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In the frosty season

And in the frosty season, when the sun

Was set, and visible for many a mile

The cottage windows through the twilight blazed,

I heeded not their summons. Clear and loud

The village clock tolled six; I wheeled about

Proud and exulting, like an untired horse

That cares not for his home. All shod with steel

We hissed along the polished ice in games

Confederate, imitative of the chase

And woodland pleasures, the resounding horn,

The pack loud bellowing, and the hunted hare.

So through the darkness and the cold we flew,

And not a voice was idle. With the din,

Meanwhile, the precipices rang aloud;

The leafless trees and every icy crag

Tinkled like iron; while the distant hills

Into the tumult sent an alien sound

Of melancholy, not unnoticed, while the stars,

Eastward, were sparkling clear, and in the west

The orange sky of evening died away.


from The Prelude by William Wordsworth

What a marvellous description. The sunset, the cold, the skaters hissing through the dark. . .

Wordsworth moved poetry out of the 18th century and into 'the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings. . .recollected in tranquility'.

Childhood reflections are not always tranquil, but they occur in tranquility, I think, often in a suspended moment when the call of a bird at dusk or an old school cap transports us into the past. . .

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