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A Complaint -- William Wordsworth

Guest poem submitted by Suresh Ramasubramanian:
(Poem #759) A Complaint
 There is a change--and I am poor;
 Your love hath been, nor long ago,
 A fountain at my fond heart's door,
 Whose only business was to flow;
 And flow it did; not taking heed
 Of its own bounty, or my need.

 What happy moments did I count!
 Blest was I then all bliss above!
 Now, for that consecrated fount
 Of murmuring, sparkling, living love,
 What have I? Shall I dare to tell?
 A comfortless and hidden well.

 A well of love--it may be deep--
 I trust it is,--and never dry:
 What matter? If the waters sleep
 In silence and obscurity.
 --Such change, and at the very door
 Of my fond heart, hath made me poor.
-- William Wordsworth
Written circa 1806-1807.

This is in the classic ababcc format.

It is quite likely that his "changed friend" was Coleridge. Wordsworth met
him (after a gap of several years) in late 1806, and then for several months
in the winter of 1806 when Coleridge was a guest of the Wordsworths during
their stay at Colenorton, Sir George Beaumont's house in Leicestershire.

Coleridge was back in England after a long residence abroad, mostly in
Malta, trying to restore his health (which was severely affected by his
being addicted to opium).  Not that I'm being censorious here, he couldn't
have written Kubla Khan without that :) His health was, however,
irrepairably destroyed by his drug abuse.

Dorothy Wordsworth wrote: "never never did I feel such a shock as at the
first sight of him [in Oct. 1806]. We all felt exactly in the same way--as
if he were different from what we had expected to see...."

His appearance and physical health were not the only things that had changed
about him - his mental balance was also affected by the drugs.

Wordsworth's grief at the state to which Coleridge was reduced shines
through every line in this poem, as does his deep love for Coleridge.
As he says, his grief makes him poor, robs him of his happiness.


27 comments: ( or Leave a comment )

Bhimani said...

Quite pleasantly surprised to see that this one was by Wordsworth. I have
rarely seen Wordsworth write with! Personally, i mostly find
him to be quite a bore, simply harping on about nature and its grandeur and
such like... this was a sheer delight to read. Thank you.

Dinesh Sairam said...

@Bhimani: I think you haven't read many of WW's works. He's as much an emotional poet, so much as he's a nature poet.

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Wordsworth received an honorary Doctor of Civil Law degree in 1838 from Durham University, and the same honor from Oxford University the next year. In 1842 the government awarded him a civil list pension amounting to £300 a year. With the death in 1843 of Robert Southey, Wordsworth became the Poet Laureate.

viagra online said...

Pretty much, it's a very delicate and poetical way to say sometimes love can kick you right in the ass with a giant boot! Not the type of poetry I'm more inclined to read, but still I enjoyed it. Too bad it was so short!

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Anonymous said...

summary of the poem complaint

Anonymous said...

you people are all a bore, but william sure isnt! this is a very well written poem, that i quite enjoyed.
-Anna marie

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