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William Wordsworth
Complete Poetical Works

FILIAL PIETY

ON THE WAYSIDE BETWEEN PRESTON AND LIVERPOOL

This was communicated to me by a coachman at whose side I sat while he was driving. In the course of my many coach rambles and journeys, which, during the daytime always and often in the night, were taken on the outside of the coach, I had good and frequent opportunities of learning the characteristics of this class of men. One remark I made that is worth recording; that whenever I had occasion especially to notice their well-ordered, respectful, and kind behaviour to women, of whatever age, I found them, I may say almost always, to be married men.

UNTOUCHED through all severity of cold;
Inviolate, whate'er the cottage hearth
Might need for comfort, or for festal mirth;
That Pile of Turf is half a century old:
Yes, Traveller! fifty winters have been told
Since suddenly the dart of death went forth
'Gainst him who raised it,--his last work on earth:
Thence has it, with the Son, so strong a hold
Upon his Father's memory, that his hands,
Through reverence, touch it only to repair
Its waste.--Though crumbling with each breath of air,
In annual renovation thus it stands--
Rude Mausoleum! but wrens nestle there,
And red-breasts warble when sweet sounds are rare.

1832.