The fairy isles fled far away;
That with its woods and uplands green,
Where shepherd-huts are dimly seen,
And songs are heard at close of day;
That, too, the deer's wild covert fled,
And that, the asylum of the dead :
While, as the boat went merrily,
Much of Rob Roy the boatman told;
His arm that fell below his knee,
His cattle ford and mountain hold.

Tarbat, thy shore I climbed at last;
And, thy shady region passed,
Upon another shore I stood,
And looked upon another flood;
Great Ocean's self! ('Tis he who fills
That vast and awful depth of hills);
Where many an elf was playing round,
Who treads unshod his classic ground;
And speaks, his native rocks among,
As Fingal spoke, and Ossian sung.

Night fell, and dark and darker grew
That narrow sea, that narrow sky,
As o'er the glimmering waves we flew,
The sea-bird rustling, wailing by.
And now the grampus, half-descried,
Black and huge above the tide;
The cliffs and promontories there,
Front to front, and broad and bare;
Each beyond each, with giant feet
Advancing as in haste to meet;
The shattered fortress, whence the Dane
Blew his shrill blast, nor rushed in vain,
Tyrant of the drear domain;
All into midnight shadow sweep,
When day springs upward from the deep!
Kindling the waters in its flight,
The prow wakes splendour, and the oar,
That rose and fell unseen before,
Flashes in a sea of light;
Glad sign and sure, for now we hail
Thy flowers, Glenfinnart, in the gale;
And bright indeed the path should be,
That leads to Friendship and to Thee!

Oh blest retreat, and sacred too!
Sacred as when the bell of prayer
Tolled duly on the desert air,
And crosses decked thy summits blue.
Oft like some loved romantic tale,
Oft shall my weary mind recall,
Amid the hum and stir of men,
Thy beechen grove and waterfall,
Thy ferry with its gliding sail,
And her the Lady of the Glen !

All silent now, as in the ages past,
Trodden under foot, and mingled dust with dust.

How many centuries did the sun go round
From Mount Alburnus to the Tyrrhene sea,
While, by some spell rendered invisible,
Or, if approached, approached by him alone
Who saw as though he saw not, they remained
As in the darkness of a sepulchre,
Waiting the appointed time! All, all within
Proclaims that nature had resumed her right,
And taken to herself what man renounced;
No cornice, triglyph, or worn abacus,
But with thick ivy hung, or branching fern,
Their iron-brown o'erspread with brightest verdure !

From my youth upward have I longed to tread This classic ground; and am I here at last? Wandering at will through the long porticos, And catching, as through some majestic grove, Now the blue ocean, and now, chaos-like, Mountains and mountain-gulfs, and, half-way up, Towns like the living rock from which they grew ! A cloudy region, black and desolate, Where once a slave withstood a world in arms.

The air is sweet with violets, running wild 'Mid broken friezes and fallen capitals; Sweet as when Tully, writing down his thoughts, Those thoughts so precious and so lately lost (Turning to thee, divine philosophy, Èver at hand to calm his troubled soul), Sailed slowly by, two thousand years ago, For Athens; when a ship, if north-east winds Blew from the Pæstan gardens, slacked her course.

On as he moved along the level shore,
These temples, in their splendour eminent
'Mid arcs and obelisks, and domes and towers,
Reflecting back the radiance of the west,
Well might he dream of glory! Now, coiled up,
The serpent sleeps within them; the she-wolf
Suckles her young ; and as alone I stand
In this, the nobler pile, the elements
Of earth and air its only floor and covering,
How solemn is the stillness! Nothing stirs
Save the shrill-voiced cicala flitting round
On the rough pediment to sit and sing;
Or the green lizard rustling through the grass,
And up the fluted shaft with short quick spring,
To vanish in the chinks that time has made.

