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wilds of Derbyshire, at the close of the day, when guns were beginning to be let off and squibs to be fired on every side, so that I thought it prudent to dismount and lead my horse through the place, and so on to Bakewell, two miles further. You must know how I happened to be riding through these wild regions. It was my wish that Dora should have the benefit of her pony while at Cambridge, and, very valiantly and economically, I determined, unused as I am to horsemanship, to ride the creature myself. I sent James with it to Lancaster; there mounted, stopped a day at Manchester, a week at Coleorton, and so reached the end of my journey safe and sound— not, however, without encountering two days of tempestuous rain. Thirty-seven miles did I ride in one day through the worst of these storms, and what was my resource? Guess again-writing verses-to the memory of my departed friend Sir George Beaumont, whose house I had left the day before. While buffeting the other storm I composed a sonnet on the splendid domain of Chatsworth, which I had seen in the morning, as contrasted with the secluded habitations of the narrow dells in the Peak; and, as I passed through the tame and manufacture-disfigured country of Lancashire, I was reminded, by the faded leaves, of Spring, and threw off a few stanzas of an ode to May. But too much of self and my own performances upon my steed, a descendant no doubt of Pegasus, though her owner and present rider knew nothing of it.

Now for a word about Professor Airy: I have seen him twice, but I did not communicate your message; it was at dinner and at an evening party, and I thought it best not to speak of it till I saw him, which I mean to do, upon a morning call. There is a great deal of intellectual activity within the walls of this College, and in the University at large; but conversation turns mainly upon the state of the country and the late change in the administration. The fires have extended to within eight miles of this place, from which I saw one of the worst, if not

absolutely the worst, indicated by a redness in the sky, a few nights ago. . . . There is an interesting person in this University for a day or two, whom I have not yet seen, Kenelm Digby, author of The Broadstone of Honour, a book of chivalry, which I think was put into your hands at Rydal Mount. We have also a respectable show of blossom in poetry-two brothers of the name of Tennyson, one in particular not a little promising. My daughter has resumed

her German labours, and is not easily drawn from what she takes to. She owes a long letter to her brother in Germany, who, by the by, tells us that he will not cease to look out for the book of Kant you wished for."

After leaving the Lodge at Trinity College, Cambridge, Wordsworth paid some other visits before returning to the north. He went to London, and saw Coleridge, of whom he sent some interesting particulars to Hamilton. From Buxted Rectory, near Uckfield, Sussex, he wrote to Hamilton:-*

“24th January 1831.

In the Quarterly Review lately was an article-a very foolish one, I think-upon the decay of science in England, and ascribing it to the want of patronage from the Government: a poor compliment this to science! Her hill, it seems, in the opinion of the writer, cannot be ascended unless the pilgrim be 'stuck o'er with titles and hung round with strings,' and have his pockets laden with cash; besides, a man of science must be a Minister of State or a Privy Councillor, or at least a public functionary of importance. Mr. Whewell, of Trinity College, Cambridge, has corrected the misstatements of the reviewer in an article printed in the British Critic of January last, and vindicated his scientific countrymen. . . .

You are interested about Mr. Coleridge; I saw him several

* See his Life, vol. i. pp. 424-5.

times lately, and had long conversations with him. It grieves me to say that his constitution seems much broken up. I have heard that he has been worse since I saw him. His mind has lost none of its vigour, but he is certainly in that state of bodily health that no one who knows him could feel justified in holding out the hope of even an introduction to him as an inducement for your visiting London. Much do I regret this, for you may pass you life without meeting a man of such commanding faculties. I hope that my criticisms have not deterred your sister from poetical composition. The world has indeed had enough of it lately, such as it is; but that is no reason why a sensibility like hers should not give vent to itself in verse."

An extract from a letter of Wordsworth's, in criticism of Lady Winchelsea's poems, written about this time to his friend Alexander Dyce, the editor of Shakespeare, may follow this:

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'Lady Winchelsea was unfortunate in her models-Pindarics and Fables, nor does it appear from her Aristomenes that she would have been more successful than her contemporaries if she had cultivated Tragedy. She had sensibility sufficient for the tender parts of dramatic writing, but in the stormy and tumultuous she would probably have failed altogether. She seems to have made it a moral and religious duty to control her feelings, lest they should mislead her.

Of Love as a passion she is afraid, no doubt from conscious inability to soften it down into friendship. I have often applied two lines of her drama (page 318) to her affections:

Love's soft bands,

His gentle cords of hyacinths and roses,

Wove in the dewy spring when storms are silent.

By the by, in the next page are two impassioned lines, spoken to a person fainting :

Thus let me hug and press thee into life,

And lend thee motion from my beating heart.

From the style and versification of this, so much her longest work, I conjecture that Lady W. had but a slender acquaintance with the drama of the earlier part of the preceding century. Yet her style in rhyme is often admirable, chaste, tender, and vigorous; and entirely free from sparkle, antithesis, and that over-culture which reminds one by its broad glare, its stiffness and heaviness, of the double daisies of the garden, compared with their modest and sensitive kindred of the fields. Perhaps I am mistaken, but I think there is a good deal of resemblance in her style and versification to that of Tickell, to whom Dr. Johnson justly assigns a high place among the minor poets, and of whom Goldsmith observes, that there is a strain of ballad-thinking through all his poetry, and it is very attractive."*

Wordsworth was frequently asked-as most poets areto write verses on a given subject. Crabb Robinson asked him to write some lines addressed to a Ruin! He was often asked for inscriptions. He refers to one of these requests in the following letter to Joseph Cottle at Bristol:

"Rydal Mount, near Kendal, 27th January 1829. MY DEAR SIR,- . . . Your letter contained a request that I would address to you some verses. I wished to meet this desire of yours, but, I know not how it is, I have ever striven in vain to write verses upon subjects either proposed or imposed. I hoped to prove more fortunate on this occasion, but I have been disappointed, and therefore I beg you to

excuse me. . . .

I was once a whole twelvemonths occasionally employed in an endeavour to write an inscription upon a suggested subject though it was to please one of my most valued friends.

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* This letter is in the Dyce Collection, at the South Kensington Museum.

Writing to Rowan Hamilton from Rydal Mount, on June 13, 1831, Wordsworth gave some particulars of his return from London.

I saw little or nothing of Cambridge on my return, which was upon the eve of the election; but I found that the mathematicians of Trinity-Peacock, Airy, Whewell—were taking what I thought the wrong side; so was that able man, the geological professor, Sedgwick. But what matter?' was said to me by a lady; these people know nothing but about stars and stones;' which is true, I own, of some of them. . . .

I have scarcely written a hundred verses during the last. twelve months; a sonnet, however, composed the day before yesterday, shall be transcribed upon this sheet, by way of making my part of it better worth postage. It was written at the request of the painter, Haydon, and to benefit him, i.e., as he thought. But it is no more than my sincere opinion of his excellent picture..

A selection from my poems has just been edited by Dr. Hine, for the benefit chiefly of schools and young persons. 1500 copies have been struck off. . .

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Dorothy Wordsworth added an interesting postscript to this letter:

"As you, my dear friends, Mr. and Miss Hamilton, may have discovered by the slight improvement in legibility of penmanship, other hands have been employed to finish this letter, which has been on the stocks half as long as a man-of-war....

This very moment letter arrives-very complimentary— from the Master of St. John's College, Cambridge (the place of my brother William's education), requesting him to sit for his portrait to some eminent artist, as he expresses it, to be placed in the old House among their Worthies.' He writes in

* Life, vol. i. pp. 428-9.

+ The sonnet beginning "Haydon ! let worthier judges praise the skill."

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