Lines Composed a Few Miles above Tintern Abbey, On Revisiting the Banks of the Wye during a Tour. July 13, 1798

Five years have past; five summers, with the length 

Of five long winters! and again I hear 

These waters, rolling from their mountain-springs 

With a soft inland murmur.—Once again 

Do I behold these steep and lofty cliffs, 

That on a wild secluded scene impress 

Thoughts of more deep seclusion; and connect 

The landscape with the quiet of the sky. 

The day is come when I again repose 

Here, under this dark sycamore, and view 

These plots of cottage-ground, these orchard-tufts, 

Which at this season, with their unripe fruits, 

Are clad in one green hue, and lose themselves 

'Mid groves and copses. Once again I see 

These hedge-rows, hardly hedge-rows, little lines 

Of sportive wood run wild: these pastoral farms, 

Green to the very door; and wreaths of smoke 

Sent up, in silence, from among the trees! 

With some uncertain notice, as might seem 

Of vagrant dwellers in the houseless woods, 

Or of some Hermit's cave, where by his fire 

The Hermit sits alone. 


                                              These beauteous forms, 

Through a long absence, have not been to me 

As is a landscape to a blind man's eye: 

But oft, in lonely rooms, and 'mid the din 

Of towns and cities, I have owed to them, 

In hours of weariness, sensations sweet, 

Felt in the blood, and felt along the heart; 

And passing even into my purer mind 

With tranquil restoration:—feelings too 

Of unremembered pleasure: such, perhaps, 

As have no slight or trivial influence 

On that best portion of a good man's life, 

His little, nameless, unremembered, acts 

Of kindness and of love. Nor less, I trust, 

To them I may have owed another gift, 

Of aspect more sublime; that blessed mood, 

In which the burthen of the mystery, 

In which the heavy and the weary weight 

Of all this unintelligible world, 

Is lightened:—that serene and blessed mood, 

In which the affections gently lead us on,— 

Until, the breath of this corporeal frame 

And even the motion of our human blood 

Almost suspended, we are laid asleep 

In body, and become a living soul: 

While with an eye made quiet by the power 

Of harmony, and the deep power of joy, 

We see into the life of things. 


                                                        If this 

Be but a vain belief, yet, oh! how oft— 

In darkness and amid the many shapes 

Of joyless daylight; when the fretful stir 

Unprofitable, and the fever of the world, 

Have hung upon the beatings of my heart— 

How oft, in spirit, have I turned to thee, 

O sylvan Wye! thou wanderer thro' the woods, 

         How often has my spirit turned to thee! 


   And now, with gleams of half-extinguished thought, 

With many recognitions dim and faint, 

And somewhat of a sad perplexity, 

The picture of the mind revives again: 

While here I stand, not only with the sense 

Of present pleasure, but with pleasing thoughts 

That in this moment there is life and food 

For future years. And so I dare to hope, 

Though changed, no doubt, from what I was when first 

I came among these hills; when like a roe 

I bounded o'er the mountains, by the sides 

Of the deep rivers, and the lonely streams, 

Wherever nature led: more like a man 

Flying from something that he dreads, than one 

Who sought the thing he loved. For nature then 

(The coarser pleasures of my boyish days 

And their glad animal movements all gone by) 

To me was all in all.—I cannot paint 

What then I was. The sounding cataract 

Haunted me like a passion: the tall rock, 

The mountain, and the deep and gloomy wood, 

Their colours and their forms, were then to me 

An appetite; a feeling and a love, 

That had no need of a remoter charm, 

By thought supplied, not any interest 

Unborrowed from the eye.—That time is past, 

And all its aching joys are now no more, 

And all its dizzy raptures. Not for this 

Faint I, nor mourn nor murmur; other gifts 

Have followed; for such loss, I would believe, 

Abundant recompense. For I have learned 

To look on nature, not as in the hour 

Of thoughtless youth; but hearing oftentimes 

The still sad music of humanity, 

Nor harsh nor grating, though of ample power 

To chasten and subdue.—And I have felt 

A presence that disturbs me with the joy 

Of elevated thoughts; a sense sublime 

Of something far more deeply interfused, 

Whose dwelling is the light of setting suns, 

And the round ocean and the living air, 

And the blue sky, and in the mind of man: 

A motion and a spirit, that impels 

All thinking things, all objects of all thought, 

And rolls through all things. Therefore am I still 

A lover of the meadows and the woods 

And mountains; and of all that we behold 

From this green earth; of all the mighty world 

Of eye, and ear,—both what they half create, 

And what perceive; well pleased to recognise 

In nature and the language of the sense 

The anchor of my purest thoughts, the nurse, 

The guide, the guardian of my heart, and soul 

Of all my moral being. 


                                            Nor perchance, 

If I were not thus taught, should I the more 

Suffer my genial spirits to decay: 

For thou art with me here upon the banks 

Of this fair river; thou my dearest Friend, 

My dear, dear Friend; and in thy voice I catch 

The language of my former heart, and read 

My former pleasures in the shooting lights 

Of thy wild eyes. Oh! yet a little while 

May I behold in thee what I was once, 

My dear, dear Sister! and this prayer I make, 

Knowing that Nature never did betray 

The heart that loved her; 'tis her privilege, 

Through all the years of this our life, to lead 

From joy to joy: for she can so inform 

The mind that is within us, so impress 

With quietness and beauty, and so feed 

With lofty thoughts, that neither evil tongues, 

Rash judgments, nor the sneers of selfish men, 

Nor greetings where no kindness is, nor all 

The dreary intercourse of daily life, 

Shall e'er prevail against us, or disturb 

Our cheerful faith, that all which we behold 

Is full of blessings. Therefore let the moon 

Shine on thee in thy solitary walk; 

And let the misty mountain-winds be free 

To blow against thee: and, in after years, 

When these wild ecstasies shall be matured 

Into a sober pleasure; when thy mind 

Shall be a mansion for all lovely forms, 

Thy memory be as a dwelling-place 

For all sweet sounds and harmonies; oh! then, 

If solitude, or fear, or pain, or grief, 

Should be thy portion, with what healing thoughts 

Of tender joy wilt thou remember me, 

And these my exhortations! Nor, perchance— 

If I should be where I no more can hear 

Thy voice, nor catch from thy wild eyes these gleams 

Of past existence—wilt thou then forget 

That on the banks of this delightful stream 

We stood together; and that I, so long 

A worshipper of Nature, hither came 

Unwearied in that service: rather say 

With warmer love—oh! with far deeper zeal 

Of holier love. Nor wilt thou then forget, 

That after many wanderings, many years 

Of absence, these steep woods and lofty cliffs, 

And this green pastoral landscape, were to me 

More dear, both for themselves and for thy sake! 

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William Wordsworth

William Wordsworth Downloads read by Adam Foulds

1Composed upon Westminster Bridge




3The Solitary Reaper


4The Prelude


5Expostulation and Reply