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The removal of the poet to Rydal was marked ciate, and who looked up to him with a sort of by an incident of considerable importance in his filial veneration and respect. He has drawn his personal history. Through the influence of the poetical character at length in the Biographia Earl of Lonsdale, he was appointed distributor of Literaria, and if we consider it as applying to the stamps in the county of Westmoreland, which higher characteristics of Wordsworth, without added greatly to his income, without engrossing reference to the absurdity or puerility of some of all his time. He was now placed beyond the his early fables, incidents, and language, it will be frowns of Fortune-if Fortune can ever be said to found equally just and felicitous. First, An have frowned on one so independent of her smiles. austere purity of language, both grammatically The subsequent works of the poet were numerous and logically ; in short, a perfect appropriateness
- The White Doe of Rylstone, a romantic narrative of the words to the meaning. Secondly, A corpoem, yet coloured with his peculiar genius ; respondent weight and sanity of the thoughts and Sonnets on the River Duddon ; The Waggoner; sentiments won, not from books, but from the Peter Bell; Ecclesiastical Sketches; Yarrow Re- poet's own meditations. They are fresh, and visited; &c. Having made repeated tours in have the dew upon them. Even throughout his Scotland and on the continent, the poet diversified smaller poems, there is not one which is not his subjects with descriptions of particular scenes, rendered valuable by some just and original relocal manners, legends, and associations. The fection. Thirdly, The sinewy strength and originwhole of his works were arranged by their author ality of single lines and paragraphs, the frequent according to their respective subjects; as Poems curiosa felicitas of his diction. Fourthly, The referring to the Period of Childhood; Poems perfect truth of nature in his images and descripfounded on the Affections ; Poems of the Fancy; tions, as taken immediately from nature, and Poems of the Imagination, &c. This classifica- proving a long and genial intimacy with the very tion is often arbitrary and capricious; but it was spirit which gives a physiognomic expression to one of the conceits of Wordsworth, that his poems all the works of nature. Fifthly, a meditative should be read in a certain continuous order, to pathos, a union of deep and subtle thought with give full effect to his system. Thus classified and sensibility : a sympathy with man as man ; the published, the poet's works formed six volumes. sympathy, indeed, of a contemplator rather than A seventh, consisting of poems written very early a fellow-sufferer and co-mate (spectator, haud and very late in life-as is stated-and the tragedy particeps), but of a contemplator from whose which had long lain past the author, were added view no difference of rank conceals the sameness in 1842. The tragedy is not happy, for Words of the nature; no injuries of wind or weather, or worth had less dramatic power than any other toil, or even of ignorance, wholly disguise the contemporary poet. In the drama, however, both human face divine. Last, and pre-eminently, I Scott and Byron failed ; and Coleridge, with his challenge for this poet the gift of imagination in fine imagination and pictorial expression, was the highest and strictest sense of the word. In only a shade more successful.
the play of fancy, Wordsworth, to my feelings, The latter years of Wordsworth's life were is always graceful, and sometimes recondite. gladdened by his increasing fame, by academic The likeness is occasionally too strange, or dehonours conferred upon him by the universities of mands too peculiar a point of view, or is such as Durham and Oxford, by his appointment to the appears the creature of predetermined research, office of poet-laureate on the death of his friend rather than spontaneous presentation. Indeed, Southey in 1843, and by a pension from the crown his fancy seldom displays itself as mere and of £300 per annum. In 1847, he was shaken by unmodified fancy. But in imaginative power he a severe domestic calamity, the death of his only stands nearest of all modern writers to Shakspeare daughter, Dora, Mrs Quillinan. This lady was and Milton, and yet in a mind perfectly unborworthy of her sire. Shortly before her death she rowed, and his own. To employ his own words, published anonymously a Journal of a Residence which are at once an instance and an illustration, in Portugal, whither she had gone in pursuit of he does indeed, to all thoughts and to all objectshealth.* Having attained to the great age of
Add the gleam, eighty, in the enjoyment of generally robust health
The light that never was on sea or land, (most of his poems were composed in the open The consecration and the poet's dream.' air), Wordsworth died on the 23d of April 1850– the anniversary of St George, the patron saint of The fame of Wordsworth was daily extending, as England and was interred by the side of his we have said, before his death. The few ridicudaughter in the beautiful churchyard of Grasmere. lous or puerile passages which excited so much
One of the most enthusiastic admirers of Words-sarcasm, parody, and derision, had been partly worth was Coleridge, so long his friend and asso- removed by himself, or were by his admirers
either quietly overlooked, or considered as mere • Mr Edward Quillinan, son-in-law of Wordsworth, was a native idiosyncrasies of the poet that provoked a smile, of Oporto, but was educated in England. He was one of Words- while his higher attributes commanded admiration, worth's most constant admirers, and was himself, a poet of and he had secured a new generation of readers. considerable talent, and an accomplished scholar. He was first married to a daughter of Sir Egerton Brydges, and having A tribe of worshippers, in the young poets of the quitted the army, he settled in the Lake country. There Mrs day, had arisen to do him homage, and in some Quillinan died by an unfortunate accident-her dress having instances they carried the feeling to a wild but family took great interest. In 1841, the intimacy between Dora pardonable excess. Many of his former depreciWordsworth and Mr Quillinan, whích 'first sprang out of the ators also joined the ranks of his admirers-partly root of grief,' was crowned by their marriage. She lived only because in his late works the poet did himself suddenly in 1851. A volume of his Poems was published in 1853, more justice both in his style and subjects. He and part of a translation of the Lusiad, which no man in England is too intellectual, and too little sensuous, to use could have done so well. He was also engaged on a translation of the History of Portugal by Scnor Herculano.
