William Wordsworth

1770-1850 / Cumberland / England

Alas! What Boots The Long Laborious Quest

ALAS! what boots the long laborious quest
Of moral prudence, sought through good and ill;
Or pains abstruse-to elevate the will,
And lead us on to that transcendent rest
Where every passion shall the sway attest
Of Reason, seated on her sovereign hill;
What is it but a vain and curious skill,
If sapient Germany must lie deprest,
Beneath the brutal sword?-Her haughty Schools
Shall blush; and may not we with sorrow say-
A few strong instincts and a few plain rules,
Among the herdsmen of the Alps, have wrought
More for mankind at this unhappy day
Then all the pride of intellect and thought?
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