William Wordsworth

William Wordsworth

Apr. 7, 1770 - Apr. 23, 1850


A Night-Piece

by William Wordsworth

      ------The sky is overcast
With a continuous cloud of texture close,
Heavy and wan, all whitened by the Moon,
Which through that veil is indistinctly seen,
A dull, contracted circle, yielding light
So feebly spread, that not a shadow falls,
Chequering the ground -- from rock, plant, tree, or tower.
At length a pleasant instantaneous gleam
Startles the pensive traveller while he treads
His lonesome path, with unobserving eye
Bent earthwards; he looks up -- the clouds are split
Asunder, -- and above his head he sees
The clear Moon, and the glory of the heavens.
There, in a black-blue vault she sails along,
Followed by multitudes of stars, that, small
And sharp, and bright, along the dark abyss
Drive as she drives: how fast they wheel away,
Yet vanish not! -- the wind is in the tree,
But they are silent; -- still they roll along
Immeasurably distant; and the vault,
Built round by those white clouds, enormous clouds,
Still deepens its unfathomable depth.
At length the Vision closes; and the mind,
Not undisturbed by the delight it feels,
Which slowly settles into peaceful calm,
Is left to muse upon the solemn scene.


Notes to the poem:

Written in 1798.
First published in 1815.

Composed on the road between Nether Stowey and Alfoxden, extempore. I distinctly recollect the very moment when I was struck, as described, -- He looks up -- the clouds are split, etc.


The Complete Poetical Works of William Wordsworth
Copyright 1888
Thomas Y. Crowell & Co., New York
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