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his sister was in no degree abated, and that he ungrudgingly bestowed upon her the generous praise so much merited :—

“On Nature's invitation do I come,
By Reason sanctioned. Can the choice mislead,
That made the calmest, fairest spot on earth,
With all its unappropriated good,
My own, and not mine only, for with me
Entrenched—say rather, peacefully embowered—
Under yon orchard, in yon humble cot,
A younger orphan of a home extinct,
The only daughter of my parents dwells;
Aye, think on that, my heart, and cease to stir;
Pause upon that, and let the breathing frame
No longer breathe, but all be satisfied.
Oh, if such silence be not thanks to God
For what hath been bestowed, then where, where then
Shall gratitude find rest ? Mine eyes did ne'er
Fix on a lovely object, nor my mind
Take pleasure in the midst of happy thought,
But either she, whom now I have, who now
Divides with me that loved abode, was there,
Or not far off. Where'er my footsteps turned,
Her voice was like a hidden bird that sang;
The thought of her was like a flash of light
Or an unseen companionship, a breath

Or fragrance independent of the wind.
In all my goings, in the new and old
Cf all my meditations, and in this

Javourite of all, in this, the most of all

Embrace me, then, ye hills, and close me in.
Now, on the clear and open day I feel
Your guardianship : I take it to my heart;
'Tis like the solemn shelter of the night.
But I would call thee beautiful; for mild
And soft, and gay, and beautiful thou art,
Dear valley, having in thy face a smile,
Though peaceful, full of gladness. Thou art pleased,
Pleased with thy crags, and woody steeps, thy lake,
Its one green island, and its winding shores,
The multitude of little rocky hills,
Thy church, and cottages of mountain stone
Clustered like stars some few, but single most
And lurking dimly in their shy retreats,
Or glancing at each other cheerful looks
Like separated stars with clouds between.”

e early years of their residence at Grasmere were

^ signalised by calm enjoyment, no less than by active industry. Miss Wordsworth's life retained its characteristic unselfishness, its devoted ministry. The cottage itself was furnished at a cost of about 4, 100—a legacy left to her by a relative, and their joint annual income at that time amounted to about as much. That they were still poor did not detract from their happiness, but probably served only to promote it. We find this refined, sensitive young woman (she was now twenty-eight), engaged very much in domestic duties, doing a considerable part of the work of the house, without a thought of discontent. Her poetic enthusiasm and cultured mind did not unfit her for the common duties of life, or detract from her high sense of duty and service. Happily she had learnt—as every true woman does—that there is no degradation in work; that it is not in the nature of our tasks, but the spirit in which they are performed, that the test of fitness is to be found. Notwithstanding, however, her other duties, Miss Wordsworth found time to be a true help to her brother. As his amanuensis she wrote or transcribed his poems, read to him, and accompanied him in his daily walks. She had also that rare gift of the perfect companion of being able to be silent with and for him, recognising the apparently little-known truth that a loved presence is in itself society. In one of his poems, “Personal Talk,” he says:–

“I am not one who much or oft delight
To season my fireside with personal talk,-
Of friends, who live within an easy walk,
Or neighbours, daily, weekly, in my sight:
And, for my chance acquaintance, ladies bright,
Sons, mothers, maidens withering on the stalk,
These all wear out of me, like forms with chalk
Painted on rich men's floors, for one feast-night.
Better than such discourse doth silence long,
Long, barren silence, square with my desire;
To sit without emotion, hope, or aim,
In the loved presence of my cottage-fire,
And listen to the flapping of the flame,
Or kettle whispering its faint undersong.”

In one of the MSS. notes, alluding to this sonnet,

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Wordsworth has said: “The last line but two stood at first better and more characteristically thus:

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And he adds: “My sister and I were in the habit of
having the tea-kettle in our little sitting-room; and we
toasted the bread ourselves, which reminds me of a
little circumstance, not unworthy of being set down
among these minutiae. Happening both of us to be
engaged a few minutes one morning, when we had
a young prig of a Scotch lawyer to breakfast with us,
my dear sister, with her usual simplicity, put the toasting
fork, with a slice of bread, into the hands of this Edin.
burgh genius. Our little book-case stood on one side
of the fire. To prevent loss of time he took down
a book, and fell to reading, to the neglect of the toast,
which was burnt to a cinder. Many a time have we
laughed at this circumstance and other cottage sim-
plicities of that day.”
Miss Wordsworth, at this period, also kept a diary,
or journal, which, we are informed, is “full of vivid
descriptions of natural beauty.” The few extracts from
it which the world has hitherto been allowed to see
are of deep interest, affording, as they do, a pleasing
picture of their daily occupations, the incidents which
gave birth to many of her brother's poems, and the
circumstances under which they were written. For the
subject of many of them he was indebted to her ever-
watchful and observant eye, and several were composed
while wandering over woodland paths, by her side. The
knowledge of this not only serves to remind us of the

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sustained character of Miss Wordsworth's directing and . controlling influence upon her brother, but gives an additional interest to the poems. Thus, in her journal, X. writes: “William walked to Rydal. . . . The lake of Grasmere beautiful. The Church an image of peace ; he wrote some lines upon it. . . . The mountains indistinct; the lake calm, and partly ruffled, a sweet sound of water falling into the quiet lake. A storm gathering in Easedale, so we returned ; but the moon came out, and opened to us the church and village. Helm Crag in shade; the larger mountains dappled like a sky.” o Again: “We went into the orchard after breakfast, and ** sat there. The lake calm, the sky cloudy, William - began poem on ‘The Celandine.'” The next day: “Sowed flower-seeds: William helped me. We sat in the orchard. W. wrote “The Celandine.' Planned an

arbour; the sun too hot for us.” “W. wrote the ‘Leec

Gatherer.” These instances might be multiplied. Wordsworth has himself recorded how that about this time he composed his first sonnets, “taking fire" one

afternoon after his sister had been reading to him w

those of Milton. Her helpful aid, as a literary companion, is thus referred to by Mr. Lockhart: “His sister, without any of the aids of learned ladies, had a refined perception of the beauties of literature, and her glowing sympathy and delicate comments cast new light upon the most luminous page. > Wordsworth always acknowledged that it was from her and Coleridge that his otherwise very independent intellect had derived great assistance." In a letter, dated September 10, 18oo, Miss Words

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