Poem 161 ± November 12, 2015

William Wordsworth
Surprised by Joy

Surprised by joy—impatient as the Wind
I turned to share the transport—Oh! with whom
But Thee, long buried in the silent Tomb,
That spot which no vicissitude can find?
Love, faithful love, recalled thee to my mind—
But how could I forget thee?—Through what power,
Even for the least division of an hour,
Have I been so beguiled as to be blind
To my most grievous loss!—That thought’s return
Was the worst pang that sorrow ever bore,
Save one, one only, when I stood forlorn,
Knowing my heart’s best treasure was no more;
That neither present time, nor years unborn
Could to my sight that heavenly face restore.

(c) The Wordsworth Trust; Supplied by The Public Catalogue FoundationWilliam Wordsworth (1770–1850) is the author, with Samuel Taylor Coleridge, of Lyrical Ballads (1798), a collection of poems that helped establish the Romantic movement in English literature. Wordsworth is perhaps best known for The Prelude, an autobiographical poem first published in 1850. This sonnet refers to the death of the poet’s daughter, Catherine, at three years of age in 1812. The date of composition is not known.

This poem is in the public domain.

Painting by Richard Carruthers (1792-1876) © The Wordsworth Trust; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation.