Ambleside and Grasmere, Lake District, England, and a poem by William Wordsworth

November 2014

Ambleside, England

Ambleside, England

We arrived in Ambleside after 10 p.m. after a horrific day traveling from London by chartered bus. There had been rain and diverted traffic due to accidents involving trailer trucks on the highway. We had passed the time reading, watching Mrs. Potter on the DVD, and staring at stalled traffic jockeying for position a few meters at a time.

We stayed at the Thornyfield Guest House, a comfortable bed and breakfast overlooking a churchyard. The weather was cool and rainy, and the Lake District Hills were lovely in the mist.




Border Collies at Play in Grasmere

Border Collies at Play in Grasmere

To the Memory of the Same Dog

by William Wordsworth, 1805

LIE here, without a record of thy worth,
          Beneath a covering of the common earth!
          It is not from unwillingness to praise,
          Or want of love, that here no Stone we raise;
          More thou deserv'st; but 'this' man gives to man,
          Brother to brother, 'this' is all we can.
          Yet they to whom thy virtues made thee dear
          Shall find thee through all changes of the year:
          This Oak points out thy grave; the silent tree
          Will gladly stand a monument of thee.                       10
            We grieved for thee, and wished thy end were past;
          And willingly have laid thee here at last:
          For thou hadst lived till everything that cheers
          In thee had yielded to the weight of years;
          Extreme old age had wasted thee away,
          And left thee but a glimmering of the day;
          Thy ears were deaf, and feeble were thy knees,--
          I saw thee stagger in the summer breeze,
          Too weak to stand against its sportive breath,
          And ready for the gentlest stroke of death.                 20
          It came, and we were glad; yet tears were shed;
          Both man and woman wept when thou wert dead;
          Not only for a thousand thoughts that were,
          Old household thoughts, in which thou hadst thy share;
          But for some precious boons vouchsafed to thee,
          Found scarcely anywhere in like degree!
          For love, that comes wherever life and sense
          Are given by God, in thee was most intense;
          A chain of heart, a feeling of the mind,
          A tender sympathy, which did thee bind                      30
          Not only to us Men, but to thy Kind:
          Yea, for thy fellow-brutes in thee we saw
          A soul of love, love's intellectual law:--
          Hence, if we wept, it was not done in shame;
          Our tears from passion and from reason came,
          And, therefore, shalt thou be an honoured name!

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