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weighty persons; and Wordsworth will speak at the meeting, he being a freeholder.” 1
“ Lockhart told me that Rogers was the best judge of English style he knew, and that he once read him a passage, and said, 'Is not this beautiful ? who is it by ?' Lockhart said, “I guess Burke,' but Rogers said, 'No, it is Wordsworth's—from his pamphlet on the Convention of Cintra.'”2
Some quite extraordinary accident has befallen the MSS. of Wordsworth's Prose. I have made numerous efforts, in manifold quarters, to see the originals ; but I have been baffled, in all directions. Every one knows how MSS. mysteriously disappear, and are afterwards irrecoverable; but it is strange that none of the Wordsworth family--the representatives of the Poet by lineal succes sion—and none of those with whom he corresponded, now possess these originals. Many hundreds of his own and his sister's letters exist, and are carefully preserved by their owners. The MSS. of Dorothy's, and of Mrs. Wordsworth's, Journals exist; and a MS. copy of the Fenwick Notes. Nevertheless, the originals of these Prose Works, which existed in 1876, cannot now be found, either by the Wordsworth family, or by any other investigator.
Even in reference to the juvenile “ Letter to the Bishop of Landaff,” I have had to reproduce—and send down to posterity--the text, and all the footnotes, not from the original MS., but from Dr. Grosart's version of it. I doubt not that posterity has a faithful tran
1 See Selections from the Letters of Robert Southey, vol. ii. p. 117.
2 See The Recollections of the Very Rev. G. D. Boyle, Dean of Salisbury, (p. 68).
script in that version; and I am glad to state that
owe it to the meritorious edition of 1876-notwithstanding its defects—that we now have any version of Wordsworth’s letter to the Bishop of Landaff at all! The IS., Dr. Grosart tells me, was returned to the Poet's son at Eton many years ago.
Neither of the two grandsons to whom the literary property reverted—viz. Mr. Gordon Wordsworth, at the Stepping Stones, Ambleside, or Mr. William Wordsworth now resident in Naples—can inform me where these MSS. now are.1 They may yet turn up, as many old things. do, out of buried and long-forgotten stores, and be re-edited by those who remember that “all things come to those who wait.” In the course of changes of residence, literary papers are often lost. If these Wordsworth MSS. reappear, it would be well if they found a permanent resting-place in the archives of the British Museum, the choicest and safest “muniment room for the literary relics of the English-speaking race.
I should add that Mr. Gordon Wordsworth, and his cousin Mr. William Wordsworth, readily grant me permission to reprint the “Prose Works ” : Dr. Grosart concurring, with the proviso that I must state that many of them were first published in his edition. This I do most cordially.
1 The second and third parts of this “ Essay on Epitaphs” have shared the same fate. The Bishop of Lincoln gave an abstract of them in 1851, and Dr. Grosart published them in 1876 “From the Author's MS.”
A LETTER TO THE BISHOP OF LANDAFF,
ON THE EXTRAORDINARY AVOWAL OF