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partook of it. The raiment worn by his family was comely and decent, but as simple as their diet; the home spun materials were made up into apparel by their own hands. At the time of the decease of his thrifty pair, their cottage contained a large store of webs of woollen and linen cloth, woven from thread of their own spinning. And it is remarkable, that the pew in the chapel in which the family used to sit, remained a few years ago neatly lined with woollen cloth spun by the pastor's own hands. It is the only pew in the chapel so distinguished; and I know of no other instance of his conformity to the delicate accomodations of modern times. The fuel of the house, like that of their neighbours, consisted of peat, procured from the mosses by their own labour. The lights by which in the winter evenings their work was performed, were of their own manufacture, such as still continue to be used in these cottages; they are made of the pith of rushes dipped in any unctuous substance that the house affords. White candles, as tallow candles are here called, were reserved to honour the Christmas festivals, and were perhaps produced upon no other occassions. Once a month, during the proper season, a sheep was drawn from their small mountain flock, and killed for the use of the family: and a cow, towards the close of the year, was salted and dried, for winter provision; the hide was tanned to furnish them with shoes.By these various resources, this venerable clergyman reared a nume. róus family, not only preserving them, as he affectingly says, “ from wanting the necessaries of life;" but afforded them an unstinted education, and the means of raising themselves in society.
• It might have been concluded that no one could thus, as it were, have converted his body into a machine of industry for the humblest uses, and kept his thoughts so frequently bent upon secular concerns, wirhout grievous injury to the more precious parts of his nature. How could the powers of intellect thrive, or its graces be displayed, in the midst of circumstances apparently so unfavourable, and where, to the direct cultivation of the mind, so small a portion of time was allotted ? But, in this extraordinary man, things in their nature adverse were reconciled; his conversation was remarkable, not only for being chaste and
pure, but for the degree in which it was fervent and eloquent; his written style was correct, simple, aud animated. Nor did his affections suffer more than his intellect; he was tenderly alive to all the duties of his pastoral office : the poor and needy " he never sent empty away," --the stranger was fed and refreshed in passing that unfrequented vale, -the sick were visited ; and the feelings of humanity found further exercise among the distresses and embarrassments in the worldly estate of his neighbours, with which his talents for business made hin acquainted ; and the disinterestedness, impartiality, and uprightness which he maintained in the management of all affairs confided to him, were virtues seldom separated in his own conscience from religious obligations. pp. 58–62.
• The afternoon service in the chapel was less numerously attended than that of the morning, but by a more serious auditory: the lesson from the New Testament on those occasions, was accompanied by Birkett's Commentaries. These lessons he read with impassioned emphasis, frequently drawing tears from his hearers, and leaving a
lasting impression upon their minds. His devotional feelings and the powers of his own mind were further exercised, along with those of his family, in perusing the Scriptures: not only on the Sunday evenings, but on every other evening, while the rest of the household were at work, some one of the children, and in her turn the servant, for the sake of practice in reading, or for instruction, read the Bible aloud; and in this manner the whole was repeatedly gone through.'
To complete the sketch of this admirable person, we need but give the following anecdote. His wife died a few months before him, after they had been married to each other above sixty years. They were both in the ninety third year of their age. He ordered that her body should be borne to the grave by three of her daughters and one grand daughter. And when the corpse was lifted ⚫ from the threshold, he insisted upon lending his aid, and feeling about, for he was then almost blind, took hold of a napkin 'fixed to the coffin; and, as a bearer of the body, entered the
Chapel, a few steps from the lowly Parsonage.' Such was the sense of his various excellencies prevalent in the country, that the epithet of Wonderful is to this day attached to his name.
