• John Williams
Part of the Critical Issues book series (CRTI)


In The Prelude Book IV the poet looks out across a lake from a ‘sheltered coppice’. He is alone; even his dog has gone. In the silence, it seems, he hears the breathing of Nature itself:


The mountain heights were slowly overspread

With darkness, and before a rippling breeze

The long lake lengthened out its hoary line

And in the sheltered coppice where I sate

Around me, from among the hazel leaves —

Now here, now there, stirred by the straggling wind —

Came intermittingly a breath-like sound

A respiration short and quick, which oft

Yea, might I say, again and yet again

Mistaking for the panting of my dog

The off-and-on companion of my walk

I turned my head to look if he were there.

(Prelude IV, 134, 168–80)


Literary History Public Road Mountain Height Romantic Poet Barren Silence 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Jerome J. McGann, The Romantic Ideology: A Critical Investigation ( Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press, 1983 ), p. 90.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Ralph Pite, Review of Wordsworth: A Life, by Juliet Barker (Viking, 2000), in The Times Higher Education Supplement, 24 August 2001, p. 24.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© John Williams 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • John Williams

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations