‘Lake of Como’ by Wordsworth

Due to careful conditioning during my school years, whenever I see daffodils I think of Wordsworth. This led my thoughts to ‘Lake of Como’, written perhaps two hundred years ago, on the glory that is Lake Como. How I envy Wordsworth as he wrote about “A treasure whom the earth keeps to herself”. Not that I don’t want to share…….but to have seen it all those years ago would have been amazing. Read his words below, if you will, and try to imagine what Wordsworth saw; what inspired him to write. It sounds like it was a truly spiritual experience, for him. And you know, some places that I have been lucky enough to see seem not to have changed too much.

Taken from ‘The Prelude’ by William Wordsworth (1770-1850)

AND, Como! thou, a treasure whom the earth

Keeps to herself, confined as in a depth

Of Abyssinian privacy. I spake

Of thee, thy chestnut woods, and garden plots

Of Indian-corn tended by dark-eyed maids;

Thy lofty steeps, and pathways roofed with vines,

Winding from house to house, from town to town,

Sole link that binds them to each other; walks,

League after league, and cloistral avenues,

Where silence dwells if music be not there:

While yet a youth undisciplined in verse,

Through fond ambition of that hour, I strove

To chant your praise; nor can approach you now

Ungreeted by a more melodious song,

Where tones of nature smoothed by learned art

May flow in lasting current. Like a breeze

Or sunbeam over your domain I passed

In motion without pause; but ye have left

Your beauty with me, a serene accord

Of forms and colors, passive, yet endowed

In their submissiveness with power as sweet

And gracious, almost might I dare to say,

As virtue is, or goodness; sweet as love,

Or the remembrance of a generous deed,

Or mildest visitation of pure thought,

When God, the giver of all joy, is thanked

Religiously, in silent blessedness;

Sweet as this last herself, for such it is.


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