the phrase of Milton, ever to become generally
popular, unless in some of his smaller pieces. Dear God! the very houses seem asleep; His peculiar sensibilities cannot be relished by And all that mighty heart is lying still! all. His poetry, however, is of various kinds.
On King's College Chapel, Cambridge. Forgetting his own theory as to the proper subjects of poetry, he ventured on the loftiest
Tax not the royal saint with vain expense, themes, and in calm sustained elevation of thought,
With ill-matched aims the architect who planned, appropriate imagery, and intense feeling, he often
Albeit labouring for a scanty band reminds the reader of the sublime strains of
Of white-robed scholars only, this immense
And glorious work of fine intelligence ! Milton. His Laodamia, the Vernal Ode, the Ode
Give all thou canst ; high Heaven rejects the lore to Lycoris and Dion, are pure and richly classic
Of nicely calculated less or more ; poems in conception and diction. Many of his So deemed the man who fashioned for the sense sonnets have also a chaste and noble simplicity. These lofty pillars, spread that branching roof In these short compositions, his elevation and Self-poised, and scooped into ten thousand cells, power as a poet are perhaps more remarkably Where light and shade repose, where music dwells displayed than in any of his other productions. Lingering--and wandering on, as loath to die; They possess a winning sweetness or simple Like thoughts whose very sweetness yieldeth proof grandeur, without the most distant approach to
That they were born for immortality. antithesis or straining for effect; while that tendency to prolixity and diffuseness which His Intimations of Immortality, and Lines on characterises his longer poems, is repressed by Tintern Abbey, are the finest examples of his rapt the necessity for brief and rapid thought and imaginative style, blending metaphysical truth concise expression, imposed by the nature of the with diffuse gorgeous description and metaphor. sonnet. It is no exaggeration to say that Milton | His simpler effusions are pathetic and tender. alone has surpassed –if even he has surpassed— He has little strong passion ; but in one piece, some of the noble sonnets of Wordsworth dedi- Vaudracour and Julia, he has painted the passion cated to liberty and inspired by patriotism.
of love with more warmth than might be antici
pated from his abstract idealism : Sonnets.
His present mind
Was under fascination; he beheld
A vision, and adored the thing he saw.
Arabian fiction never filled the world England hath need of thee ; she is a fen
With half the wonders that were wrought for him. Of stagnant waters ; altar, sword, and pen,
Earth breathed in one great presence of the spring ; Fireside, the heroic wealth of hall and bower
Life turned the meanest of her implements Have forfeited their ancient English dower
Before his eyes, to price above all gold; Of inward happiness. We are selfish men;
The house she dwelt in was a sainted shrine ; Oh! raise us up, return to us again;
Her chamber window did surpass in glory And give us manners, virtue, freedom, power.
The portals of the dawn; all paradise Thy soul was like a star, and dwelt apart;
Could, by the simple opening of a door, Thou hadst a voice whose sound was like the sea ; Let itself in upon him ; pathways, walks, Pure as the naked heavens-majestic, free,
Swarmed with enchantment, till his spirit sank, So didst thou travel on life's common way
Surcharged within him-overblest to move In cheerful godliness; and yet thy heart
Beneath a sun that wakes a weary world The lowliest duties on herself didst lay.
