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William Stanley Braithwaite, ed. The Book of Georgian Verse. 1909.

Personal Talk, I

William Wordsworth (1770–1850)

I AM not One who much or oft delight

To season my fireside with personal talk.—

Of friends, who live within an easy walk,

Or neighbours, daily, weekly, in my sight:

And, for my chance-acquaintance, ladies bright,

Sons, mothers, maidens, withering on the stalk,

These all wear out of me, like form with chalk

Painted on rich men’s floors for one feast-night.

Better than such discourse doth silence long,

Long, barren silence, square with my desire;

To sit without emotion, hope, or aim,

In the loved presence of my cottage-fire,

And listen to the flapping of the flame,

Or kettle whispering its faint undersong.