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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:
When temples, columns, towers, are laid in dust;
And 'tis a common ordinance of fate
That things obscure and small outlive the great :
Hence, when yon mansion and the flowery trim
Of this fair garden, and its alleys dim,
And all its stately trees, are passed away,
This little Niche, unconscious of decay,
Perchance may still survive. And be it known
That it was scooped within the living stone,
Not by the sluggish and ungrateful pains
Of labourer plodding for his daily gains,
But by an industry that wrought in love;
With help from female hands, that proudly strove
To aid the work, what time these walks and bowers

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."

1 1827.

To shape the work, what time
Were framed to cheer



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.


Comp. 1808.

Pub. 1815.
YE Lime-trees, ranged before this hallowed Urn,
Shoot forth with lively power at Spring's return;
And be not slow a stately growth to rear
Of pillars, branching off from year to year,
Till they have learned to frame a darksome aisle;
That may recal to mind that awful Pile 1
Where Reynolds, 'mid our country's noblest dead,
In the last sanctity of fame is laid.
—There, though by right the excelling Painter sleep
Where Death and Glory a joint sabbath keep,
Yet not the less his Spirit would hold dear
Self-hidden praise, and Friendship’s private tear :
Hence, on my patrimonial grounds, have I
Raised this frail tribute to his memory:



Till ye have framed, at length, a darksome aisle,
Like a recess within that sacred pile.

MS. letter to Sir George Beaumont, 1811.
Till they at length have framed a darksome Aisle
Like a recess within that awful Pile.



From youth a zealous follower of the Art
That he professed ; attached to him in heart;
Admiring, loving, and with grief and pride
Feeling what England lost when Reynolds died.

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,
Some future poet meditate his lays !
Not mindless of that distant age, renov

When inspiration hovered o'er this ground,
The haunt of him who sang, how spear and shield
In civic conflict met on Bosworth field,
And if that famous youth (full soon removed
From earth !) by mighty Shakespear's self approved,
Fletcher's associate, Jonson's friend below.

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“ 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.

Comp. 1811.

Pub. 1815.

BENEATH yon eastern ridge, the craggy bound,
Rugged and high, of Charnwood's forest ground
Stand yet, but, Stranger ! hidden from thy view,
The ivied Ruins of forlorn GRACE DIEU;
Erst a religious House, which day and night
With hymns resounded, and the chanted rite:
And when those rites had ceased, the Spot gave birth
To honourable Men of various worth :
There, on the margin of a streamlet wild,
Did Francis Beaumont sport, an eager child ;
There, under shadow of the neighbouring rocks,
Sang youthful tales of shepherds and their flocks;
Unconscious prelude to heroic themes,
Heart-breaking tears, and melancholy dreams
Of slighted love, and scorn, and jealous rage,
With which his genius shook the buskined stage.
Communities are lost, and Empires die,
And things of holy use unhallowed lie;
They perish ;— but the Intellect can raise,
From airy words alone, a Pile that ne'er decays.

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 :

Beneath yon eastern ridge, the craggy bound,

&c., &c. The thought of writing this inscription occurred to me many years ago."-ED.





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[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,
And Emont's murmur mingled with the Song:-
The words of ancient time I thus translate,
A festal strain that hath been silent long :-

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