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William Wordsworth
Complete Poetical Works

"ALAS! WHAT BOOTS THE LONG LABORIOUS QUEST"

ALAS! what boots the long laborious quest
Of moral prudence, sought through good and ill;
Or pains abstruse--to elevate the will,
And lead us on to that transcendent rest
Where every passion shall the sway attest
Of Reason, seated on her sovereign hill;
What is it but a vain and curious skill,
If sapient Germany must lie deprest,
Beneath the brutal sword?--Her haughty Schools
Shall blush; and may not we with sorrow say--
A few strong instincts and a few plain rules,
Among the herdsmen of the Alps, have wrought
More for mankind at this unhappy day
Then all the pride of intellect and thought?