The Prelude Book 1
One summer evening (led by her) 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 circles 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; far 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 if with voluntary power instinct upreared its 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; o’er my thoughts there hung a darkness, call it solitude or blank desertion.
No familiar shapes remained, no pleasant images of trees, of sea or sky, no colours of green fields; but huge and mighty forms, that do not live like living men, moved slowly through the mind by day, and were a trouble to my dreams.
BLIGHT OF THE FUMBLE BEE