William Wordsworth

A Poet's Epitaph

Art thou a Statist in the van Of public conflicts trained and bred? --First learn to love one living man; 'Then' may'st thou think upon the dead. A Lawyer art thou?--draw not nigh! Go, carry to some fitter place The keenness of that practised eye, The hardness of that sallow face. Art thou a Man of purple cheer? A rosy Man, right plump to see? Approach; yet, Doctor, not too near, This grave no cushion is for thee. Or art thou one of gallant pride, A Soldier and no man of chaff? Welcome!--but lay thy sword aside, And lean upon a peasant's staff. Physician art thou? one, all eyes, Philosopher! a fingering slave, One that would peep and botanise Upon his mother's grave? Wrapt closely in thy sensual fleece, O turn aside,--and take, I pray, That he below may rest in peace, Thy ever-dwindling soul, away! A Moralist perchance appears; Led, Heaven knows how! to this poor sod: And he has neither eyes nor ears; Himself his world, and his own God; One to whose smooth-rubbed soul can cling Nor form, nor feeling, great or small; A reasoning, self-sufficing thing, An intellectual All-in-all! Shut close the door; press down the latch; Sleep in thy intellectual crust; Nor lose ten tickings of thy watch Near this unprofitable dust. But who is He, with modest looks, And clad in homely russet brown? He murmurs near the running brooks A music sweeter than their own. He is retired as noontide dew, Or fountain in a noon-day grove; And you must love him, ere to you He will seem worthy of your love. The outward shows of sky and earth, Of hill and valley, he has viewed; And impulses of deeper birth Have come to him in solitude. In common things that round us lie Some random truths he can impart,-- The harvest of a quiet eye That broods and sleeps on his own heart. But he is weak; both Man and Boy, Hath been an idler in the land; Contented if he might enjoy The things which others understand. --Come hither in thy hour of strength; Come, weak as is a breaking wave! Here stretch thy body at full length; Or build thy house upon this grave.

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