In such an hour as this, the sun's broad disk
Seen at his setting, and a flood of light
Filling the courts of these old sanctuaries
(Gigantic shadows, broken and confused,
Àthwart the innumerable columns flung),
In such an hour he came, who saw and told,
Led by the mighty genius of the place.l

Walls of some capital city first appeared,
Half razed, half sunk, or scattered as in scorn;
And what within them? What but in the midst
These three in more than their original grandeur,
And, round about, no stone upon another?
As if the spoiler had fallen back in fear,
And, turning, left them to the elements.


[From Italy.'] They stand between the mountains and the sea ;3 Awful memorials, but of whom we know not. The seaman passing, gazes from the deck, The buffalo-driver, in his shaggy cloak, Points to the work of magic, and moves on. Time was they stood along the crowded street, Temples of gods, and on their ample steps What various habits, various tongues beset The brazen gates for prayer and sacrifice ! Time was perhaps the third was sought for justice; And here the accuser stood, and there the accused, And here the judges sat, and heard, and judged.

To Go-you may call it madness, folly; You shall not chase my gloom away! There's such a charm in melancholy, I would not, if I could, be gay.

1 Signifying in the Gaelic language an isthmus. 2 Loch Long.

3 The temples of Pæstum are three in number, and have survived, nearly nine centuries, the total destruction of the city. Tradition is silent concerning them, but they must have existed now between two and three thousand years.

Oh, if you know the pensive pleasure
That fills my bosom when I sigh,
You would not rob me of a treasure
Monarchs are too poor to buy.

They are said to have been discovered by accident about the middle of the last century.


A Wish.

warded the venerable poet with a pension of L.300 per annum. In April 1843 he was appointed poet

Mine be a cot beside the hill;
A bee-hive's hum shall soothe my ear;
A willowy brook, that turns a mill,
With many a fall, shall linger near.
The swallow oft beneath my thatch
Shall twitter from her clay-built nest;
Oft shall the pilgrim lift the latch,
And share my meal, a welcome guest.
Around my ivied porch shall spring
Each fragrant flower that drinks the dew;
And Lucy, at her wheel, shall sing
In russet gown and apron blue.
The village church, among the trees,
Where first our marriage vows were given,
With merry peals shall swell the breeze,
And point with taper spire to heaven.



On a Tear.
Oh that the chemist's magic art
Could crystallise this sacred treasure !
Long should it glitter near my heart,
A secret source of pensive pleasure.
The little brilliant, ere it fell,
Its lustre caught from Chloe's eye ;
Then, trembling, left its coral cell-
The spring of Sensibility !
Sweet drop of pure and pearly light,
In thee the rays of Virtue shine;
More calmly clear, more mildly bright,
Than any gem that gilds the mine.
Benign restorer of the soul!

laureate, in the room of his deceased and illustrious Who ever fiest to bring relief,

friend Southey. His residence at Rydal Mount has When first we feel the rude control

been truly a poetical retirement. Of Love or Pity, Joy or Grief.

Long have I loved what I behold, The sage's and the poet's theme,

The night that calms, the day that cheers ; In every clime, in every age;

The common growth of mother earth Thou charm'st in Fancy's idle dream,

Suffices me—her tears, her mirth,
In Reason's philosophic page.

Her humblest mirth and tears.
That very law which moulds a tear,
And bids it trickle from its source,

The dragon's wing, the magic ring,

I shall not covet for my dower, That law preserves the earth a sphere,

If I along that lowly way And guides the planets in their course.

With sympathetic heart may stray,

And with a soul of power.

