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always profound, by which she made all that one could
sympathising attention. Her knowledge of literature
was irregular and thoroughly unsystematic. She was . .
content to be ignorant of many things; but what she
disturbed—in the temple of her own most servid heart"/>
Proceeding to compare his impressions of the two . ladies he adds:—“Miss Wordsworth had seen more of life, and even of good company; for she had lived, when quite a girl, under the protection of Dr. Cookson, a near relative, Canon of Windsor, and a personal favourite of the Royal family, especially of George III. Consequently she ought to have been the more polished of the . two; and yet, from greater natural aptitudes for refinement of manner in her sister in-law, and partly, perhaps, from her more quiet and subdued manner, Mrs. Wordsworth would have been pronounced very much the more. lady-like person.”
De Quincey excuses the large latitude used in his'
In further allusion to Miss Wordsworth he says:—
to maintain the reserve essential to dignity; and dignity was the last thing one thought of in the presence of one
so natural, so fervent in her feelings, and so embarrassed
in their utterance—sometimes, also, in the attempt to check them. It must not, however, be supposed, that there was any silliness, or weakness of enthusiasm, about her. She was under the continual restraint of severe good sense/hough liberated from that false shame which, in so many persons, accompanies all expressions of natural emotion and she had too long enjoyed the
ennobling conversation of her brother, and his admirable
comments on the poets, which they read in common, to fail in any essential point of Jogic or propriety of thought. Accordingly, her letters, (o: careless and unelaborate—nay, the most hearty that can be imagined-are models of good sense and just feeling. In short, beyond any person I have known in this world, Miss Wordsworth was the creature of impulse; but, as a woman most thoroughly virtuous and well principled, as one who could not fail to be kept right by her own excellent heart, and as an intellectual creature from her
cradle, with much of her illustrious brother's peculiarity"
of mind–finally as one who had been, in effect, educated and trained by that very brother—she won the sympathy
and respectful regard of every man worthy to approach
her." ~ 0, (,” De Quincey subsequently relates how he was entertained for the night in the best bedroom of the poet's
...home, and on the following morning discovered Miss
Wordsworth preparing the breakfast in the little sittingroom. He adds:–" On the third morning the whole
family, except the two children, prepared for the expedition across the mountains. I had heard of no horses, and took it for granted that we were to walk; however, at the moment of starting, a cart—the common farmer's cart of the country—made its appearance; and the driver was a bonny young woman of the vale. Accordingly, we were carted along to the little town, or village, of Ambleside—three and a half miles distant.
Our style of travelling occasioned no astonishment; on
the contrary, we met a smiling salutation wherever we appeared—Miss Wordsworth being, as L observed, the person the most familiarly known of our party, and the one who took upon herself the whole expenses of the flying colloquies exchanged with stragglers on the road.” Although the little home at Town End is so closely identified with Wordsworth as being his residence in his poetic prime he this year (1807) found it necessary, in con- . sequence of his increasing family, to remove to a larger house. He went to Allan Bank, about a mile distant,
. and remained there four years. This residence is not
nearly so closely connected with the memory of the Wordsworths as either Dove Cottage or Rydal Mount. The time was not, however, by any means an unproductive one, for here he composed the greater part of the “Excursion,” the whole of which poem is said to have been transcribed by his faithful and industrious sister. It is interesting to know that the now historic cottage, which is possessed of such a charm as the first mountain home of Miss Wordsworth in this district, was afterwards for some. years the residence of De Quincey himself. After his first visit, of which he has given such a graphic account,
Foremost in my affections, had fallen back
It has, by some, been stated, in the way of objection, that Wordsworth was not a Christian poet, that he looked too exclusively to Nature as his inspirer and guide, and sought from her the consolation which Christianity alone can afford. His friend and admirer, Professor Wilson, states that all his poetry, published previously to the “Excursion,” is but the “Religion of the Woods”; and that though in that poem there is a high religion brought forward, it is not the religion of Christianity. But it must be admitted that although a large proportion of the poetry of Wordsworth does not contain any specific Christian teaching, yet it breathes the spirit of devotion and of Christian charity. Some of the earlier poems, especially the lines composed at Tintern Abbey, have been referred to as evidence, that at the shrine of Nature alone Wordsworth, in his earlier, and presumably wiser, years worshipped. As this subject has been more than once exhaustively dealt with, it is not now necessary to do more than mention it. It should be remembered, that the same pen which wrote what have been styled the pantheistic poems, also wrote the Ecclesiastical
Sonnets, the Ninth Evening Voluntary, and the Thanksgiving Odes. What is much more needed by the heart of mankind than specific Christian doctrine, is the high and holy teaching with which the works of Wordsworth abound. His work was most conscientious, ever done under the “eye that hath kept watch o'er man's mortality.” If lessons of endurance and fortitude under the ills and privations of life, and faith in the future, are needed, we have them taught us in such poems as that containing the story of the poor leech gatherer; if storms of passion and suffering are to be allayed, we are reminded of “the sure relief of prayer,” and the advice given to the Solitary to aid in the restoration of a lost trust and hope :
- “One adequate support