View Full Version : The Old Cumberland Beggar by William Wordsworth

03-Apr-07, 08:18
The Old Cumberland Beggar (a few lines )
by William Wordsworth.

I saw an aged Beggar in my walk
And he was seated by the highway side
On a low structure of rude masonry
Built at the foot of a huge hill, that they
Who lead their horses down the steep rough road
May thence remount at ease. The aged Man
Had placed his staff across the broad smooth stone
That overlays the pile; and, from a bag
All white with flour, the dole of village dames,
He drew his scraps and fragments, one by one.
And scanned them with a fixed and serious look
Of idle computation.....

(last verse)
And let him 'where' and 'when' he will, sit down
Beneath the trees, or on a grassy bank
Of highway side, and with the little birds
Share his chance-gathered meal; and, finally,
As in the eye of Nature he has lived,
So in the eye of Nature let him die !

The complete work can be found at www.bartleby.com/145/ww138.html (http://www.bartleby.com/145/ww138.html).

In Margaret Drabble's book ''Literature in Perspective. Wordsworth'' she reminds us

''........full of a deep feeling for the helplessness and dignity of age, and yet quite without sentimentality...
The picture of the old beggar, sitting and eating his scraps, with his hands trembling so much he cannot help but drop crumbs for the birds, is beautifully observed, with great attention to detail, yet it is a sight that can still be seen on many a park bench today. Much of Wordworth's originality lies in the fact that he was one of the first writers to pay serious attention to such things, and one of the
very few able to turn them into poetry.''