William Wordsworth

A Narrow Girdle Of Rough Stones And Crags

A narrow girdle of rough stones and crags, A rude and natural causeway, interposed Between the water and a winding slope Of copse and thicket, leaves the eastern shore Of Grasmere safe in its own privacy: And there myself and two beloved Friends, One calm September morning, ere the mist Had altogether yielded to the sun, Sauntered on this retired and difficult way. Ill suits the road with one in haste; but we Played with our time; and, as we strolled along, It was our occupation to observe Such objects as the waves had tossed ashore-- Feather, or leaf, or weed, or withered bough, Each on the other heaped, along the line Of the dry wreck. And, in our vacant mood, Not seldom did we stop to watch some tuft Of dandelion seed or thistle's beard, That skimmed the surface of the dead calm lake, Suddenly halting now—a lifeless stand! And starting off again with freak as sudden; In all its sportive wanderings, all the while, Making report of an invisible breeze That was its wings, its chariot, and its horse, Its playmate, rather say, its moving soul. And often, trifling with a privilege Alike indulged to all, we paused, one now, And now the other, to point out, perchance To pluck, some flower or water-weed, too fair Either to be divided from the place On which it grew, or to be left alone To its own beauty. Many such there are, Fair ferns and flowers, and chiefly that tall fern, So stately, of the queen Osmunda named; Plant lovelier, in its own retired abode On Grasmere's beach, than Naiad by the side Of Grecian brook, or Lady of the Mere, Sole-sitting by the shores of old romance. So fared we that bright morning: from the fields Meanwhile, a noise was heard, the busy mirth Of reapers, men and women, boys and girls. Delighted much to listen to those sounds, And feeding thus our fancies, we advanced Along the indented shore; when suddenly, Through a thin veil of glittering haze was seen Before us, on a point of jutting land, The tall and upright figure of a Man Attired in peasant's garb, who stood alone, Angling beside the margin of the lake. "Improvident and reckless," we exclaimed, "The Man must be, who thus can lose a day Of the mid harvest, when the labourer's hire Is ample, and some little might be stored Wherewith to cheer him in the winter time." Thus talking of that Peasant, we approached Close to the spot where with his rod and line He stood alone; whereat he turned his head To greet us--and we saw a Man worn down By sickness, gaunt and lean, with sunken cheeks And wasted limbs, his legs so long and lean That for my single self I looked at them, Forgetful of the body they sustained. Too weak to labour in the harvest field, The Man was using his best skill to gain A pittance from the dead unfeeling lake That knew not of his wants. I will not say What thoughts immediately were ours, nor how The happy idleness of that sweet morn, With all its lovely images, was changed To serious musing and to self-reproach. Nor did we fail to see within ourselves What need there is to be reserved in speech, And temper all our thoughts with charity. Therefore, unwilling to forget that day, My Friend, Myself, and She who then received The same admonishment, have called the place By a memorial name, uncouth indeed As e'er by mariner was given to bay Or foreland, on a new-discovered coast; And POINT RASH-JUDGMENT is the name it bears.

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