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By Dorothy Wordsworth

Harmonious Powers with Nature work

On sky, earth, river, lake, and sea:

Sunshine and storm, whirlwind and breeze

All in one duteous task agree.


Once did I see a slip of earth,

By throbbing waves long undermined,

Loosed from its hold; — how no one knew

But all might see it float, obedient to the wind.


Might see it, from the mossy shore

Dissevered float upon the Lake,

Float, with its crest of trees adorned

On which the warbling birds their pastime take.


Food, shelter, safety there they find

There berries ripen, flowerets bloom;

There insects live their lives — and die:

A peopled world it is; in size a tiny room.


And thus through many seasons’ space

This little Island may survive

But Nature, though we mark her not,

Will take away — may cease to give.


Perchance when you are wandering forth

Upon some vacant sunny day

Without an object, hope, or fear,

Thither your eyes may turn — the Isle is passed away.


Buried beneath the glittering Lake!

Its place no longer to be found,

Yet the lost fragments shall remain,

To fertilize some other ground.


Poet Bio

Born in Cumberland, British Romantic poet and prose writer Dorothy Wordsworth was the third of five children. She remained particularly close with her brother, the poet William Wordsworth, and the siblings lived together in Dorset and Alfoxden before William married her best friend, Mary Hutchinson, in 1802. Thereafter Dorothy Wordsworth made her home with the couple. An avid naturalist, Wordsworth enjoyed daily nature walks with her brother, and images from the notes she took of these walks often recur in her brother’s poems. Most of her writing explores the natural world.

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