Poems of the Fancy: The Waterfall and the Eglantine. William Wordsworth – 1800.


Play an audio version of this poem.

"Begone, thou fond presumptuous Elf,"
Exclaimed a thundering Voice,
"Nor dare to thrust thy foolish self
Between me and my choice!"
A falling Water swoln with snows
Thus spake to a poor Briar-rose,
That, all bespattered with his foam,
And dancing high, and dancing low,
Was living, as a child might know,
In an unhappy home.

"Dost thou presume my course to block?
Off, off! or, puny Thing!
I'll hurl thee headlong with the rock
To which thy fibres cling."
The Flood was tyrannous and strong;
The patient Briar suffered long,
Nor did he utter groan or sigh,
Hoping the danger would be past:
But seeing no relief, at last
He ventured to reply.

"Ah!" said the Briar, "blame me not;
Why should we dwell in strife?
We who in this, our natal spot,
Once lived a happy life!
You stirred me on my rocky bed,
What pleasure through my veins you spread!
The Summer long from day to day
My leaves you freshened and bedewed;
Nor was it common gratitude
That did your cares repay.

"When Spring came on with bud and bell,
Among these rocks did I
Before you hang my wreaths, to tell
That gentle days were nigh!
And in the sultry summer hours
I sheltered you with leaves and flowers;
And in my leaves—now shed and gone,
The Linnet lodged, and for us two
Chaunted his pretty songs, when You
Had little voice or none.

"But now proud thoughts are in your breast,
What grief is mine you see.
Ah! would you think, even yet how blest
Together we might be!
Though of both leaf and flower bereft,
Some ornaments to me are left
Rich store of scarlet hips is mine,
With which I in my humble way
Would deck you many a winter's day,
A happy Eglantine!"

What more he said I cannot tell.
The Torrent thundered down the dell
With unabating haste;
I listened, nor aught else could hear;
The Briar quaked and much I fear
Those accents were his last.

Poet's Corner

Like so many, my first contact with poetry was at school. In my teens I tried my hand at poetry and found that I rather enjoyed it. As a musician, poetry enabled me to write songs - really cool to be a teenager and strumming out your own songs (badly in my case) on the guitar. I decided to build this site alongside a corresponding YouTube channel (Poets' Corner) and include both a narrated version of each poem along with the printed version. Having always loved (and many times visited) The Lake District in northwest England it seemed only right to start with Wiliam Wordsworth and, once I've created a significant body of his work, I'll start working on other poets.

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