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Jounting, and furnished with a sword and lance, he | the narrow seas, they into the main Ocean; and thus proceeded to destroy the Idols. The crowd, seeing the ashes of Wickliffe are the emblem of his doctrine, this, thought him mad- he however halted not, but, which now is dispersed all the world over."—FULLer. approaching, he profaned the Temple, casting against "The Church History of Britain.” — Book IV. it the lance which he had held in his hand, and, exulting in acknowledgment of the worship of the true God, he ordered his companions to pull down the Temple, with all its enclosures. The place is shown where those idols formerly stood, not far from York, at the source of the river Derwent, and is at this day called Gormund Gaham, ubi pontifex ille, inspirante Deo vero, polluit ac destruxit eas, quas ipse sacraverat aras." The last expression is a pleasing proof that the venerable Monk of Wearmouth was familiar with the Doetry of Virgil.
Note 19, p. 357.
[The concluding part of this Sonnet, marked as a quotation, is one of the instances of the obligations of the Poet to the early Prose writers acknowledged by him in a note at p. 292. The judgment and skill with which he has adapted to verse the phraseology of old Fuller, scarcely changing it in the process, can be appreciated only by a comparison with the original passage, which should be placed within reach of every reader of this volume, were it only for that purpose.
Wickliffe's body burnt by order of the Council of Constance, A. D. 1428.-"Hitherto the corpse of John Wickliffe had quietly slept in his grave about one and forty years after his death, till his body was reduced to bones, and his bones almost to dust. For though the earth in the chancel of Lutterworth, in Leicestershire, where he was interred, hath not so quick a digestion with the earth of Aceldama, to consume flesh in twenty-four hours, yet such the appetite thereof, and all other English graves, to leave small reversions of a body after so many years. But now such the spleen of the Council of Constance, as they not only cursed his memory as dying an obstinate heretic, but ordered that his bones (with this charitable caution, if it may be discerned from the bodies of other faithful people) to be taken out of the ground, and thrown far off from any Christian burial. In obedience hereunto, Richard Fleming, Bishop of Lincoln, Diocesan of Lutterworth, sent his officers (vultures with a quick sight scent, at a dead carcase) to ungrave him accordingly. To Lutterworth they come, Sumner, Commissary, Official, Chancellor, Proctors, Doctors, and the servants (so that the remnant of the body would not hold out a bone amongst so many hands), take what was left out of the grave, and burnt them to ashes, and cast them into Swift, a neighbouring brook, running hard by. Thus this brook has conveyed his ashes into Avon, Avon into Severn, Severn into
The delightful comment of the late Charles Lamb upon this passage in Fuller will not, I am confident, be regarded by any one, as intruded by being here connected with the sonnet containing the imitation:
"The concluding period of this most lively narrative I will not call a conceit: it is one of the grandest conceptions I ever met with. One feels the ashes of Wickliffe gliding away out of reach of the Sumners, Commissaries, Officials, Proctors, Doctors, and all the puddering rout of executioners of the impotent rage of the baffled Council: from Swift to Avon, from Avon into Severn, from Severn into the narrow seas, from the narrow seas into the main Ocean, where they become the emblem of his doctrine, "dispersed all the world over." Hamlet's tracing the body of Cæsar to the clay that stops a beer-barrel, is a no less curious pursuit of “ruined mortality;" but it is in an inverse ratio to this: it degrades and saddens us, for one part of our nature at least; but this expands the whole of our nature, and gives to the body a sort of ubiquity, -a diffusion, as far as the actions of its partner can have reach or influence.
"I have seen this passage smiled at, and set down as a quaint conceit of old Fuller. But what is not a cop. ceit to those who read it in a temper different from that in which the writer composed it? The most pathetic parts of poetry to cold tempers seem and are nonsense, as divinity was to the Greeks foolishness. When Richard II., meditating on his own utter annihilation as to royalty, cries out,
"Oh that I were a mockery King of snow,
sion before, this sudden conversion of a strong-felt if we have been going on pace for pace with the pasmetaphor into something to be actually realized in nature, like that of Jeremiah, "Oh! that my head were waters, and mine eyes a fountain of tears," is strictly and strikingly natural; but come unprepared upon it, and it is a conceit: and so is a 'head' turned
LAMB'S Prose Works. -H. R.]
