Helen Darbishire and Ernest De Selincourt (eds), The Poetical Works of William Wordsworth, Vol. 3: Miscellaneous Sonnets; Memorials of Various Tours; Poems to National Independence and Liberty; The Egyptian Maid; The River Duddon Series; The White Doe and Other Narrative Poems; Ecclesiastical Sonnets (Second Edition)

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Editor’s NoteVIIGLEN ALMAIN;or, the narrow glen

[Composed probably 1803.—Published 1807.]

  • 1In this still place, remote from men,
  • 2Sleeps Ossian, in the narrow glen;
  • 3In this still place, where murmurs on
  • 4But one meek streamlet, only one:
  • 5He sang of battles, and the breath
  • 6Of stormy war, and violent death;
  • 7And should, methinks, when all was past,
  • 8Have rightfully been laid at last
  • 9Where rocks were rudely heaped, and rent
  • 10As by a spirit turbulent;
  • 11Where sights were rough, and sounds were wild,
  • 12And everything unreconciled;
  • 13In some complaining, dim retreat,
  • 14For fear and melancholy meet;
  • 15But this is calm; there cannot be
  • 16A more entire tranquillity.
  • 17  Does then the Bard sleep here indeed?
  • 18Or is it but a groundless creed?
  • 19What matters it?—I blame them not
  • 20Whose Fancy in this lonely Spot
  • Critical Apparatus21Was moved; and in such way expressed
  • 22Their notion of its perfect rest.
  • 23A convent, even a hermit's cell,
  • 24Would break the silence of this Dell:
  • 25It is not quiet, is not ease;
  • 26But something deeper far than these:
  • 27The separation that is here
  • 28Is of the grave; and of austere
  • pg 76Critical Apparatus29Yet happy feelings of the dead:
  • 30And, therefore, was it rightly said
  • 31That Ossian, last of all his race!
  • 32Lies buried in this lonely place.

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Notes

Editor’s Note
p. 75. VII. Glen Almain: included in D. W.'s Recollections under date Sept. 9: "The prospect was very extensive … in harmony with the secluded dell, and fixing its own peculiar character of removedness from the world, and the secure possession of the quiet of nature more deeply in our minds. The following poem was written by W. on hearing of a tradition relating to it, which we did not know when we were there." Glen Almain is Glenalmond, in Perthshire.
In edd. 1815–20 the poem was placed among Poems of the Imagination.
Critical Apparatus
VII. 21 such 1827: this MS.-1820
Critical Apparatus
29 Yet 1827: And MS.-1820
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