I believe this poem, Personal Talk sums up William Wordsworth's emulation of Samuel Taylor Coleridge's mind that, as he described, could, "...startle other minds out of the ordinariness which so easily besets most men and besets at fitful intervals even genius." (H.W. Garrod, Wordsworth p. 139). Was he speaking for the Romantic Monastic in all artists? Have not we all become aesthetically nauseated at the cow-pies served to us on a daily basis? Ironically, after this poem was published in Poems in Two Volumes, in 1807; his introspective qualities took him to that ordinariness, more than other peers, even though he succeeded Robert Southey as Poet Laureate in 1843.


                                  I

I am not One who much or oft delight
To season my fireside with personal talk,---
Of friends, who live within an easy walk,
  Or neighbors, daily, weekly in my sight:
And, for any chance-acquaintance, ladies
      bright
Sons, mothers, maidens withering on the
      stalk,
These all wear out of me, like Forms, with
      chalk
Painted on rich men's floors, for one feast-
      chalk
Painted on rich men's floors, for one feast
      night.
Better than such discourse doth silence long,
Long, barren silence, square with my desire;
To sit without emotion, hope, or aim,
In the loved presence of my cottage-fire,
And listen to the flapping of the flame,
Or kettle whispering its faint undersong.

                                 II

"Yet life," you say, "is life: we have seen
      and see.
And with a living pleasure we describe;
And fits of sprightly malice do but bribe
The languid mind into activity.
Sound sense, and love itself; and mirth and
      glee
Are fostered by the comment and the gibe."
Even be it so; yet still among your tribe,
Our daily world's true Worldlings, rank not
      me!
Children are bless'd, and powerful; their
      world lies
More justly balanced; partly at their fee, in
And part far from them;---sweetest melodies
Are those that are by distance made more
      sweet;
Whose mind is but the mind of his own eyes,
He is a Slave; the meanest we can meet!

                                 III

Wings have we,---and as far as we can go,
We may find pleasure: wilderness and wood,
Blank ocean and mere sky, support that
      mood
Which with the lofty sanctifies the low.
Dreams, books, are each a world; and books,
      we know
Are a substantial world, both pure and good;
Round these, with tendrils, strong as flesh
      and blood,
our pastime and our happiness will grow,
There find I personal themes, a plenteous
      store,
Matter wherein right voluble I am,
To which I listen with a ready ear;
Two shall be named, pre-eminently dear,---
The gentle Lady married to the Moor,
And heavenly Una with her milk-white
      Lamb.

                                 IV

Nor can I not believe but that hereby
Great gains are mine; for thus I live remote
From evil-speaking; rancor, never sought,
Comes to me not; malignant truth, or lie.
Hence have I genial seasons, hence have I
Smooth passions, smooth discourse, and joy--
      ous thought:
And thus from day to day my little boat
Rocks in its harbor, lodging peaceably,
Blessings be with them--and eternal praise,
Who gave us nobler loves, and nobler cares---
The Poets, who on earth have made us heirs
Of truth and pure delight by heavenly lays!
Oh! might my name be numbered among
      theirs,
Then gladly would I end my mortal days.

----William Wordsworth

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