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To Joanna Analysis

Author: Poetry of William Wordsworth Type: Poetry Views: 712

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Amid the smoke of cities did you pass

The time of early youth; and there you learned,

From years of quiet industry, to love

The living Beings by your own fireside,

With such a strong devotion, that your heart

Is slow to meet the sympathies of them

Who look upon the hills with tenderness,

And make dear friendships with the streams and groves.

Yet we, who are transgressors in this kind,

Dwelling retired in our simplicity

Among the woods and fields, we love you well,

Joanna! and I guess, since you have been

So distant from us now for two long years,

That you will gladly listen to discourse,

However trivial, if you thence be taught

That they, with whom you once were happy, talk

Familiarly of you and of old times.

While I was seated, now some ten days past,

Beneath those lofty firs, that overtop

Their ancient neighbour, the old steeple-tower,

The Vicar from his gloomy house hard by

Came forth to greet me; and when he had asked,

"How fares Joanna, that wild-hearted Maid!

And when will she return to us?" he paused;

And, after short exchange of village news,

He with grave looks demanded, for what cause,

Reviving obsolete idolatry,

I, like a Runic Priest, in characters

Of formidable size had chiselled out

Some uncouth name upon the native rock,

Above the Rotha, by the forest-side.

--Now, by those dear immunities of heart

Engendered between malice and true love,

I was not loth to be so catechised,

And this was my reply:--"As it befell,

One summer morning we had walked abroad

At break of day, Joanna and myself.

--'Twas that delightful season when the broom,

Full-flowered, and visible on every steep,

Along the copses runs in veins of gold.

Our pathway led us on to Rotha's banks;

And when we came in front of that tall rock

That eastward looks, I there stopped short--and stood

Tracing the lofty barrier with my eye

From base to summit; such delight I found

To note in shrub and tree, in stone and flower

That intermixture of delicious hues,

Along so vast a surface, all at once,

In one impression, by connecting force

Of their own beauty, imaged in the heart.

--When I had gazed perhaps two minutes' space,

Joanna, looking in my eyes, beheld

That ravishment of mine, and laughed aloud.

The Rock, like something starting from a sleep,

Took up the Lady's voice, and laughed again;

That ancient Woman seated on Helm-crag

Was ready with her cavern; Hammar-scar,

And the tall Steep of Silver-how, sent forth

A noise of laughter; southern Loughrigg heard,

And Fairfield answered with a mountain tone;

Helvellyn far into the clear blue sky

Carried the Lady's voice,--old Skiddaw blew

His speaking-trumpet;--back out of the clouds

Of Glaramara southward came the voice;

And Kirkstone tossed it from his misty head.

--Now whether (said I to our cordial Friend,

Who in the hey-day of astonishment

Smiled in my face) this were in simple truth

A work accomplished by the brotherhood

Of ancient mountains, or my ear was touched

With dreams and visionary impulses

To me alone imparted, sure I am

That there was a loud uproar in the hills.

And, while we both were listening, to my side

The fair Joanna drew, as if she wished

To shelter from some object of her fear.

--And hence, long afterwards, when eighteen moons

Were wasted, as I chanced to walk alone

Beneath this rock, at sunrise, on a calm

And silent morning, I sat down, and there,

In memory of affections old and true,

I chiselled out in those rude characters

Joanna's name deep in the living stone:--

And I, and all who dwell by my fireside,

Have called the lovely rock, JOANNA'S ROCK."


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