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tion out of an old unsightly quarry.
While the labourers were at work, Mrs Wordsworth, my sister and I used to amuse ourselves occasionally in scooping this seat out of the soft stone. It is of the size, with something of the appearance, of a stall in a Cathedral. This inscription is not engraven, as the former, and the two following are, in the grounds.]
OFT is the medal faithful to its trust:
Were shaped to cheer dark winter's lonely hours. This niche is still to be seen although not quite "unconscious of decay." The growth of yew-trees, over and around it, has darkened the seat; and constant damp has decayed the soft stone. The niche having been scooped out by Mrs Wordsworth and Dorothy, as well as by Wordsworth, suggests the cutting of the inscriptions on the Rock of Names in 1800, in which they all took part. (See Vol. III. pp. 115, 116.) On his return to Grasinere from Coleorton, Wordsworth wrote thus to Sir George Beaumont about this inscription. The extract in a continuation of the letter quoted in the note to the previous poem.
“ What follows I composed yesterday morning, thinking there might be no impropriety in placing it so as to be visible only to a person sitting within the niche, which is hollowed out of the sandstone in the wintergarden. I am told that this is, in the present form of the niche, impossible ; but I shall be most ready, when I come to Coleorton, to scoop out a place for it, if Lady Beaumont think it worth while."
To shape the work, what time
Then follows the
INSCRIPTION. “Oft is the medal faithful to its trust." On Nov. 16, 1811, writing again to Sir George on this subject of the Inscriptions, and evidently referring to this one on the “niche,” he says, “ As to the 'Female,' and 'Male,' I know not how to get rid of it ; for that circumstance gives the recess an appropriate interest. On this account, the lines had better be suppressed, for it is not improbable that the altering of them might cost me more trouble than writing a hundred fresh ones.”—ED.
WRITTEN AT THE REQUEST OF SIR GEORGE BEAUMONT,
BART., AND IN HIS NAME, FOR AN URN, PLACED BY
Till ye have framed, at length, a darksome aisle,
MS. letter to Sir George Beaumont, 1811.
From youth a zealous follower of the Art
These Lime-trees now form “a stately growth of pillars," "a darksome aisle;" and the urn remains, as set up in 1807, at the end of the avenue. The awful Pile where Reynolds lies, and where
Death and Glory a joint Sabbath keep, is, of course, Westminster Abbey.
After Wordsworth's return from Coleorton and Stockton to Grasmere, he wrote thus to Sir George Beaumont : “MY DEAR SIR GEORGE,
“Had there been room at the end of the small avenue of limetrees for planting a spacious circle of the same trees, the urn might have been placed in the centre, with the inscription thus altered,
“ Ye lime-trees ranged around this hallowed urn,
Shoot forth with lively power at spring's return !
Here may some Painter sit in future days,
“ The first couplet of the above, as it before stood, would have appeared ludicrous, if the stone had remained after the trees might have been gone. The couplet relating to the household virtues did not accord with the painter and the poet; the former being allegorical figures ; the latter, living men."
This letter—which is not now in the Beaumont Collection at Coleorton Hall-seems to imply that Wordsworth thought of combining the first couplet on the Urn with the last nine lines of the inscription for the stone behind the Cedar tree. But this was never carried out. The inscriptions were carved at Coleorton, as they are printed in the text.- ED. FOR A SEAT IN THE GROVES OF COLEORTON.
BENEATH yon eastern ridge, the craggy bound,
In editions 1815 and 1820, Wordsworth appended the following line from Daniel, as a note to the third last line of this “
“inscription" — Strait all that holy was uuhallowed lies.
Daniel. Charnwood forest, in Leicestershire, is an almost treeless wold of between fifteen and sixteen thousand acres. The
Eastern ridge, the craggy bound,
Rugged and high, refers probably to High Cadmon. The nunnery of Gracedieu was a religious house, in a retired spot near the centre of the forest ; and was built between 1236 and 1242. The English monasteries were suppressed in 1536; but Grace Dieu, with thirty others of the smaller monasteries, was allowed to continue some time longer. It was finally suppressed in 1539, when the site of the priory, with the demesne lands, were granted to Sir Humphrey Foster, who conveyed the whole to John Beaumont. Francis Beaumont, the dramatic poet, was born at Gracedieu in 1586. He died in 1615, and was buried in Westminster Abbey.
“ William and I went to Grace Dieu last week. We were enchanted with the little valley and its nooks, and the Rocks of Charnwood upon the hill.”– Dorothy Wordsworth to Lady Beaumont, November 17, 1806.
This inscription was composed at Grasmere, November 19, 1811, as the following extract from a letter of Wordsworth's to Lady Beaumont indicates :—“Grasmere, Wednesday, November 20, 1811.—My Dear Lady Beaumont- When you see this you will think I mean to overrun you with inscriptions. ' I do not mean to tax you with putting them up, only with reading them. The following I composed yesterday morning in a walk from Brathway, whither I had been to accompany my sister :
FOR A SEAT IN THE GROVES OF COLEORTON.
&c., &c. The thought of writing this inscription occurred to me many years ago."-ED.
SONG AT THE FEAST OF BROUGHAM CASTLE,
UPON THE RESTORATION OF LORD CLIFFORD, THE SHEPHERD, TO THE
ESTATES AND HONOURS OF HIS ANCESTORS.
[See the note. This poem was composed of Coleorton while I was walking to and fro along the path that led from Sir George Beaumont's Farmhouse, where we resided, to the Hall, which was building at that time.]
High in the breathless Hall the Minstrel sate,