Anecdote for Fathers by William Wordsworth

Updated: Dec 14, 2019





A flaw in all parents, and one not easily rectified, is the inadvertent expectation of cohesion between your child's view of the world and the parents.


In this poem by Wordsworth he gives you a hint as to how to identify and even rectify this mistake


In the discussion of this poem I also explain an important principle regarding romantic literature and poetry. Hint: It has to do with the way we look at waterfalls!

 

ANECDOTE FOR FATHERS,


Shewing how the art of lying may be taught


I have a boy of five years old;

His face is fair and fresh to see;

His limbs are cast in beauty's mould,

And dearly he loves me.


One morn we strolled on our dry walk,

Our quiet home all full in view,

And held such intermitted talk

As we are wont to do.


My thoughts on former pleasures ran;

I thought of Kilve's delightful shore,

Our pleasant home when spring began,

A long, long year before.


A day it was when I could bear

Some fond regrets to entertain;

With so much happiness to spare,

I could not feel a pain.


The green earth echoed to the feet

Of lambs that bounded through the glade,

From shade to sunshine, and as fleet

From sunshine back to shade.


Birds warbled round me -- and each trace

of inward sadness had its charm;

Kilve, thought I, was a favored place,

And so is Liswyn farm.


My boy beside me tripped, so slim

And graceful in his rustic dress!

And, as we talked, I questioned him,

In very idleness.


Now tell me, had you rather be,

I said, and took him by the arm,

On Kilve's smooth shore, by the green sea,

Or here at Liswyn farm?


In careless mood he looked at me,

While still I held him by the arm,

And said, At Kilve I'd rather be

Than here at Liswyn farm.


Now, little Edward, say why so:

My little Edward, tell me why. --

I cannot tell, I do not know. --

Why, this is strange, said I;


For, here are woods, hills smooth and warm:

There surely must some reason be

Why you would change sweet Liswyn farm

For Kilve by the green sea.


At this, my boy hung down his head,

He blushed with shame, nor made reply;

And three times to the child I said,

Why, Edward, tell me why?