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promised visit to Rokeby, was unwillingly abandoned. Sir Walter reached Abbotsford again on the ist of September, and said truly that his tour had been one ovation'.
Soon after the events just recorded, Wordsworth and Sir Humphry Davy, met for the last time, when the poet observed, with regret, his altered appearance and declining bodily strength, owing to which he could scarcely enter heartily into his favourite pastime of angling, and was obliged to ride to the spot favourable to its pursuit. Wordsworth recalled, with mingled feelings of pleasure and regret, the happy day in the autumn of 1806, when he ascended Helvellyn, in company with Sir Humphry and Sir Walter Scott, and when they dined together in the kitchen of his cottage, at Town End, a day characterised by Mrs. Wordsworth as ore of the happiest of their lives. Wordsworth, in speaking of the philosopher, said “There were points of sympathy between us, but fewer than might be expected'. His scientific pursuits had conducted his mind into a course where the poet could not follow, and diverted it from those objects with which he was best acquainted. Sir Humphry Davy had married in 1812, Mrs. Apreece, a lady of fortune, distantly connected with Sir Walter Scott. He died at Geneva, on the 29th May, 1829, aged 51. .
On religious and political questions, there existed great divergence of opinion between Wordsworth and Sir H. Davy. The former had so great a dread of the proposed concessions to Roman Catholics, as to express his opinion on the subject by asking - 'Can Protestantism and Popery be co-ordinate powers in the constitution of a free country, and, at the same time, Christian belief be in that country a vital princi
ple of action'? And when the passing of the Reform Bill was imminent, he spoke of the constitution of England as about to be destroyed,- of being so distressed at the aspect of public affairs that he could scarce think of anything else but the afflictions which God was preparing for this sinful nation, - of having witnessed one Revolution in a foreign country, and of not having the courage to face another in his own. He regarded the removal of Romish disabilities as opening the way to Romish domination.
Sir H. Davy, on the other hand, entertained broad and tolerant views on both these topics, saying, as far back as 1827, that without Catholic emancipation there would be neither peace nor security for England'. On March ist, 1829, he writes, - 'I am still alive, though expecting every day to be released : I rejoice that the Catholic Question is carried. Without having a very strong political bias, I have always considered this point as essential to the welfare of England as a great country, and connected with her glory, as a liberal, philosophical, and christian community'..
We cannot dismiss this brief notice of the poet's illustrious friend without referring to Coleridge's opinion of him. Cottle having remarked to Coleridge,' During your stay in London, you doubtless saw a good many of the cleverest men, how do you estimate Davy in comparison with those'? Mr. Coleridge's reply was strong but expressive ; ' Why Davy can eat them all! There is an energy, an elasticity in his mind, which enables him to seize on, and analyse, all questions, pushing them to their legitimate consequences. Every subject in Davy's mind has the principle of vitality ; living thoughts spring up like turf under his feet.
In the 'Sybilline Leaves', Sir H. Davy was described with some exaggeration, perhaps, by Coleridge, as the individual who would have established himself in the first rank of England's poets, if our country had not decreed that he should rather be the first, in the first rank of its philosophers and scientific benefactors.
In perusing the Memoir of Wordsworth, by his nephew, the reader cannot fail to notice the close intimacy of the poet and his family, with Sir George and Lady Beaumont; his oft repeated visits to Coleorton, and the interest he took in perfecting the grounds there. The design of Sir Georye to erect a church on his own estate, led to reflections on church history, which re sulted in the composition of the series of 'Ecclesi tical Sonnets: one or which, in praise of Laud, bra down upon the bard the charge of bigotry, from
himself by explaining that it was however, he defended himself by explaining
Jeasures for restoring spiritual
in praise of Laud, brought
en abandoned that he spoke in
But it is difficult to understand Wied in this defence, and in his as
not Laud, and others who shared his Nt as he did, stood up in opposition to of that period, it is questionable whether
uld ever have recovered its lost ground, e the blessing it now is '.
e Beaumont died at the commencement of 1827, and his Lady did not survive him more
wear and a-half. Wordsworth keenly felt the of these ever kind and sympathizing friends. Sing such an alarmist as to public affairs, there was sh to agitate him at this period, and up to the end
1831, when on the 22nd of September, at 3 o'clock So the morning, a majority of 109 in a house of 585 members, passed what he designated as the 'Monstrous
FINAL VISIT TO SIR W. SCOTT. 105
Bill'. Writing, even in 1834, he says, “Since the night when the Reform Bill was first introduced, I have been convinced that the institutions of the country cannot be preserved.' He also uses strong language in anticipation of members being ' driven, or tempted, to vote against their consciences, by the clamour of their sectarian and infidel constituents'.
Depressed in spirits, owing to the illness of his sister, and of his friend Coleridge, and moreover suffering from his ever-recurring affliction of inflamed eyes, he journeyed, with his daughter, to Scotland, to his final interview with Sir Walter Scott, who, broken in health and in fortune, was about to start for the continent. Lockhart thus alludes to this visit: -- 'On the 21st September, 1831, Wordsworth and his daughter came up from Westmorland, to take leave of Sir Walter. On the 22nd, all his arrangements being completed, and Laidlaw having received a paper of instructions, the last article of which repeats cautions to be very careful of the dogs, these two great poets, who had through life loved each other well, and, in spite of very different theories as to art, appreciated each other's genius more justly than inferior spirits did either of them, spent the morning together in a visit to Newark. Hence, the last of the three poems by which Wordsworth has connected his name to all time with the most romantic of Scottish streams. But I need not transcribe a piece so well known as “ Yarrow Revisited”).
Coleridge, whose declining health we have noticed, died in the summer of 1834, Wordsworth losing in him the friend with whom he had lived in the closest communion of mind for thirty years,
If the period which we have just passed under review was one of trial and anxiety to the poet, yet it
was not without its compensations, amongst which we may note the increasing estimation in which his works were held in England and America, and the respect and homage paid to him personally, the latter circumstance, however, leading to frequent intrusions on the privacy of Rydal Mount, of which an amusing instance is recorded in the case of a tourist from Manchester, who persisted in the face. of more than one denial, stating as a last resource that, having had the honour of shaking hands with the Hero of Waterloo, he trusted, as the greatest general of the age had accorded him that privilege, that the greatest poet would not withhold a similar favour.
About this time he was also much gratified by the dedication of her Poems to him by Mrs. Hemans, a lady whose genius he admired, but regretted that the necessity of writing for a living had often compelled her to compose too hurriedly to give her talents fair
Perhaps one of the most interesting portions of the Memoir of Wordsworth, to which we have so often referred, is that communicated to the author by the Hon. Justice Coleridge, who, after going on the northern circuit with Baron Parke, resided, during the vacation of 1836, at Fox How, Dr. Arnold's charming retreat, near Rydal. The proximity of this spot to Rydal Mount naturally led to frequent intercourse with the bard, and, during their rambles and excursions, many interesting reminiscences of the author of 'Christabel' and 'The Ancient Mariner' were recalled. The companionship of so amiable and gifted a man as Justice Coleridge contributed to cheer Wordsworth under the grief which weighed upon him, as he became convinced of the permanent obscuration of the bright and ardent