Note 20, p. 360.
"One (like those Prophets whom God sent of old), Transfigured," &c.
"M. Latimer very quietly suffered his keeper to pull off his hose, and his other array, which to locke unto was very simple: and being stripped into his shrowd, he seemed as comely a person to them that were present, as one should lightly see: and whereas in his clothes hee appeared a withered and crooked sillie (weak) olde man, he now stood bolt upright, az
comely a father as one might lightly behold. **** Then they brought a fagotte, kindled with fire, and laid the same downe at Dr. Ridley's feete. To whom M. Latimer spake in this manner, 'Bee of good comfort, master Ridley, and play the man: wee shall this day light such a candle by God's grace in England, as I trust shall never bee put out.""-Fox's Acts, &c.
Similar alterations in the outward figure and deportment of persons brought to like trial were not uncommon. See note to the above passage in Dr. Wordsworth's Ecclesiastical Biography, for an example in an humble Welsh fisherman.
In this age a word cannot be said in praise of Laud,
much slighted in divers parts of this kingdom, might be preserved, and that with as much decency and uniformity as might be. For I evidently saw, that the publick neglect of God's service in the outward face of it, and the nasty lying of many places dedicated to that service, had almost cast a damp upon the true and inward worship of God, which, while we live in the body, needs external helps, and all little enough to keep it in any vigour."
Note 21, p. 361.
"The gift exalting, and with playful smile."
Among the benifits arising, as Mr. Coleridge has well observed, from a Church Establishment of endow
"On foot they went, and took Salisbury in their way, purposely to see the good Bishop, who made Mr.ments corresponding with the wealth of the Country Hooker sit at his own table: which Mr. Hooker boast to which it belongs, may be reckoned, as eminently ed of with much joy and gratitude when he saw his important, the examples of civility and refinement mother and friends; and at the Bishop's parting with which the Clergy, stationed at intervals, afford to the him, the Bishop gave him good counsel, and his bene- whole people. The established Clergy in many parts diction, but forgot to give him money; which when of England have long been, as they continue to be, the the Bishop had considered, he sent a Servant in all principal bulwark against barbarism, and the link haste to call Richard back to him, and at Richard's re- which unites the sequestered Peasantry with the inturn, the Bishop said to him, 'Richard, I sent for you tellectual advancement of the age. Nor is it below back to lend you a horse which hath carried me many the dignity of the subject to observe, that their Taste, a mile, and I thank God with much ease,' and present- as acting upon rural Residences and scenery, often ly delivered into his hand a walking-staff, with which furnishes models which Country Gentlemen, who are he professed he had travelled through many parts of more at liberty to follow the caprices of Fashion, Germany; and he said, 'Richard, I do not give, but might profit by. The precincts of an old residence lend you my horse; be sure you be honest, and bring must be treated by Ecclesiastics with respect, both my horse back to me at your return this way to Ox- from prudence and necessity. I remember being much ford. And I do now give you ten groats to bear your pleased, some years ago, at Rose Castle, the rural charges to Exeter; and here is ten groats more, which Seat of the See of Carlisle, with a style of Garden I charge you to deliver to your mother, and tell her, I and Architecture, which, if the place had belonged to send her a Bishop's benediction with it, and beg the a wealthy Layman, would no doubt have been swept continuance of her prayers for me. And if you bring away. A Parsonage-house generally stands not far my horse back to me, I will give you ten groats more from the Church; this proximity imposes favourable to carry you on foot to the college; and so God bless restraints, and sometimes suggests an affecting union you, good Richard.'" See Walton's Life of Rich- of the accommodations and elegancies of life with the outward signs of piety and mortality. With pleasure I recall to mind a happy instance of this in the Residence of an old and much valued Friend in Oxfordshire. The house and Church stand parallel to each other, at a small distance; a circular lawn, or rather grass-plot, spreads between them; shrubs and trees curve from each side of the Dwelling, veiling, but not hiding, the Church. From the front of this Dwelling, no part of the Burial-ground is seen; but, as you wind by the side of the Shrubs towards the Steeple-end of the Church, the eye catches a single, small, low, monumental headstone, moss-grown, sinking into, and gently inclining towards, the earth. Advance, and the Church-yard, populous and gay with glittering Tombstones, opens upon the view. This humble, and beautiful Parsonage called forth a tribute, for which see p. 228.
