Helen Darbishire and Ernest De Selincourt (eds), The Poetical Works of William Wordsworth, Vol. 4: Evening Voluntaries; Itinerary Poems of 1833; Poems of Sentiment and Reflection; Sonnets Dedicated to Liberty and Order; Miscellaneous Poems; Inscriptions; Selections From Chaucer; Poems Referring to the Period of Old Age; Epitaphs and Elegiac Pieces; Ode-Intimations of Immortality (Second Edition)

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Easter Sunday, April 7.

the author's sixty-third birthday

[Composed April 7, 1833.—Published 1835.]

  • 1The Sun, that seemed so mildly to retire,
  • 2Flung back from distant climes a streaming fire,
  • 3Whose blaze is now subdued to tender gleams,
  • 4Prelude of night's approach with soothing dreams.
  • 5Look round;—of all the clouds not one is moving;
  • 6'Tis the still hour of thinking, feeling, loving.
  • Critical Apparatus7Silent, and stedfast as the vaulted sky,
  • Critical Apparatus8The boundless plain of waters seems to lie:—
  • Critical Apparatus9Comes that low sound from breezes rustling o'er
  • Critical Apparatus10The grass-crowned headland that conceals the shore?
  • 11No; 'tis the earth-voice of the mighty sea,
  • 12Whispering how meek and gentle he can be!
  • Critical Apparatus13Thou Power supreme! who, arming to rebuke
  • 14Offenders, dost put off the gracious look,
  • 15And clothe thyself with terrors like the flood
  • pg 316Of ocean roused into his fiercest mood,
  • Critical Apparatus17Whatever discipline thy Will ordain
  • 18For the brief course that must for me remain;
  • 19Teach me with quick-eared spirit to rejoice
  • 20In admonitions of thy softest voice!
  • Critical Apparatus21Whate'er the path these mortal feet may trace,
  • 22Breathe through my soul the blessing of thy grace,
  • 23Glad, through a perfect love, a faith sincere
  • 24Drawn from the wisdom that begins with fear,
  • 25Glad to expand; and, for a season, free
  • 26From finite cares, to rest absorbed in Thee!

Notes Settings


Critical Apparatus
II. No title in 1835: "Seaside, Moresby" MS.
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p. 2. II. On a High Part of the Coast of Cumberland: "The lines were composed on the road between Moresby and Whitehaven while I was on a visit to my Son, then Rector of the former place. This [and some other Voluntaries] originated in the concluding lines of the last paragraph of this Poem. With this coast I have been familiar from my earliest childhood, and remember being struck for the first time by the town and port of Whitehaven, and the white waves breaking against its quays and piers, as the whole came into view from the top of the high ground down which the road (it has since been altered) then descended abruptly. My sister, when she first heard the voice of the sea from this point, and beheld the scene spread before her, burst into tears. Our family then lived at Cockermouth, and this fact was often mentioned among us as indicating the sensibility for which she was so remarkable."—I. F.
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7 vaulted] concave MS.
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8 Th' illimitable ocean MS.
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9 sound] voice MS.
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10 The cliff high raised above the unseen shore? MS.
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  • Dread Power of Powers etc. MS. 2
  • Father, who when thy justice must rebuke
  • The sinner …
  • And execute thy purpose
MS. 1
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  • Author and Life of all things! blest are they
  • Who, pacing needfully the world's broad way
  • Have learned with
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21-4 not in MSS. 1, 2
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