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Carol Cates Parker wrote:
> 
> If memory is not betraying me from the time I last read this poem ages ago,
> I believe the sense of it was that the actually viewing of Mount Blanc did
> not live up to the expectation of what Wordsworth and his friend had
> envisioned the experience to be.  The "soul" of the mountain was in what
> they had believed they would feel on seeing it in reality.  On "behold(ing)
> the summit" they no more could hold the "living thought" of a vision that
> would be a meaningful to them because the mundane reality had spoiled the
> sight their imaginations had held, thus the soulessness.

That makes good sense. It gives body to the syntax of "usurping upon" a
"thought." It also suggests a 'subject rhyme' (by contrast) with the
'real experience' on the lake when he stole a boat and was frightened by
the peak looming up as he oared outward.

Thanks. 

Unless someone comes up with a convincing alternative I'll go with your
reading.

Carrol