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Professor Knight gives some interesting MS. readings, of which one, containing a reference—real or imaginary— to time, may be quoted:
"For on that day, now seven years gone, when first
We from that blessed water slaked our thirst.
This may perhaps refer to an excursion of Wordsworth and Dorothy in 1794 (Knight's "Life," i. 88, 89), and if so the sonnet may, like the last, belong to 1801. Perhaps it remained unfinished till near 1820.—Ed.
"Her only pilot" (page 7).
Date uncertain; first published 1827. Text unchanged. —ed.
"The fairest, brightest, hues of ether fade" (page!).
Suggested at Hacket, which is on the craggy ridge that rises between the two Langdales and looks towards Windermere. The cottage of Hacket was often visited by us, and at the time when this Sonnet was written, and long after, was occupied by the husband and wife described in the "Excursion, where it is mentioned that she was in the habit of walking in the front of the dwelling with a light to guide her husband home at night. The same cottage is alluded to in the "Epistle to Sir George Beaumont as that from which the female peasant hailed us on our morning journey. The musician mentioned in the Sonnet was the Kev. Samuel Tillbrook of Peter-house, Cambridge, who remodelled the Ivy Cottage at Kydal after he had purchased it—I. F.
Date uncertain; first published 1815. L. 13 (1837); previously:
"From which I have been lifted on the breeze."—Ed.
Upon, the Sight of a beautiful Picture (page 8).
This was written when we dwelt in the Parsonage at Grasmere. The principal features of the picture are Breden Hill and Cloud Hill near Coleorton. I shall never forget the happy feeling with which my heart was filled when I was impelled to compose this Sonnet We resided only two years in this house; and during the last half of the time, which was after this poem had been written, we lost our two children, Thomas and Catharine. Our sorrow upon these events often brought it to my mind, and cast me upon the- support to which the last line of it gives expression—
"The appropriate calm of blest eternity."
It is scarcely necessary to add that we still possess the picture.—I. F.
Written at the Parsonage, Grasmere, 1811; first published 1815. Sent to Sir G. Beaumont in a letter of Aug. 28, 1811: "The images of the smoke and the travellers are taken from your picture; the rest were added in order to place the thought in a clear point of view, and for the sake of variety." L. 9 (1838); previously "Soul-soothing Art—which Morning, Noontide, Even/'—Ed.
"Wliy, Minstrel," (page 8).
Date uncertain; first published 1827. L. 13, "That" (1837); previously "ItV—Ed.
"Aerial rock—whose solitary brow" [page 9).
A projecting point of Loughrigg, nearly in front of Bydal Mount. Thence looking at it, you are struck with the boldness of its aspect; but walking under it, you admire the beauty of its details. It is vulgarly called Holme-Soar, probably from the insulated pasture by the waterside below it.—I. F.
Date uncertain; first published 1819 (with "The Waggoner "). L. 3, " step ' (1827); previously "look "; 1. 4, "a lingering" (1837); previously "lingering." L1. 5-7 (1827); previously:
"Shall I discharge to thee a grateful vow ?—
By planting on thy head (in verse, at least,
As I have often done in thought) the crest."—Ed.
To Sleep (page 9).
Date uncertain; first published 1807. L. 10, "am I," (1827); previously " I am." (" And" in 1. 11, ed. 1815 , is a misprint corrected in Errata).—Ed.
To Sleep (page 10).
Date uncertain; first published 1807. L. 3 (1837); previously " The very sweetest words that Fancy frames," —ed.
To Sleep (page 10).
Date uncertain; first published 1807. L. 5 (1845) replacing:
"I've thought of all by turns; and still I lie " (1807-20),
"By turns have all been thought of; yet I lie " (1827-32).
"I thought of all by tarns, and yet I lie " (1837).
"I have thought of all by turns, and yet I lie" (1838).
Wordsworth probably did not quite like the "do lie" of 1845, but preferred it to beginning a line with "I" and ending with the double i sound of " I lie."
In 1. 13 "between" (1832) replaced the earlier "betwixt."—Ed.
The Wild Duck's Nest (page 11).
I observed this beautiful nest on the largest island of Rydal Water.—I. F.
