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owner of the mansion in which he lived to put an end to the occupation. The reputation of his friends and visitors suffered with his. In allusion to this, Mr. Howitt says: “The grave and moral Wordsworth, the respectable Wedgewoods, the correct Robert Southey, and Coleridge, dreaming of glorious intellectualities beyond the moon, were set down for a very disreputable gang. Innocent Mrs. Coleridge and poor Dolly Wordsworth were seen strolling about with them, and were pronounced no better than they should be. Such was the character that they unconsciously acquired that Wordsworth was at length actually driven out of the country.” It may not be out of place to repeat here Mr. Cottle's version of the affair. He says: “Mr. Wordsworth had taken the Alfoxden house, near Stowey, for one year (during the minority of the heir), and the reason why he was refused a continuance by the ignorant man who had the letting of it, arose, as Mr. Coleridge informed me, from a whimsical cause, or rather a series of causes. The wiseacres of the village had, it seemed, made Mr. Wordsworth the subject of their serious conversation. One said that he had seen him wandering about by night and look rather strange at the moon | And then he roamed over the hills like a partridge Another said he had heard him mutter, as he walked, in some outlandish brogue that nobody could understand I Another said: “It is useless to talk, Thomas. I think he is what people call a wise man (a conjurer).” Another said: ‘You are every one of you wrong... I know what he is. We have all met him tramping away toward the sea.
Would any man in his senses take all that trouble to look at a parcel of water P I think he carries on a snug business in the smuggling line, and in these journeys is on the look-out for some wet cargol' Another very significantly said: ‘I know that he has got a private still in his cellar; for I once passed his house at a little better than a hundred yards' distance, and I could smell the spirits as ‘plain as an ashen faggot at Christmas l' Another said, ‘However that was, he was surely a desperd (desperate) French Jacobin ; for he is so silent and
dark that nobody ever heard him say one word about
politics' And thus these ignoramuses drove from their village a greater ornament than will ever again be found amongst them.” After leaving Alfoxden, in the autumn of 1798, Miss Wordsworth accompanied her brother during a residence of six months in Germany, their chief object being the attainment of a knowledge of the language. Although, from the absence of society at Goslar, where they were, they do not seem to have been fortunately circumstanced in this respect, Wordsworth was, according to his sister, very industrious, and here composed several poems. - Their life in Germany was not altogether without adventure. Mr. Howitt gives an account of an incident related to him by the poet of his arriving late one evening, accompanied by Miss Wordsworth and Coleridge, at a hamlet in Hesse Cassel, where they were unable to gain admittance to the inn, and feared having to pass the night in the open street. A continued knocking at
• the inhospitable doors only brought out the landlord armed with a huge cudgel, with which he began to beat them. Regardless of their personal danger, and thinking of their female companion, to whom the prospect of an inclement night in the open air was by no means cheering, Wordsworth and his friend managed, after warding off the blows of the cudgel, to 'force their way into the house, and by reasoning with the surly landlord, and appealing to his better feelings, induced him to afford them a scanty lodging for the night. It appears that strangers travelling in these remote parts at this time received scant courtesy, even from those professing to provide them with entertainment, and that personal violence and plunder were not unfrequently resorted to. On returning to England in the spring of 1799, Wordsworth, after spending some months with friends at Sockburn-on-Tees, wisely determined to have a fixed place of abode for himself, and, of course, his sister; eventually selecting that spot which is more than all others associated with his name and memory. A walking tour in company with his friend Coleridge in West moreland and Cumberland, resulted in his fixing upon - <Grasme; as the future home of himself and his faithful sister. To this place they accordingly repaired, walking a considerable part of the way—that from Wensleydale to Kendal—“accomplishing as much as twenty miles in a day over uneven roads, frozen into rocks, in the teeth of a keen wind and a driving snow,” amid the crisp and biting blasts of a winter day, arriving at Grasmere—so long the scene of their future labours and rambles—on the shortest day of the last year in the last century.
HE lake and mountain district of England, which
has now become so famous, was happily chosen by these children of Nature as their residence. Born as they both were on its outskirts, they had long been familiar with its beauties, and the only matter for surprise is that they had not earlier turned their faces to their native hills instead of spending some intervening
their sympathies and pursuits. The hardy inhabitants of
in the climate of England there are, for the lover of
Nature, days which are worth whole months—I might
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say even years. One of these favoured days sometimes occurs in spring-time, when that soft air is breathing over the blossoms and new-born verdure which inspired Buchanan with his beautiful “Ode to the First of May’; the air which, in the luxuriance of his fancy, he likens to that of the golden age—to that which gives motion to the funereal cypresses on the banks of Lethe ; to the air which is to salute beatified spirits when expiatory fires shall have consumed the earth, with all her habitations. But it is in autumn that days of such affecting influence most frequently intervene. The atmosphere becomes refined, and the sky rendered more crystalline, as the vivifying heat of the year abates; the . lights and shadows are more delicate; the colouring is richer and more finely harmonised; and, in this season of stillness, the ear being unoccupied, or only gently excited, the sense of vision becomes more susceptible of its appropriate enjoyments. A resident in a country like this we are treating of will agree with me that the presence of a lake is indispensable to exhibit in perfection the beauty of one of these days; and he must have experienced, while looking on the unruffled waters, that the imagination by their aid is carried into recesses of feeling otherwise in penetrable. The reason of this is . that the heavens are not only brought down into the bosom of the earth, but that the earth is mainly looked at, and thought of through the medium of a purer element. The happiest time is when the equinoctial gales are departed ; but their fury may probably be called to mind by the sight of a few shattered boughs, whose leaves do not differ in colour from the faded