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lingua communis, not only as the best, but as the only commendable style, should have proceeded from a poet, whose diction, next to that of Sbakspeare. and Milton, appears to me of all others the most individualized and characteristic. And let it be remembered too, that I am now interpreting the controverted passages of Mr. W's critical preface by the purpose and object, which he may be supposed to have intended, rather than by the sense which the words themselves must convey, if they are taken without this allowance.

A person of any taste, who had but studied three or four of Shakspeare's principal plays, would without the name affixed scarcely fail to recognize as Shakspeare's, a quotation from any other play, though but of a few lines. A similar peculiarity, though in a less degree, attends Mr. Wordsworth's style, whenever he speaks in his own person ; or whenever, though under a feigned name, it is clear that he himself is still speaking, as in the different dramatis personæ of the “Recluse.” Even in the other poems in which he purposes to be most dramatic, there are few in which it does not occasionally burst forth. The reader might often address the poet in his own words with reference to the persons introduced ;

“It seems, as I retrace the ballad line by line

That but half of it is theirs, and the better balf is thine."

Who, having been previously acquainted with any considerable portion of Mr. Wordsworth's publications, and having studied them with a full feeling of the author's genius, would not at once claim as Wordsworthian the little

poem on the rainbow ?

• The child is father of the man, &c."

Or in the “ Lucy Gray”?

“ No mate, no comrade Lucy knew;

She dwelt on a wide moor;
The sweetest thing that ever grew
Beside a human door.”

Or in the “ Idle Shepherd-boys”?

“ Along the river's stony marge

The sand-lark chaunts a joyous song:
The thrush is busy in the wood,
And carols loud and strong.
A thousand lambs are on the rock
All newly born! both earth and sky
Keep jubilee, and more than all,
Those boys with their green coronal,
They never hear the cry,
That plaintive cry which up the hill
Comes from the depth of Dungeon Gill."

Need I mention the exquisite description of the Sea Lock in the “ Blind Highland Boy.”


Who but a poet tells a tale in such language to the little ones by the fire-side as

“ Yet had he many a restless dream

Both when he heard the eagle's scream,
And when he heard the torrents roar,
And heard the water beat the shore

Near where their cottage stood.

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For to this lake by night and day,
The great sea-water finds its way
Through long, long windings of the hills,
And drinks up all the pretty rills;

And rivers large and strong:

Then hurries back the road it came
Returns on errand still the same;
This did it when the earth 'was new ;
And this for evermore will do,

As long as earth shall last.

And with the coming of the tide,
Come boats and ships that sweetly ride,
Between the woods and lofty rocks;
And to the shepherd with their flocks

Bring tales of distant lands."

I might quote almost the whole of his “Ruth,” but take the following stanzas :

“ But as you have before been told,
This stripling, sportive gay and bold,
And with his dancing crest,
So beautiful, through savage lands
Had roam'd about with vagrant bands

Of Indians in the West.

The wind, the tempest roaring high,
The tumult of a tropic sky,
Might well be dangerous food
For him, a youth to whom was given
So much of earth, so much of heaven,

And such impetuous blood.

Whatever in those climes he found
Irregular in sight or sound,
Did to his mind impart
A kindred impulse; seem'd allied
To bis own powers, and justified

The workings of his heart.

Nor less to feed voluptuous thought
The beauteous forms of nature wrought,
Fair trees and lovely flowers ;
The breezes their own langour lent,
The stars had feelings, which they sent

Into those magic bowers.

Yet in his worst pursuits, I ween,
That sometimes there did intervene
Pure hopes of high intent :
For passions, link'd to forms so fair
And stately, needs must have their share

Of noble sentiment."

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But from Mr. Wordsworth's more elevated compositions, which already form three-fourths of his works; and will, I trust, constitute hereafter a still larger proportion ;—from these, whether in rhyme or blank-verse, it would be difficult and almost superfluous to select instances of a diction peculiarly his own, of a style which cannot be imitated without its being at once recognized, as originating in Mr. Wordsworth. It would not be easy to open on any one of his loftier strains, that does not contain examples of this; and more in proportion as the lines are more excellent, and most like the author. For those, who may happen to have been less familiar with his writings, I will give three specimens taken with little choice. The first from the lines on the “ Boy of WINANDER-MERE,”—who

“Blew mimic hootings to the silent owls,
That they might answer him. And they would shout,
Across the watery vale and shout again
With long halloos, and screams, and echoes loud
Redoubled and redoubled, concourse wild
Of mirth and jocund din. And when it chanc'd,
That pauses of decp silence mock'd his skill,
Then sometimes in that silence, while he hung
Listening, a gentle shock of mild surprize
Has carried far into his heart the voice
Of mountain torrents; or the visible scene*


* Mr. Wordsworth's having judiciously adopted course wild" in this passage for a wild scene” as it stood in the former edition, encourages me to hazard a remark,

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