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that, to our feeling, Ellen is best as she is. To us there would have been something repugnant in her challenging ber Penance as a dowry; the fact is explicable, but how few are those to whom it would have been rendered explicit. The unlucky reason of the detention of “The Excursion' was Hazlitt, for whom M. Burney borrowed it on Friday. His remarks had some vigour in them,* particularly something about an old ruin being too modern for your Primeval Nature, and about a lichen ; I forget the passage, but the whole wore an air of despatch. That objection which M. Burney had imbibed from him about Voltaire, I explained to M. B. (or tried) exactly on your principle of its being a characteristic speech. That it was no settled comparative estimate of Voltaire with any of his own tribe of buffoons-no injustice, even if you spoke it, for I dared say you never could relish “Candide.” I know I tried to get through it about a twelvemonth since, and couldn't for the dulness. Now I think I have a wider range in buffoonery than you. Too much toleration perhaps. ..."

“DEAR W. . . . The "scapes of the great god Pan, who appeared among your mountains some dozen years since, and his narrow chance of being submerged by the swains, afforded me much pleasure. I can conceive the water-nymphs pulling for him. . . . By this way, I deprived myself of “Sir Alfred Irthing," and the reflexions that conclude his story, which are the flower of the poem. Hazlitt had given the reflections before me. ...

C. LAMB."

NOTE I.

(See p. 6.) The Yew-tree, which was “the pride of Lorton Vale,” is now a ruin, and has lost all its ancient majesty : but, until the close of 1883, the “fraternal four” of Borrowdale were still to be seen “in grand assemblage." Every one who has ever felt the power of Wordsworth’s poetry,--and especially every one who has visited the Seathwaite valley, and read the poem Yew-Trees, under the shade of that once “solemn and capacious grove,"—must feel as if they had lost a personal 4.iend, when they hear that the Grove is gone. The great gale of December 11, 1883, smote it fiercely, uprooting one of the trees, and blowing the others to ribbands. The following is Mr Rawnsley's account of the disaster, and the sonnets which follow it are also his.

“ Last week the gale that ravaged England did the Lake country much harm. We could spare many of the larch plantations, and could

• This refers to an article of Hazlitt on The Excursion in “The Examiner.”—(T. N. T.)

+ The passage in which the copy of “Candide,” found in the apartment of the Recluse, is described as the “dull production of a scoffer's brain," which had excited Hazlitt to energetic vindication of Voltaire from the charge of dulness.—(T. N. T.)

hear (with a sigh) of the fall of the giant Scotch firs opposite the little Scafell Inn at Rosthwaite, and that Watendlath had lost its pines ; but who could spare those ancient Yews, the great

'Fraternal Four of Borrowdale,
Joined in one solemn and capacious grove ;
Hugh trunks ! and each particular trunk a growth
Of intertwisted fibres serpentine

Up-coiling, and inveterately convolved.' “For beneath their pillared shade since Wordsworth wrote his poem, that Yew-tree grove has suggested to many a wanderer up Borrowdale, and visitant to the Natural Temple, "an ideal grove in which the ghostly masters of mankind meet, and sleep, and offer worship to the Destiny that abides above them, while the mountain flood, as if from another world, makes music to which they dimly listen.' “These Yew-trees, seemingly

• Produced too slowly ever to decay,
Of form and aspect too magnificent

To be destroyed,' have been ruthlessly overthrown. One has been uprooted bodily; all the leaders and branches of the others have been wrenched from the main truuk; and the three still standing are bare poles and broken wreckage. Until one visits the spot one can have no conception of the wholesale destruction that the hurricane has wrought; until he looks on the huge rosy-hearted branches he cannot guess the tremendous force with which the tornado had fallen upon tható sable roof of boughs.'

“For tornado or whirlwind it must needs have been. The Yews grew under the eastern flank of the hill called Base Brown. The gale raged from the westward. One could hardly believe it possible that the trees could have been touched by it ; for the barrier hill on which they grew, —and under whose shelter they have seen centuries of storm,-goes straight upwards, betwixt them and the west. It was only realizable when, standing amid the wreckage, and looking across the valley, it was seen that a larch plantation had been entirely levelled, and evidently by a wind that was coming from the east, and directly toward the Yew-trees. On enquiring at Seathwaite Farm, one found that all the slates blown from the roof of that building on the west side, had been whirled up clean over the roof : and we can only surmise that the winds rushing from the west and north-west, and meeting the bastions of Glaramara and the Sty-head slopes, were whirled round in the cul-de-sac of the valley, and moved with churning motion back from east to west over the Seathwaite Farm, and so in straight line across the beck, and up the slope to the Yew-tree cluster. With what a wrenching, and with what violence, these trees were in a moment shattered, only those can guess who now witness the ruins of the pillared shade, upon 'the grassless floor of red-brown hue.'

“Never again can “trembling Hope' meet there 'at noontide' with 'Time the Shadow;' but the 'ghostly shapes' of 'Fear' and 'Silence,' with “Death the Skeleton,' can still celebrate 'united worship;' and much more now than ever before-since the winds will pass the tree-stumps, bare of leafage—the readers of Wordsworth's poem on the Borrowdale Yews may sadly, and

'in mute repose Still lie, and listen to the mountain flood

Murmuring from Glaramara's inmost caves.' A sense that something has passed away from the earth will possess all feeling hearts, who learn that 'the fraternal four' of Borrowdale have fallen victims to the merciless winds; and that pilgrims to the Seathwaite valley can never again behold that 'solemn and capacious grove' as the poet knew it, when he peopled it with his imagination.”

