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time they who remain on the shore may have sight of me'. We find here traces of that advanced state of mind alluded to by Robert Montgomery in some lines written at a later period, when he could address him as
“The laurelled priest of poetry and truth,
August with years, by mournful calm subdued'. But whether desirous of fame or indifferent to it, honours began to be showered upon him. Oxford was prompt in following up the lead so honourably taken by Durham, and, in 1839, conferred the degree of D. C. L. upon William Wordsworth. He was presented for his degree, according to the usual form, at Oxford ; probably by the Regius Professor of Civil Law, and not, as has been suggested, by Keble, whose turn it was in that year, as Professor of Poetry, to deliver the Creweian oration. It must have been highly gratifying to the poet to listen to the graceful eulogy which Keble introduced into his address, at this Commemoration; whilst, on the other hand, Keble gladly welcomed such an opportunity of doing honour to one whom he so much admired both as a poet and a man. That portion of the oration to which we have referred, has been thus translated from the original Latin : - 'On this also I might insist, that the University, or even Literature itself, cannot well exist without that austere and solid suavity with which youth, well and wisely spent in poverty, is wont to imbue those who are submitted to its training. But I judged, gentlemen of the University, that I should satisfy, and more than satisfy, what this topic demands, if only I should recall to your recollection, him specially now present with us in this illustrious circle, who, singly among all poets, and above all, has exhibited the manners, the pursuits, and the religious sentiments of the poor, I will not merely say in a favourable light, but in a light kindled by rays from heaven. To the study of this poetry, therefore, they should, in my opinion, be now referred, who earvestly desire to comprehend that close and intimate alliance which exists between honourable poverty and the severer Muses, sublime Philosophy, yea, even our most holy Religion'.
The scene has been well described by an eye witness, who is naturally led to associate with it, another to which it bears many points of resemblance. “It was my lot, (says the Rev. F. W. Robertson), during a short university career, to witness a transition and a reaction, or revulsion of public feeling with respect to two great men. The first of these was Arnold of Rugby. You will all recollect how, in his earlier life, Arnold was covered with suspicion and obloquy; how the wise men of his day charged him with latitudinarianism, and I know not how many other heresies. But the public opinion altered, and he came to Oxford and read lectures on Modern History. Such a scene had not been witnessed in Oxford before. The lecture-room was too small; all adjourned to the Oxford theatre ; and all that was most brilliant, all that was most wise and distinguished, gathered together there. He walked up to the rostrum with a quiet step and manly dignity. Those who had loved him when all the world despised him, felt that at last the hour of their triumph had come. But there was something deeper than any personal triumph they could enjoy, and those who saw him then will not soon forget the lesson read to them by his calm, dignified, simple step,- a lesson teaching them the utter worthlessness of unpopularity or of popularity as a test of manhood's worth.
“The second occasion was when, in the same theatre, Wordsworth came forward to receive his honorary degree. Scarcely had his name been pronounced, than, from three thousand voices at once, there broke forth a burst of applause, echoed and taken up again and again when it seemed about to die away, and that thrice repeated. There were young eyes there, filled with an emotion of which they had no need to be ashamed, and there were hearts beating with the proud feeling of triumph, that, at last the world had recognized the merit of the man they had loved so long and acknowledged as their teacher. And yet, when that noise was protracted, there came a reaction in their feelings, and they began to perceive that that was not, after all, the true reward and recompense for all that Wordsworth had done for England : it seemed as if all that noise was vulgarizing the poet ; it seemed more natural and desirable to think of him afar off among his simple dales and mountains, the high priest of Nature, weaving, in honoured poverty, his songs to liberty and truth, than to see him there clad in a scarlet robe and bespattered with applause'.
When the Prelections were concluded and published, Keble sealed his testimony by dedicating the volume to Wordsworth, with an inscription, very beautiful in itself, and peculiarly gratifying to the Poet, as describing very correctly, what it had been his object, as a poet, to accomplish by his writings. Appropriate as are these acts of homage when paid to such men as Wordsworth, it must be with very mixed feelings that those on whom the duty principally devolves (especially if clergymen) take their part in the ceremonial of conferring degrees on mere warriors, the agents of that false glory by which the pride of man is so much fos
tered. During the Royal and Imperial visits to Oxford in 1814, it was puzzling to imagine how the University would contrive to make that hardy veteran, Prince Blucher, a member of their learned and religious body. However, a Fellow of Oxford, long resident in the University, and well acquainted with all its forms, solves the puzzle, by stating that Blucher was created neither a Theologian, nor a Civilian, but, with verbal, if not with literal propriety, a doctor of Canon Law.
Amongst the assembled throng, few could have witnessed the exciting scene with stronger emotions than his son William, and his nephew, the Rev. John Wordsworth, M. A., Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge, eldest son of the master of that College. John Wordsworth was a profound scholar, and in his uncle's opinion, one of the most accurate of men, and he had indulged the hope that a new edition of his Poems, which was about to be published, would have the benefit of his revision. But it was ruled otherwise, as he gradually declined in health and died at the close of the year. In a letter of condolence to the sorrowing father, the poet wrote, -'He is a power gone out of our family, and they will be perpetually reminded of it. But the best of all consolations will be with us — that his life had been as blameless as a man's well could be, and through the goodness of God he is gone to his reward'.
About this time we find mention of an affecting interview between Wordsworth and Southey, the powers of whose once active mind had now so completely failed that the presence of the closest friends afforded him no pleasure. He did not recognise his brother poet, but, on hearing his name, looked up, his eyes flashing for a moment with their wonted brightness,
then suddenly subsiding into an apathetic state, he continued patting his books with both hands, affectionately as a child would cherish its toys. Some time previous to this, Wordsworth had remarked that he seemed dead to all but books, and that when torn from them, he became restless and out of his element. It happened, from this and other reasons, that the two neighbours seldom met ; Wordsworth's words being, 'I therefore hardly see him for years together'.
Mr. H. C. Robinson also remarks that when in Paris with Southey, in 1838, to the best of his belief, he never once visited the Louvre, and cared for nothing but the old book shops. But all men are true to their instincts, and we learn, from the same diary, that the writer saw at Rome, some gentlemen who had brought over their dogs with them to sport in the Campagna. They were delighted with their sport, and had been a week there without seeing St. Peter's, and probably would leave Rome without going in.
The 'Sonnets on the Punishment of Death' appeared in 1840. Wordsworth says, concerning them, 'an outcry, as I expected, has been raised against me by weak-minded humanitarians'. Elizabeth B. Browning, was one of these weak-minded humanitarians'. We quote her words,-'And yet if we were recordingangel instead of recording-reviewer, we should drop a tear, - another, - and end by weeping-out that series of sonnets in favour of capital punishment - grieving that a hand which has traced life warrants so long for the literature of England, should thus sign a misplaced * Benedicite' over the hangman and his victim'. Hartley Coleridge being asked on what subject a man might write, on which woman might not also write, seeing how much more easy it was to say that woman