Wordsworth appeared as a poet in his twenty-third WILLIAM WORDSWORTH, the greatest of meta- year, 1793. The title of his first work was The physical poets, is a native of Cockermouth, in the Evening Walk, and Descriptive Sketches. The walk county of Cumberland, where he was born on the is among the mountains of Westmoreland; the 7th of April 1770. His parents were enabled to sketches refer to a tour made in Switzerland by bestow upon their children the advantages of a the poet and his friend, the Rev. R. Jones, fellow of complete education (his father was law-agent to St John's college. The poetry is of the style of Lord Lonsdale), and the poet and his brother (now Goldsmith ; but description predominates over re. Dr Christopher Wordsworth, long master of Trinity flection. The enthusiastic dreams of liberty which college), after being some years at Hawkesworth then buoyed up the young poet, and his associates school, in Lancashire, were sent to the university of Coleridge and Southey, appear in such lines as the Cambridge. William was entered of St John's in following :1787. Poetry has been with him the early and almost the sole business of his life. Having finished Oh give, great God, to freedom's waves to ride his academical course, and taken his degree, he tra- Sublime o'er conquest, avarice, and pride; velled for a short time ; and marrying an amiable And dark oppression builds her thick-ribbed towers;

where pleasure decks her guilty bowers, lady, his cousin, settled down among the lakes and Give them, beneath their breast, while gladness springs, mountains of Westmoreland. A gentleman dying To brood the nations o'er with Nile-like wings ; in his neighbourhood left him a handsome legacy ; And grant that every sceptred child of clay other bequests followed; and about 1814, the pa. Who cries, presumptuous, "Here their tides shall stay, tronage of the noble family of Lowther procured for Swept in their anger from the affrighted shore, the poet the easy and lucrative situation of Distri- With all his creatures sink to rise no more ! butor of Stamps, which left the greater part of his time at his own disposal. In 1842 he resigned this In 1798 was published a collection of Lyrical Balsituation in favour of his son, and government re- lads, some by Coleridge, but the greater part by

Wordsworth, and designed by him as an experiment diction, to such themes as “The Idiot Boy,' and a how far a simpler kind of poetry than that in use style of composition disfigured by colloquial plainwould afford permanent interest to readers. The ness, and by the mixture of ludicrous images and humblest subjects, he contended, were fit for poetry, associations with passages of tenderness and pathos, and the language should be that really used by was too violent to escape ridicule or insure general men.' The fine fabric of poetic diction which gene- success. It was often impossible to tell whether the rations of the tuneful tribe had been laboriously poet meant to be comic or tender, serious or rearing, he proposed to destroy altogether. The Iudicrous ; while the choice of his subjects and illuslanguage of humble and rustic life, arising out of trations, instead of being regarded as genuine simrepeated experience and regular feelings, he con- plicity, had an appearance of silliness or affectation. sidered to be a more permanent and far more philo- The faults of his worst ballads were so glaring, sophical language than that which is frequently that they overpowered, at least for a time, the substituted for it by poets. The attempt of Words- simple natural beauties, the spirit of gentleness and worth was either totally neglected or assailed with humanity, with which they were accompanied. It ridicule. The transition from the refined and sen- was a first experiment, and it was made without timental school of verse, with select and polished | any regard for existing prejudices or feelings, or any

[graphic][merged small]

wish to conciliate. The poems, however, were read | elevated character. The influence of Wordsworth by some. Two more volumes were added in 1807 ; on the poetry of his age has thus been as beneficial and it was seen that, whatever might be the theory as extensive. He has turned the public taste from of the poet, he possessed a vein of pure and exalted pompous inanity to the study of man and nature; description and meditation which it was impossible he has banished the false and exaggerated style of not to feel and admire. The influence of nature character and emotion which even the genius of upon man was his favourite theme; and though Byron stooped to imitate; and he has enlisted the sensometimes unintelligible from his idealism, he was sibilities and sympathies of his intellectual brethren also, on other occasions, just and profound. His in favour of the most expansive and kindly philan. worship of nature was ennobling and impressive. In thropy. The pleasures and graces of his muse real simplicity, however, Wordsworth is inferior to are all simple, pure, and lasting. In working out Cowper, Goldsmith, and many others. He has the plan of his Excursion,' the poet has not, howtriumphed as a poet, in spite of his own theory. As ever, escaped from the errors of his early poems. the circle of his admirers was gradually extending, The incongruity or want of keeping in most of he continued to supply it with fresh materials of a Wordsworth's productions is observable in this higher order. In 1814 appeared The Excursion, a work. The principal character is a poor Scotch philosophical poem in blank verse, by far the noblest pedlar, who traverses the mountains in company production of the author, and containing passages with the poet, and is made to discourse, with clerk. of sentiment, description, and pure eloquence, not like fluency, excelled by any living poet, while its spirit of enlightened humanity and Christian benevolence-ex