Note 23, p. 365.
"A genial hearth,
And a refined rusticity, belong
After a while it emerges from those depths of sorrow— gradually rises into a strain of elevated tranquillity and contemplative rapture! Through the power of the imagination, the beautiful and impressive aspects of nature are brought into relationship with the spirit of him, whose fortunes and character form the subject of the piece, and are represented as gladdening and exalting it, whilst they keep it pure and unspotted from the world. Suddenly the Poet is carried on with greater animation and passion; - he has returned to the point whence he started— flung himself back into the tide of stirring life and moving events. All is to come over again, struggle and conflict, chances and changes of war, victory and triumph, overthrow and It is too long to quote, but the reader should refer to it: desolation. I know nothing, in lyric poetry, more let him note, especially if painter, that pure touch of beautiful or affecting than the final transition from this colour, "by sheddings from the pining umbrage tinged." | part of the ode, with its rapid metre, to the slow elegiac "Modern Painters," Vol. II., p. 189. Part III., Sect. ii., | stanzas at the end; when, from the warlike fervour Chap. iv. and eagerness, the jubilant menacing strain which has just been described, the Poet passes back into the sublime silence of Nature gathering amid her deep and quiet bosom a more subdued and solemn tenderness than he had manifested before;-it is as if from the heights of the imaginative intellect, his spirit had retreated into the recesses of a profoundly thoughtful christian heart. S. C." (SARA COLERIDGE.) Biographia Literaria of S. T. Coleridge, Vol. II., p. 152, Note: Edit. 1847.-H. R.]
"Yew Trees." [Mr. Ruskin in his chapter on Imagination Contemplative" refers to "the real and high action of the Imagination in Wordsworth's Yew Trees" (perhaps the most vigorous and solemn bit of forest landscape ever painted):
"Each particular trunk a growth Of intertwisted fibres serpentine,
Up coiling and inveterately convolved,
Coleridge in quoting this poem, in his Biographia Literaria' substituted the word 'pinal' for 'pining umbrage,' and his daughter remarks, "I have left my father's substitution, as a curious instance of a possible different reading. Piny shade' and piny 'verdure' we read of in the poets, but pinal' I believe is new. Pining, which has quite a different sense, is doubtless still better; but, perhaps my father's ear shrunk from it after the word sheddings' at the beginning of the line. S. C." (SARA COLERIDGE.) "Biographia Literaria,” Vol. II., p. 177, Note: Chap. ix. — H. R.]
"The Horn of Egremont Castle."
This story is a Cumberland tradition. I have heard it also related of the Hall of Hutton John, an ancient residence of the Huddlestons, in a sequestered valley upon the river Dacor.
Song at the Feast of Brougham Castle." ["The transitions and vicissitudes in this noble lyric, I have always thought, rendered it one of the finest specimens of modern subjective poetry which our age has seen. The ode commences in a tone of high gratulation and festivity- a tone not only glad, but, comparatively, even jocund and light-hearted. The Clifford is restored to the home, the honours, and estates of his ancestors. Then it sinks and falls away to the remembrance of tribulation-times of war and bloodshed, flight and terror, and hiding away from the enemy-times of poverty and distress, when the Clifford was brought, little child to the shelter of the northern valley.
"Something less than joy, but more than dull content."
"The world is too much with us; late and soon."
[See Dr. Arnold's comment on this sonnet as quoted by him: "Miscellaneous Works of Thomas Arnold, D. D.," p. 311: and also that of Mr. Henry Taylor, in the Quarterly Review, Vol. LXIX., p. 25., No. 137, now reprinted in Mr. Taylor's "Notes from Books."H. R.]
