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William Wordsworth
Complete Poetical Works

TO B. R. HAYDON, ON SEEING HIS PICTURE OF NAPOLEON BUONAPARTE ON
THE ISLAND OF ST. HELENA

This Sonnet, though said to be written on seeing the Portrait of Napoleon, was, in fact, composed some time after, extempore, in the wood at Rydal Mount.

HAYDON! let worthier judges praise the skill
Here by thy pencil shown in truth of lines
And charm of colours; 'I' applaud those signs
Of thought, that give the true poetic thrill;
That unencumbered whole of blank and still
Sky without cloud--ocean without a wave;
And the one Man that laboured to enslave
The World, sole-standing high on the bare hill--
Back turned, arms folded, the unapparent face
Tinged, we may fancy, in this dreary place,
With light reflected from the invisible sun
Set, like his fortunes; but not set for aye
Like them. The unguilty Power pursues his way,
And before 'him' doth dawn perpetual run.

1832.