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young disciple once poured out memorial libations, so many and copious, that they drove him to Chapel in more than Minstrel's phrenzy.

The vacations were seasons of joy to the Poet, and carried him back among the green valleys and mountain shadows. He spent his last vacation, August, 1790, on the Continent, in the company of a Cambridge friend. They made the journey on foot, carrying their bundles on their heads, and an oak stick in their hands. The "Descriptive Sketches” -published in 1793—were the fruit of the Tour. Wordsworth took his Bachelor's degree, 1791, and his University career was ended.

A visit to London, when the “spirit of Nature" came upon him in the crowd, an exploring walk through North Wales, and a prolonged sojourn in France, filled his heart with many beautiful thoughts and sad reflections. His friends wished him to enter the Church ; but the twenty-third year came and went without bringing the pastoral disposition.

His mind continued to heave with the swell of the French Revolution. The great calm was yet to come. Without a profession, or any sure means of subsistence, he wandered from place to place, and was preparing to fling himself on the London Press, when a young man, whom he had kindly attended in a sickness, died, and left him nine hundred pounds. Upon the interest of that sum, added to a legacy of one hundred pounds to his Sister, and an equal amount derived from th Lyrical Ballads, he contrived to live nearly eight years. He has recorded his gratitude ;

A youth-(he bore
The name of Calvert-it shall live, if words
Of mine can give it life,) -

in his last decay
By a bequest sufficient for my needs
Enabled me to pause for choice, and walk
At large and unrestrained, nor damped too soon
By mortal cares.
He cleared a passage for me, and the stream

Flowed in the bent of Nature. In the autumn of 1795, we see the brother and sister spending golden days in a pleasant house, -Racedown Lodge-near Crewkerne, Somersetshire; William handling the spade, and Dorothy reading Ariosto. They did not remain long at Racedown. There Coleridge

The noticeable man with large grey eyescame to visit them, June, 1797 ; and the charm of his conversation drew liis enamoured hearers after him into the village of Nether-Stowey, Somersetshire, where the Magician abode. The situation was lovely ;


a deer-park, will woods, clear-flowing brooks, and the sounding sen, were some of the delights of Alfoxden. Many of Wordsworth's sweetest Poems were composed in that romantic home,—“We are Seven" being of the number.

Towards the close of 1798, the Lyrical Ballads were published, and fell (lead from the Press ;—the Copyright being soon afterwards thrown aside as lumber. The same year found the Poet and his Sister moping and shivering in the dull old city of Goslar, in Lower Saxony. They remained in Germany until February, 1799 ; and on their return to England settled at Grasmere, Westmoreland, among the corn-fields and meadows, green as an emerald, which thirty years before had enchanted the eyes of Gray. In that "dear valley,” happy in his orchard-ground, the woody steeps, his Sister's flowers, and the cottages of mountain-stone, Wordsworth spent eight years; and thither he bronght Mary HUTCHINson, to whom he was married at Brompton Church, near Scarborough, October 4, 1802. The Poems entitled the “Idle Shepherd Boys," the

, “Pet Lamb," and the “Naming of Places," give the true history of his life at Grasmere. His happiness flowed into song; and the wisdom and the devotion of a week often breathe in the music of a single verse. And so, while the ear and the eye were nourished and charmed by the dappling shade, the yellow light on the lake, the sound of water falling, or the sunny rustle of the birch-tree,—the rejoicing Poet read Spenser and wrote “ The Excursion."

In the spring of 1808 he removed his family to a larger house—Allan Bank—in the same Vale, where two children died. “In 1813," are his touching words, “we came to Rydal Mount, where we have since lived without any further sorrow, till 1836, when my sister became a confirmed invalid, and our sister Sarah Hutchinson died.”

A fortunate circumstance marked his entry into Rydal,- I allude to tbe office of Distributor of Stamps in the county of Westmoreland, which was procured for him by the active interest of Lord Lonsdale. He was now “raised to an easy competency," and could without selfupbraiding let his fancy “wander at its own street will.” “The Excursion” was published in 1814.

It is not necessary to protract this Preface by any detail of Wordsworth's long and contemplative life, which resembled one of his own brooks—now seen and now hidden. An Italian tour; a visit to Scotland; a letter to a friend ; the wedding, and the funeral of a child; or the

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publication of a Poem, are the only incidents. It was a common talo of sorrows, joys, and pains “which have been and may be again.” With the crown of time came the crown of Fame. He grew popular as he grew old. He had created an audience, and they revered the Teacher.

In the spring of 1843, he received a public recognition of his genius ; when, on the death of Southey, he was appointed Poet Laureate. He wore the laurel for seven years; and died, full of honours and fond memories, April 23, 1850, in the eighty-first year of his age, and was buried in Grasmere churchyard.

The present Volume contains the finest examples of Wordsworth. The Poem to which I have given the title of “The Deserted Cottage ” comprises the first and second books of “The Excursion.” My choice was guided by a remark of Coleridge in his Table Talk :-“I have often wished that the first two Books of the Excursion had been published separately under the name of The Deserted Cottage. They would have formed, what indeed they are, one of the most beautiful Poems in the English language." The other Specimens exhibit the Author under every light of his Imagination, Fancy, and Reflection;-whether the Reader turns to the solemn pastorals of “Michael” and “The Old Cumberland Beggar," the Virgilian dignity of “Laodamia," the natural pathos of the “Brothers," the noble “Song of Brougham Castle,” the picturesque “ Horn of Egremont," the mystical splendour of the Ode on “Immortality," or the tender Lyrics which breathe the love and bloom of home, and country affections; nor does the Poet appear to less advantage in the Sonnet ; the strict limits of which repressed his occasional habit of wordiness. But his own estimate of his Poems is the truest, and the most worthy ;-he gives it in a letter to Lady Beaumont :“To console the afflicted ; to add sunshine to daylight, by making the happy happier ; to lead the young and the gracious of every age to see, to

' think, to feel, and to become more actively and securely virtuous,—this is their office, which I trust they will faithfully perform, long after we (that is, all that is mortal of us) are mouldered in our graves."

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September 15, 1858.

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