, though few thy wants!--Roof, window, door,
The very flowers are sacred to the Poor,
The roses to the porch which they entwine:
Yea, all that now enchants thee, from the day
On which it should be touch'd, would melt away!


"Composed at Neidpath Castle, the Property of Lord Queensberry"

Composed at Neidpath Castle, the Property of Lord Queensberry

by William Wordsworth


Degenerate Douglas! oh, the unworthy Lord!
Whom mere despite of heart could so far please,
And love of havoc, (for with such disease
Fame taxes him,) that he could send forth word
To level with the dust a noble horde,
A brotherhood of venerable Trees,
Leaving an ancient dome, and towers like these,
Beggar'd and outraged!--Many hearts deplored
The fate of those old Trees; and oft with pain
The traveller, at this day, will stop and gaze
On wrongs, which Nature scarcely seems to heed:
For shelter'd places, bosoms, nooks, and bays,
And the pure mountains, and the gentle Tweed,
And the green silent pastures, yet remain.


"Composed upon Westminster Bridge, Sept. 3, 1803"

Composed upon Westminster Bridge

Sept. 3, 1803

by William Wordsworth


Earth has not anything to show more fair:
Dull would he be of soul who could pass by
A sight so touching in its majesty:
This City now doth, like a garment, wear
The beauty of the morning; silent, bare,
Ships, towers, domes, theatres, and temples lie
Open unto the fields, and to the sky;
All bright and glittering in the smokeless air.
Never did sun more beautifully steep
In his first splendour, valley, rock, or hill;
Ne'er saw I, never felt, a calm so deep!
The river glideth at his own sweet will:
Dear God! the very houses seem asleep;
And all that mighty heart is lying still!


"Desideria" by William Wordsworth

Desideria

by William Wordsworth


Surprized by joy -- impatient as the wind --
I turn'd to share the transport -- O with whom
But Thee -- deep buried in the silent tomb,
That spot which no vicissitude can find?

Love, faithful love recall'd thee to my mind
But how could I forget thee? Through what power
Even for the least division of an hour
Have I been so beguiled as to be blind

To my most grievous loss -- That thought's return
Was the worst pang that sorrow ever bore,
Save one, one only, when I stood forlorn,

Knowing my heart's best treasure was no more;
That neither present time, nor years unborn
Could to my sight that heavenly face restore.


"I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud"

I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud

by William Wordsworth


I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o'er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the milky way,
They stretched in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

The waves beside them danced; but they
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:
A poet could not but be gay,
In such a jocund company:
I gazed--and gazed--but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:

For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.


"The Inner Vision" by William Wordsworth

The Inner Vision

by William Wordsworth


Most sweet it is with unuplifted eyes
To pace the ground, if path there be or none,
While a fair region round the Traveller lies
Which he forbears again to look upon;

Pleased rather with some soft ideal scene
The work of Fancy, or some happy tone
Of meditation, slipping in between
The beauty coming and the beauty gone.

-- If Thought and Love desert us, from that day
Let us break off all commerce with the Muse:
With Thought and Love companions of our way --

Whate'er the senses take or may refuse, --
The Mind's internal heaven shall shed her dews
Of inspiration on the humblest lay.


"It is a Beauteous Evening, Calm and Free"

It is a Beauteous Evening, Calm and Free

a.k.a. "On the Sea-shore near Calais"

by William Wordsworth


It is a beauteous evening, calm and free;
The holy time is quiet as a nun
Breathless with adoration; the broad sun
Is sinking down in its tranquillity;

The gentleness of heaven is on the Sea:
Listen! the mighty Being is awake,
And doth with his eternal motion make
A sound like thunder--everlastingly.

Dear child! dear girl! that walkest with me here,
If thou appear untouch'd by solemn thought,
Thy nature is not therefore less divine:

Thou liest in Abraham's bosom all the year,
And worship'st at the Temple's inner shrine,
God being with thee when we know it not.


