Wordsworth's Homecoming

While attending school, Wordsworth lived in a home away from his own parents, but under the care of the person described in this wonderful moment from The Prelude.

from The Prelude Book IV
William Wordsworth

I saw the snow-white church upon her hill
Sit like a thron├Ęd Lady, sending out
A gracious look all over her domain.
Yon azure smoke betrays the lurking town;
With eager footsteps I advance and reach
The cottage threshold where my journey closed.
Glad welcome had I, with some tears, perhaps,
From my old Dame, so kind and motherly,
While she perused me with a parent's pride.
The thoughts of gratitude shall fall like dew
Upon thy grave, good creature! While my heart
Can beat never will I forget thy name.
Heaven's blessing be upon thee where thou liest
After thy innocent and busy stir
In narrow cares, thy little daily growth
Of calm enjoyments, after eighty years,
And more than eighty, of untroubled life,
Childless, yet by the strangers to thy blood
Honoured with little less than filial love.
What joy was mine to see thee once again,
Thee and thy dwelling, and a crowd of things
About its narrow precincts all beloved,
And many of them seeming yet my own!
Why should I speak of what a thousand hearts
Have felt, and every man alive can guess?

There is little to say here except that it would be hard to think of a passage that more effectively conveyed the overflowing of the heart upon a return home.  And this to a woman not his own mother, but who stood in the place of a mother for him, and apparently for many, for several years.   And these lines:

Why should I speak of what a thousand hearts
Have felt, and every man alive can guess?

have as their obvious answer--you cannot help but to do it.  There is not getting around what overwhelms the heart in recollection.


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