Please note that the poems and essays on this site are copyright and may not be reproduced without the author's permission.

Sunday, 9 May 2010

William Wordsworth: "A slumber did my spirit seal"


File:Panthera tigris altaica 13 - Buffalo  Zoo.jpg

Amur tiger (Panthera tigris altaica) with cub: photo by Dave Pape, 2008

A slumber did my spirit seal,
I had no human fears:
She seemed a thing that could not feel
The touch of earthly years.

No motion has she now, no force
She neither hears nor sees
Rolled round in earth's diurnal course
With rocks and stones and trees!

William Wordsworth: A slumber did my spirit seal, from Lyrical Ballads, 1800




More 'parallel universe' (?) -- I was just thinking of another of the Lucy poems the other day, in relation to my friend Lucie, who is soon alas moving back to Norway . . . .

She dwelt among the untrodden ways
Beside springs of Dove,
A Maid whom there were none to praise
And very few to love:

A violet by a mossy stone
Half hidden by the eye!
Fair as a star, when only one
Is shining in the sky.

She lived unknown, and few could know
When Lucy eased to be, --
But she is in her grave, and, oh,
The difference to me!

Meanwhile, on a 'cheerier note' (even though it's beginning to rain)--


grey light in cloud against black plane
of ridge, faint white moon above branch
in foreground, wave sounding in channel

physical “balance,” thought
itself to make “more”

of plot, “woman on the path”
transparent, meanings

silver of sunlight reflected in channel,
line of 4 cormorants flapping toward it

TC said...


Ah, maybe it's the cold dark morning, the farewells, the whateverness, but you've almost squeezed a tear out of me with that one.

(Well, I have a broken lacrimal duct.)

On the other hand, the maternal solicitude of that tiger is... can I say cheering.

'Tis also a mercy that in your version of the poem Lucy is "eased to be". "Ceased" is so much colder, more final.

And associations being what they are... the whole issue of ceasing to be, easing to be, being, ceasing, easing and all of it taking forever (Sein und Zeit!), reminds me of your Heidegger study circle.

For the general amusement of which...

Martin Heidegger comes to life, and tells us a bit about his philosophy. He is in training, perhaps, for
the philosophers' world cup.

Curtis Roberts said...

The two videos are very, very funny. I've just broken from some intensely boring editing and proofreading and will not return to it. I refuse to shatter the mood.

TC said...


It must admit that my own stone face surrendered to something a bit more elastic for at least a moment as the Heidegger puppet explained to me why I am not yet "sinking".

(The wonderful bit where he scratches the back of his neck, as if bothered by a CGI tick -- or shall I say tic -- also memorable.)

Sneezed as I typed that... Daseinusitis?

Also very much enjoyed the great philosophers' somewhat preoccupied approach to Total Football, myself. Pulling off Wittgenstein for Marx there near the finish seemed a bit cruel to the tender-souled Ludwig. I have talked with people (well, a famous East German playwright, once) who have claimed Marx saved the XX century. However it would seem even this little miracle worker could not save the day for the Teutonic Philosophical XI.

Curtis Roberts said...

I particularly liked "Nobby" Hegel.

TC said...

One could not but admire his ability to fail to notice the ball, as he proceeded dialectically past it.



Ah, thanks for this -- will bring it on Thursday night to bring us back to the table from any excursion too far into the ether (or oblivion, or lull in conversation). Maybe Wordsworth MEANT to write "eased"? -- don't think so, but that dropped 'c' seems to be a possible reading (ceasing, easing, singing of summer in full throated ease?) As for the field upon which soccer game was played with such gravitas, perhaps there's some resonance here ---


grey whiteness of cloud against invisible
top of ridge, motionless green of leaves
in foreground, wave sounding in channel

gravitational field present,
consider the physical

system, that is, assumption
of possible reference

sunlit white clouds to the left of point,
line of 24 cormorants flapping toward it

TC said...


Yes, absolutely, it was the gravitational field that did in the German hopes. Unless, that is, it was the assumption of possible reference, on part of Kant, or Leibniz possibly.

gravitational field present,
consider the physical

system, that is, assumption
of possible reference

(What is the sound of 24 cormorants flapping toward Karl Jaspers??)