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ated; but none so well as he himself knew the extent of his obligation to her — and he was not one to bestow praise for the sake only of poetic effect. Writing in the “ Prelude,” he says :
“Child of my parents! Sister of my soul!
Thanks in sincerest verse have been elsewhere
And all the earth was budding with these gifts
It has, by some, been stated, in the way of objection, that Wordsworth was not a Christian poet, that he looked too exclusively to Nature as his inspirer and guide, and sought from her the consolation which Christianity alone can afford. His friend and admirer, Professor Wilson, states that all his poetry, published previously to the “ Excursion," is but the “Religion of the Woods”; and that though in that poem there is a high religion brought forward, it is not the religion of Christianity. But it must be admitted that although a large proportion of the poetry of Wordsworth does not contain any specific Christian teaching, yet it breathes the spirit of devotion and of Christian charity. Some of the earlier poems, especially the lines composed at Tintern Abbey, have been referred to as evidence, that at the shrine of Nature alone Wordsworth, in his earlier, and presumably wiser, years worshipped. As this subject has been more than once exhaustively dealt with, it is not now necessary to do more than mention it. It should be remembered, that the same pen which wrote what have been styled the pantheistic poems, also wrote the Ecclesiastical Sonnets, the Ninth Evening Voluntary, and the Thanksgiving Odes. What is much more needed by the heart of mankind than specific Christian doctrine, is the high and holy teaching with which the works of Wordsworth abound. His work was most conscientious, ever done
under the “eye that hath kept watch o'er man's mortality.” If lessons of endurance and fortitude under the ills and privations of life, and faith in the future, are needed, we have them taught us in such poems as that containing the story of the poor leech gatherer; if storms of passion and suffering are to be allayed, we are reminded of “the sure relief of prayer," and the advice given to the Solitary to aid in the restoration of a lost trust and hope :
“One adequate support
All accidents, converting them to good.
Of suffering hath been thoroughly fortified
If Wordsworth and his sister in their early life seem to have too exclusively glorified Nature, it cannot with
any shadow of reason be said that they were at any period devoid of that faith and trust in the Creator through which we receive Nature's most beneficent lessons. It is, indeed, noticeable that during their Scottish tour no difference seems to have been made in the days of the week — that their Sundays were spent in travel. Such a thing is certainly to be regretted, which in after years probably no one would have been more ready than they to acknowledge. Thus the last entry in that journal — one made after an interval of many years — we find as follows: October 4th, 1832. — “I find that this tour was both begun and ended on a Sunday. I am sorry that it should have been so, though I hope and trust that our thoughts and feelings were not seldom as pious and serious as if we had duly attended a place devoted to public worship. My sentiments have undergone a great change since 1803 respecting the absolute necessity of keeping the Sabbath by a regular attendance at church. — D. W." It cannot be doubted that the feeling which dictated those words marks a distinct advance. I doubt not that Miss Wordsworth was able to worship the Creator as devoutly on the green slope of a sun-crowned mountain or in the solemn woods, murmuring their eternal mysterious secrets, as in the public assembly of saints. And such would be in accord with the glow of youthful life with which she bounded to greet Nature's subtle influences. But a longer experience brought its inevitable sobering tendencies, accompanied by the longing for a closer approach towards the Infinite which is felt by all searching and great souls. Wordsworth could truly say, in view of his work, that it was a consolation to him to feel that he had never written a line which he could wish to blot. To this happy and rare result his sister contributed. Remembering the exalted character of that work, there is no other conclusion than that she had no mean part in a work, the issues of which were beneficial not only for time — adding to the sweet influences and graces of life — but will be far-reaching as eternity.
In illustration of Miss Wordsworth's own literary style, I take the liberty to insert in later chapters a few poems which have been deemed worthy to have a place with those of her brother, as well as a journal of a tour on Ullswater. What most in her journals arrests the attention is her unusual quickness and minuteness of observation, combined with a graceful and poetic diction. With her ardent love of Nature, nothing seems to have escaped her notice; and all the varying shades of beauty in earth and sky, which, to the observant eye and loving heart, invest with such a glory this old world, were duly appreciated. Describing a birch tree, she says : “As we went along we were stopped at once, at a distance of, perhaps, fifty yards from our favorite birch tree. It was yielding to a gust of wind, with all its tender twigs; the sun shone upon it, and it glanced in the wind like a flying sunshiny shower. It was a tree in shape, with stem and branches; but it was like a spirit of water." Noticing a number of daffodils near Ullswater, she writes : “When we were in the woods below Gowbarrow Park we saw a few daffodils close to the water side. As we went along there were