Of truth, of grandeur, beauty, love, and hope. tending over all ranks of sentient and animated It is thus that the poet violates the conventional being—imparts to the poem a peculiarly sacred and rules of poetry and the realities of life; for surely it

is inconsistent with truth and probability, that a quiet and tender beauty characteristic of the author. profound moralist and dialectician should be found We subjoin two passages, the first descriptive of a in such a situation. In his travels with the. Wan- peasant youth, the hero of his native vale :derer,' the poet is introduced to a 'Solitary,' who lives secluded from the world, after a life of busy

The mountain ash adventures and high hope, ending in disappointment No eye can overlook, when ʼmid a grove and disgust. They all proceed to the house of the Of yet unfaded trees she lifts her head pastor, who (in the style of Crabbe's Parish Register) Decked with autumnal berries, that outshine recounts some of the deaths and mutations that had Spring's richest blossoms; and ye may have marked taken place in his sequestered valley; and with a By a brook side or solitary tarn, description of a visit made by the three to a neigh How she her station doth adorn. The pool bouring lake, the poem concludes. The 'Excursion' Glows at her feet, and all the gloomy rocks is an unfinished work, part of a larger poem, The Re Are brightened round her. In his native vale, cluse, “having for its principal object the sensations such and so glorious did this youth appear; and opinions of a poet living in retirement.' Whether A sight that kindled pleasure in all hearts the remainder of the work will ever be given to the By his ingenuous beauty, by the gleam world, or completed by the poet, is uncertain. The of his fair eyes, by his capacious brow, want of incident would, we fear, be fatal to its suc- By all the graces with which nature's hand cess. The narrative part of the Excursion' is a Had lavishly arrayed him. As old bards mere framework, rude and unskilful, for a series of Tell in their idle songs of wandering gods, pictures of mountain scenery and philosophical dis- Pan or Apollo, veiled in human form; sertations, tending to show how the external world Yet, like the sweet-breathed violet of the shade, is adapted to the mind of man, and good educed out Discovered in their own despite to sense of evil and suffering

Of mortals (if such fables without blame

May find chance mention on this sacred ground), Within the soul a faculty abides,

So, through a simple rustic garb's disguise, That with interpositions, which would hide

And through the impediment of rural cares, And darken, so can deal, that they become

In him revealed a scholar's genius shone; Contingencies of pomp, and serve to exalt

And so, not wholly hidden from men's sight, Her native brightness. As the ample moon

In him the spirit of a hero walked In the deep stillness of a summer even

Our unpretending valley. How the quoit Rising behind a thick and lofty grove,

Whizzed from the stripling's arm! If touched by him, Burns like an unconsuming fire of light

The inglorious football mounted to the pitch In the green trees; and, kindling on all sides, Of the lark's flight, or shaped a rainbow curve Their leafy umbrage turns the dusky veil

Aloft in prospect of the shouting field ! Into a substance glorious as her own,

The indefatigable fox had learned Yea, with her own incorporated, by power

To dread his perseverance in the chase. Capacious and serene; like power abides

With admiration would he lift his eyes In man's celestial spirit; virtue thus

To the wide-ruling eagle, and his hand Sets forth and magnifies herself_thuş feeds

Was loath to assault the majesty he loved, A calm, a beautiful, and silent fire,

Else had the strongest fastnesses proved weak From the encumbrances of mortal life;

To guard the royal brood. The sailing glede, From error, disappointment-nay, from guilt;

The wheeling swallow, and the darting snipe, And sometimes, so relenting justice wills,

The sporting sea-gull dancing with the waves,
From palpable oppressions of despair.

