Wordsworth, William - Elegiac Stanzas - I would have planted thee, thou hoary Pile
Type of Spiritual Experience
Wordsworth clearly thought of himself as a sort of impregnable fortress, in the picture is his portrait in 1842 painted by Benjamin Haydon.
A description of the experience
William Wordsworth – from Elegiac Stanzas
I would have planted thee, thou hoary Pile,
Amid a world how different from this!
Beside a sea that could not cease to smile;
On tranquil land, beneath a sky of bliss;
Thou shouldst have seemed a treasure house divine
Of peaceful years; a chronicle of heaven -
Of all the sunbeams that did ever shine
The very sweetest had to thee been given
A Picture had it been of lasting ease,
Elysian quiet, without toil or strife;
No motion but the moving tide, a breeze,
Or merely silent Nature's breathing life.
Such, in the fond delusion of my heart,
Such Picture would I at that time have made;
And seen the soul of truth in every part
A stead fast peace that might not be betrayed.
So once it would have been, - 'tis so no more;
I have submitted to a new control,
A power is gone, which nothing can restore;
A deep distress has humanised my soul.
And this huge Castle, standing here sublime
I love to see the look with which it braves,
Cased in the unfeeling armour of old time
The lightning, the fierce wind and trampling waves
Farewell, farewell the Heart that lives alone,
Housed in a dream, at distance from the Kind!
Such happiness, wherever it be known,
Is to be pitied; for 'tis surely blind.
But welcome fortitude, and patient cheer
And frequent sights of what is to be borne!
Such sights, or worse, as are before me here -
Not without hope we suffer and we mourn