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about this time. Few of the dates of the incidents mentioned are given; but in Allsop's twenty-seventh letter (dated May 4, 1821) he writes thus of meeting Wordsworth in London :

"Met Mr. and Mrs. Wordsworth, with Mr. Talfourd, Monkhouse, and Robinson. A very delightful evening. Wordsworth almost as good a reader as Coleridge; to a stranger I think he would seem to carry even more authority, both in what he read and said. He spoke of Southey and Coleridge with measured respect, and, as I thought, just appreciation. Pointed out some passages in The Curse of Kehama which he admired, and repeated some portions of The Ancient Mariner; also from The River Duddon and The Excursion. Repeated The Highland Girl. He seemed to me to present the idea of a poet in whom the repressive faculty was predominant. Taken altogether, he impressed me very favourably, and I regret deeply that I did not avail myself of subsequent opportunities-not seldom proffered by Lamb and Coleridge-of meeting him more frequently. But I then laboured under the impression that he had not acted kindly to that dear and loved being, whom I loved living, and honour dead. Even now, when myself almost indifferent to new associations, I regret this enforced denial of what at that period would have enhanced the value of existence, communion with that glorious and effulgent mind; but I do not regret the impulses which led to this self-denial.” *

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In the same letter Allsop tells us that he once wrote to Wordsworth to inquire if he was really a Christian. replied, When I am a good man, then I am a Christian.'' It would be interesting to recover the letter in which this remark was made.

In his last letter, No. 45, Allsop represents Coleridge as saying:+

* Vol. i. pp. 222, 223.

+ Vol. ii. p. 238.

"Of all the men I ever knew, Wordsworth has the least femineity in his mind. He is all man. He is a man of whom it might have been said, 'It is good for him to be alone.'"

When Mr. Allsop says of Coleridge that his mind was "at once the most masculine, feminine, and yet child-like (and in that case the most innocent) which it is possible to imagine," the value of his diagnosis may be guessed. Nevertheless he may have accurately reported Coleridge's remark on Wordsworth, which has a certain truth underneath it.

After his fortnight in London, Wordsworth went down with his wife to Cambridge, where they spent thirteen days at the Lodge, Trinity College (November 24 to December 6). From Cambridge Wordsworth wrote thus to Lord Lonsdale :

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"Master's Lodge, Trinity College, Cambridge, 4th December 1820.

I am much gratified with what I have seen of this University. There is a great ardour of study among the young men. The masters, tutors, and lecturers appear for the most part to be very zealous in the discharge of their duties. . . .'

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Cambridge seems to have inspired Wordsworth to sonnetwriting in December of this year, just as Oxford had inspired him in the month of May. I infer, from a letter to Robinson, that one of the three fine sonnets-afterwards included in the Ecclesiastical series on the Inside of King's College Chapel, Cambridge, was composed during this visit. In a letter dated March 13, 1821, he says of his time at Cambridge :

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'What with the company (although I saw very little of him) of my dear brother, our stately apartments, with all the

venerable portraits there that awe one into humility, old friends, new acquaintances, and a thousand familiar remembrances, and freshly conjured-up recollections, I enjoyed myself not a little. I should like to send you a sonnet composed at Cambridge, but it is reserved for cogent reasons-to be imparted in due time."

From Cambridge William and Mary Wordsworth went down to the Beaumonts at Coleorton. They stayed there from December 2d to December 20th, and then went north by Manchester and Kendal to Rydal.

After her return from the Continent, Dorothy Wordsworth seems to have gone direct from London to the Clarksons at Playford Hall, near Ipswich, where her nephew William was residing. She joined that nephew at Cambridge before the end of his Christmas holidays, and left Cambridge for Rydal about the 26th January 1821.

* It is possible that this sonnet may have been that which he afterwards named Recollection of the Portrait of King Henry VIII., Trinity College, Cambridge. See vol. vii. p. 101.



DURING Wordsworth's residence in Leicestershire, in December 1820, Sir George Beaumont-who was about to build a new church on Coleorton Moor-talked a good deal to him about the ecclesiastical history of England. This led not only to his writing some sonnets on the subject while staying at Coleorton, but to the larger idea of embodying the entire story of the Anglican Church in a series of Ecclesiastical Sketches. His mind had been turned to Church questions for many years. He had discussed them with his brother Christopher, who, while dean and rector of Bocking, had published six volumes of Ecclesiastical Biography, and, as he explained in a note to the Sketches when first published, "the Catholic question, which was agitated in Parliament about that time, kept my thoughts in the same course." Southey wrote to his friend, C. H. Townsend, from Keswick, on the 6th of May 1821

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The Wordsworths spoke of you with great pleasure upon their return from Cambridge. He was with us lately. His thoughts and mine have for some time unconsciously been travelling in the same direction; for while I have been sketching a brief history of the English Church, and the systems which it has subdued or struggled with, he has been pursuing precisely the same subject in a series of sonnets, to which my volume will serve for a commentary, as completely as if it had been written with that intent." *

*Southey's Life and Correspondence, vol. v. p. 79; also a letter to C. Bedford, vol. v. p. 65.

Several of Wordsworth's letters written at this time to Viscount Lowther-the son of the Earl of Lonsdale-reveal his opinions on the question of the admission of Roman Catholics to Parliament, and kindred matters :

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"March 28th, 1821.

I am truly sorry for what you say about the probable fate of the Catholic question, and feel grateful to you as an Englishman for your persevering exertions. Canning's speech, as given in the Morning Chronicle and Courier, is a tissue of glittering declamation and slender sophistry. He does not appear to look at the effect of this measure upon the Dissenters at all; and as to the inference that the Catholics will be quiet when possessed of their object, because they have been patient under their long privation, first, we may deny the premises— has not every concession been employed as a vantage-ground for another attack? and, had it been otherwise, is it true that they have been patient? What says History as to the long enduring quiet of men who have an object in view? The grandees of the Puritans, says Heylin in his life of Archbishop Laud, after the first heats were over in Queen Elizabeth's time, carried their work for thirty years together, like moles under the ground, not casting up any earth before them, till they had made so strong a party in the House of Commons as was able to hold the thing to their own conditions. Mr. Canning finds the Catholic Peers supporters of Episcopacy in Charles First's time, and concludes, therefore, that they were friends to the Church of England, because Bishops make a part of its constitution. Would it not have been more consonant to history to ascribe this care of reformed bishoprics to the love of an institution favourable to that exaltation of religion, by which abuses were produced, that wrought the overthrow of Papacy in England, and to some lurking expectations that if the Sees

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