Oct 30 2020

William Wordsworth – Thus while the days flew by

Published by at 8:33 am under Ivan's Story,Poetry

Thus while the days flew by, and years passed on (from The Prelude, Book 2)
by William Wordsworth

Thus while the days flew by, and years passed on,
From Nature and her overflowing soul,
I had received so much, that all my thoughts
Were steeped in feeling; I was only then
Contented, when with bliss ineffable
I felt the sentiment of Being spread
O’er all that moves and all that seemeth still;
O’er all that, lost beyond the reach of thought
And human knowledge, to the human eye
Invisible, yet liveth to the heart;
O’er all that leaps and runs, and shouts and sings,
Or beats the gladsome air; o’er all that glides
Beneath the wave, yea, in the wave itself,
And mighty depth of waters. Wonder not
If high the transport, great the joy I felt,
Communing in this sort through earth and heaven
With every form of creature, as it looked
Towards the Uncreated with a countenance
Of adoration, with an eye of love.
One song they sang, and it was audible,
Most audible, then, when the fleshly ear,
O’ercome by humblest prelude of that strain
Forgot her functions, and slept undisturbed.

— from Complete Poetical Works, by William Wordsworth


/ Image by Justin Kern /

Fires have been burning here in Colorado and last week we were busily preparing for the possibility of having to evacuate. Firefighters, helped at times by the weather, were eventually able to contain the two fires closest to us, though major fires are still causing terrible destruction elsewhere in the state. I know people who have lost cherished family homes. Entire communities have been uprooted. And, of course, these fires are devastating to the wildlife and the beautiful land itself. I know California, Oregon and other western states have been going through similar ordeals. Heartbreaking.

Thinking about these fires returns me to my love of the natural world, reminding me what nature represents, how it expresses the divine vastness and interconnectedness.

From Nature and her overflowing soul,
I had received so much…

This is a poem worth repeating. Speak it aloud. Feel the sound of it resonating in the air.

when with bliss ineffable
I felt the sentiment of Being spread
O’er all that moves and all that seemeth still;
O’er all that, lost beyond the reach of thought
And human knowledge, to the human eye
Invisible, yet liveth to the heart;
O’er all that leaps and runs, and shouts and sings,
Or beats the gladsome air; o’er all that glides
Beneath the wave, yea, in the wave itself,
And mighty depth of waters.

…beats the gladsome air…

When we remember, we recognize the natural world as the foundational ground upon which our endless physical and mental creations rest. It is the deep green embrace which is our shared home.

Communing in this sort through earth and heaven
With every form of creature, as it looked
Towards the Uncreated with a countenance
Of adoration, with an eye of love.
One song they sang

It is where we rediscover our song within the upraised voice of life.

Have a beautiful day!


Recommended Books: William Wordsworth

The Longing in Between: Sacred Poetry from Around the World (A Poetry Chaikhana Anthology) Poetry for the Spirit: Poems of Universal Wisdom and Beauty The Oxford Book of English Mystical Verse Complete Poetical Works William Wordsworth: Selected Poems
More Books >>


William Wordsworth, William Wordsworth poetry, Secular or Eclectic poetry William Wordsworth

England (1770 – 1850) Timeline
Secular or Eclectic

William Wordsworth was one of the fathers of the Romantic poetry movement. His poetry often discovers meditative insights and transcendence within the natural world.

Wordsworth was born in the scenic Lake District of northwest England. His father acted as a legal representative to the Earl of Lonsdale, a position which provided his family with a prosperous living and a mansion. His mother died while William was still a child, and he was sent away to grammar school. He went on to study at Cambridge, receiving his B.A. degree at the age of 21. Prior to graduation, Wordsworth took a walking tour of Europe, particularly reveling in the beauty of the Alps.

After graduation, in the early 1790s, Wordsworth spent time in Revolutionary France, imbibing the country’s idealism.

He briefly moved to Germany with his sister, Dorothy, and fellow poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge, eventually returning to England and settling once more in the Lake District.

William married and had five children.

Wordsworth began to publish poetry in the mid 1790s. Among his most loved poems are “Tintern Abbey,” “Ode: Intimations of Immortality from Recollections of Early Childhood,” and “The Prelude.”

Wordsworth received honorary doctorates from Durham and Oxford Universities. In 1843 he was named England’s Poet Laureate.

He died of lung disease in 1850. His widow, Mary, published his long autobiographical poem The Prelude posthumously.

More poetry by William Wordsworth

Share this page ~

One response so far

One Response to “William Wordsworth – Thus while the days flew by”

  1. Ruth Factoron 30 Oct 2020 at 2:16 pm

    Thank you. This was a lovely choice for this difficult time, on so many levels: the fires, the virus, the un-elevated behavior of people who cannot see that we are all one. It’s helpful to be reminded of something larger, more fundamental, and more enduring — the natural world.

Trackback URI | Comments RSS

Leave a Reply