The Boy of Winander

William Wordsworth

THERE was a boy: ye knew him well, ye cliffs

And islands of Winander!—many a time

At evening, when the earliest stars began

To move along the edges of the hills,

Rising or setting, would he stand alone

Beneath the trees or by the glimmering lake,

And there, with fingers interwoven, both hands

Pressed closely palm to palm, and to his mouth

Uplifted, he, as through an instrument,

Blew mimic hootings to the silent owls,

That they might answer him; and they would shout

Across the watery vale, and shout again,

Responsive to his call, with quivering peals,

And long halloos and screams, and echoes loud,

Redoubled and redoubled, concourse wild

Of jocund din; and, when a lengthened pause

Of silence came and baffled his best skill,

Then sometimes, in that silence while he hung

Listening, a gentle shock of mild surprise

Has carried far into his heart the voice

Of mountain torrents; or the visible scene

Would enter unawares into his mind,

With all its solemn imagery, its rocks,

Its woods, and that uncertain heaven, received

Into the bosom of the steady lake.

Main Location:

Windermere Lake District - Lake District National Park, Windermere, Cumbria LA23 1LJ, UK

Photo by DAVID ILIFF. License: CC-BY-SA 3.0