Date uncertain; first published 1819 (with "The Waggoner"). L1. 13, 14 (1837) previously:
"I gaze—and almost wish to lay aside
A revolt against humanity was no part of Wordsworth's permanent habit of feeling.—Ed.
Written upon a blank leaf (page 11).
Date uncertain; first published 1819 (with "The Waggoner"). L. 2 returns to text of 1819-32, from the 1837-38 reading, " thy name, meek Walton." L. 7 a» now in 1827-32, and again 1845-49; but in 1819-20 and 1837-43 " O, nobly versed." L. 8 as now in 1827-32 and 1845-49; but in 1819-20, "Meek, thankful soul, the vernal day too short," and in 1837-43, " Who found'st the longest summer day," involving "thy " instead of " his" in 1. 9. In 1. 11 "this," 1827 onwards, replaced "thy,"
To the Poet, John Dyer (page 12).
Date uncertain ; sent in MS. to Lady Beaumont Not. 20, 1811. See " Memorials of Coleorton," ii. 156. First published 1820. In 1. 6 " With " (1827) in each instance was previously " By."—Ed.
On the Detraction, etc. (page 13).
Written 1820; first published 1820. L. 5, "those" (1836); previously "these;" 1. 6, "Nor heat" (1820 Duddon volume, 1827 and onwards); "Nor chafe" (1820, Misc. Poems only).—Ed.
"Grief thou hast lost an ever ready friend" (page 13).
I could write a treatise of lamentation upon the changes brought about among the cottages of Westmoreland by the silence of the spinning-whee1. During long winter nights and wet days, the wheel upon which wool was spun gave employment to a great part of a family. The old man, however infirm, was able to card the wool as he sate in the corner by the fireside; and often, when a boy, have I admired the cylinders of carded wool which were softly laid upon each other by his side. Two wheels were often at work on the same floor; and others of the family, chiefly little children, were occupied in teasing and cleaning the wool to fit it for the hand of the carder. So that all, except the smallest infants, were contributing to mutual support. Such was the employment that prevailed in the pastoral vales. Where wool was not at hand, in the small rural towns, the wheel for spinning flax was almost in as constant use, if knitting was not preferred; which latter occupation has the advantage (in some cases disadvantage) that, not being of necessity stationary, it allowed of gossiping about from house to house, which good housewives reckoned an idle thing. —I. F.
Date uncertain; first published 1819 (with "The Waggoner"). Text unchanged. Professor Knight gives from MS. a different reading of 11. 8-14.—Ed.
To 8. H. (page 14).
Date uncertain; first published 1827. "S. H." U, Sarah Hutchinson, sister of Mary Wordsworth. L. 6, "darken" (1837); previously "bedim"; 1. 7, "Even She who toils " (1843); previously " She who was feigned." L. 8(1837); previously:
"Might smile, 0 Lady! on a task once dear."
L. 10, " shall * (1837); previously "wil1." L1. 11,12, (1837); previously:
"Its own, not left without a guiding chart,
L. 13, "And" (1837); previously "To"; 1. 14, "Heed not" (1837); previously "Sanction," a stronger allegation against the Rulers.—Ed.
Composed in one of the Valleys [page 14).
Date uncertain; first published 1819 (with "The Waggoner"). Text unchanged. Professor Knight gives from MS. a different version of this sonnet.—Ed.
Decay of Piety (page 15).
Attendance at church on prayer-days, Wednesdays and Fridays and Holidays, received a shock at the Revolution. It is now, however, happily reviving. The ancient people described in this Sonnet were among the last of that pious class. May we hope that the practice, now in some degree renewed, will continue to spread.—I.F.
Date uncertain; first published 1827. Text unchanged. —ed.
Composed mi the Eve, etc. (page 16).
Writtenl812; first published 1815. Occasioned by the marriage of Thomas Hutchinson to Mary Monkhouse, Nov. 1, 1812. L1. 5, 6 (1827); previously:
"Even for such omen would the Bride display
From the Italian of Michael Angelo (page 16). Translations from Michael Angelo, done at the request of Mr. Duppa whose acquaintance I made through Mr.