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Featured Poem: On Her First Ascent to Helvellyn by William Wordsworth

Written by Lisa Spurgin, 22nd September 2015

We're still on a figurative high after the highest shared reading group ever at the summit of Mount Snowdon over the weekend, so for this week's Featured Poem we're staying with the theme of ascending mountains. Perhaps with the inspiration of Wordsworth, Helvellyn might be our next shared reading target - we'll already have the reading material sorted...

On Her First Ascent to Helvellyn

Inmate of a mountain-dwelling,
Thou hast clomb aloft, and gazed
From the watch-towers of Helvellyn;
Awed, delighted, and amazed!

Potent was the spell that bound thee
Not unwilling to obey;
For blue Ether’s arms, flung round thee,
Stilled the pantings of dismay.

Lo! the dwindled woods and meadows;
What a vast abyss is there!
Lo! the clouds, the solemn shadows,
And the glistenings–heavenly fair!

And a record of commotion
Which a thousand ridges yield;
Ridge, and gulf, and distant ocean
Gleaming like a silver shield!

Maiden! now take flight;–inherit
Alps or Andes–they are thine!
With the morning’s roseate Spirit,
Sweep their length of snowy line;

Or survey their bright dominions
In the gorgeous colours drest
Flung from off the purple pinions,
Evening spreads throughout the west!

Thine are all the coral fountains
Warbling in each sparry vault
Of the untrodden lunar mountains;
Listen to their songs!–or halt,

To Niphates’ top invited,
Whither spiteful Satan steered;
Or descend where the ark alighted,
When the green earth re-appeared;

For the power of hills is on thee,
As was witnessed through thine eye
Then, when old Helvellyn won thee
To confess their majesty!

William Wordsworth

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