In this installment, Geoffrey Brock reads “England, 1802” by William Wordsworth. Brock is the author of Weighing Light (Ivan R. Dee, 2005) and the translator of books by Cesare Pavese, Roberto Calasso, and Umberto Eco. He has held a Wallace Stegner Fellowship, an NEA Fellowship, and a Guggenheim Fellowship, and he is on the faculty of the Programs in Creative Writing and Translation at the University of Arkansas. His website is www.geoffreybrock.com.
William Wordsworth, "England, 1802"
MILTON! thou shouldst be living at this hour:
England hath need of thee: she is a fen
Of stagnant waters: altar, sword, and pen,
Fireside, the heroic wealth of hall and bower,
Have forfeited their ancient English dower
Of inward happiness. We are selfish men;
O raise us up, return to us again,
And give us manners, virtue, freedom, power!
Thy soul was like a Star, and dwelt apart;
Thou hadst a voice whose sound was like the sea:
Pure as the naked heavens, majestic, free,
So didst thou travel on life's common way,
In cheerful godliness; and yet thy heart
The lowliest duties on herself did lay.