Wordsworth composes "On a Portrait of the Duke of Wellington"

Haydon portrait of WellingtonOn 31 August 1840, William Wordsworth composed the sonnet, "On a Portrait of the Duke of Wellington upon the Field of Waterloo, by Haydon."  The poem is a companion to his earlier 11 June 1831 sonnet, "To B.R. Haydon, on Seeing His Picture of Napoleon Buonaparte on the Island of St. Helena."  Wordsworth informed Isabella Fenwick in 1843 that he composed the sonnet while ascending Helvellyn with his daughter (on horseback) and her husband.  In response to this sonnet, Haydon began a portrait of Wordsworth, which he sent to Elizabeth Barrett Browning for her to view before he completed it. Elizabeth Barrett Browning wrote her own sonnet, "On a Portrait of Wordsworth," as a result.  Image:  Benjamin Robert Haydon, Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington (National Portrait Gallery).  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 Wordsworth's sonnet:

By Art's bold privilege Warrior and War-horse stand
On ground yet strewn with their last battle's wreck;
Let the Steed glory while his Master's hand
Lies fixed for ages on his conscious neck;
But by the Chieftain's look, though at his side
Hangs that day's treasured sword, how firm a check
Is given to triumph and all human pride!
Yon trophied Mound shrinks to a shadowy speck
In his calm presence! Him the mighty deed
Elates not, brought far nearer the grave's rest,
As shows that time-worn face, for he such seed
Has sown as yields, we trust, the fruit of fame
In Heaven; hence no one blushes for thy name,
Conqueror, 'mid some sad thoughts, divinely blest!

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