"Strange visitation," &c.
This Sonnet, as Poetry, explains itself, yet the scene of the incident having been a wild wood, it may be doubted, as a point of natural history, whether the bird was aware that his attentions were bestowed upon a human, or even a living creature. But a Redbreast will perch upon the foot of a gardener at work, and
alight on the handle of the spade when his hand is half road that runs along its eastern margin had been conupon it this I have seen. And under my own roof I structed. nave witnessed affecting instances of the creature's friendly visits to the chainbers of sick persons, as described in the verses to the Redbreast, page 127. One of these welcome intruders used frequently to roost upon a nail in the wall, from which a picture had hung, and was ready, as morning came, to pipe his song in the hearing of the invalid, who had long been confined to her room. These attachments to a particular person, when marked and continued, used to be reckoned ominous; but the superstition is passing away.
Quanto præstantius esset
As it once was, and fringed with wood, instead of the breastwork of bare wall that now confines it. In the same manner has the beauty, and still more the sublimity of many Pusses in the Alps been injuriously affected."
After citing the sonnet entitled "Steamboats, Viaducts and Railways," written some years before, and contained in the "Poems Suggested during a Tour in 1833," to show that he was "far from undervaluing the benefit to be expected from railways in their legitimate application," the writer concluded as follows:
"At Furness Abbey."
"I have now done with the subject. The time of
[The subject of these four sonnets (Nos. XXII. to life at which I have arrived may, I trust, if nothing XXV.), was also handled by the author in his “ Two Letters on the Kendal and Windermere Railway"published in the "Morning Post," (London,) and afterwards reprinted in a pamphlet, in 1845. The following is an extract from the second letter:
else will, guard me from the imputation of having
"It will be felt, by those who think with me on this occasion, that I have been writing on behalf of a social condition which no one, who is competent to judge of it, will be willing to subvert; and that I have been endeavouring to support moral sentiments and intellectual pleasures of a high order against an enmity which seems growing more and more formidable every day; I mean Utilitarianism,' serving as a mask for cupidity and gambling speculations. My business with this evil lies in its reckless mode of action by Railways its favourite instruments. Upon good authority, I have been told that there was lately an intention of driving one of these pests, as they are likely too often to prove, through a part of the magnificent ruins of Furness Abbey - an outrage which was prevented by some one pointing out how easily a deviation might be made; and the hint produced its due effect upon the engineer.
"Sacred as that relic of the devotion of our ancestors deserves to be kept, there are temples of Nature-temples built by the Almighty, which have a still higher claim to be left unviolated. Almost every reach of the The following is extracted from the journal of my fellow-traveller, to which, as persons acquainted with winding vales in this district might once have presented itself to a man of imagination and feeling under my poems will know, I have been obliged on other that aspect; or, as the Vale of Grasmere appeared to occasions: the Poet Gray, more than seventy years ago. No flaring gentleman's house,' says he, nor garden-walls, break in upon the repose of this little unsuspected paradise, but all is peace,' &c., &c. Were the poet now living, how would he have lamented the probable intrusion of a railway, with its scarifications, its intersections, its noisy machinery, its smoke, and swarms of pleasurehunters, most of them thinking that they do not fly fast enough through the country which they have come to see. Even a broad highway may, in some places, church-yard, and his second son, Francis Wallace, begreatly impair the characteristic beauty of the country, side him. There is no stone to mark the spot; but a as will be readily acknowledged by those who remem- hundred guineas have been collected to be expended ber what the Lake of Grasmere was before the new upon some sort of monument. There,' said the book
"Dumfries, August, 1803. "On our way to the church-yard where Burns is buried, we were accompanied by a bookseller, who showed us the outside of Burns's house, where he had lived the last three years of his life, and where he died. It has a mean appearance, and is in a bye situation; the front whitewashed; dirty about the doors, as mut Scotch houses are; flowering plants in the window. Went to visit his grave; he lies in a corner of the
Belier, pointing to a pompous monument, 'lies Mr.
