Danish Boy, The: A Fragment

William Wordsworth


Between two sister moorland rills 
There is a spot that seems to lie 
Sacred to flowerets of the hills, 
And sacred to the sky. 
And in this smooth and open dell 
There is a tempest-stricken tree; 
A corner-stone by lightning cut, 
The last stone of a lonely hut; 
And in this dell you see 
A thing no storm can e'er destroy, 
The shadow of a Danish Boy. 


In clouds above, the lark is heard, 
But drops not here to earth for rest; 
Within this lonesome nook the bird 
Did never build her nest. 
No beast, no bird hath here his home; 
Bees, wafted on the breezy air, 
Pass high above those fragrant bells 
To other flowers:--to other dells 
Their burthens do they bear; 
The Danish Boy walks here alone: 
The lovely dell is all his own. 


A Spirit of noon-day is he; 
Yet seems a form of flesh and blood; 
Nor piping shepherd shall he be, 
Nor herd-boy of the wood. 
A regal vest of fur he wears, 
In colour like a raven's wing; 
It fears not rain, nor wind, nor dew; 
But in the storm 'tis fresh and blue 
As budding pines in spring; 
His helmet has a vernal grace, 
Fresh as the bloom upon his face. 


A harp is from his shoulder slung; 
Resting the harp upon his knee, 
To words of a forgotten tongue 
He suits its melody. 
Of flocks upon the neighbouring hill 
He is the darling and the joy; 
And often, when no cause appears, 
The mountain-ponies prick their ears, 
--They hear the Danish Boy, 
While in the dell he sings alone 
Beside the tree and corner-stone. 


There sits he; in his face you spy 
No trace of a ferocious air, 
Nor ever was a cloudless sky 
So steady or so fair. 
The lovely Danish Boy is blest 
And happy in his flowery cove: 
From bloody deeds his thoughts are far; 
And yet he warbles songs of war, 
That seem like songs of love, 
For calm and gentle is his mien; 
Like a dead Boy he is serene.

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