William Wordsworth

(1770-1850 / Cumberland / England)

William Wordsworth Quotes

  • ''The human mind is capable of excitement without the application of gross and violent stimulants; and he must have a very faint perception of its beauty and dignity who does not know this.''
    William Wordsworth (1770-1850), British poet. Lyrical Ballads, preface, 2nd edition (1801).
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  • ''Our destiny, our being's heart and home,
    Is with infinitude, and only there;
    With hope it is, hope that can never die,''
    William Wordsworth (1770-1850), British poet. The Prelude; VI. Cambridge and the Alps (l. 604-606). . . Oxford Anthology of English Literature, The, Vols. I-II. Frank Kermode and John Hollander, general eds. (1973) Oxford University Press (Also published as six paperback vols.: Medieval English Literature, J. B. Trapp, ed.; The Literature of Renaissance England, John Hollander and Frank Kermode, eds.; The Restoration and the Eighteenth Century, Martin Price, ed.; Romantic Poetry and Prose, Harold Bloom and Lionel Trilling, eds.; Victorian Prose and Poetry, Lionel Trilling and Harold Bloom, eds.; Modern British Literature, Frank Kermode and John Hollander, eds.).
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  • ''It may be safely affirmed that there neither is, nor can be, any essential difference between the language of prose and metrical composition.... They both speak by and to the same organs; the bodies in which both of them are clothed may be said to be of the same substance, their affections are kindred, and almost identical, not necessarily differing even in degree; Poetry sheds no tears "such as Angels weep," but natural and human tears; she can boast of no celestial ichor that distinguishes her vital juices from those of prose; the same human blood circulates through the veins of them both.''
    William Wordsworth (1770-1850), British poet. Lyrical Ballads, preface to 2nd edition (1800).
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  • ''Oh, blank confusion! true epitome
    Of what the mighty city is herself,
    To thousands upon thousands of her sons,
    Living amid the same perpetual whirl
    Of trivial objects, melted and reduced
    To one identity, by differences
    That have no law, no meaning, and no end—''
    William Wordsworth (1770-1850), British poet. The Prelude; VII. Residence in London (l. 722-728). . . Oxford Anthology of English Literature, The, Vols. I-II. Frank Kermode and John Hollander, general eds. (1973) Oxford University Press (Also published as six paperback vols.: Medieval English Literature, J. B. Trapp, ed.; The Literature of Renaissance England, John Hollander and Frank Kermode, eds.; The Restoration and the Eighteenth Century, Martin Price, ed.; Romantic Poetry and Prose, Harold Bloom and Lionel Trilling, eds.; Victorian Prose and Poetry, Lionel Trilling and Harold Bloom, eds.; Modern British Literature, Frank Kermode and John Hollander, eds.).
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  • ''many and many a day he thither went,
    And never lifted up a single stone.''
    William Wordsworth (1770-1850), British poet. Michael (l. 465-466). . . The Poems; Vol. 1 [William Wordsworth]. John O. Hayden, ed. (1977, repr. 1990) Penguin Books.
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  • ''Caught by the spectacle my mind turned round
    As with the might of waters; an apt type
    This label seemed of the utmost we can know,
    Both of ourselves and of the universe;
    And, on the shape of that unmoving man,
    His steadfast face and sightless eyes, I gazed,
    As if admonished from another world.''
    William Wordsworth (1770-1850), British poet. The Prelude; VII. Residence in London (l. 643-649). . . Oxford Anthology of English Literature, The, Vols. I-II. Frank Kermode and John Hollander, general eds. (1973) Oxford University Press (Also published as six paperback vols.: Medieval English Literature, J. B. Trapp, ed.; The Literature of Renaissance England, John Hollander and Frank Kermode, eds.; The Restoration and the Eighteenth Century, Martin Price, ed.; Romantic Poetry and Prose, Harold Bloom and Lionel Trilling, eds.; Victorian Prose and Poetry, Lionel Trilling and Harold Bloom, eds.; Modern British Literature, Frank Kermode and John Hollander, eds.).
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  • ''Careless of books, yet having felt the power
    Of Nature, by the gentle agency
    Of natural objects, led me on to feel
    For passions that were not my own, and think
    (At random and imperfectly indeed)
    On man, the heart of man, and human life.''
    William Wordsworth (1770-1850), British poet. Michael (l. 28-33). . . The Poems; Vol. 1 [William Wordsworth]. John O. Hayden, ed. (1977, repr. 1990) Penguin Books.
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  • ''The horse is taught his manage, and no star
    Of wildest course but treads back his own steps;''
    William Wordsworth (1770-1850), British poet. The Prelude; X. Residence in France (l. 78-79). . . English Romantic Poetry and Prose. Russell Noyes, ed. (1956) Oxford University Press.
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  • ''he had been alone
    Amid the heart of many thousand mists,''
    William Wordsworth (1770-1850), British poet. Michael (l. 57-58). . . The Poems; Vol. 1 [William Wordsworth]. John O. Hayden, ed. (1977, repr. 1990) Penguin Books.
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  • ''Not in Utopia,—subterranean Fields,—
    Or some secreted Island, Heaven knows where!
    But in the very world, which is the world
    Of all of us,—the place where in the end
    We find our happiness, or not at all!''
    William Wordsworth (1770-1850), British poet. The Prelude; XI. France (l. 140-144). . . Oxford Anthology of English Literature, The, Vols. I-II. Frank Kermode and John Hollander, general eds. (1973) Oxford University Press (Also published as six paperback vols.: Medieval English Literature, J. B. Trapp, ed.; The Literature of Renaissance England, John Hollander and Frank Kermode, eds.; The Restoration and the Eighteenth Century, Martin Price, ed.; Romantic Poetry and Prose, Harold Bloom and Lionel Trilling, eds.; Victorian Prose and Poetry, Lionel Trilling and Harold Bloom, eds.; Modern British Literature, Frank Kermode and John Hollander, eds.).
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Best Poem of William Wordsworth

A Night Thought

Lo! where the Moon along the sky
Sails with her happy destiny;
Oft is she hid from mortal eye
Or dimly seen,
But when the clouds asunder fly
How bright her mien!

Far different we--a froward race,
Thousands though rich in Fortune's grace
With cherished sullenness of pace
Their way pursue,
Ingrates who wear a smileless face
The whole year through.

If kindred humours e'er would make
My spirit droop for drooping's sake,
From Fancy following in thy wake,
Bright ship of heaven!
A counter impulse let me take
And be forgiven.

Read the full of A Night Thought

A Complaint

There is a change--and I am poor;
Your love hath been, nor long ago,
A fountain at my fond heart's door,
Whose only business was to flow;
And flow it did; not taking heed
Of its own bounty, or my need.

What happy moments did I count!
Blest was I then all bliss above!

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