And cautious waterfowl from distant climes,
Fixed at their seat, the centre of the mere,

Were subject to young Oswald's steady aim. In a still loftier style of moral observation on the changes of life, the “gray-haired wanderer' ex- The peasant youth, with others in the vale, roused claims

by the cry to arms, studies the rudiments of war, So fails, so languishes, grows dim, and dies,

but dies suddenly :All that this world is proud of. From their spheres

To him, thus snatched away, his comrade paid The stars of human glory are cast down;

A soldier's honours. At his funeral hour Perish the roses and the flowers of kings,

Bright was the sun, the sky a cloudless blue Princes, and emperors, and the crowns and palms

A golden lustre slept upon the hills; Of all the mighty, withered and consumed !

And if by chance a stranger, wandering there, Nor is power given to lowliest innocence

From some commanding eminence had looked Long to protect her own. The man himself

Down on this spot, well pleased would he have seen Departs; and soon is spent the line of those

A glittering spectacle ; but every face Who, in the bodily image, in the mind,

Was pallid-seldom hath that eye been moist In heart or soul, in station or pursuit,

With tears that wept not then ;, nor were the few Did most resemble him. Degrees and ranks, Who from their dwellings came not forth to join Fraternities and orders—heaping high

In this sad service, less disturbed than we. New wealth upon the burthen of the old,

They started at the tributary peal And placing trust in privilege confirmed

Of instantaneous thunder which announced And re-confirmed—are scoffed at with a smile

Through the still air the closing of the grave; Of greedy foretaste, from the secret stand

And distant mountains echoed with a sound
Of desolation aimed ; to slow decline

Of lamentation never heard before.
These yield, and these to sudden overthrow;
Their virtue, service, happiness, and state

A description of deafness in a peasant would seem Expire; and Nature's pleasant robe of green,

to be a subject hardly susceptible of poetical ornaHumanity's appointed shroud, en wraps

ment; yet, by contrasting it with the surrounding Their monuments and their memory.

objects—the pleasant sounds and stir of natureand by his vein of pensive and graceful reflection,

Wordsworth has made this one of his finest picThe picturesque parts of the 'Excursion' are full of a tures :

Book IV.

Book VII.

Book VII.

Almost at the root

secured a new generation of readers. A tribe of worOf that tall pine, the shadow of whose bare

shippers, in the young poets of the day, have arisen to And slender stem, while here I sit at eve,

do him homage, and in some instances have carried Oft stretches towards me, like a strong straight path the feeling to a sectarian and bigotted excess. Many Traced faintly in the greensward, there, beneath of his former depreciators have also joined the ranks A plain blue stone, a gentle dalesman lies,

of his admirers-partly because in his late works From whom in early childhood was withdrawn he has done himself more justice both in his style The precious gift of hearing. He grew up

and subjects. He is too intellectual, and too little From year to year in loneliness of soul;

sensuous, to use the phrase of Milton, ever to beAnd this deep mountain valley was to him

come generally popular, unless in some of his smaller Soundless, with all its streams. The bird of dawn

pieces. His peculiar sensibilities cannot be relished Did never rouse this cottager from sleep

by all. His poetry, however, is of various kinds. With startling summons; not for his delight Forgetting his own theory as to the proper subjects The vernal cuckoo shouted; not for him

of poetry, he has ventured on the loftiest themes, Murmured the labouring bee. When stormy winds and in calm sustained elevation of thought, approWere working the broad bosom of the lake

priate imagery, and intense feeling, he often reInto a thousand thousand sparkling waves,

minds the reader of the sublime strains of Milton. Rocking the trees, or driving cloud on cloud

