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On Reading Miss Wordsworth's Recollections of a Journey in
Scotland, in 1803, with her Brother and Coleridge.
“I close the book, I shut my eyes,
I see the Three before me rise, -
“And him -- the man of large discourse,'
“We close the book with thankful heart,
Father of Lights, to Thee, who art
ANON. IN The Spectator.
TOUR IN SCOTLAND.
TT was in the months of August and September, in I the year following that of his marriage, that Wordsworth and his sister made their memorable six weeks' tour in Scotland. The character of this tour, as well as the remarkable memorial of it given to the world after a lapse of seventy years, render it, in this place, deserving of more than a mere passing notice. Of the daily incidents of this journey, and the impressions and reflections caused by it, Miss Wordsworth kept a minute journal. Although not intended as a literary production, and written only for the perusal and information of friends, the style is not only pleasing but elegant; and it is a matter for congratulation that the family of the writer at length consented to its publication. This was done in 1874, under the able editorship of Principal Shairp, of St. Andrews, and the work rapidly passed through several editions. Not only is it of much value to those taking an interest in the lives of the poet and his sister ; but, containing as it does descriptions at once graceful and graphic of the scenes through which they passed, it cannot fail to afford pleasure to the general reader. The Editor, in
his preface, says of it, that he does not remember any other book “more capable of training heart and eye to look with profit on the face of Nature, as it manifests itself in our northern land.”
Mrs. Wordsworth was not of the party, being detained at home by maternal duties. For the first fortnight the Wordsworths were accompanied by Coleridge, who does not, however, on this occasion, seem to have been the desirable companion of old. Wordsworth has said of him that he was at the time “in bad spirits, and somewhat too much in love with his own dejection.”
The manner of their travelling was altogether in keeping with the humble character of their lives. The Irish car, and the ancient steed — which, from his various wayward freaks, and the difficulty with which he was on certain occasions managed by the poets, must have been somewhat of a screw — were not calculated to afford much luxury or ease. But the object of the tourists was not to make a fashionable holiday. The very love of Nature drew them to her wildest solitudes, and to woo her in her varied moods, as well when frowning and repellant as when smiling and inviting. As they were harvesting for future memories the deep experiences and lingering harmonies which are reaped and garnered by a loving companionship with Nature, it mattered little to them that these were frequently obtained at the cost of weariness and discomfort.
It need not be repeated that for the in-gathering of Nature's most beneficent gifts the poet could not have had a more fitting companion than his sister. Not