To its dull round of ordinary cares ;
A man too happy for mortality ! The World is Too Much with Us. The world is too much with us ; late and soon, The lovers parted under circumstances of danger, Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers : but had a stolen interview at night : Little we see in nature that is ours; We have given our hearts away, a sordid boon!
Through all her courts This sea that bares her bosom to the moon,
The vacant city slept ; the busy winds, The winds that will be howling at all hours,
That keep no certain intervals of rest, And are up-gathered now like sleeping flowers ;
Moved not; meanwhile the galaxy displayed For this, for everything, we are out of tune ;
Her fires, that like mysterious pulses beat It moves us not. Great God! I'd rather be
Aloft-momentous but uneasy bliss ! A pagan suckled in a creed outworn ;
To their full hearts the universe seemed hung So might I, standing on this pleasant lea,
On that brief meeting's slender filament !
This is of the style of Ford or Massinger. Living Or hear old Triton blow his wreathed horn.
mostly apart from the world, and nursing with
solitary complacency his poetical system, and all Composed upon Westminster Bridge, September 3, 1803.
that could bear upon his works and pursuits as a Earth has not anything to shew more fair :
poet, Wordsworth fell into those errors of taste, Dull would he be of soul who could pass by
and that want of discrimination, to which we have A sight so touching in its majesty :
already alluded. His most puerile ballads and This city now doth like a garment wear The beauty of the morning ; silent, bare,
attempts at humour were apparently as much
prized by him, and classed with the same nicety Ships, towers, domes, theatres, and temples lie Open unto the fields and to the sky,
and care, as the most majestic of his conceptions, All bright and glittering in the smokeless air.
or the most natural and beautiful of his descripNever did sun more beautifully steep,
tions. The art of condensation was also rarely In his first splendour, valley, rock, or hill ;
practised by him. But if the poet's retirement or Ne'er saw I, never felt, a calm so deep!
peculiar disposition was a cause of his weakness, The river glideth at his own sweet will :
it was also one of the sources of his strength. It left him untouched by the artificial or me- “You say that two at Conway dwell, chanical tastes of his age; it gave an originality
And two are gone to sea, to his conceptions and to the whole colour of his Yet ye are seven! I pray you tell, thoughts ; and it completely imbued him with
Sweet maid, how this may be ?' that purer antique life and knowledge of the Then did the little maid reply, phenomena of nature—the sky, lakes, and moun
'Seven boys and girls are we ; tains of his native district, in all their tints and Two of us in the churchyard lie, forms—which he has depicted with such power
Beneath the churchyard tree.' and enthusiasm. A less complacent poet would have been chilled by the long neglect and ridicule
•You run about, my little maid, he experienced. His spirit was self-supported,
Your limbs they are alive ;
If two are in the churchyard laid, and his genius, at once observant and meditative,
Then ye are only five.' was left to shape out its own creations, and extend its sympathies to that world which lay beyond •Their graves are green, they may be seen,' his happy mountain solitude.
The little maid replied,
And they are side by side.
My stockings there I often knit,
My kerchief there I hem,
And there upon the ground I sit-
I sit and sing to them.
And often after sunset, sir,
When it is light and fair,
I take my little porringer,
And eat my supper there.
"The first that died was little Jane;
In bed she moaning lay,
Till God released her
of her pain,
And then she went away.
"So in the churchyard she was laid ;
And when the grass was dry,
Together round her grave we played
My brother John and I.
And when the ground was white with snow,
And I could run and slide,
My brother John was forced to go
And he lies by her side.'
“How many are you then,' said I,
'If they two are in heaven ?' The difference to me!
The little maiden did reply,
O master! we are seven.'
• But they are dead ; those two are dead!
Their spirits are in heaven!'
'Twas throwing words away; for still,
The little maid would have her will,
And said, 'Nay, we are seven !'
She was a phantom of delight
When first she gleamed upon my sight;
A lovely apparition, sent
To be a moment's ornament ;
Her eyes as stars of twilight fair ;
Like twilight's, too, her dusky hair ;
But all things else about her drawn
From May-time and the cheersul dawn ;
A dancing shape, an image gay,
To haunt, to startle, and waylay.
I saw her upon nearer view,
A spirit, yet a woman too !
Her household motions light and free,
And steps of virgin liberty ;
A countenance in which did meet
Sweet records, promises as sweet;
A creature not too bright or good
For human nature's daily food ;
For transient sorrows, simple wiles,
Praise, blame, love, kisses, tears, and smiles.