His Laodamia, the Vernal Ode, the Ode to Lycoris Along the sharp edge of yon lofty crags,

and Dion, are pure and richly classic poems in conThe agitated scene before his eye Was silent as a picture: evermore

ception and diction. Many of his sonnets have also

a chaste and noble simplicity. In these short comWere all things silent, wheresoe'er he moved. Yet, by the solace of his own pure thoughts

positions, his elevation and power as a poet are per

haps more remarkably displayed than in any of his Upheld, he duteously pursued the round Of rural labours; the steep mountain side

other productions. They possess a winning sweetAscended with his staff and faithful dog;

ness or simple grandeur, without the most distant The plough he guided, and the scythe he swayed ;

approach to antithesis or straining for effect; while And the ripe corn before his sickle fell

that tendency to prolixity and diffuseness which Among the jocund reapers.

characterise his longer poems, is repressed by the

necessity for brief and rapid thought and concise Book VII.

expression, imposed by the nature of the sonnet. It By viewing man in connection with external nature, is no exaggeration to say that Milton alone has the poet blends his metaphysics with pictures of life surpassed—if even he has surpassed—some of the and scenery. To build up and strengthen the powers noble sonnets of Wordsworth dedicated to liberty of the mind, in contrast to the operations of sense, and inspired by patriotism. is ever his object. Like Bacon, Wordsworth would rather believe all the fables in the Talmud and

Sonnets. Alcoran than that this universal frame is without

London, 1802. a mind-or that that mind does not, by its external symbols, speak to the human heart.' He lives under Milton! thou shouldst be living at this hour; the 'habitual sway' of nature.

England hath need of thee; she is a fen To me the meanest flower that blows can give

Of stagnant waters; altar, sword, and pen,

Fireside, the heroic wealth of hall and bower, Thoughts that do often lie too deep for tears.

Have forfeited their ancient English dower The subsequent works of the poet are numerous Of inward happiness. We are selfish men ; The White Doe of Rylstone, a romantic narrative Oh! raise us up, return to us again ; poem, yet coloured with his peculiar genius ; Son- And give us manners, virtue, freedom, power. nets on the River Duddon; The Waggoner ; Peter Bell; Thy soul was like a star, and dwelt apart; Ecclesiastical Sketches; Yarrow Revisited, &c. Having Thou hadst a voice whose sound was like the sea ; made repeated tours in Scotland and on the conti- Pure as the naked heavens—majestic, free, nent, the poet diversified his subjects with descrip- So didst thou travel on life's common way tions of particular scenes, local manners, legends, In cheerful godliness; and yet thy heart and associations. The whole of his works have The lowliest duties on herself didst lay. been arranged by their author according to their respective subjects; as Poems referring to the Period

The World is Too Much with Us. of Childhood; Poems founded on the Affections ; The world is too much with us; late and soon, Poems of the Fancy; Poems of the Imagination, &c. Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers : This classification is often arbitrary and capricious; Little we see in nature that is ours ; but it is one of the conceits of Wordsworth, that his We have given our hearts away, a sordid boon! poems should be read in a certain continuous order, This sea that bares her bosom to the moon, to give full effect to bis system. Thus classified The winds that will be howling at all hours, and published, the poet's works form six volumes. And are up-gathered now like sleeping flowers ; A seventh has lately (1842) been added, consisting For this, for everything, we are out of tune; of poems written very early and very late in life It moves us not. Great God! I'd rather be (as is stated), and a tragedy which had long lain A pagan suckled in a creed outworn ; past the author. The latter is not happy, for Words- So might I, standing on this pleasant lea, worth has less dramatic power than any other living Have glimpses that would make me less forlorn ; poet. In the drama, however, both Scott and Byron Have sight of Proteus coming from the sea ; failed ; and Coleridge, with his fine imagination and Or hear old Triton blow his wreathed horn. pictorial expression, was only a shade more successful. The fame of Wordsworth is daily extending. The

Composed upon Westininster Bridge, September 3, 1803. few ridiculous or puerile pieces which excited 80 Earth has not anything to show more fair: much sarcasm, parody, and derision, have been Dull would he be of soul who could pass by quietly forgotten, or are considered as mere idiosyn- A sight so touching in its majesty : crasies of the poet that provoke a smile, while his This city now doth like a garment wear higher attributes command admiration, and have the beauty of the morning ; silent, bare,

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