"It is not to be thought of that the Flood"

It is not to be thought of that the Flood

by William Wordsworth


It is not to be thought of that the flood
Of British freedom, which, to the open sea
Of the world's praise, from dark antiquity
Hath flowed, "with pomp of waters, unwithstood,"
Roused though it be full often to a mood
Which spurns the check of salutary bands,
That this most famous Stream in bogs and sands
Should perish; and to evil and to good
Be lost for ever. In our halls is hung
Armoury of the invincible knights of old:
We must be free or die, who speak the tongue
That Shakespeare spoke; the faith and morals hold
Which Milton held.--In everything we are sprung
Of Earth's first blood, have titles manifold.


"London, 1802" by William Wordsworth
0
London, 1802

by William Wordsworth


Milton! thou should'st be living at this hour:
England hath need of thee: she is a fen
Of stagnant waters: altar, sword and pen,
Fireside, the heroic wealth of hall and bower,
Have forfeited their ancient English dower
Of inward happiness. We are selfish men;
Oh! raise us up, return to us again;
And give us manners, virtue, freedom, power.
Thy soul was like a Star, and dwelt apart:
Thou hadst a voice whose sound was like the sea:
Pure as the naked heavens, majestic, free,
So didst thou travel on life's common way,
In cheerful godliness; and yet thy heart
The lowliest duties on herself did lay.


"My Heart Leaps Up" by William Wordsworth
1
My Heart Leaps Up

by William Wordsworth


My heart leaps up when I behold
A rainbow in the sky:
So was it when my life began;
So is it now I am a man;
So be it when I shall grow old,
Or let me die!
The Child is Father of the Man;
And I could wish my days to be
Bound each to each by natural piety.


"On the Extinction of the Venetian Republic"
2
On the Extinction of the Venetian Republic

by William Wordsworth


Once did She hold the gorgeous east in fee;
And was the safeguard of the west: the worth
Of Venice did not fall below her birth,
Venice, the eldest child of Liberty.
She was a maiden city, bright and free;
No guile seduced, no force could violate;
And, when she took unto herself a Mate,
She must espouse the everlasting Sea.
And what if she had seen those glories fade,
Those titles vanish, and that strength decay;
Yet shall some tribute of regret be paid
When her long life hath reached its final day:
Men are we, and must grieve when even the Shade
Of that which once was great, is pass'd away.


6
"The Reverie of Poor Susan"
3
The Reverie of Poor Susan

by William Wordsworth


At the corner of Wood Street, when daylight appears,
Hangs a Thrush that sings loud, it has sung for three years:
Poor Susan has pass'd by the spot, and has heard
In the silence of morning the song of the bird.

'Tis a note of enchantment; what ails her? She sees
A mountain ascending, a vision of trees;
Bright volumes of vapour through Lothbury glide,
And a river flows on through the vale of Cheapside.

Green pastures she views in the midst of the dale,
Down which she so often has tripp'd with her pail;
And a single small cottage, a nest like a dove's,
The one only dwelling on earth that she loves.

She looks, and her heart is in heaven: but they fade,
The mist and the river, the hill and the shade;
The stream will not flow, and the hill will not rise,
And the colours have all pass'd away from her eyes!


"September, 1802, near Dover"
4
September, 1802, near Dover

by William Wordsworth


Inland, within a hollow vale, I stood;
And saw, while sea was calm and air was clear,
The coast of France--the coast of France how near!
Drawn almost into frightful neighbourhood.
I shrunk; for verily the barrier flood
Was like a lake, or river bright and fair,
A span of waters; yet what power is there!
What mightiness for evil and for good!
Even so doth God protect us if we be
Virtuous and wise. Winds blow, and waters roll,
Strength to the brave, and Power, and Deity;
Yet in themselves are nothing! One decree
Spake laws to them, and said that by the soul
Only, the nations shall be great and free.


"A Slumber Did My Spirit Seal"
5
A SLUMBER DID MY SPIRIT SEAL

by William Wordsworth


A slumber did my spirit seal;
I had no human fears:
She seemed a thing that could not feel
The touch of earthly years.

