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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
England: Vols. I–IV. 1876–79.

Duddon, the River

The Stepping-Stones

By William Wordsworth (1770–1850)

THE STRUGGLING rill insensibly is grown

Into a brook of loud and stately march,

Crossed ever and anon by plank or arch;

And, for like use, lo! what might seem a zone

Chosen for ornament,—stone matched with stone

In studied symmetry, with interspace

For the clear waters to pursue their race

Without restraint. How swiftly have they flown,

Succeeding,—still succeeding! Here the child

Puts, when the high-swollen flood runs fierce and wild,

His budding courage to the proof; and here

Declining manhood learns to note the sly

And sure encroachments of infirmity,

Thinking how fast time runs, life’s end how near!