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IN the year 1828 Wordsworth went with his daughter and Coleridge on a short tour up the Rhine for a fortnight, returning by Holland; and in the same year Dorothy Wordsworth visited the Isle of Man with her nephew. The Fenwick notes to the poems tell us something of the journey on the Rhine to Mr. Aders' at Godesberg, and at St. Goar-and Wordsworth himself memorialised it in two short poems-but the best record of this visit is to be found in a book called Beaten Paths; and those who trod them, by Thomas Colley Grattan. In the second volume of this book, Chapter IV., there is an account of a three days' tour with Coleridge and Wordsworth, from which the following is extracted :

"On the 25th of June 1828, being then resident in Brussels, I received a note from my neighbour, Major Pryce Gordon, asking me to spend the evening at his house, to meet the two poets whose names stand above, and whom he had picked up as they were passing through on a tour to the Meuse and the Rhine. I was punctual to the hour fixed; but I found the poets before me in the drawing-room, and also a young lady, Mr. Wordsworth's daughter.

One involuntarily imagines a notion, though rarely a likeness, of persons of any note. I had seen an engraved portrait of Coleridge, but it was not a bit resembling the original. . .

I had never seen any likeness of Wordsworth except in my mind's eye, and it was not happier regarding him than the limner or engraver had been with respect to his brother bard. . .


Wordsworth was, if possible, more unlike what he must appear in the fancy of those who have read his poetry and have never seen the author. He was a perfect antithesis to Coleridge-tall, wiry, harsh in features, coarse in figure, inelegant in looks. He was roughly dressed in a long brown surtout, striped duck trousers, fustian gaiters, and thick shoes. He more resembled a mountain farmer than a 'lake poet.' His whole air was unrefined and unprepossessing.

This was incontestably the first impression made on others as well as on me. But, on after observation, and a little reflection, I could not help considering that much that seemed unfavourable in Wordsworth might be really placed to his advantage. There was a total absence of affectation, or egotism; not the least effort at display, or assumption of superiority over any of those who were quite prepared to concede it to him. He seemed satisfied to let his friend and fellow-traveller take the lead, with a want of pretension rarely found in men of literary reputation far inferior to his; while there was something unobtrusively amiable in his bearing towards his daughter.

There were several gentlemen of the party. Coleridge talked much, and indiscriminately, with those next him, or about him. He did not appear to talk for effect, but purely for talking's sake. He seemed to breathe in words. Wordsworth was at times fluent, but always commonplace; full of remark, but not of observation. He spoke of scenery as far as its aspect was concerned; but he did not enter into its associations with moral beauty. He certainly did not talk well. But in fact he had no encouragement. He had few listeners; and what seemed rather repulsive in him was perhaps chiefly from its

grating contrast to the wonderful attraction of Coleridge. His was a mild, enthusiastic flow of language; a broad, deep stream, carrying gently along all that it met with on its course-not a whirlpool that drags into its vortex and engulfs what it seizes on. Almost everything he talked about became the subject of a lecture of great eloquence and precision. . . .

It was soon arranged that I should join the tourists in the course of their sojourn on the banks of the Meuse, towards which quarter I had been for some days projecting a ramble....

At both Waterloo and Quatre Bras, while Wordsworth. keenly inspected the field of battle insatiably curious after tombstones, and spots where officers had fallen (the Duke of Brunswick, Picton, Ponsonby, etc.), Coleridge spoke to me of the total deficiency of memorable places to excite any interest in him unless they possessed some natural beauty. He called this a defect. I thought it was, and a strange one in such a man, as associations of moral interest seem so fruitfully to spring in a poetic mind on the sites of memorable deeds. Coleridge took evident delight in rural scenes. He was ecstasies at a group of haymakers in a field as we passed. He' said the little girls, standing with their rakes, the handles resting on the ground, 'looked like little saints.' Half a dozen dust-covered children going by the roadside, with a garland of roses raised above their heads, threw him into raptures.


