William Wordsworth

William Wordsworth

Apr. 7, 1770 - Apr. 23, 1850


The Danish Boy

by William Wordsworth

A Fragment.

Written in Germany. It was entirely a fancy; but intended as a prelude to a ballad-poem never written.


Between two sister moorland rills
There is a spot that seems to lie
Sacred to flowerets of the hills,
And sacred to the sky.
And in this smooth and open dell
There is a tempest-stricken tree;
A corner-stone by lightning cut,
The last stone of a lonely hut;
And in this dell you see
A thing no storm can e'er destroy,
The shadow of a Danish Boy.


In clouds above, the lark is heard,
But drops not here to earth for rest;
Within this lonesome nook the bird
Did never build her nest.
No beast, no bird hath here his home;
Bees, wafted on the breezy air,
Pass high above those fragrant bells
To other flowers: -- to other dells
Their burthens do they bear;
The Danish Boy walks here alone:
The lovely dell is all his own.


A Spirit of noon-day is he;
Yet seems a form of flesh and blood;
Nor piping shepherd shall he be,
Nor herd-boy of the wood.
A regal vest of fur he wears,
In color like a raven's wing;
It fears not rain, nor wind, nor dew;
But in the storm 't is fresh and blue
As budding pines in spring;
His helmet has a vernal grace,
Fresh as the bloom upon his face.


A harp is from his shoulder slung;
Resting the harp upon his knee,
To words of a forgotten tongue
He suits its melody.
Of flocks upon the neighboring hill
He is the darling and the joy;
And often, when no cause appears,
The mountain-ponies prick their ears,
-- They hear the Danish Boy,
While in the dell he sings alone
Beside the tree and corner-stone.


There sits he; in his face you spy
No trace of a ferocious air,
Nor ever was a cloudless sky
So steady or so fair.
The lovely Danish Boy is blest
And happy in his flowery cove:
From bloody deeds his thoughts are far;
And yet he warbles songs of love,
That seem like songs of war,
For calm and gentle is his mien;
Like a dead Boy he is serene.

Notes to the poem:

Written in 1799.
First published in 1800.


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