Saturday, May 03, 2014

Bright as Polar Ice

Temptations from Roman Refinements
by William Wordsworth


Watch, and be firm! for, soul-subduing vice,
Heart-killing luxury, on your steps await.
Fair houses, baths, and banquets delicate,
And temples flashing, bright as polar ice,
Their radiance through the woods--may yet suffice
To sap your hardy virtue, and abate
Your love of Him upon whose forehead sate
The crown of thorns; whose life-blood flowed, the price
Of your redemption. Shun the insidious arts
That Rome provides, less dreading from her frown
Than from her wily praise, her peaceful gown,
Language, and letters;--these, though fondly viewed
As humanising graces, are but parts
And instruments of deadliest servitude!

One of the Ecclesiastical Sonnets, which with 142 sonnets in three series gives the history of the English church, from conjectural beginnings to the flurry of activity in Wordsworth's time. This one is toward the beginning, of course, being Sonnet VIII of the first series of sonnets.

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