"THE FAIREST, BRIGHTEST, HUES OF ETHER FADE"
Suggested at Hacket, which is on the craggy ridge that rises
between the two Langdales and looks towards Windermere. The
Cottage of Hacket was often visited by us, and at the time when
this Sonnet was written, and long after, was occupied by the
husband and wife described in the "Excursion," where it is
mentioned that she was in the habit of walking in the front of the
dwelling with a light to guide her husband home at night. The same
cottage is alluded to in the "Epistle to Sir George Beaumont" as
that from which the female peasant hailed us on our morning
journey. The musician mentioned in the Sonnet was the Rev. Samuel
Tillbrook of Peter-house, Cambridge, who remodelled the Ivy
Cottage at Rydal after he had purchased it.
THE fairest, brightest, hues of ether fade;
The sweetest notes must terminate and die;
O Friend! thy flute has breathed a harmony
Softly resounded through this rocky glade;
Such strains of rapture as the Genius played
In his still haunt on Bagdad's summit high;
He who stood visible to Mirza's eye,
Never before to human sight betrayed.
Lo, in the vale, the mists of evening spread!
The visionary Arches are not there,
Nor the green Islands, nor the shining Seas:
Yet sacred is to me this Mountain's head,
Whence I have risen, uplifted, on the breeze
Of harmony, above all earthly care.
Title: This and the following eight sonnets between the years
5 See the Vision of Mirza in the "Spectator."