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low." We suffer and we weep with the same heart; we love and are anxious for one another in one spirit; our hopes look to the same quarter; and the virtues by which we are all to be furthered and supported, as patience, meekness, good-will, justice, temperance, and temperate desires, are in an equal degree the concern of us all. Let an Epitaph, then, contain at least these acknowledgments to our common nature; nor let the sense of their importance be sacrificed to a balance of opposite qualities or minute distinctions in individual character; which if they do not, (as will for the most part be the case,) when examined, resolve themselves into a trick of words, will, even when they are true and just, for the most part be grievously out of place; for, as it is probable that few only have explored these intricacies of human nature, so can the tracing of them be interesting only to a few. But an epitaph is not a proud writing shut up for the studious: it is exposed to all-to the wise and the most ignorant; it is condescending, perspicuous, and lovingly solicits regard; its story and admonitions are brief, that the thoughtless, the busy, and indolent, may not be deterred, nor the impatient tired: the stooping old man cons the engraven record like a second horn-book ;-the child is proud that he can read it;-and the stranger is introduced through its mediation to the company of a friend it is concerning all, and for all :—in the churchyard it is open to the day; the sun looks down upon the stone, and the rains of heaven beat against it.

Yet, though the writer who would excite sympathy is bound in this case, more than in any other, to give proof that he himself has been moved, it is to be remembered, that to raise a monument is a sober and a reflective act; that the inscription which it bears is intended to be permanent, and for universal perusal; and that, for this reason, the thoughts and feelings expressed should be permanent also-liberated from that weakness and anguish of sorrow which is in nature transitory, and which with instinctive decency retires from notice. The passions should be subdued, the emotions controlled; strong, indeed, but nothing ungovernable or wholly involuntary. Seemliness requires this, and truth requires it also for how can the narrator otherwise be trusted? Moreover, a grave is a tranquillising object: resignation in course of time springs up from it as naturally as the wild flowers, besprinkling the turf with which it may be covered, or gathering round the monument by which it is defended.

The very form and substance of the monument which has received the inscription, and the appearance of the letters, testifying with what a slow and laborious hand they must have been engraven, might seem to reproach the author who had given way on this occasion to transports of mind, or to quick turns of conflicting passion; though the same might constitute the life and beauty of a funeral oration or elegiac poem.

These sensations and judgments, acted upon perhaps unconsciously, have been one of the main causes why epitaphs so often personate the deceased, and represent him as speaking from his own tomb-stone. The departed Mortal is introduced telling you himself that his pains are gone; that a state of rest is come; and he conjures you to weep for him no longer. He admonishes with the voice of one experienced in the vanity of those affections which are confined to earthly objects, and gives a verdict like a superior Being, performing the office of a judge, who has no temptations to mislead him, and whose decision cannot but be dispassionate. Thus is death disarmed of its sting, and affliction unsubstantialised. By this tender fiction, the survivors bind themselves to a sedater sorrow, and employ the intervention of the imagination in order that the reason may speak her own language earlier than she would otherwise have been enabled to do. This shadowy interposition also harmoniously unites the two worlds of the living and the dead by their appropriate affections. And it may be observed, that here we have an additional proof of the propriety with which sepulchral inscriptions were referred to the consciousness of immortality as their primal source.

I do not speak with a wish to recommend that an epitaph should be cast in this mould preferably to the still more common one, in which what is said comes from the survivors directly; but rather to point out how natural those feelings are which have induced men, in all states and ranks of society, so frequently to adopt this mode. And this I have done chiefly in order that the laws, which ought to govern the composition of the other, may be better understood. This latter mode, namely, that in which the survivors speak in their own persons, seems to me upon the whole greatly preferable: as it admits a wider range of notices; and, above all, because, excluding the fiction which is the groundwork of the other, it rests upon a more solid basis.

Enough has been said to convey our notion of a perfect

epitaph; but it must be borne in mind that one is meant which will best answer the general ends of that species of composition. According to the course pointed out, the worth of private life, through all varieties of situation and character, will be most honourably and profitably preserved in memory. Nor would the model recommended less suit public men, in all instances save of those persons who by the greatness of their services in the employments of peace or war, or by the surpassing excellence of their works in art, literature, or science, have made themselves not only universally known, but have filled the heart of their country with everlasting gratitude. Yet I must here pause to correct myself. In describing the general tenour of thought which epitaphs ought to hold, I have oraitted to say, that if it be the actions of a man, or even some one conspicuous or beneficial act of local or general utility, which have distinguished him, and excited a desire that he should be remembered, then, of course, ought the attention to be directed chiefly to those actions or that act: and such sentiments dwelt upon as naturally arise out of them or it. Having made this necessary distinction, I proceed.—The mighty benefactors of mankind, as they are not only known by the immediate survivors, but will continue to be known familiarly to latest posterity, do not stand in need of biographic sketches, in such a place; nor of delineations of character to individualise them. This is already done by their Works, in the memories of men. Their naked names, and a grand comprehensive sentiment of civic gratitude, patriotic love, or human admiration or the utterance of some elementary principle most essential in the constitution of true virtue ;-or a declaration touching that pious humility and self-abasement, which are ever most profound as minds are most susceptible of genuine exaltation or an intuition, communicated in adequate words, of the sublimity of intellectual power;— these are the only tribute which can here be paid-the only offering that upon such an altar would not be unworthy.


