William Wordsworth

The Wishing Gate

Hope rules a land forever green: All powers that serve the bright-eyed Queen Are confident and gay; Clouds at her bidding disappear; Points she to aught?---the bliss draws near, And Fancy smooths the way. Not such the land of Wishes---there Dwell fruitless day-dreams, lawless prayer, And thoughts with things at strife; Yet how forlorn, should ye depart Ye superstitions of the heart, How poor, were human life! When magic lore abjured its might, Ye did not forfeit one dear right, One tender claim abate; Witness this symbol of your sway, Surnving near the public way, The rustic Wishing-gate! Inquire not if the faery race Shed kindly influence on the place, Ere northward they retired; If here a warrior left a spell, Panting for glory as he fell; Or here a saint expired. Enough that all around is fair, Composed with Nature's finest care, And in her fondest love--- Peace to embosom and content--- To overawe the turbulent, The selfish to reprove. Yea! even the Stranger from afar, Reclining on this moss-grown bar, Unknowing, and unknown, The infection of the ground partakes, Longing for his Beloved---who maker All happiness her own. Then why should conscious Spirits fear The mystic stirrings that are here, The ancient faith disclaim? The local Genius ne'er befriends Desires whose course in folly ends, Whose just reward is shame. Smile if thou wilt, but not in scorn, If some, by ceaseless pains outworn, Here crave an easier lot; If some have thirsted to renew A broken vow, or bind a true, With firmer, holier knot. And not in vain, when thoughts are cast Upon the irrevocable past, Some Penitent sincere May for a worthier future sigh, While trickles from his downcast eye No unavailing tear. The Worldling, pining to be freed From turmoil, who would turn or speed The current of his fate, Might stop before this favored scene, At Nature's call, nor blush to lean Upon the Wishing-gate. The Sage, who feels how blind, how weak Is man, though loth such help to seek, Yet, passing, here might pause, And thirst for insight to allay Misgiving, while the crimson day In quietness withdraws; Or when the church-clock's knell profound To Time's first step across the bound Of midnight makes reply; Time pressing on with starry crest, To filial sleep upon the breast Of dread eternity.

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