These vespers of another year

The sylvan slopes with corn-clad fields
Are hung, as if with golden shields,
Bright trophies of the sun!
Like a fair sister of the sky,
Unruffled doth the blue lake lie,
The mountains looking on.

And, sooth to say, yon vocal grove,
Albeit uninspired by love,
By love untaught to ring,
May well afford to mortal ear
An impulse more profoundly dear
Than music of the Spring.

For that from turbulence and heat
Proceeds, from some uneasy seat
In nature’s struggling frame,
Some region of impatient life:
And jealousy, and quivering strife,
Therein a portion claim.

This, this is holy;—while I hear
These vespers of another year,
This hymn of thanks and praise,
My spirit seems to mount above
The anxieties of human love,
And earth’s precarious days.

But list!—though winter storms be nigh,
Unchecked is that soft harmony:
There lives Who can provide
For all His creatures; and in Him,
Even like the radiant Seraphim,
These choristers confide.

William Wordsworth
September 1819

4 Replies to “These vespers of another year”

  1. Very nice! It’s interesting that the first line has a cognate of ‘Silouan’, whose feast we celebrate on the Old Calendar today. The hymn I’ve quoted in my post contains a pun on the name!

  2. Yes, exactly! I’d missed that connection entirely!

    Silvanus was anciently pronounced silwanus, just as it’s preserved in the Greek. The y in the English sylvan seems to be poetic license of a sort!

    The hefty Lewis & Short gives three definitions for Silvānus:
    1.) Silvanus, a deity presiding over woods and all places planted with trees, the god of woods, the rural Mars.
    2.) Transf., plur., the gods of woods and fields, sylvan deities, sylvans
    3.) A Roman proper name

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