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The Oxford Handbook of William Wordsworth

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IN the dense tracts of woodland that stretch south from Esthwaite Water, a young boy pauses amidst a copse of hazel. His chest heaves; his heart races. Brake, bramble, and thorn. Exhaustion and expectation gather in each breath, course through his body and deeper still into his soul. He eyes the trees, fingers the milk-white flowers that hang in clusters, and knows joy. His breathing slows. Leaves murmur in the breeze. His heart fills with kindness. Taking up the crook that lies in the long grass, he swings it wide. Petals fill the air, swirl around him like snow. The hazels give themselves up. Sweat beads his brow as the boy swings the crook again, and again, and again, pulling the branches to earth.


204-220, The Oxford Handbook of William Wordsworth by/edited by , 2015, reproduced by permission of Oxford University Press;