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William Wordsworth
Complete Poetical Works

ECCLESIASTICAL SONNETS

XIV

WALDENSES

THOSE had given earliest notice, as the lark
Springs from the ground the morn to gratulate;
Or rather rose the day to antedate,
By striking out a solitary spark,
When all the world with midnight gloom was dark.--
Then followed the Waldensian bands, whom Hate
In vain endeavours to exterminate,
Whom Obloquy pursues with hideous bark:
But they desist not;--and the sacred fire,
Rekindled thus, from dens and savage woods
Moves, handed on with never-ceasing care,
Through courts, through camps, o'er limitary floods;
Nor lacks this sea-girt Isle a timely share
Of the new Flame, not suffered to expire.

NOTE

8 'Whom Obloquy pursues with hideous bark.'

The list of foul names bestowed upon those poor creatures is
long and curious;--and, as is, alas! too natural, most of the
opprobrious appellations are drawn from circumstances into which
they were forced by their persecutors, who even consolidated their
miseries into one reproachful term, calling them Patarenians, or
Paturins, from "pati," to suffer.

"Dwellers with wolves, she names them, for the pine
And green oak are their covert; as the gloom
Of night oft foils their enemy's design,
She calls them Riders on the flying broom
Sorcerers, whose frame and aspect have become
One and the same through practices malign."