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been eagerly received by the middle and humbler ranks of the community, while they were disregarded by the upper classes, and have continued to be dear to the many, though centuries perhaps may have passed away without their obtaining the sanction, except in rare instances, of those who value themselves upon a cultivated taste. Take for example The Pilgrim's Progress. Cowper, the poet, being prompted to speak his thought of that beautiful allegory, more than a hundred years after its publication, says in the course of his panegyric:

I named thee not, lest so despised a name
Should move a sneer at thy deserved fame;

and who but must be struck with the clouds that darken for a time the splendour of those productions whose merits were at first unacknowledged in the highest quarters. In Charles II.'s days ten plays of B. and F.* were acted for one of Shakespeare. Bysshe, in his Art of Poetry, published about the same period, writes thus of Chaucer and Spenser: "Their language has now become so antiquated and obsolete that most readers of our age have no ear for them, nor, I must confess, is the taste of Chaucer to be wondered at "; but Bysshe immediately adds, "and this is the reason that the good Shakespeare himself is not so frequently cited in this collection as he would otherwise deserve to be." In fact, he is rarely cited at all, Dryden, Cowley, Otway, Rowe, Blackmore, and Butler are the writers from which his extracts are almost exclusively taken, there being very few even from Milton. Again, books, the production of true genius sometimes, when they first appear, obtain general circulation for their faults. Such, as I have elsewhere noticed, was the case with Thomson's Seasons, which was admired for its sentimental flourishes and its foolish or ill-told tales-when the nobler movements of this poet's imagination were unfelt, as

* Doubtless Beaumont and Fletcher.

they seemed not to have been till a critic directed attention to them forty years afterwards. The fate of Dr. Johnson's Rambler is not to be overlooked. In his concluding Number he thus expresses himself: "I am far from supposing that the cessation of my performances will raise any enquiry, for I have never been much a favourite with the public." He then proceeds to give some high-minded reasons why he does not complain of neglect, and to show that he did not obtain immediate favour because he seldom descended to the arts by which it is obtained. Yet I well remember that forty-five years ago an intelligent bookseller, contrasting the slow progress to public notice made by the Rambler compared with its rival periodical papers, the Adventurer and the Idler, observed that editions of the Rambler were constantly called for, while the other two lighter works, which were popular on their first appearance, could scarcely float at all except by the aid of collections. When it was thought expedient for the sake of his (Johnson's) health-declining through age and his depressed spirits-he should travel abroad, his friends might have been spared the necessity of applying to Government in his behalf, and escaped the mortification of being refused. This, by-the-by. I have endeavoured to show that Time is the only judge in Literature that can be absolutely depended

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THE relationship which Wordsworth sustained toward one of the most distinguished literary men of his time-Walter Savage Landor-has been a good deal misunderstood. It was a chequered relationship-extremely cordial and appreciative at one time, and again overshadowed by cloud, and by a misunderstanding that was perhaps mutual. As in the case of other contemporaries, it may be as well to bring together some facts in reference to it extending over a series of years, rather than break up the narrative by referring each particular to its own year; and we must go back as far as the year 1817 in order to understand it.

In that year-two years after Landor had gone to reside in Italy-Southey sent out to him copies of The White Doe of Rylstone and The Excursion. In acknowledging receipt of them Landor said he would have given eighty pounds out of his pocket if Wordsworth had not written the line in his dedication of The Excursion

Of high respect and gratitude sincere.

In writing home from Pisa to his old schoolfellow Birch, he told him of a Latin essay he was writing, and of the eulogy of Wordsworth which it would contain.

Southey kept sending him out his friend's poems (Peter Bell and the Duddon Sonnets in 1820). He replied, "In whatever Wordsworth writes there is admirable poetry;

but I wish he had omitted all that precedes There was a time,' in Peter Bell. The first poet that ever wrote was not a more original poet than he is, and the best is hardly a greater." Mr. Forster (Landor's biographer) tells us that the latter had "planned a Latin essay supplementary to the treatise prefixed to his Latin poems"; and Landor told Southey, "I have finished my translation of Wordsworth's criticisms, saying in the preface that I had taken whatever I wanted from him with the same liberty as a son eats and drinks in his father's house."* Wordsworth wrote to Landor in September 1821, and told him "The Excursion is proud of your approbation." . . . Again he said, "It could not but be grateful to be praised by a poet who has written verses of which I would rather have been the author than of any produced in our time."

Landor's original intention was to dedicate his Imaginary Conversations to Wordsworth. The dedication had been offered, and accepted; but, as Landor afterwards told Southey, he had written in them conversations "with such asperity, and contemptuousness of the people in power," that a sense of delicacy would not permit me to place Wordsworth's name before the volume. The book was published in London in February 1824, and in December Wordsworth added a postscript to a letter from Southey to Landor-who was still in Italy-thanking him for the dialogues, which he called "a great acquisition to literature." Landor was much gratified. Everything that either Wordsworth or Southey wrote seems to have been sent out by the latter to Florence; and Landor sent "an overflowing return in kind" from Italy.

In the autumn of 1835 Landor came to England, and in the following summer, when Wordsworth went up to town expressly to hear and see the performance of Talfourd's

*Life of Walter Savage Landor, p. 203.

Ion, they met, with many others, at Talfourd's house. Southey's absence, owing to home-sorrow at Keswick, was lamented by all; but Landor fancied Wordsworth's remarks on Southey to be ungenerous. Soon afterwards he published his Satire on Satirists, containing a bitter attack on Wordsworth for this imaginary disrespect to Southey. He never quite got over this feeling. In 1837 he amused himself by parodying We are Seven; and in a new series of Imaginary Conversations he introduced one between Porson and Southey, in which his satire of the author of the Lyrical Ballads was carried still further. His fondness for reciting his own poetry is referred to, and its "summer murmur of fostering modulation"; but at the close he speaks again with appreciative justice, and says that no man had "ever such a mastery over Nåture in her profoundest relations to Humanity."

Passing from Landor to Bentley, Wordsworth's opinion of the Dissertation on the Epistles of Phalaris is noteworthy. Writing to his friend Alexander Dyce on the 23d December 1837, he said: "How much do I regret that I have neither learning nor eyesight thoroughly to enjoy Bentley's masterly Dissertation upon the Epistles of Phalaris. Many years ago

I read the work with infinite pleasure. As far as I know, or rather am able to judge, it is without a rival in that department of literature; a work of which the English nation may be proud, as long as acute intellect, and vigorous powers, and profound scholarship shall be esteemed in the world."

Writing to Moxon in February 1838, Wordsworth speaks of requests which had reached him for a collection of his sonnets in one volume. He alludes to the number of these sonnets, 415, and says, if each sonnet were in one page, it would be "a book of luxury," not for the multitude; and adds,

A day or two ago Dr. Arnold showed me a letter from a clergyman, an accomplished scholar besides, entreating me to publish my works in 'brown paper'-that was the word

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