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ALTHOUGH it has been explained in the Preface to the first volume of this Biography, it may be as well to add here that the appendices which follow would have been reserved for the end of the third volume-their most appropriate place had it not been found necessary to send the earlier chapters of that volume to press, before the latter ones were finished, and before the exact length to which it would extend was known. The material which these appendices contain refer to various periods in the Life of Wordsworth, and those who wish to follow the story of his life connectedly to its close, may pass to volume three, before they examine these detached memoranda.




"I CONTENT myself," wrote the Bishop, in 1850, "with noting down some record of opinions which he expressed from time to time on literary subjects in my hearing,some of them nearly a quarter of a century ago."

"First read the ancient classical authors; then come to us; and you will be able to judge for yourself which of us is worth reading.

The first book of Homer appears to be independent of the rest. The plan of the Odyssey is more methodical than that of the Iliad. The character of Achilles seems to me one of the grandest ever conceived. There is something awful in it, particularly in the circumstance of his acting under an abiding foresight of his own death. One day, conversing with Payne Knight and Uvedale Price concerning Homer, I expressed my admiration of Nestor's speech, as eminently natural, where he tells the Greek leaders that they are mere children in comparison with the heroes of old whom he had known. But,' said Knight and Price, 'that passage is spurious!' However, I will not part with it. It is inter

* Iliad, i. 260

esting to compare the same characters (Ajax, for instance) as treated by Homer, and then afterwards by the Greek dramatists, and to mark the difference of handling. In the plays of Euripides, politics come in as a disturbing force: Homer's characters act on physical impulse. There is more introversion in the dramatist: whence Aristotle rightly calls him rpayıxararos. The tower-scene, where Helen comes into the presence of Priam and the old Trojans, displays one of the most beautiful pictures anywhere to be seen. Priam's speech on that occasion is a striking proof of the courtesy and delicacy of the Homeric age, or, at least, of Homer himself.


Catullus translated literally from the Greek; succeeding Roman writers did not so, because Greek had then become the fashionable, universal language. They did not translate, but they paraphrased; the ideas remaining the same, their dress different. Hence the attention of the poets of the Augustan age was principally confined to the happy selection of the most appropriate words and elaborate phrases; and hence arises the difficulty of translating them.

The characteristics ascribed by Horace to Pindar in his ode, 'Pindarum quisquis,' &c., are not found in his extant writings. Horace had many lyrical effusions of the Theban bard which we have not. How graceful is Horace's modesty in his Ego apis Matinæ More modoque,' as contrasted with the Dircean Swan! Horace is my great favourite: I love him dearly.

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I admire Virgil's high moral tone: for instance, that sublime 'Aude, hospes, contemnere opes,' &c., and his dantem jura Catonem !' What courage and independence of spirit is there! There is nothing more imaginative and awful than the passage,

* Iliad, iii. 156.

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In describing the weight of sorrow and fear on Dido's mind, Virgil shows great knowledge of human nature, especially in that exquisite touch of feeling,†

Hoc visum nulli, non ipsi effata sorori.

The ministry of Confession is provided to satisfy the natural desire for some relief from the load of grief.

Here, as in

so many other respects, the Church of Rome adapts herself with consummate skill to our nature, and is strong by our weaknesses. Almost all her errors and corruptions are abuses of what is good.

I think Buchanan's Maia Calendæ equal in sentiment, if not in elegance, to anything in Horace; but your brother Charles, to whom I repeated it the other day, pointed out a false quantity in it. Happily this had escaped me.

When I began to give myself up to the profession of a poet for life, I was impressed with the conviction, that there were four English poets whom I must have continually before me as examples-Chaucer, Shakspeare, Spenser, and Milton. These I must study, and equal if I could; and I need not think of the rest.

I have been charged by some with disparaging Pope and Dryden. This is not so. I have committed much of both to memory. As far as Pope goes, he succeeds; but his Homer is not Homer, but Pope.

I cannot account for Shakspeare's low estimate of his own writings, except from the sublimity, the superhumanity,

+ Æn., iv. 455.


Æn., viii. 352.

It is in the third line,

Ludisque dicatæ, jocisque ;

a strange blunder, for Buchanan must have read Horace's,

Quid dedicatum poscit Apollinem,

a hundred times.

of his genius. They were infinitely below his conception of what they might have been, and ought to have been.

The mind often does not think, when it thinks that it is thinking. If we were to give our whole soul to anything, as the bee does to the flower, I conceive there would be little difficulty in any intellectual employment. Hence there is no excuse for obscurity in writing.

Macbeth is the best conducted of Shakspeare's plays. The fault of Julius Cæsar, Hamlet, and Lear is, that the interest is not, and by the nature of the case could not be, sustained to their conclusion. The death of Julius Cæsar is too overwhelming an incident for any stage of the drama but the last. It is an incident to which the mind clings, and from which it will not be torn away to share in other sorrows. The same may be said of the madness of Lear. Again, the opening of Hamlet is full of exhausting interest. There is more mind in Hamlet than any other play; more knowledge of human nature. The first act is incomparable.

There is too much of an every-day sick room in the death-bed scene of Catherine, in Henry the Eighth-too much of leeches and apothecaries' vials. . . . Zanga is a bad imitation of Othello. Garrick never ventured on Othello: he could not submit to a blacked face. He rehearsed the part once. During the rehearsal Quin entered, and, having listened for some time with attention, exclaimed, 'Well, done, David! but where's the tea-kettle?' alluding to the print of Hogarth, where a black boy follows his mistress with a tea-kettle in his hand. In stature Garrick was short. A fact which conveys a high notion of his powers is, that he was able to act out the absurd stage-costume of those days. He represented Coriolanus in the attire of Cheapside. I remember hearing from Sir G. Beaumont, that while he was venting, as Lear, the violent paroxysms of his rage in the awful tempest scene, his wig happened to fall off.

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