We really feel indebted to Mr. Wordsworth for having presented us with the full-length portrait of a man of such sterling and almost obsolete excellence. It shall cancel us half the defects of his poetry. And poetry after all, be it of the best quality, is exceedingly less affecting than such a simple record of unvarnished realities. The Sonnet on Seathwaite Chapel, we thought passably good, till we had read the Note which is given in illustration of it; and then we found it miserably inadequate to the theme. And this tempts us to suspect that Mr. Wordsworth is not so much to blame, after all, for the choice of many of his subjects, as for writing ballads and lyrical pieces about them, instead of throwing them into the form of honest prose. In some of his narrative poems, however, where he has adopted a free blank verse, which is the species of poetry by far the best suited to his habits of thinking and style of composition, he has risen to a very unusual height of excellence. The Excursion, with all its faults, assuredly contains some of the most exquisite blank verse in the language. It is remarkable, that both his prose and bis blank verse are in general quite free from the puerilities and vulgarities which disfigure many of his lyrical pieces. The diction of the former, as well as that of his sonnets, is frequently, in direct opposition to his theory, extremely elevated and richly figurative; sometimes to an excess bordering upon affectation. The River Duddon flows through a series of thirty-three sonnets which are for the most part of no ordinary beauty. Here and there, a little metaphysical mud, or a Lakish tincture, mingles with the stream, and it occasionally runs somewhat shallow; but the general character of the series is that of very noble deP
Vol. XIV. N.S.
scriptive poetry. They are the growth of many years: the following, which stands the fourteenth, was the first produced; others being added upon occasional visits to the Stream, or as recollections of the scenes upon its banks awakened a wish to describe them.
O Mountain Stream! the Shepherd and his cot
In thus breathing a lonely sentiment intothe material elements of picturesque beauty, no living poet has shewn greater skill and fancy than Mr. Wordsworth. The next we shall select, is, it is true, no more than a sonnet; but pages of description are compressed within the compass of fourteen lines, and hours of feeling are concentered in the spirit which animates them.
Child of the clouds! remote from every taint
Of sordid industry thy lot is cast;
She guards thee, ruthless Power! who would not spare
Through paths and alleys roofed with sombre green,
Was pierced by whizzing shaft of hunter keen!'
The following is in a different strain: it is entitled The Faery Chasm,' and is singularly elegant.
• No fiction was it of the antique age:
A sky-blue stone, within this sunless cleft,
Is of the very foot-marks unbereft
Which tiny Elves impress'd; on that smooth stage
Dancing with all their brilliant equipage
In secret revels-haply after theft
Of some sweet babe, flower stolen, and coarse weed left,
For the distracted mother to assuage
O'er twilight fields the autumn gossamer?'
the cloudy stall of Time;' the precise import of which expressions we do not quite enter into. And then to the Poet's eye, this metaphysical abstraction is embodied in a palpable form— Her
glistening tresses bound:' this would seem bold enough; yet the Author might think himself justified in venturing thus far by the exquisite line of Collins,
And Hope enchanted smiled, and waved her golden hair.' But Mr. Wordsworth wants just that one thing which Collins possessed in perfection-taste. The Author of the Ode on the Passions knew by instinct the precise boundary line between the sublime and the extravagant, between figure and nonsense. He never for a moment loses himself amid his own imagery, or confounds the figurative with the physical. But Mr. Wordsworth goes on to define the appearance of the glistening tresses of Memory, and to compare them to 'golden locks of birch ;' and then forgetting altogether, as it should seem, the imaginary being he bas conjured up, bis mind fastens upon the new idea, one that relates to a simple object of perception :
golden locks of birch that rise and fall On gales that breathe too gently to recal
Aught of the fading year's inclemency.' If these last lines have any intelligible connexion with the idea of Memory as introduced in the foregoing part of the stanza, we confess that it eludes our dull apprehensions.
Vaudracour and Julia is a tale in blank verse, which was originally intended, we presume, to form an episode in some future portion of “ 'The Excursion." 'The incidents are stated to be facts, no invention having as to them been exercised. It is a touching and melancholy tale of unfortunate love, and told in Mr. Wordsworth's happiest manner. From the lyrical pieces which follow it in order, we cannot do otherwise than select the very beautiful stanzas entitled • LAMENT OF MARY QUEEN OF SCOTS,
ON THE EVE OF A NEW YEAR, «« Smile of the Moon !for so I name That silent greeting from above;
A gentle flash of light that came
"Bright boon of pitying Heaven-alas,
"And yet the soul-awakening gleam,
"To-night, the church-tower bells shall ring, Through these wide realms, a festive peal;
To the new year a welcoming;
A tuneful offering for the weal
Of happy millions lulled in sleep;
"Born all too high, by wedlock raised
"Yet how?-for I, if there be truth
"Unblest distinctions! showered on me
"A woman rules my prison's key; A sister Queen, against the bent