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into torpor, he plodded on in pursuit of his favourite amusement, until his claims to preferment could be no longer resisted. In him was assuredly exemplified the truth of the proverb —

nil sine magno

Vita labore dedit mortalibus.

Added to industry was an inviolable regard for truth; and it pleased him to provide lessons for those who respect

“the good old age
When Fancy was Truth's willing Page ;
And Truth would skim the flowery glade,
Though entering but as Fancy's Shade.”

Poetry, however, is “ impassioned truth ;” and he who invests heroes and peasants alike with meekness; who, when accounting Rob Roy “wise as brave," deems it necessary to crave forgiveness, “if the phrase be strong; ” who, on one hand, would appear to be shocked at the discovery of a Robin * in chase of a butterfly, while, on the other, he can address a sexton over

* “ Art thou the bird whom man loves best,
The pious bird with the scarlet breast,

Our little English Robin ;


The bird, who by some name or other
All men who know thee call their brother,
The darling of children and men ?
Could Father Adam open his eyes
And see this sight beneath the skies,
He'd wish close them again.”


the remains of his late acquaintance in language which a cultivated mind almost revolts, obviously betrays a want of that faculty of the soul from which all true poetry springs,-feeling-intense, well disciplined feeling. And such was Wordsworth! Shall I yet be told that evidence of tender emotion may be gleaned from his verse ? Then it is surely to be found in his lament for the dead; for under no circumstances can it be more truly affirmed that “out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.” Here is an example:

“She dwelt among the untrodden ways

Beside the springs of Dove,
A Maid whom there were none to praise,

And very few to love.
A violet by a mossy stone

Half hidden from the eye!
Fair as a star, when only one

Is shining in the sky.
“ She lived unknown, and few could know

When Lucy ceased to be ;
But she is in her grave, and, Oh!

The difference to me!”

The worth of this outpouring of a "wounded spirit” will be best estimated, when compared with an affecting

* “ Mark the spot to which I point !

From this platform, eight feet square,
Take not even a finger-joint.
Andrew's whole fire-side is there.

Thus then, each to other dear,
Let them all in quiet lie,
Andrew there, and Susan here,
Neighbours in mortality."

passage from Othello's soliloquy over the body of Desdemona, where Emilia seeks admission to the Moor. “ If she come in, she'll sure speak to my wife :

My wife! my wife! what wife ? - I have no wife : O, insupportable, O heavy hour!" Some will be ready to denounce the comparison as invidious: it may possibly admit of such construction :

Quid enim contendat hirondo cycnis ? That justice then may be done, I will select a stanza from Wordsworth's elegiac verses on the death of a brother, and place it in juxtaposition with another on a like melancholy subject, taken from a contemporary author, whom he declared to be deficient in feeling. “Full soon in sorrow did I

Taught that the mutual hope was dust,
In sorrow, but for higher trust,
How miserably deep!
All vanished in a single word,
A breath, a sound, and scarcely heard,
Sea — Ship — drowned — Shipwreck – so it came,
The meek, the brave, the good, was gone ;
He who had been our living John
Was nothing but a name.”
“ Scion of chiefs and monarchs, where art thou?
Fond hope of many nations, art thou dead?
Could not the grave forget thee, and lay low
Some less majestic, less beloved head ?
In the sad midnight, while thy heart still bled,
The mother of a moment, o'er thy boy,
Death hushed that pang for ever: with thee fled

The present happiness and promised joy
Which filled the imperial isles so full it seemed to cloy."

What man, in whom the moral and intellectual faculties are so nicely harmonized as to bring him under the due influence of language, will not feel a secret prompting to merriment on reading the first stanza? Yet he shall no sooner pass from that to the one which succeeds it than, under the solemnity inspired by associations of the utmost moment, his heart shall swell with irrepressible anguish.

Premising thus much, there is little difficulty in accounting for the feebleness that pervades nearly the whole of Wordsworth’s verse. Not so easy, perhaps, is it to explain its anomalous character. Every one is aware that there are seasons when, from various causes, the senses fail to afford us an adequate conception of the objects presented to our notice. With the habitually apathetic this must be the prevailing condition. “ That strong feeling of interest and curiosity which we call attention” is, in them, only to be excited by “ moving accidents." They may appear to regard passing events; but faint and imperfect will be the impressions made upon their minds, and even these will be quickly forgotten. The observation of people so constituted is radically defective; and failing in that, the suggestive principle, as it is termed, seldom rewards them with a profitable train of thought. This, I need hardly say, is a temperament as unlike the poetical as was Wordsworth unlike Byron. Nature designed not the late Poet Laureate for the purpose of song: but he had a morbid ambition to be thought a poet, and no man to whom enthusiasm has been denied, ever toiled so long and so patiently after such distinction.

“ Exempt from public haunt,” he sought “ tongues in trees, books in the running brooks, sermons in stones, and good in every thing;” but, seeing as “ through a glass darkly," his images were confused, and, like the changing cloud, they rarely sustained an appreciable aspect. Hence the frequent recurrence of such passages as the following:

“ Such seemed this Man, not all alive nor dead,

Nor all asleep-in his extreme old age :”
“And to myself I seem to muse on One

By sorrow laid asleep; or borne away,
A human being destined to awake
To human life, or something very near

To human life”-
Calm did he sit under the wide-spread tree

Of his old age; and yet less calm and meek,
Winningly meek or venerably calm,

Than slow and torpid ;”. Intent, at all times, on the maintenance of his right to the first seat in the Temple of the Muses, the Laureate would remind his readers, as occasion should serve, of the deference due to him as the Poet; but especially did he claim preeminence as the Poet of Nature. In this capacity I find him “ haunting” the “

Rydalian Laurels” through all seasons in search of

ground-flowers ;” — and it may not be uninteresting to inquire with what bountifulness Nature lavished instruction upon him in such rambles.

him in such rambles. While thus engaged, it is satisfactory as well to learn that, whether following him in the neighbourhood of Rydal, or on a delicate expedition, when his

horse moved on; hoof after hoof He raised, and never stopped,"

green shade" of

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