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of nature by his boyhood with the tranquil worship with which he now enters into its meaning. The remembrance of these beauteous forms” has given him "in hours of weariness, sensations sweet", and feelings that mould

“That best portion of a good man's life,
His little, nameless, unremembered, acts

Of kindness and of love".
It has lightened

“The weary weight

Of all this unintelligible world”, and brought the serene mood, in which

• We are laid asleep

In body and become a living soul”, and "see into the life of things”. Often, when “the fever of the world”

“Has hung upon the beatings of his heart”, has he turned back in spirit to the "sylvan Wye". And, as he stands by its banks again, he feels that

" In this moment there is life and food

For future years." Nature in his boyhood “to him was all in all ”; sounding cataract haunted him like a passion ". That

dizzy rapture” is past ; and he has learned to hear in nature "the still, sad music of humanity", to feel

“ A presence that disturbs him with the joy
Of elevated thoughts”;

a sense sublime
Of something far more deeply interfused,
Whose dwelling is the light of setting suns,
And the round ocean, and the living air,

And the blue sky, and in the mind of man”. Therefore is he still a lover "of all the mighty world of eye and ear", "both what they half-create and what perceive ”, pleased to recognise in nature “the soul of all his moral being”. In the joy of his sister, yet a girl, he sees his former rapture, and he prays that it may continue yet a while with her,

“ Knowing that nature never did betray

The heart that loved her".

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Nature tranquilises and elevates the mind so that

“ neither evil tongues,
Rash judgments, nor the sneers of selfish men,
Nor greetings where no kindness is, nor all
The dreary intercourse of daily life,
Shall e'er prevail against us, or disturb
Our cheerful faith that all which we behold

Is full of blessings”.
In after years her memory shall thus

“ Be as a dwelling place

For all sweet sounds and harmonies". She will remember if they are separated that he," so long a worshipper of nature”, came hither “unwearied in her service”, nay,

“ with far deeper zeal of holier love”. 9. This is the spirit that made Wordsworth's poetry a new revelation to the nineteenth century, that gave form and expression to the growing sense of the beauty of the world, of the soul that informs it, and of the purifying influence of intercourse with it. At last the true pastoralism had been reached, that after which men, weary of the bustle of cities and the artificiality and vice of civilization, had been for centuries yearning. In this simple and worshipful dwelling with nature was to be found the anodyne for spirits weary of so much factitious life, the anodyne so long sought for in the half-pretence of pastorals. In this prayerful mood of intercourse with the divine element, that made the heart of nature, was the true nirvana, the true annihilation of the fretful, carking self.


10. The same spirit is more briefly, but as religiously, expressed in a brief extract " from an unpublished poem”, printed in Coleridge's journal, “The Friend", and called “ Influence of Natural Objects in calling forth and strengthening the imagination in boyhood and early youth”. This passage was written in 1799, and is part of The Prelude, his poetical and psychological autobiography, already begun, but not published till 1805. He apostrophises "the soul that is the eternity of thought", that drew him from “the mean and vulgar works of man and purified “the elements of feeling and of thought until he recognised "a grandeur in the beatings of the

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heart”. Then he passes into a description of the rapture of fellowship with nature “in November days ”, when

“ All shod with steel,

We hissed along the polished ice”, and “the shadowy banks" "came sweeping through the darkness” and

"With the din Smitten the precipices rang aloud”. II. There is less of the spiritual insight in a fragment he wrote at Goslar in Germany in the winter of 1799, “Nutting”; but there is a deep sense of the mind, the personality, that is in nature. He describes a boyish excursion to a hazel-grove for nuts; he lay for a while, his cheek on a mossy stone, drinking in the scene, hearing the “fairy water-breaks” murmur on, and “breathing with such suppression of the heart as joy delights in "; then he set to his task; but as he left, unless he confounds "present feelings with the past”, he felt as if he had polluted a shrine,

a sense of pain when he beheld The silent trees, and saw the intruding sky”; “there is a spirit in the woods”. Here the long-petrified poetry of nature by means of personification has given way to life and passionate love. Another fragment of the same period called “The Simplon Pass” shows the same almost pantheistic recognition of the divinity in nature, but far more intellectually.