No motion has she now, no force;
She neither hears nor sees;
Rolled round in earth's diurnal course,
With rocks, and stones, and trees.


"To A Distant Friend" by William Wordsworth
6
To A Distant Friend

by William Wordsworth


Why art thou silent? Is thy love a plant
Of such weak fibre that the treacherous air
Of absence withers what was once so fair?
Is there no debt to pay, no boon to grant?

Yet have my thoughts for thee been vigilant,
Bound to thy service with unceasing care --
The mind's least generous wish a mendicant
For nought but what thy happiness could spare.

Speak! -- though this soft warm heart, once free to hold
A thousand tender pleasures, thine and mine,
Be left more desolate, more dreary cold

Than a forsaken bird's-nest fill'd with snow
'Mid its own bush of leafless eglantine --
Speak, that my torturing doubts their end may know!


"To a Skylark" by William Wordsworth
7
To a Skylark

by William Wordsworth


Ethereal minstrel! Pilgrim of the sky!
Dost thou despise the earth where cares abound?
Or, while the wings aspire, are heart and eye
Both with thy nest upon the dewy ground?
Thy nest which thou canst drop into at will,
Those quivering wings composed, that music still!

To the last point of vision, and beyond,
Mount, daring warbler!--that love-prompted strain,
--'Twixt thee and thine a never-failing bond--
Thrills not the less the bosom of the plain:
Yet might'st thou seem, proud privilege! to sing
All independent of the leafy spring.

Leave to the nightingale her shady wood;
A privacy of glorious light is thine;
Whence thou dost pour upon the world a flood
Of harmony, with instinct more divine;
Type of the wise who soar, but never roam;
True to the kindred points of Heaven and Home!


"To Sleep" by William Wordsworth
8
To Sleep

by William Wordsworth


A flock of sheep that leisurely pass by,
One after one; the sound of rain, and bees
Murmuring; the fall of rivers, winds and seas,
Smooth fields, white sheets of water, and pure sky:
I have thought of all by turns; and yet do lie
Sleepless! and soon the small birds' melodies
Must hear, first uttered from my orchard trees;
And the first cuckoo's melancholy cry.
Even thus last night, and two nights more, I lay,
And could not win thee, Sleep! by any stealth:
So do not let me wear to-night away:
Without Thee what is all the morning's wealth?
Come, blessed barrier between day and day,
Dear mother of fresh thoughts and joyous health!


"To Toussaint L'Ouverture"
9
To Toussaint L'Ouverture

by William Wordsworth


Toussaint, the most unhappy man of men!
Whether the whistling Rustic tend his plough
Within thy hearing, or thy head be now
Pillowed in some deep dungeon's earless den;--
O miserable Chieftain! where and when
Wilt thou find patience? Yet die not; do thou
Wear rather in thy bonds a cheerful brow:
Though fallen thyself, never to rise again,
Live, and take comfort. Thou hast left behind
Powers that will work for thee; air, earth, and skies;
There's not a breathing of the common wind
That will forget thee; thou hast great allies;
Thy friends are exultations, agonies,
And love, and man's unconquerable mind.


"Two Voices are there"
0
Two Voices are there

a.k.a. "England and Switzerland"

or, "Thought of a Briton on the Subjugation of Switzerland"

by William Wordsworth


Two Voices are there; one is of the Sea,
One of the Mountains; each a mighty Voice:
In both from age to age thou didst rejoice,
They were thy chosen music, Liberty!
There came a tyrant, and with holy glee
Thou fought'st against him;--but hast vainly striven;
Thou from thy Alpine Holds at length art driven,
Where not a torrent murmurs heard by thee.
--Of one deep bliss thine ear hath been bereft;
Then cleave, O cleave to that which still is left--
For high-soul'd Maid, what sorrow would it be
That Mountain floods should thunder as before,
And Ocean bellow from his rocky shore,
And neither awful Voice be heard by Thee!


