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William Wordsworth
Complete Poetical Works

ECCLESIASTICAL SONNETS

PART III

FROM THE RESTORATION TO THE PRESENT TIMES

When I came to this part of the series I had the dream described
in this Sonnet. The figure was that of my daughter, and the whole
passed exactly as here represented. The Sonnet was composed on the
middle road leading from Grasmere to Ambleside: it was begun as I
left the last house of the vale, and finished, word for word as it
now stands, before I came in view of Rydal. I wish I could say the
same of the five or six hundred I have written: most of them were
frequently retouched in the course of composition, and, not a few,
laboriously.

I have only further to observe that the intended Church which
prompted these Sonnets was erected on Coleorton Moor towards the
centre of a very populous parish between three and four miles from
Ashby-de-la-Zouch, on the road to Loughborough, and has proved, I
believe, a great benefit to the neighbourhood.

I

I SAW the figure of a lovely Maid
Seated alone beneath a darksome tree,
Whose fondly-overhanging canopy
Set off her brightness with a pleasing shade.
No Spirit was she; 'that' my heart betrayed,
For she was one I loved exceedingly;
But while I gazed in tender reverie
(Or was it sleep that with my Fancy played?)
The bright corporeal presence--form and face--
Remaining still distinct grew thin and rare,
Like sunny mist;--at length the golden hair,
Shape, limbs, and heavenly features, keeping pace
Each with the other in a lingering race
Of dissolution, melted into air.