And now I see with eye serene
And somewhat of a sad perplexity, The very pulse of the machine ;
The picture of the mind revives again : A being breathing thoughtful breath,
While here I stand, not only with the sense A traveller between life and death ;
Of present pleasure, but with pleasing thoughts The reason firm, the temperate will,
That in this moment there is life and food Endurance, foresight, strength, and skill,
For future years. And so I dare to hope, A perfect woman, nobly planned,
Though changed, no doubt, from what I was when first To warn, to comfort, and command ;
I came among these hills ; when, like a roe, And yet a spirit still, and bright
I bounded o'er the mountains, by the sides
Of the deep rivers, and the lonely streams,
Flying from something that he dreads, than one Lines composed a few Miles above Tintern Abbey, on
Who sought the thing he loved. For nature thenRevisiting the Banks of the Wye, during a Tour,
The coarser pleasures of my boyish days
And their glad animal movements all gone by-
What then I was. The sounding cataract
The mountain, and the deep and gloomy wood, Do I behold these steep and lofty cliffs,
Their colours and their forms, were then to me That on a wild secluded scene impress
An appetite ; a feeling and a love Thoughts of more deep seclusion, and connect
That had no need of a remoter charm, The landscape with the quiet of the sky.
By thought supplied, or any interest The day is come when I again repose
Unborrowed from the eye. That time is past, Here, under this dark sycamore, and view
And all its aching joys are now no more, These plots of cottage ground, these orchard tufts, And all its dizzy raptures. Not for this Which, at this season, with their unripe fruits,
Faint I, nor mourn, nor murmur; other gifts Are clad in one green hue, and lose themselves
Have followed, for such loss, I would believe, Among the woods and copses, nor disturb
Abundant recompense. For I have learned
To look on nature, not as in the hour
Nor harsh nor grating, though of ample power
To chasten and subdue. And I have felt With some uncertain notice, as might seem,
A presence that disturbs me with the joy Of vagrant dwellers in the houseless woods,
Of elevated thoughts; a sense sublime Or of some hermit's cave, where, by his fire,
Of something far more deeply interfused,
Whose dwelling is the light of setting suns,
And the round ocean, and the living air,
And the blue sky, and in the mind of man ; As is a landscape to a blind man's eye :
A motion and a spirit that impels But oft, in lonely rooms, and 'mid the din
All thinking things, all objects of all thought, Of towns and cities, I have owed to them,
And rolls through all things. Therefore am I still In hours of weariness, sensations sweet,
A lover of the meadows and the woods Felt in the blood, and felt along the heart,
And mountains, and of all that we behold And passing even into my purer mind
From this green earth ; of all the mighty world With tranquil restoration : feelings, too,
Of eye and ear, both what they half create Of unremembered pleasure ; such, perhaps,
And what perceive ; well pleased to recognise As may have had no trivial influence
In nature, and the language of the sense, On that best portion of a good man's life,
The anchor of my purest thoughts, the nurse, His little, nameless, unremembered acts
The guide, the guardian of my heart, and soul Of kindness and of love. Nor less, I trust,
Of all my moral being. To them I may have owed another gift,
Nor, perchance, Of aspect more sublime ; that blessed mood
If I were not thus taught, should I the more In which the burthen of the mystery,
Suffer my genial spirits to decay: In which the heavy and the weary weight
For thou art with me here, upon the banks Of all this unintelligible world
Of this fair river ; thou, my dearest friend, Is lightened ; that serene and blessed mood
My dear, dear friend, and in thy voice I catch In which the affections gently lead us on,
The language of my former heart, and read Until the breath of this corporeal frame,
My former pleasures in the shooting lights And even the motion of our human blood
of thy wild eyes. Oh! yet a little while Almost suspended, we are laid asleep
May I behold in thee what I was once, In body, and become a living soul :
My dear, dear sister ! And this prayer I make, While with an eye made quiet by the power
Knowing that nature never did betray Of harmony and the deep power of joy,
The heart that loved her ; 'tis her privilege,
Through all the years of this our life, to lead
From joy to joy; for she can so inform
The mind that is within us, so impress In darkness, and amid the many shapes
With quietness and beauty, and so feed Of joyless daylight, when the fretful stir
With lofty thoughts, that neither evil tongues, Unprofitable, and the fever of the world,
Rash judgments, nor the sneers of selfish men, Have hung upon the beatings of my heart,
Nor greetings where no kindness is, nor all
The dreary intercourse of daily life,
Our cheerful saith that all which we behold
Shine on thee in thy solitary walk ;
And let the misty mountain winds be free
Duly pronounced with lusty call
, To blow against thee : and in after years,
And 'merry Christmas' wished to all ? When these wild ecstasies shall be matured
O brother! I revere the choice Into a sober pleasure, when thy mind
That took thee from thy native hills ;
And it is given thee to rejoice :
Though public care full often tills
Heaven only witness of the toil-
A barren and ungrateful soil.