"Valedictory Sonnet to the River Duddon"
1
Valedictory Sonnet to the River Duddon

by William Wordsworth


I thought of Thee, my partner and my guide,
As being past away. -- Vain sympathies!
For, backward, Duddon! as I cast my eyes,
I see what was, and is, and will abide;
Still glides the Stream, and shall for ever glide;
The Form remains, the Function never dies;
While we, the brave, the mighty, and the wise,
We Men, who in our morn of youth defied
The elements, must vanish; -- be it so!
Enough, if something from our hands have power
To live, and act, and serve the future hour;
And if, as toward the silent tomb we go,
Through love, through hope, and faith's transcendent dower,
We feel that we are greater than we know.


"When I Have Borne in Memory what has Tamed"
2
When I Have Borne in Memory what has Tamed

by William Wordsworth


When I have borne in memory what has tamed
Great Nations, how ennobling thoughts depart
When men change swords for ledgers, and desert
The student's bower for gold,--some fears unnamed
I had, my Country!--am I to be blamed?
Now, when I think of thee, and what thou art,
Verily, in the bottom of my heart,
Of those unfilial fears I am ashamed.
For dearly must we prize thee; we who find
In thee a bulwark for the cause of men;
And I by my affection was beguiled:
What wonder if a Poet now and then,
Among the many movements of his mind,
Felt for thee as a lover or a child!


"Within King's College Chapel, Cambridge"
3
Within King's College Chapel, Cambridge

by William Wordsworth


Tax not the royal Saint with vain expense,
With ill-match'd aims the Architect who plann'd
(Albeit labouring for a scanty band
Of white-robed Scholars only) this immense

And glorious work of fine intelligence!
-- Give all thou canst; high Heaven rejects the lore
Of nicely-calculated less or more: --
So deem'd the man who fashion'd for the sense

These lofty pillars, spread that branching roof
Self-poised, and scoop'd into ten thousand cells
Where light and shade repose, where music dwells

Lingering and wandering on as loth to die --
Like thoughts whose very sweetness yieldeth proof
That they were born for immortality.


"The World Is Too Much With Us"
4
The World Is Too Much With Us

by William Wordsworth


The world is too much with us: late and soon,
Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers:
Little we see in Nature that is ours;
We have given our hearts away, a sordid boon!
This Sea that bares her bosom to the moon;
The winds that will be howling at all hours,
And are up-gathered now like sleeping flowers;
For this, for everything, we are out of tune;
It moves us not.--Great God! I'd rather be
A Pagan suckled in a creed outworn;
So might I, standing on this pleasant lea,
Have glimpses that would make me less forlorn;
Have sight of Proteus rising from the sea;
Or hear old Triton blow his wreathed horn.


"Written in London, September, 1802"
5
Written in London, September, 1802

by William Wordsworth


O Friend! I know not which way I must look
For comfort, being, as I am, opprest,
To think that now our life is only drest
For show; mean handy-work of craftsman, cook,
Or groom!--We must run glittering like a brook
In the open sunshine, or we are unblest:
The wealthiest man among us is the best:
No grandeur now in nature or in book
Delights us. Rapine, avarice, expence,
This is idolatry; and these we adore:
Plain living and high thinking are no more:
The homely beauty of the good old cause
Is gone; our peace, our fearful innocence,
And pure religion breathing household laws.


"Written in March" by William Wordsworth
6
Written in March

While resting on the Bridge at the foot of Brothers Water

by William Wordsworth


The cock is crowing,
The stream is flowing,
The small birds twitter,
The lake doth glitter,
The green field sleeps in the sun;
The oldest and youngest
Are at work with the strongest;
The cattle are grazing,
Their heads never raising;
There are forty feeding like one!

Like an army defeated
The snow hath retreated,
And now doth fare ill
On the top of the bare hill;
The Ploughboy is whooping--anon--anon:
There's joy in the mountains;
There's life in the fountains;
Small clouds are sailing,
Blue sky prevailing;
The rain is over and gone!


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