Is there a man,' &c.
"Child of my parents! Sister of my soul!" Wordsworth's opinion of the character of Burns, and
"The church-yard is full of grave-stones and expensive monuments, in all sorts of fantastic shapes-of the proper mode of treating it in biography, has been obelisk-wise, pillar-wise, &c. When our guide had left given also in prose, in his "Letter to a Friend of Robert us we turned again to Burns's grave, and afterwards Burns," (James Gray, Esq., Edinburgh,) published in went to his house, wishing to inquire after Mrs. Burns, pamphlet in 1816. — H. R.] who was gone to spend some time by the sea-shore with her children. We spoke to the maid-servant at the door, who invited us forward, and we sate down in the parlour. The walls were coloured with a blue wash; on one side of the fire was a mahogany desk; opposite the window a clock, which Burns mentions, in one of his letters, having received as a present. The house was cleanly and neat in the inside, the stairs of stone scoured white, the kitchen on the right side of the passage, the parlour on the left. In the room above the parlour the poet died, and his son, very lately, in the same room. The servant told us she had lived four
years with Mrs. Burns, who was now in great sorrow
for the death of Wallace. She said that Mrs. B.'s youngest son was now at Christ's Hospital. We were glad to leave Dumfries, where we could think of little but poor Burns, and his moving about on that unpoetic ground. In our road to Brownhill, the next stage, we passed Ellisland, at a little distance on our right-his farin-house. Our pleasure in looking round would have been still greater, if the road had led us nearer the spot.
"I cannot take leave of this country which we passed through to-day, without mentioning that we saw the Cumberland mountains within half-a-mile of Ellisland, Burns's house, the last view we had of them. Drayton has prettily described the connexion which this neighbourhood has with ours, when he makes Skiddaw say,—
'Scruffel, from the sky
"These lines came to my brother's memory, as well as the Cumberland saying,
If Skiddaw hath a cap,
"We talked of Burns, and of the prospect he must have had, perhaps from his own door, of Skiddaw and his companions; indulging ourselves in the fancy that we might have been personally known to each other, and he have looked upon those objects with more pleaBure for our sakes."
here and elsewhere quoted, was the poet's sister, whose genius and influence upon his character have been partly made known by the Tintern Abbey Lines, and now will become more so by his beautiful tributes of gratitude to her in "The Prelude," particularly in Book XI., and in the fine passage in Book XIV., beginning:
"Jones! as from Calais southward."
(See Dedication to "Descriptive Sketches," p. 29.) This excellent Person, one of my earliest and dearest friends, died in the year 1835. We were under-graduates together of the same year, at the same college; and companions in many a delightful ramble through his own romantic Country of North Wales. Much of the latter part of his life he passed in comparative solitude; which I know was often cheered by remembrance of our youthful adventures, and of the beautiful regions which at home and abroad, we had visited to
gether. Our long friendship was never subject to a moment's interruption, — and, while revising these volumes for the last time, I have been so often reminded of my loss, with a not unpleasing sadness, that I trust
the Reader will excuse this passing mention of a Man who well deserves from me something more than so brief a notice. Let me only add, that during the cumbent of the Living) at a Parsonage in Oxfordshire, middle part of his life he resided many years (as Inwhich is the subject of the 33d of the "Miscellaneous Sonnets," Part II., p. 228.
Page 257. Sonnet XXVII.
"Danger which they fear, and honour which they understand not."
Words in Lord Brooke's Life of Sir P. Sidney.
Page 259. "Tract occasioned by the Convention of Cintra."
[Of this prose work, Southey writing to William Taylor, of Norwich, says with a confident anticipation which was realized:
"Wordsworth's pamphlet upon the cursed Cintra Convention will be in that strain of political morality to which Hutchinson, and Milton, and Sidney could have set their hands." Keswick, December 6, 1808." Life of Taylor, Vol. II. p. 232.
The title "pamphlet," it may be added, does not [The fellow-traveller, whose admirable Journal is adequately name this philosophical and eloquent