A TRILOGY OF SONNETS ON THE YEWS OF BORROWDALE.

In Memoriam.

I.

Blind was the storm, from wild Atlantic brought,
That in the moonless night toward our coast
Fierce breathed, and full of cries from shipmen lost,
Smote on the hills of Cumberland, and wrought
Woe irremediable, in worlds of thought
And gentlest sphere of poesy ; Here most
We mourn, where many a year the pilgrim host
From far the dark Yew's oracle had sought.
But long as Derwent to the sea shall pour
Her tears that spring from Glaramara's side,
She must lament this sacrilegious wrong,
Must grieve that to our poet was denied
To keep one grove—the great Fraternal Four'-
A mountain shrine for mystery and song.

II.

Now from the sacred grove of Borrowdale
Must Fear, and Hope the Trembler, steal away,
Nor ever meet at midmost hour of day
Silence and Foresight, and the Shadow pale
Cast o'er the face of nations like a veil
With that twin spectre Time; while blank dismay
Cowers by the roofless Temple in decay,
And moss-grown altars blasted by the gale.

Still where the unaccustomed sunlight gleams
Dark as her shadow sorrow shall rehearse
The havoc of the undiscerning storm.
But fresh as Glaramara's inmost streams
The music of the poet's marvellous verse
Shall dirge-like fill the Shrine's deserted form.

III.
Ill could we spare the Tree St Patrick knew,*
When first for Christ to these rude vales he spoke,
And better far had fallen the Rydal Oak
Or Time's vast hollow monument, the Yew +
Which stands in sight of Wetherlam : Ah few
The souls who then had felt that tempest's stroke,
So many bonds about the heart had broke,
And breaking swept old memories from view.
To this lone grove, by storm in ruins hurled,
Had Glaramara down the centuries seen
Hope and mute Prayer and Love and Mystery throng ;
And, since our Wordsworth murmured out his song,
Its dark four-pillared vault of evergreen

Was Temple for the music of the world. This Yew-tree Grove is doubtless immortal in English literature, and will live as long as Wordsworth is studied, and when every memorial of the man is a thing of the past. It has been suggested that other yew trees should be planted on the spot, on the principle, Le roi est mort : vive le roi ! But such a continuity is scarcely to be wished. It may be as undesirable to restore the “natural temple” that has fallen in Borrowdale, as to rebuild Stonehenge or Stennis. Immortality belongs to nothing physical.

NOTE K.

(See pp. 126 - 7.) The following extracts from Miss Wordsworth's Journal, kept at Alfoxden, will illustrate these passages of The Excursion :

“ Jan. 21, 1798.—Walked on the hill tops : a warm day : sate under the firs in the park. The tops of the beeches of a brown red or crimson. The oaks, fended from the sea-breeze, thick with feathery sea-green moss, as a grove not stripped of its leaves. more proper than acorns for fairy goblets. ..."

“23d.—The sound of the sea distinctly heard on the tops of the hills,

Moss cups which we could never hear in summer. We attribute this partly to the bareness of the trees, but chiefly to the absence of the singing of birds, and the hum of insects, and that noiseless noise which lives in the summer air. The villages marked out by beautiful beds of smoke; the turf fading into the mountain road : the scarlet flowers of the moss.

* The Patterdale yew went down in the same storm. + The great yew in Yewdale.

“26th.—Walked upon the hill tops : followed the sheep-tracks till we overlooked the larger coombe. Sat in the sunshine, the distant sheepbells, the sound of the stream : the woodman winding along the half marked road, with his laden pony : locks of wool still spangled with the dew-drops : the blue-grey sea shaded with immense masses of cloud, not streaked. The sheep glittering in the sunshine. Returned through the wood : the trees skirting the wood being exposed more directly to the action of the sea-breeze, stripped of the net-work of their upper boughs, which are stiff and erect like black skeletons. The ground strewed with the red berries of the holly.

“February 3d. — A mild morning, the windows open at breakfast, the redbreasts singing in the garden. Walked with Coleridge over the hills. The sea at first obscured by vapour. That vapour afterwards slid in one mighty mass along the sea-shore : the islands, and one point of land clear beyond it. The distant country (which was purple in the clear dull air) overhung by straggling clouds that sailed over it, appeared like the darker clouds which are often seen at a great distance, apparently motionless, while the nearer ones pass quickly over them, driven by the lower winds. I never saw such a union of earth, sky, and sea. The clouds beneath our feet spread themselves to the water, and the clouds of the sky almost joined them.

“8th.-Went up the Park, and over the tops of the hills till we came to a new and very delicious pathway, which conducted us to the Coombe ; sat a considerable time upon the heath ; its surface restless and glittering with the motion of the scattered piles of withered grass, and the waving of the spiders' threads.

“ 26th. —... Walked with Coleridge nearly. to Stowey after dinner. A very clear afternoon. We lay sidelong upon the turf, and gazed upon the landscape, till it melted into more than natural loveliness. The sea very uniform-of a pale greyish blue, only one distant bay bright and blue as the sky, a perfect image of delight. Walked to the top of a high hill, to see a fortification; again sat down to feed upon the prospect ; a magnificent scene curiously spread out for minute inspection, though so extensive. A winter prospect shows every cottage, every farm, and the forms of distant trees, such as in summer have no distinguishable mark. ..

“ 2d April.—Coleridge came, and staid all night. We walked in the wood, and sat under the trees : one half of the wood perfectly still, while the wind was making a loud noise behind us. The still trees only gently bowed their heads as if listening to the wind : the hollies in the thick wood unshaken by the blast," &c., &c.

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