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remember her with true affection for her amiable qualities, and, above all, for her delicate and irreproachable conduct during her long separation from an unfeeling husband, whom she had been led to marry from the romantic notions of inexperienced youth. Upon this husband I never heard her cast the least reproach, nor did I ever hear her even name him, though she did not wholly forbear to touch upon her domestic position; but never so as that any fault could be found with her manner of adverting to it.-I. F.
Dated by Wordsworth, Nov., 1835 (Hogg died Nov. 21 of that year); first published in "The Athenæum," Dec. 12, 1835; first included among Wordsworth's Poems 1837. Text unchanged except in I. 25, "slumber" (1845); previously "slumbers." The first stanza refers to the tour in Scotland, 1814, the second to the visit to Abbotsford, 1831. In correction of what is said somewhat unjustly of Mrs. Hemans in the Fenwick note, see "Collected Prose Writings of Wordsworth " (ed. Grosart), vol. iii. p. 507.—Ed.
Inscription (page 162).
Written 1843; first published 1845. Text unchanged. An interesting series of extracts from letters of Wordsworth to the Hon. Justice Coleridge, print in Professor Knight's "Wordsworth," vol. viii. pp. 142-145, shows this inscription in process of composition. From the original draft 11. 7, 8 are absent, and the following lines appear in place of 11. 13, 14:
Friends, Family-ah wherefore touch that string, To them so fondly did the good man cling!
Two lines, which are the first and second in one form of the inscription, are absent from the printed text:
"Ye torrents, foaming down the rocky steeps, Ye lakes wherein the spirit of water sleeps;
and for 1. 14 we find "Could private feelings find a holier nest." Wordsworth wrote to the Hon. Justice Coleridge: "The word nest both in itself and in conjunction with holier seems to me somewhat bold and rather startling for marble, particularly in a Church." This reading was discussed, in Dec., 1843, with Mrs. Fletcher who objected to “nest.”—ED.
Ode. Intimations of Immortality from Recollections of Early Childhood (page 163).
This was composed during my residence at Town-end, Grasmere. Two years at least passed between the writing of the four first stanzas and the remaining part. To the attentive and competent reader the whole sufficiently explains itself; but there may be no harm in adverting here to particular feelings or experiences of my own mind on which the structure of the poem partly rests. Nothing was more difficult for me in childhood than to admit the notion of death as a state applicable to my own being. I have said elsewhere
"A simple child,
But it was not so much from feelings of animal vivacity that my difficulty came as from a sense of the indomitableness of the Spirit within me. I used to brood over the stories of Enoch and Elijah, and almost to persuade myself that, whatever might become of others, I should be translated, in something of the same way, to heaven. With a feeling congenial to this, I was often unable to think of external things as having external existence, and I communed with all that I saw as something not apart from, but inherent in, my own immaterial nature. Many times while going to school have I grasped at a wall or tree to recall myself from this abyss of idealism to the reality. At that time I was afraid of such processes. In later periods of life I have deplored, as we have all reason to do, a subjugation of an opposite character, and have rejoiced over the remembrances, as is expressed in the lines
Of sense and outward things,
To that dream-like vividness and splendour which invest objects of sight in childhood, every one, I believe, if he would look back, could bear testimony, and I need not dwell upon it here: but having in the poem regarded it as presumptive evidence of a prior state of existence, I think it right to protest against a conclusion, which has given pain to some good and pious persons, that I meant to inculcate such a belief. It is far too shadowy a notion to be recommended to faith, as more than an element in our instincts of immortality. But let us bear in mind that, though the idea is not advanced in revelation, there is nothing there to contradict it, and the fall of Man presents an analogy in its favour. Accordingly, a pre-existent state has entered into the popular creeds of many nations; and, among all persons acquainted with classic literature, is known as an ingredient in Platonic philosophy. Archimedes said that he could move the world if he had a point whereon to rest his machine. Who has not felt the same aspirations as regards the world of his own mind? Having to wield some of its elements when I was impelled to write this poem on the "Immortality of the Soul," I took hold of the notion of pre-existence as having sufficient foundation in humanity for authorizing me to make for my purpose the best use of it I could as a poet.-I. F.
Dated by Wordsworth 1803-1806; first published 1807 with the title, "Ode"; in 1815 named as now. The Fenwick note informs us that stanzas 1-4 were the earlier written, stanzas 5-11 were written two years later. It has always, 1815-1850, come last of Wordsworth's minor poems, but in 1827-1832 it was included in the group of "Epitaphs and Elegiac Poems." In 1807 the motto was "Paulo majora canamus;" 1815 and onwards, "The child is Father of the Man," etc., thus linking together childhood and later life, birth and immortality, and at the same time Wordsworth's first and last poems of mature years, as arranged by himself.
It should perhaps be noted that in Dorothy Wordsworth's Journal for March 27, 1802, we read: "A divine morning. At breakfast William wrote part of an Ode." On the preceding day he had written "The Rainbow" ("My heart leaps up," etc.). Again on June 17, 1802, "William added a little to the Ode he is writing." Perhaps this Ode of 1802 may be the "Intimations of Immortality."
The most important change of text is the omission (in deference to S. T. Coleridge's disapproval in "Biog.
Lit.") in 1820 of the following lines, which occurred 1807-1815 between 1. 120 and 1. 121:
"To whom the grave
Is but a lonely bed without the sense or sight
A place of thought where we in waiting lie;
At the same time, 1820, 1. 117 was introduced. Another interesting change is the alteration in 1815, l. 86, of " A four years' Darling" (1807) to the present "A six years' Darling."
L. 6, "hath" (1820); previously "has."
L. 43, "while Earth" (1837); previously "while the Earth."
L. 45, "culling" (1837); previously "pulling." L. 122 (1815); in 1807, "Of untam'd pleasures, on thy Being's height.
L. 134,"benediction" (1827); previously tions."
Ll. 137, 138 (1815); in 1807:
"Of Childhood, whether fluttering or at rest,
L. 153 (1815); in 1807, "Uphold us, cherish us, and make ".
L. 188 (1837); previously "Think not of any severing of our loves."
I depart from my purpose of not giving in this edition explanatory notes to observe that 1. 199, "Another race hath been, and other palms are won," has been misunderstood. It is a sunset reflection, natural to one who has kept watch o'er man's mortality;" the day is closing as human lives have closed; the sun went forth out of his chamber as a strong man to run a race, and now the race is over and the palm has been won; all things have their hour of fulfilment. Professor Knight in his notes on this poem prints an interesting letter from Professor Bonamy Price, giving Wordsworth's spoken interpretation of 1. 143, "Fallings from us, vanishings: The venerable old man raised his aged form erect; he was walking in the middle, and passed across me to a five-barred gate in the wall which bounded the road on the side of the lake. He clenched the top bar firmly with his right hand, pushed strongly against it, and then uttered these ever-memorable words,There was a time in my life when I had to push
against something that resisted, to be sure that there was anything outside of me. I was sure of my own mind; everything else fell away, and vanished into thought.'" In illustration of this Ode Henry Reed quotes the following passages:
"Ah! why in age
The Excursion, bk. ix.
"Our childhood sits,
Our simple childhood, sits upon a throne
The Prelude, bk. v.
There is a remarkable and well-known parallel in Henry Vaughan's "The Retreat" noted by Palgrave in "The Golden Treasury." The best illustration, however, of Wordsworth's thought in the "Ode " will be found in an early paragraph of the "Essay on Epitaphs" printed among the notes to "The Excursion."-ED.
END OF VOL. V.