12. "A Poet's Epitaph ", also belonging to 1799, is, though not in blank verse, but in his somewhat prosaic use of the ballad metre, full of his new creed. It is a defence of his poetic life that would seem so idle to the practical

He warns off from the poet's grave the various types of men to be met in the busy world; the statist is first to “love one living man” before he thinks of the dead; the lawyer, the doctor, the soldier must lay their profession with its evil effects aside before they approach; he has an especial horror of the scientist, or philosopher, as he calls him, “one all eyes”, “a fingering slave”;

“One that would peep and botanise

Upon his mother's grave”;



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he bids him, "wrapt in sensual fleece", take his “everdwindling soul” away and let the poet "rest in peace”; so does he abhor “the moralist”, “an intellectual all-in-all”, "a reasoning self-sufficing thing", "himself his world and his own God”;

“Sleep in thy intellectual crust;

Nor lose ten tickings of thy watch

Near this unprofitable dust": Far different is the poet-mourner “ clad in homely russet", "an idler in the land ”;

“He murmurs near the running brooks

A music sweeter than their own"; he is a solitary, and in solitude he has had “impulses of deeper birth”, and reaped "the harvest of a quiet eye”;

• You must love him ere to you

He will seem worthy of your love". Two others in the ballad metre, written in 1798, Lines in Early Spring, and To My Sister express two different phases of his higher pantheism, his belief in the soul that lives and moves in nature; in the former he mourns over the thought of “what man has made of man", when he considers his “human soul” is “linked” by nature “to her fair works it is his faith "that every flower enjoys the air it breathes”; in the latter he bids his sister come forth, and enjoy in idleness the “blessing in the air”, that seems to give a sense of joy" "to the bare trees and mountains bare”; it is the first of March and is the true beginning of the year ;

“ Love, now a universal birth,

From heart to heart is stealing,
From earth to man, from man to earth :
It is the hour of feeling.
One moment now may give us more

Than years of toiling reason”. 13. Other poems of these last few years of the century express "the still sad music of humanity", and the pathos of lowly human life, rather than the spirit that dwells in nature ;

and yet even in them the two seem to combine. “The old Cumberland Beggar” tells in his peculiarly

» musical and varied blank verse of the charity that is twiceblest ; he upholds the superiority of the old system of personal relation of beggar and helper to the new workhouse

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system; he asserts that there is "a spirit and pulse of good”. "to every mode of being inseparably linked”, and he shows how this blind old man keeps alive in the district the love of benevolence, the joy of doing good, the sense of “kindred with a world where want and sorrow are”. But he prefers to put this sympathy with human sorrow, this pathos of the lowliest human life into rhymed and generally ballad stanzas; “Her eyes are wild” (1798) is the lament of a forsaken wife over her babe; Ruth (1799) the story of a forsaken bride who, a child of nature, lives to old age out in the open ; The Complaint of a Forsaken Indian Woman (1798) puts into pathetic verse the cry of one who has been left by her tribe in the forest and is about to die; all three have the simple pathos of nature and of human injustice in them. The Danish Boy (1799), the picture of a "spirit of noonday” that haunts a lovely dell, gives the brighter side of rustic superstition. “We are seven” (1798), To a Sexton, Matthew, and The Two. April Mornings, all written in 1799, express the living kinship with the dead in the churchyard that rustics feel. Lucy Gray (1799), in telling the story of a child lost in the snow, embodies the same sentiment, but goes further ; it ends with the rustic belief, that Lucy “is a living child” and wanders singing over the heath where she died. The same pathos of kinship with the dead he several times puts into melodious verse about another dead Lucy; “ Three years she grew in sun and shower” is the longest ; nature counts the child as hers, and resolves to take her ;

“The stars of midnight shall be dear

To her; and she shall lean her ear
In many a secret place,
Where rivulets dance their wayward round,
And beauty born of murmuring sound

Shall pass into her face.” A slumber did my spirit steal”, “I travelled among unknown men “Strange fits of passion have I known", and “She dwelt among the untrodden ways ”, all written in 1799, are brief dirges over this child Lucy; the last is the most beautiful ;

" A violet by a mossy stone,

Half hidden from the eye !
Fair as a star, when only one
Is shining in the sky.

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