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some extending their wings 12 or 13 feet. Suppose, said I, you represent him as having killed one of these birds on entering the South Sea, and that the tutelary spirits of these regions take upon them to avenge the crime. The incident was thought fitting for the purpose, and adopted accordingly. I also suggested the navigation of the ship by the dead man; but I do . not recollect that I had anything more to do with the scheme of the poem." ~~ It was about this time that the Wordsworths made the acquaintance of Hazlitt. He was then staying with Coleridge, who took him over to Alfoxden. Of this visit Hazlitt says:— “Wordsworth himself was from home; but his sister. kept house, and set before us a frugal repast; and we had free access to her brother's poems, the lyrical ballads, which were still in manuscript, or in the form of Sybilline leaves. I dipped into a few of these with great satisfaction, and with the faith of a novice. I slept that night in an old room, with blue hangings, and covered with the round-faced family portraits, of the age of George I. and II, and from the woody declivity of the adjoining park that overlooked my window, at the dawn of day,
- 'Heard the loud stag speak.”
"Next morning, as soon as breakfast was over, we strolled out into the park, and, seating ourselves on the
trunk of an old ash tree, that stretched along the ground,
Coleridge read aloud, with a sonorous and musical voice,
the ballad of Betty Foy.' I was not critically or sceptically inclined. I saw touches of truth and nature, and
took the rest for granted. But in ‘The Thorn,' ‘The Mad Mother,’ and “The Complaint of the Poor Indian
Woman,' I felt that deeper power and pathos, which:
have been since acknowledged,
as the characteristics of this author, and the sense of a new style and a new spirit in poetry, came over me. It had to me something of the effect that arises from the turning up of the fresh soil, or of the first welcome breath of spring,
“While yet the trembling year is unconfirmed.'
“Coleridge and myself walked back to Stowey that evening, and his voice sounded high,
“Of Providence, foreknowledge, will, and fate;
as we passed through the echoing groves, by fairy .
stream or waterfall, gleaming in the solemn moonlight. . . . . . We went over to Alfoxden again the
day following, and Wordsworth read us the story of .
‘Peter Bell' in the open air. There is a chant in the
recitation, both of Coleridge and Wordsworth, which
acts as a spell upon the hearer, and disarms the judg
ment. Perhaps they have deceived themselves by making
habitual use of this ambiguous accompaniment. Coleridge's manner is more full, animated, and varied;
Wordsworth's more equable, sustained, and internal. ' Coleridge has told me that he himself liked to com
pose in walking over uneven ground, or breaking through the straggling branches of a copsewood, whereas Words.
worth always composed walking up and down a straight gravel walk, or in some spot where the continuity of his verse met with no collateral interruptions. . . . . . Returning the same evening, I got into, a metaphysical argument with Wordsworth, while Coleridge was explaining the different notes of the nightingale to his sister, in which we neither of us succeeded in making ourselves perfectly clear and intelligible.” This year was alse celebrated by an introduction to Charles Lamb (the quaint and gentle-hearted “Elia”) and his excellent sister Mary. Lamb was an old schoolsellow, and a close friend of Coleridge. They had been boys together at the Christ's Hospital, where the sympathy between them had been formed which became a life-long bond. A short emancipation from the toils of the East India House found Lamb and his sister spending a little time with Coleridge at Nether Stowey. From the time of the commencement of the acquaintance of Mary Lamb and Dorothy Wordsworth in this manner, their friendship was constant and their correspondence frequent. While, in temperament, they were totally unlike each other, there was that in the tenor of their lives, in the tender and helpful devotion of each of them to her brother—a devotion in both cases so warmly reciprocated—together with much in common in their tastes and pursuits, which served to cement a friendship begun under such pleasurable circumstances. The poem “To my Sister,” written in front of Alfoxden, is suggestive of the happy rural life at this time enjoyed by the poet and his sister.' What lover
of Wordsworth does not remember how on “the first mild day of March,” when, to the receptive spirit of the poet, each minute of the advancing, balmy day appeared to be lovelier than the preceding one, while, sauntering on. the lawn, he wrote, desiring her to hasten with her household morning duties, and share his enjoyment of the genial sunshine P . .
“It is the first mild day of March :
“There is a blessing in the air,
“‘My sister ('tis a wish of mine),
“‘Edward will come with you—and, pray,
“‘No joyless forms shall regulate
“‘Love, now a universal birth,
“‘One moment now may give us more
Our minds shall drink at every pore
“‘Some silent laws our hearts will make,
“‘And from the blessed power that rolls
“‘Then come, my Sister come, I pray,
sIt was also during their residence at Alfoxden that Miss Wordsworth and her brother made their tour on the banks of the Wye, so signally memorialised in his famous lines on Tintern Abbey, of which he says, no poem of his was composed under circumstances more pleasant for him to remember. Its elevating reflections and rhythmic strains take captive the affections of the lover of Nature, and linger in his memory like the music of youth. In