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Well the Vagabond remembers when Wordsworth used to make his young heart leap up almost as effusively as the well-known rainbow in the sky seems to have affected the poet himself. There was the romanticism in the poet's pep talks which many a time sent the credulous Vagabond scampering into the vernal woods seeking that all-instructive impulse and the rather abstruse wisdom of the woodland linnet. Though the Vagabond returned from these escapades usually not a whit wiser, still he feels the chase was worth the leather; even if today he does think differently.
As the Vagabond turns the worn pages of his Wordsworth this morning the old fellow's heart seems to leap no more. The poet appears to be too eager about the exact size of a newly dug grave:
"But yet I know, where'er I go,
That there bath passed away a glory from the earth."
The spark for the old fellow is gone. And even as the poet in his famous ode on immortality asks what has become of the freshness of that dream which appareled the earth so beautifully, the Vagabond wonders,--as he regrets the passing--what has become of his youthful love for a poet whom he followed at one time so zealously:
"Whither is fled the visionary gleam?
Where is it now, the glory and the dream?"
It is even this question in the Vagabond's mind that suggests perhaps the old masters are right: Plato, Coleridge, Wordsworth. Perhaps there is a magisterial sanctity of childhood, when:
"Heaven lies about us in our infancy!" Perhaps
"Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting:" of a previous and persumably superior state of existence. Perhaps
"The child is father of the man."
Whatever the case, be assured the happy Vagabond will not fret too much about it. Professor Lowes is lecturing on the Odes of Wordsworth today at 12 in the Fogg large Room. Those interested will find a stimulating lecture. As for the Vagabond, there are happier thoughts. Immortality? Perhaps the poet is right. But have you seen the foliage? It's on the wane.
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