Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Minstrels / William Wordsworth

       
To the Rev. Dr. Wordsworth [excerpt]

The minstrels played their Christmas tune
Tonight beneath my cottage-eaves;
While, smitten by a lofty moon,
The encircling laurels, thick with leaves,
Gave back a rich and dazzling sheen,
That overpowered their natural green.

Through hill and valley every breeze
Had sunk to rest with folded wings:
Keen was the air, but could not freeze,
Nor check, the music of the strings;
So stout and hardy were the band
That scraped the chords with strenuous hand.

And who but listened?  till was paid
Respect to every inmate's claim,
The greeting given, the music played
In honour of each household name,
Duly pronounced with lusty call,
And "Merry Christmas" wished to all.

O Brother! I revere the choice
That took thee from thy native hills;
And it is given thee to rejoice;
Though public care full often tills
(Heaven only witness of the toil)
A barren and ungrateful soil.

Yet, would that thou, with me and mine,
Hadst heard this never-failing rite;
And seen on other faces shine
A true revival of the light
Which Nature and these Rustic Powers,
In simple childhood, spread through ours!

[...]
---
William Wordsworth, composed Christmastide, 1819
from The River Duddon, 1820


[Poem is in the public domain worldwide]

William Wordsworth biography

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