Wordsworth composes "To B.R. Haydon, on Seeing His Picture of Napoleon"

Haydon portrait of NapoleonOn 11 June 1831, William Wordsworth composed the sonnet, "To B.R. Haydon, on Seeing His Picture of Napoleon Buonaparte on the Island of St. Helena," in response to Benjamin Robert Haydon's portrait of Napoleon, pictured here. Image:  Benjamin Robert Haydon, Napoleon Musing at St Helena.  This work is in the public domain in its country of origin and other countries and areas where the copyright term is the author's life plus 100 years or less.  Here is the sonnet:

HAYDON! let worthier judges praise the skill
Here by thy pencil shown in truth of lines
And charm of colours; I applaud those signs
Of thought, that give the true poetic thrill;
That unencumbered whole of blank and still,
Sky without cloud—ocean without a wave;
And the one Man that laboured to enslave
The World, sole-standing high on the bare hill—
Back turned, arms folded, the unapparent face
Tinged, we may fancy, in this dreary place
With light reflected from the invisible sun
Set, like his fortunes; but not set for aye
Like them. The unguilty Power pursues his way,
And before him doth dawn perpetual run.

Associated Place(s)

Event date:

Jun 1831 to 1831