Ode: Intimations of Immortality


Ode: Intimations of Immortality from Recollections of Early Childhood was a poem by William Wordsworth, begun on March 27, 1802 and finished by 1806, possibly in early 1804. Wordsworth declared: "Two years at least passed between the writing of the four first stanzas and the remaining part".

There was a time when meadow, grove, and stream,
The earth, and every common sight,
To me did seem
Apparelled in celestial light,
The glory and the freshness of a dream.


The Rainbow comes and goes,
And lovely is the Rose
  • There was a time when meadow, grove, and stream,
    The Earth, and every common sight,
    To me did seem
    Apparelled in celestial light,
    The glory and the freshness of a dream.

    It is not now as it hath been of yore—
    Turn wheresoe'er I may,
    By night or day,
    The things which I have seen I now can see no more.
    • Stanza 1
  • Ye blessed Creatures, I have heard the call
    Ye to each other make; I see
    The heavens laugh with you in your jubilee;
    My heart is at your festival,
    My head hath its coronal,
    The fulness of your bliss, I feel— I feel it all.
    Oh evil day! if I were sullen
    While the Earth herself is adorning,
    This sweet May-morning.
    • Stanza 4
  • Whither is fled the visionary gleam?
    Where is it now, the glory and the dream?
    • Stanza 4
  • Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting:
    The Soul that rises with us, our life's Star,
    Hath had elsewhere its setting,
    And cometh from afar:
    Not in entire forgetfulness,
    And not in utter nakedness,
    But trailing clouds of glory do we come
    From God, who is our home:
    Heaven lies about us in our infancy!
    Shades of the prison-house begin to close
    Upon the growing boy.
    • Stanza 5
  • The youth, who daily farther from the east
    Must travel, still is Nature's priest,
    And by the vision splendid
    Is on his way attended;
    At length the man perceives it die away,
    And fade into the light of common day.
    • Stanza 5
  • As if his whole vocation
    Were endless imitation.
    • Stanza 7
  • Thou, whose exterior semblance doth belie
    Thy Soul's immensity;
    Thou best Philosopher, who yet dost keep
    Thy heritage, thou Eye among the blind,
    That, deaf and silent, read'st the eternal deep,
    Haunted for ever by the eternal mind,—
    Mighty Prophet! Seer blest!
    On whom those truths do rest,
    Which we are toiling all our lives to find,
    In darkness lost, the darkness of the grave.
    • Stanza 8
  • O joy! that in our embers
    Is something that doth live,
    That nature yet remembers
    What was so fugitive!

    The thought of our past years in me doth breed
    Perpetual benediction: not indeed
    For that which is most worthy to be blest;
    Delight and liberty, the simple creed
    Of Childhood, whether busy or at rest,
    With new-fledged hope still fluttering in his breast:—
    Not for these I raise
    The song of thanks and praise;
    But for those obstinate questionings
    Of sense and outward things,

    Fallings from us, vanishings;
    Blank misgivings of a Creature
    Moving about in worlds not realised,
    High instincts before which our mortal Nature
    Did tremble like a guilty Thing surprised:
    But for those first affections,
    Those shadowy recollections,
    Which, be they what they may,
    Are yet the fountain-light of all our day,
    Are yet a master-light of all our seeing;
    Uphold us, cherish, and have power to make
    Our noisy years seem moments in the being
    Of the eternal Silence: truths that wake,
    To perish never;
    Which neither listlessness, nor mad endeavor,
    Nor Man nor Boy,
    Nor all that is at enmity with joy,
    Can utterly abolish or destroy!
    • Stanza 9
  • Though inland far we be,
    Our souls have sight of that immortal sea
    Which brought us hither.
    • Stanza 9
  • Then sing, ye Birds, sing, sing a joyous song!
    And let the young Lambs bound
    As to the tabor's sound!
    We in thought will join your throng,
    Ye that pipe and ye that play,
    Ye that through your hearts today
    Feel the gladness of the May!
    What though the radiance which was once so bright
    Be now forever taken from my sight,
    Though nothing can bring back the hour
    Of splendour in the grass, of glory in the flower;
    We will grieve not, rather find
    Strength in what remains behind;
    In the primal sympathy
    Which having been must ever be;

    In the soothing thoughts that spring
    Out of human suffering;
    In the faith that looks through death,
    In years that bring the philosophic mind.
    • Stanza 10
  • And O, ye Fountains, Meadows, Hills, and Groves,
    Forebode not any severing of our loves!
    Yet in my heart of hearts I feel your might;
    I only have relinquished one delight
    To live beneath your more habitual sway.
    I love the Brooks which down their channels fret,
    Even more than when I tripped lightly as they;
    The innocent brightness of a new-born Day
    Is lovely yet;
    The Clouds that gather round the setting sun
    Do take a sober colouring from an eye
    That hath kept watch o'er man's mortality;

    Another race hath been, and other palms are won.
    Thanks to the human heart by which we live,
    Thanks to its tenderness, its joys, and fears,
    To me the meanest flower that blows can give
    Thoughts that do often lie too deep for tears.
    • Stanza 11

External linksEdit

Wikisource has original text related to: