Poems and Extracts/Petition for an absolute Retreat

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Poems and Extracts by William Wordsworth
Petition for an absolute Retreat by Anne Finch, Countess of Winchelsea

Petition for an absolute Retreat.


Give me, O indulgent Fate!
Give me yet before I die
A sweet but absolute Retreat,
'Mongst paths so lost and trees so high,
That the world may ne'er invade,
Through such windings and such shade.
 My unshaken liberty.

No intruders thither come!
Who visit but to be from home.
None who their vain moments pass,  10
Only studious of their glass
News, that charm to listening ears
That false alarm to hopes and fears,


That common theme for every fop
From the Statesman to the shop
In those coverts ne'er be spread.
Of who's deceased or who's to wed
Be no tidings hither brought
But silent as a midnight thought,
Where the world may ne'er invade,  20
Be those windings and that shade:

Courteous Fate! afford me there
A table spread without my care,
With what the neighb'ring fields impart,
Whose cleanliness be all their art;
Courteous Fate then give me there
Only plain and wholesome fare.
Fruits indeed (would heaven bestow)
All that did in Eden grow;
All but the Forbidden Tree,  30
Would be covetted by me;


Grapes with juice so crowded up,
As breaking through their native cup,
Figs, yet growing, candied o'er,
By the sun's attracting power;
Cherries, with the downy peach
All within my easy reach;
Whilst creeping near the humble ground,
Should the strawberry be found
Springing wheresoe'er I strayed  40
Through those windings and that shade.

Give me there (since heaven has shewn
It was not good to be alone)
A partner suited to my mind,
Solitary, pleased, and kind;
Who, partially, may something see
Preferred to all the world in me;
Slighting by my humble side
Fame and splendor, wealth and pride.


When but two the earth possesst  50
'Twas their happiest days and best;
They by business, nor by wars,
They by no domestic cares,
From each other e'er were drawn,
But in some grove or flowery lawn,
Spent the swiftly-flying time
Spent their own and natures prime
In love; that only passion given
To perfect man whilst friends with heaven.—
Rage and jealousies and hate,  60
Transports of his fallen state,
When by Satan's wiles betrayed
Fly those windings and that shade.