"What needs my Shakspeare for his honoured bones The labour of an age in piled stones,

Or that his hallowed reliques should be hid

Under a star-ypointing pyramid?

Dear Son of Memory, great Heir of Fame,
What need'st thou such weak witness of thy name?
Thou in our wonder and astonishment

Hast built thyself a livelong monument,
And so sepulchred, in such pomp dost lie,
That kings for such a tomb would wish to die."

-W. W.

"And spires whose silent finger points to heaven' (page 187).

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An instinctive taste teaches men to build their churches in flat countries with spire-steeples, which as they cannot be referred to any other object, point as with silent finger to the sky and stars, and sometimes, when they reflect the brazen light of a rich though rainy sunset, appear like a pyramid of flame burning heaven-ward. See "The Friend," by S. T. Coleridge, No. 14, p. 223.

"That sycamore, which annually holds
Within its shade as in a stately tent” (page 248).

"This Sycamore oft musical with Bees;
Such Tents the Patriarchs loved."


"Perish the roses and the flowers of kings" (page 260).

The "Transit gloria mundi" is finely expressed in the Introduction to the Foundation-charters of some of the ancient Abbeys. Some expressions here used are taken from that of the Abbey of St. Mary's Furness, the translation of which is as follows :—

"Considering every day the uncertainty of life, that the roses and flowers of Kings, Emperors, and Dukes, and the crowns and palms of all the great, wither and decay; and that all things, with an uninterrupted course, tend to dissolution and death: I therefore," etc.-W. W.

"Earth has lent

Her waters, Air her breezes" (page 268).

In treating this subject, it was impossible not to recollect, with gratitude, the pleasing picture, which, in his Poem of the Fleece, the excellent and amiable Dyer has given of the influences of manufacturing industry upon the face of this Island. He wrote at a time when machinery was first beginning to be introduced, and his benevolent heart prompted him to augur from it nothing but good. Truth has compelled me to dwell upon the baneful effects

arising out of an ill-regulated and excessive application of powers so admirable in themselves.-W. W.

"Binding herself by statute" (page 296).

The discovery of Dr. Bell affords marvellous facilities for carrying this into effect; and it is impossible to overrate the benefit which might accrue to humanity from the universal application of this simple engine under an enlightened and conscientious government.-W. W.


"The Excursion " includes work of as early a date as the autumn of 1795 (see the "I. F." note on this poem, p. 313), and work as late, perhaps, as the year of publication, 1814. The story of " Margaret, or the Ruined Cottage,' in Book I., seems to have been at first designed as an independent poem, and was begun in 1795; it was substantially complete in 1797-1798, but in Dec., 1801, Wordsworth was again at work upon it. On March 11, 1798, Wordsworth mentions (Knight's "Life,” vol. i. p. 148) that he has written 706 lines of "The Recluse, or Views of Nature, Man, and Society." Coleridge, in the same month, writes of 1,200 lines by Wordsworth, "superior. to anything in our language which in any way resembles it." These 1,200 lines were probably made up of "The Ruined Cottage" (perhaps 11. 1-107 and ll. 438-970 of "The Excursion " Book i.) and the 706 lines of "The Recluse." The whole was probably afterwards included in "The Excursion." On Oct. 9, 1800, Coleridge mentions Wordsworth's "The Pedlar" as a long blankverse poem; there was some thought of publishing it in a volume with "Christabel." From Dorothy Wordsworth's Journal we learn that Wordsworth was working at "The Pedlar at intervals from Dec., 1801, to March 9, 1802 (adding, perhaps, the greater part of 11. 108-437 of "The Excursion" Book i.). On July 8, 1802, Dorothy writes: "William was looking at 'The Pedlar' when I got up. He arranged it, and after tea I wrote it out-280 lines." In Dec., 1804, Wordsworth writes to Sir G. Beaumont of "The Pedlar," 2,000 lines, as intended to form part of "The Recluse." Thus "The Pedlar Thus "The Pedlar" at different times probably meant (1) "The Tale of Margaret," (2) “The Excursion" Book i., (3) "The Excursion," Books i, and ii. The greater part of "The Excursion," however, belongs


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