The French Revolution as It Appeared to Enthusiasts at Its Commencement

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Oh! pleasant exercise of hope and joy!For mighty were the auxiliars which then stoodUpon our side, we who were strong in love!Bliss was it in that dawn to be alive,But to be young was very heaven!--Oh! times,In which the meagre, stale, forbidding waysOf custom, law, and statute, took at onceThe attraction of a country in romance!When Reason seemed the most to assert her rights,When most intent on making of herselfA prime Enchantress--to assist the workWhich then was going forward in her name!Not favoured spots alone, but the whole earth,The beauty wore of promise, that which sets(As at some moment might not be unfeltAmong the bowers of paradise itself )The budding rose above the rose full blown.What temper at the prospect did not wakeTo happiness unthought of? The inertWere roused, and lively natures rapt away!They who had fed their childhood upon dreams,The playfellows of fancy, who had madeAll powers of swiftness, subtilty, and strengthTheir ministers,--who in lordly wise had stirredAmong the grandest objects of the sense,And dealt with whatsoever they found thereAs if they had within some lurking rightTo wield it;--they, too, who, of gentle mood,Had watched all gentle motions, and to theseHad fitted their own thoughts, schemers more wild,And in the region of their peaceful selves;--Now was it that both found, the meek and loftyDid both find, helpers to their heart's desire,And stuff at hand, plastic as they could wish;Wcre called upon to exercise their skill,Not in Utopia, subterranean fields,Or some secreted island, Heaven knows where!But in the very world, which is the worldOf all of us,--the place where in the endWe find our happiness, or not at all!

© William Wordsworth