Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
France: Vols. IX–X. 1876–79.



By William Wordsworth (1770–1850)

From “The Prelude

THROUGH Paris lay my readiest course, and there

Sojourning a few days, I visited,

In haste, each spot of old or recent fame,

The latter chiefly; from the field of Mars

Down to the suburbs of St. Antony,

And from Mont Martyr southward to the Dome

Of Geneviève. In both her clamorous halls,

The national synod and the Jacobins,

I saw the revolutionary power

Toss like a ship at anchor, rocked by storms;

The arcades I traversed, in the palace huge

Of Orleans; coasted round and round the line

Of tavern, brothel, gaming-house, and shop,

Great rendezvous of worst and best, the walk

Of all who had a purpose, or had not;

I stared and listened, with a stranger’s ears,

To hawkers and haranguers, hubbub wild!

And hissing Factionists with ardent eyes,

In knots, or pairs, or single. Not a look

Hope takes, or Doubt or Fear is forced to wear,

But seemed there present; and I scanned them all,

Watched every gesture uncontrollable,

Of anger and vexation and despite,

All side by side, and struggling face to face,

With gayety and dissolute idleness.

Where silent zephyrs sported with the dust

Of the Bastille, I sat in the open sun,

And from the rubbish gathered up a stone,

And pocketed the relic, in the guise

Of an enthusiast; yet, in honest truth,

I looked for something that I could not find,

Affecting more emotion than I felt;

For ’t is most certain that these various sights,

However potent their first shock, with me

Appeared to recompense the traveller’s pains

Less than the painted Magdalene of Le Brun,

A beauty exquisitely wrought, with hair

Dishevelled, gleaming eyes, and rueful cheek

Pale and bedropped with ever-flowing tears.