Written with a Slate-pencil, on a Stone, on the Side of the Mountain of Black Comb

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Written with a Slate-pencil, on a Stone, on the Side of the Mountain of Black Comb
by William Wordsworth
Published 1815. The surveyor referred to is generally identified as William Mudge.


          Stay, bold Adventurer; rest awhile thy limbs
          On this commodious Seat! for much remains
          Of hard ascent before thou reach the top
          Of this huge Eminence,—from blackness named,
          And, to far-travelled storms of sea and land,
          A favourite spot of tournament and war!
          But thee may no such boisterous visitants
          Molest; may gentle breezes fan thy brow;
          And neither cloud conceal, nor misty air
          Bedim, the grand terraqueous spectacle,
          From centre to circumference, unveiled!
          Know, if thou grudge not to prolong thy rest,
          That on the summit whither thou art bound,
          A geographic Labourer pitched his tent,
          With books supplied and instruments of art,
          To measure height and distance; lonely task,
          Week after week pursued!—To him was given
          Full many a glimpse (but sparingly bestowed
          On timid man) of Nature's processes
          Upon the exalted hills. He made report
          That once, while there he plied his studious work
          Within that canvas Dwelling, colours, lines,
          And the whole surface of the out-spread map,
          Became invisible: for all around
          Had darkness fallen—unthreatened, unproclaimed—
          As if the golden day itself had been
          Extinguished in a moment; total gloom,
          In which he sate alone, with unclosed eyes,
          Upon the blinded mountain's silent top!

This work published before January 1, 1923 is in the public domain worldwide because the author died at least 100 years ago.