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LIFE OF WILLIAM WORDSWORTH.
ON the 7th April 1770, WILLIAM WORDSWORTH was born at Cockermouth in Cumberland. As he did not, like Byron, awake one morning and find himself famous, but worked his way, by slow degrees, to a distinguished position in the British Parnassus, so his ultimate greatness was not foreshadowed by an extraordinary childhood. Nothing, indeed, is known of it but what he himself has left on record, viz., that he was a child of a stiff, moody, and violent temper, so much so as on one occasion, when staying at Penrith, to have gone up to a garret, in a fit of rage, for the purpose of killing himself with a foil. His courage failed, like that of many others, both boys and men, in like circumstances; and had not Wordsworth been peculiarly given to internal retrospection, for the purpose of minutely tracing the development of his own mind, this incident might have been forgotten, and certainly would not have been recorded.
At nine years of age Wordsworth was sent to Hawkshead grammar school, then a flourishing seminary in Lancashire. The boys who did not belong to the immediate neighbourhood were boarded with the dames of the place,-as certain old women who let lodg ings were called,-an arrangement preferable on many accounts to the modern one, which crowds a multitude of boys under one roof. In school-barracks there is no training for the affections, whereas at the humble fireside of the village dame there is much; and every arrangement, which brings the various classes of society into such relations as give rise to kindly personal feelings, is a bond of union not to be lightly cast away in an age, when the estrangement of classes is becoming a palpable danger. Wordsworth makes kindly mention of the dame with whom he lived, and of the room where he
"Had lain awake on summer nights to watch
The moon in splendour couched among the leaves
This is a fine picture, but its significance is derived from the future: for. when the man undertakes to draw the boy, he usually