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science capable of illustration by experiments, operations, and specimens; but in other departments of knowledge they are, in most cases, worse than superfluous. Of course I do not include in the above censure college lectures, as they are called, when the business consists not of haranguing the pupils, but in ascertaining the progress they have made."

It would be useless, in a biography of the Poet, to criticise the onesidedness, and even the prejudice, contained in this letter. The University of London, and University College, London, with other colleges, have abundantly justified their right to exist by the work they have accomplished, which has not only been a useful supplement to that of the two great English Universities, but has achieved a result which the latter could not possibly have done. The objection to teaching Philosophy, Literature, and Political Economy by lectures is also directly opposed to the best traditions of academic life in other lands, and the experience of centuries. The narrow and deeplygrooved political Conservatism of the poet's nature is further seen in his fears for the future of his country, in connection with the Reform Bill. It is a question which we need not now discuss for time has solved and settled it-whether it would not have been better for the country if our reforms had been more gradual, and less sweeping in their character; but as the attitude of mind which Wordsworth showed on those questions of local or imperial politics has an interest to all students of his works, it may be more useful to give some further illustration of it than to criticise it.

Writing to Lord Lonsdale (an undated letter) in 1827 about the Reform Bill, he said :

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'Perhaps the fate of the Bill is already decided, or will be so, before this reaches your hands. I cannot forbear, however, writing once more upon a subject which is scarcely ever out of my thoughts. I see that a writer in the Quarterly Review

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is most decidedly against the Bill going into Committee: he appears convinced, as thousands are, that no good would arise from it, and that the destruction of the Constitution must follow; adding that if the Lords resist they will at least fall with honour. In this I perfectly concur with him. Residing at a distance from town, I can form no distinct notion of the mischief which might immediately arise, with an executive such as now afflicts this kingdom. But I do confidently affirm that there are materials for constructing a party which, if the Bill be not passed, might save the country. I have numerous acquaintances among men who have all their lives been more or less of Reformers, but not one, unfastened by party engagements, who does not strongly condemn this Bill."

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Again, on 29th November, he wrote to the same correspondent :

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The nation will now know what Lord Grey meant by his expression, 'a measure equally efficient.' If he meant efficient for a change, as great, as sudden, and upon the same principles of spoliation and disfranchisement in the outset as the former Bill, and the new constituency to be supplied by its coarse and clumsy contrivances, not to speak of the party injustice of their application-then it must be obvious to all honest men of sound judgment that nothing can prevent a subversion of the existing Government by King, Lords, and Commons, and the violation of the present order of society in this country. Such at least is the deliberate opinion of all those friends whose judgment I am accustomed to look up to. One of the ablest things I have read upon the character and tendency of the Reform Bill is in the North American Review of four or five months back. The author lays it down-and I think gives irrefragable reasons for his opinion that the numerical principle adopted, and that of property also, can find no root but in universal suffrage. Being a Republican, and a

professed hater and despiser of our modified feudal institutions, he rejoices over the prospect, and his views, though in some points mistaken, for want of sufficient knowledge of English society, are entitled to universal consideration."

Again, in a subsequent letter :

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The altered Bill does little or nothing to prevent the dangers of the former. . . . The mischief already done can never be repaired. The scheme of regulating representation by arbitrary lines of property or numbers is impracticable; such distinctions will melt away before the inflamed passions of the people. No Government will prove sufficiently strong to maintain them, till the novelty which excites a thirst for further change shall be worn off, and the new constituency have a chance of acquiring by experience the habits of a temperate use of their powers. A preponderance so large being given to ten-pound renters, the interest and property of the large towns where they are to vote will not be represented, much less than of the community at large; for these ten-pound renters are mainly men without substance, and live, as has been said, from hand to mouth. Then will follow frequent Parliaments-triennial perhaps at first-which will convert the representatives into mere slavish delegates, as they now are in America, under the dictation of ignorant and selfish numbers, misled by unprincipled journalists, who, as in France, will, no few of them, find their way into the House of Commons, and so the last traces of a deliberative assembly will vanish. But enough of this melancholy topic. I resided fifteen months in France, during the heat of the Revolution, and have some personal experience of the course which these movements must take, if not fearlessly resisted, before the transfer of legislative power takes place. . . ."

On December 18, 1826, Dorothy Wordsworth, writing to H. C. Robinson from Rydal Mount, said, of the Lambs: "I wish

they would now and then let us see their handwriting; a single page from Charles Lamb is worth ten postages;" and of her brother William: "My brother has lately written some very good sonnets. I wish that I could add that the 'Recluse' was brought from his hiding-place."

On the 29th of January 1827, writing to the same friend, Wordsworth said: "My poems have, for this month past, been printing with the Longmans. I have revised the poems carefully, particularly The Excursion, and I trust with considerable improvement; but you will judge."

In an earlier letter to Robinson, April 6, 1826, Wordsworth referred to some suggestions of his for a change in the arrangement of the poems; and, speaking of what he was doing, with a view to the new edition, added: "There is no material change in the classification, except that the Scotch poems have been placed all together, under the title of Memorials of Tours in Scotland; this has made a gap in the poems of Imagination which has been supplied by Laodamia, Ruth, and one or two more, from the class of Affections, etc."

In the same year, writing to Kenyon, Wordsworth says: “I, together with Dora, spent a week very pleasantly with the Southeys since the commencement of the present month, and we also had a picnic meeting under Raven Crag by the margin of Wytheburn-the families of Greta Hall and Rydal Mount, with other vagrants, making a party of about thirty. A merry group we formed, round a gypsy fire upon the rocky point that juts from the shore, on the opposite side of the lake from the high-road."

The years 1825 to 1830 were not productive ones in Wordsworth's poetic life. The Skylark of 1825, the Ode to May of 1826, and The Triad, The Wishing Gate, and The Power of Sound of 1828, were the best things he wrote during these six years.



It should be recorded that Wordsworth's special friend, Sir George Beaumont, died in February 1827. Of this event Sir Walter Scott wrote thus in his diary:

"February 14, 1827.

"Sir George Beaumont is dead; by far the most sensible and pleasing man I ever knew-kind, too, in his nature, and generous-gentle in society, and of those mild manners which tend to soften the causticity of the general London tone of persiflage and personal satire. As an amateur painter, he was of the very highest distinction; and though I knew nothing of the matter, yet I should hold him a perfect critic on painting, for he always made his criticisms intelligible, and used no slang. I am very sorry, as much as it is in my nature to be, for one whom I could see but seldom. He was the great friend of Wordsworth, and understood his poetry, which is a rare thing, for it is more easy to see his peculiarities than to feel his great merit, or follow his abstract ideas."*

I think it likely that Wordsworth spent part of the autumn of 1827 at Brinsop Court. Writing from Liverpool in the beginning of the following year, he said :—

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"Liverpool, Jan. 25, 1838.

When in Herefordshire I passed a few days with Sir Uvedale Price, one of the late batch of baronets. He is in his 81st year, and as active in ranging about his woods as a setter dog. We talked much of Sir George Beaumont, to whom he was very strongly attached. He has just written a most ingenious work on ancient metres, and the proper mode of reading Greek and Latin verse. If he is right, we have all been wrong; and I think he is. It is a strange subject to interest a man at his age, but he is all life and spirits.

*See Lockhart's Life of Scott, vol. ix. p. 89.

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