Lyrical ballads/Volume 2/A Character

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Lyrical ballads Volume II by William Wordsworth
A Character

A CHARACTER,

In the antithetical Manner.





I marvel how Nature could ever find space
For the weight and the levity seen in his face:
There's thought and no thought, and there's paleness and bloom,
And bustle and sluggishness, pleasure and gloom.


There's weakness, and strength both redundant and vain;
Such strength, as if ever affliction and pain
Could pierce through a temper that's soft to disease,
Would be rational peace—a philosopher's ease.


There's indifference, alike when he fails and succeeds,
And attention full ten times as much as there needs,
Pride where there's no envy, there's so much of joy;
And mildness, and spirit both forward and coy.


There's freedom, and sometimes a diffident stare
Of shame scarcely seeming to know that she's there.
There's virtue, the title it surely may claim,
Yet wants, heaven knows what, to be worthy the name.


What a picture! 'tis drawn without nature or art,
—Yet the Man would at once run away with your heart,
And I for five centuries right gladly would be
Such an odd, such a kind happy creature as he.