IN MEMORY OF MY BROTHER, JOHN WORDSWORTH,
COMMANDER OF THE E. I. COMPANY'S SHIP THE EARL OF ABERGAVENNY IN
WHICH HE PERISHED BY CALAMITOUS SHIPWRECK, FEB. 6, 1805.
Composed near the Mountain track that leads from Grasmere
through Grisdale Hawes, where it descends towards Paterdale.
"Here did we stop; and here looked round,
While each into himself descends."
The point is two or three yards below the outlet of Grisdale
tarn, on a foot-road by which a horse may pass to Paterdale--a
ridge of Helvellyn on the left, and the summit of Fairfield on the
THE Sheep-boy whistled loud, and lo!
That instant, startled by the shock,
The Buzzard mounted from the rock
Deliberate and slow:
Lord of the air, he took his flight;
Oh! could he on that woeful night
Have lent his wing, my Brother dear,
For one poor moment's space to Thee,
And all who struggled with the Sea,
When safety was so near.
Thus in the weakness of my heart
I spoke (but let that pang be still)
When rising from the rock at will,
I saw the Bird depart.
And let me calmly bless the Power
That meets me in this unknown Flower.
Affecting type of him I mourn!
With calmness suffer and believe,
And grieve, and know that I must grieve,
Not cheerless, though forlorn.
Here did we stop; and here looked round
While each into himself descends,
For that last thought of parting Friends
That is not to be found.
Hidden was Grasmere Vale from sight,
Our home and his, his heart's delight,
His quiet heart's selected home.
But time before him melts away,
And he hath feeling of a day
Of blessedness to come.
Full soon in sorrow did I weep,
Taught that the mutual hope was dust,
In sorrow, but for higher trust,
How miserably deep!
All vanished in a single word,
A breath, a sound, and scarcely heard:
Sea--Ship--drowned--Shipwreck--so it came,
The meek, the brave, the good, was gone;
He who had been our living John
Was nothing but a name.
That was indeed a parting! oh,
Glad am I, glad that it is past;
For there were some on whom it cast
But they as well as I have gains;--
From many a humble source, to pains
Like these, there comes a mild release;
Even here I feel it, even this Plant
Is in its beauty ministrant
To comfort and to peace.
He would have loved thy modest grace,
Meek Flower! To Him I would have said,
"It grows upon its native bed
Beside our Parting-place;
There, cleaving to the ground, it lies
With multitude of purple eyes,
Spangling a cushion green like moss;
But we will see it, joyful tide!
Some day, to see it in its pride,
The mountain will we cross."
--Brother and Friend, if verse of mine
Have power to make thy virtues known,
Here let a monumental Stone
Stand--sacred as a Shrine;
And to the few who pass this way,
Traveller or Shepherd, let it say,
Long as these mighty rocks endure,--
Oh do not Thou too fondly brood,
Although deserving of all good,
On any earthly hope, however pure!
Stanza 7: The plant alluded to is the Moss Campion ("Silene acaulis"
'Moss Campion (Silene acaulis).'
This most beautiful plant is scarce in England, though it is
found in great abundance upon the mountains of Scotland. The first
specimen I ever saw of it, in its native bed, was singularly fine,
the tuft or cushion being at least eight inches in diameter, and
the root proportionably thick. I have only met with it in two
places among our mountains, in both of which I have since sought
for it in vain.
Botanists will not, I hope, take it ill, if I caution them
against carrying off, inconsiderately, rare and beautiful plants.
This has often been done, particularly from Ingleborough and other
mountains in Yorkshire, till the species have totally disappeared,
to the great regret of lovers of nature living near the places
where they grew.