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immediately around it, like a neighbourhood of kindly giants. These hills descend steeply to the verge of the level on which the village stands, and there they terminate at once, the whole site of the little town being as even as a floor. I call it a village, but it is no village at all; all the dwellings stand apart, each in its own little domain, and each, I believe, with its own little lane leading to it, independently of the rest. Many of these are old cottages, plastered white, with antique porches, and roses, and other vines, trained against them, and shrubbery growing about them, and some are covered with ivy. There are a few edifices of more pretension and of modern build, but not so strikingly as to put the rest out of countenance. The Post Office, when we found it, proved to be an ivied cottage, with a good deal of shrubbery round it, having its own pathway, like the other cottages. The whole looks like a real seclusion, shut out from the great world by those encircling hills, on the sides of which, whenever they are not too steep, you see the division lines of property and tokens of cultivation—taking from them their pretensions of savage majesty, but bringing them nearer to the heart of man."
“Only a sister's part—yes, that was all ;
“So what she saw and felt the poet sang—
“And when with wife and child his days were crowned
“His “dear, dear sister,’ that was all she asked,
—ANON. IN The Spectator.
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HE unpretentious cottage which became the first Grasmere home of Wordsworth and his sister in those days when they were still sole companions, though changed in its surroundings, is happily still allowed to retain its old features. It stands on the right of the highway, just on the entry into Grasmere, on the road from Rydal—the old coach road—a little distance beyond the “Wishing Gate,” and at the part of the village called Town End. It was formerly an inn, called “The Dove and Olive Bough,” and is still known by the name of Dove Cottage. It overlooks from the front the beauteous lake of Grasmere, though the view from the lower rooms is now considerably obstructed by buildings since erected. Behind is a small garden and orchard, in which is a spring of pure water, round which the primroses and daffodils bloom, as they did when lovingly reared by Miss Wordsworth. A dozen steps or so, cut in the rocky slope lead up to a little terrace walk, on a bit of mountain ground, enclosed in the domain, and sheltered in the rear by a fir-clad wood. Altogether it was an ideal cottage-home for the enthusiastic young couple. l’rom the orchard are obtained views almost unrivalled
of mountain, vale, and lake, embracing the extensive range from Helm Crag and the vales of Easdale and Wythburn, down to the wooded heights of Loughrigg. Words cannot do justice to the idyllic sweetness and beauty of this poet's home, as it must have been when Wordsworth described his chosen retreat as the
“Loveliest spot that man hath ever found.”
The “sweet garden-orchard, eminently fair,” has now, however, a neglected appearance, and must be very different from the time when the loving hands of the poet and his sister carefully tended the trees and flowers, of which he says:—
“This plot of orchard ground is ours,
De Quincey speaks of the house as being immortal in his remembrance—just two bow shots from the water —“a little white cottage, gleaming in the midst of trees, with a vast and seemingly never-ending series of ascents rising above it, to the height of more than three thousand feet.”
Wordsworth's satisfaction at finding himself, at length, in the companionship of his beloved sister, in this his first permanent and peaceful abode, is thus expressed in a portion of a poem which was intended to form part of the “Recluse," of which, as is well known, the Prelude and the Excursion only were completed. I am indebted for the extract to the “Memoirs of Wordsworth,” by the late Bishop of Lincoln. It will be observed that the poet's ardent attachment to