Yet, would that thou, with me and mine, And these my exhortations ! Nor, perchance,
Hadst heard this never-failing rite;
And seen on other faces shine
Which nature, and these rustic powers,
In simple childhood spread through ours ! We stood together; and that I, so long A worshipper of nature, hither came,
For pleasure hath not ceased to wait Unwearied in that service : rather say
On these expected annual rounds,
Whether the rich man's sumptuous gate With warmer love, oh! with far deeper zeal Of holier love. Nor wilt thou then forget,
Call forth the unelaborate sounds, That after many wanderings, many years
Or they are offered at the door Of absence, these steep woods and lofty cliffs,
That guards the lowliest of the poor. And this green pastoral landscape, were to me
How touching, when at midnight sweep More dear, both for themselves and for thy sake! *
Snow-muffled winds, and all is dark,
To hear-and sink again to sleep !
Or, at an earlier call, to mark,
By blazing fire, the still suspense
Of self-complacent innocence ;
The mutual nod—the grave disguise
Of hearts with gladness brimming o'er ; To-night beneath my cottage eaves :
And some unbidden tears that rise While, smitten by a lofty moon,
For names once heard, and heard no more ; The encircling laurels, thick with leaves,
Tears brightened by the serenade
For infant in the cradle laid !
Ah! not for emerald fields alone,
With ambient streams more pure and bright
Than fabled Cytherea's zone
Glittering before the Thunderer's sight,
Is to my heart of hearts endeared
The ground where we were born and reared !
Hail, ancient manners ! sure defence,
Where they survive, of wholesome laws;
Remnants of love, whose modest sense
Thus into narrow room withdraws;
Hail, usages of pristine mould,
And ye that guard them, mountains old ! * In our admiration of the external forms of nature, the mind Bear with me, brother, quench the thought is redeemed from a sense of the transitory, which so often
That slights this passion or condemns; mixes perturbation with pleasure; and there is perhaps no feeling of the human heart which, being so intense, is at the
If thee fond fancy ever brought same time so composed. It is for this reason, amongst others, From the proud margin of the Thames, that it is peculiarly favourable to the contemplations of a poeti
And Lambeth's venerable towers, cal philosopher, and eminently so to one like Mr Wordsworth, in whose scheme of thought there is no feature more prominent
To humbler streams and greener bowers. than the doctrine that the intellect should be nourished by the feelings, and that the state of mind which bestows a gift
Yes, they can make, who fail to find of genuine insight is one of profound emotion as well as pro
Short leisure even in busiest days, found composure; or, as Coleridge has somewhere expressed Moments—to cast a look behind, himself
And profit by those kindly rays
That through the clouds do sometimes steal, The power which lies in the beauty of nature to induce this union And all the far-off past reveal. of the tranquil and the vivid is described, and to every disciple of Wordsworth, has been, as much as is possible, imparted by the Hence, while the imperial city's din celebrated Lines written in 1798, a few Miles above Tintern
Beats frequent on thy satiate ear, Abbey, in which the poet, having attributed to his intermediate recollections of the landscape then revisited a benign influence
A pleased attention I may win over many acts of daily life, describes the particulars in which he
To agitations less severe, is indebted to them. The impassioned love of nature is
That neither overwhelm nor cloy, interfused through the whole of Mr Wordsworth's system of thought, filling up all interstices, penetrating all recesses, colouring
But fill the hollow vale with joy. all media, supporting, associating, and giving coherency and mutual relevancy to it in all its parts. Though man is his subject, yet is man never presented to us divested of his relations with external nature. Man is the text, but there is always a running
To a Highland Girl. commentary of natural phenomena. --Quarterly Review for 1834.
At Inversneyd, upon Loch Lomond. In illustration of this remark, every episode in the Excursion might also be cited (particularly the affecting and beautiful Sweet Highland girl, a very shower tale of Margaret in the first book): and the poems of the
Of beauty is thy earthly dower ! Cumberland Beggar, Michael, and the Fountain-the last unquestionably one of the finest of the ballads-are also striking
Twice seven consenting years have shed
Their utmost bounty on thy head :