At Namur we walked out by the light of a splendid full We poked our way through the narrow streets to the bridge of the Sambre, then to that of the Meuse-Wordsworth, who took charge of his daughter, pioneering us along, bustling through, asking the way from every one we met; while Coleridge walked after, leaning on my arm, and in a total abstraction of thought and feeling, indifferent as to whether we went right or left, but finding somewhat to admire in every glance of moonshine or effect of, shade, and a rich fund to draw from in his own mind. He talked away on many subjects;

and at last the broad river, the lofty ridges of hills, and masses of wood, burst suddenly on us in the full light, as we emerged from a gloomy passage that opened on the quay.

Coleridge advanced towards the river, with quiet expressions of enjoyment at the beauty around him. Wordsworth stepped quickly on, and said aloud, yet more to himself than to us, Ay, there it is there's the bridge! Let's see how many arches there are-one, two, three,' and so on, till he counted them all, with the accuracy and hardness of a stonecutter.

The shadow of the bridge falling on the water gave to every open arch its clear reflection in the stream, which made each of course perfectly round, looking like a row of so many huge, limpid moons, or, as I happened to observe, in allusion to their vapoury appearance, so many ghosts of moons.' This hit Coleridge's fancy.

'Very good!' said he, moving forward; that's a good observation; that's poetry. Let me see, let me see?'

Wordsworth had pushed forward with his daughter close to the parapet of the bridge; but we all stopped simultaneously to listen to a delicious chorus of female voices which approached from the other side of the river. A char-à-banc, covered with brown linen awning, soon appeared, slowly crossing the bridge. It contained several well-dressed young women, bourgeoises of the town, returning no doubt from a country visit or picnic. They sang as long as they were in our hearing a German air, in parts, and very prettily. It harmonised exquisitely with the scene and the hour. . . .

We followed them in silence for some time, Wordsworth as usual in advance. When Coleridge lost the tones of the chorus he began again to chaunt his strain of poetry and philosophy; and, to my feeling, it was fitly accompanied by the dying cadences, which reached my ear for some time after they had failed to enter his. . . .

When we got again into the heart of the old town, it being

eleven o'clock, Wordsworth broke suddenly upon us with a downright matter-of-fact request, in his very matter-of-fact way, to join him in inquiries about a conveyance for Dinant the next morning. While Coleridge, the music still echoing in his soul, escorted Miss Wordsworth to the hotel (I praying for her safe arrival under such guidance), his brother poet and myself went very prosaically on our business. He was indefatigable in making inquiries from one bureau to another, as to time, distance, and, above all, as to price. At last he agreed to my original proposal to give up all thoughts of a public conveyance and to hire a calèche to ourselves. . . .

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It was during those inquiries at the diligence offices that. I remarked Wordsworth's very imperfect knowledge of French, and it was then that he accounted for it by telling me that five-and-twenty years previously he understood and spoke it well, but that his abhorrence of the Revolutionary excesses made him resolve, if possible, to forget the language altogether and that for a long time he had not read nor spoken a word of Coleridge did not understand French at all. . . .


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When we reached Dinant, Coleridge and Miss Wordsworth remained at the hotel, while Wordsworth and I, in a broiling sun, proceeded to ascend the steep rocks above the town for the sake of a view. We took off our coats, threw them across our arms, and trudged along. Wordsworth had quite the figure and air of a sturdy mountaineer in search of a stray sheep or goat. We had a scorching ramble of more than two hours, in which Wordsworth expanded amazingly, and gave me a much more favourable opinion of himself and his powers than I had heretofore conceived, but not all at once. There were no bursts of information, but a gradual development of it. He looked round, as we ascended, from time to time, at the prospect up and down and beyond the river; and he talked of painting, sketching, and many other subjects suggested by the scene. But he did not, after all, talk like a painter or a philo

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