William Wordsworth


MIDWAY on long Winander’s eastern shore,

Within the crescent of a pleasant bay,

A tavern stood; no homely-featured house,

Primeval like its neighboring cottages,

But ’t was a splendid place, the door beset

With chaises, grooms, and liveries, and within

Decanters, glasses, and the blood-red wine.

In ancient times, and ere the hall was built

On the large island, had this dwelling been

More worthy of a poet’s love, a hut,

Proud of its own bright fire and sycamore shade.

But, though the rhymes were gone that once inscribed

The threshold, and large golden characters,

Spread o’er the spangled sign-board, had dislodged

The old Lion and usurped his place, in slight

And mockery of the rustic painter’s hand,

Yet, to this hour, the spot to me is dear,

With all its foolish pomp. The garden lay

Upon a slope surmounted by a plain

Of a small bowling-green; beneath us stood

A grove, with gleams of water through the trees

And over the tree-tops; nor did we want

Refreshment, strawberries and mellow cream.

There, while through half an afternoon we played

On the smooth platform, whether skill prevailed

Or happy blunder triumphed, bursts of glee

Made all the mountains ring. But ere nightfall,

When in our pinnace we returned at leisure

Over the shadowy lake, and to the beach

Of some small island steered our course with one,

The minstrel of the troop, and left him there,

And rowed off gently, while he blew his flute

Alone upon the rock,—O, then the calm

And dead still water lay upon my mind

Even with a weight of pleasure, and the sky,

Never before so beautiful, sank down

Into my heart, and held me like a dream!