With trembling oars I turned

The Stolen Boat - The Prelude

 




craggy
rotsig
an elfin pinnacce
een kleine boot
I rose upon the stroke
om extra kracht te zetten, ging de jongen steeds staan als hij aan de riemen trok
as with voluntary power instinct
alsof hij een eigen wil had
upreared its head
de jongen roeit weg van een berg waarachter hij - door de verschuivende zichtlijn - plotseling een andere, hogere berg ziet oprijzen
covert
schuilplaats
mooring-place
aanlegplaats
bark
roeiboot
dim
vaag

 

 


One summer evening, led by Nature, I found
A little boat tied to a willow tree
Within a rocky cave, its usual home.
Straight I unloosed her chain, and stepping in
Pushed from the shore. It was an act of stealth
And troubled pleasure, nor without the voice
Of mountain-echoes did my boat move on;
Leaving behind her still, on either side,
Small cirkles glittering idly in the moon,
Until they melted all into one track
Of sparkling light. But now, like one who rows,
Proud of his skill, to reach a chosen point
With an unswerving line, I fixed my view
Upon the summit of a craggy ridge,
The horizon's utmost boundary; for above
Was nothing but the stars and the grey sky.
She was an elfin pinnace; lustily
I dipped my oars into the silent lake,
And, as I rose upon the stroke, my boat
Went heaving through the water like a swan;
When, from behind that craggy steep till then
The horizon's bound, a huge peak, black and huge,
As with voluntary power instinct
Upreared it's head. I struck and struck again,
And growing still in stature the grim shape,
Towered up between me and the stars, and still,
For so it seemed, with purpose of its own
And measured motion like a living thing,
Strode after me. With trembling oars I turned,
And through the silent water stole my way
Back to the covert of the willow tree;
There in her mooring-place I left my bark,-
And through the meadows homeward went, in grave
And serious mood; but after I had seen
That spectacle, for many days, my brain
Worked with a dim and undetermined sense
Of unknown modes of being; over my thoughts
There hung a darkness, call it solitude
Of blank desertion.
                                            
                                                                             The Prelude I (1850), 357-395

 

 
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