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receives from slight hints, such as occur to any of us in daily life; and it is this which makes a genial admiration of his writings so precious an acquisition. It is a companionship which clings to humanity in all its paths. Once open your heart to it, and its benignant light will be shed on your domestic hearth, upon all your intercourse with your fellow-men, upon your civic responsibilities to your country, and the sublimer relations in which man is placed. Feelings that are apt to run to waste ripen beneath the influence of his imagination, hope is cherished, and the best impulses confirmed, the noblest aspirations sustained. Hence comes that ardent affectionate gratitude for moral and intellectual obligations which, from so many hearts, is the silent tribute to the aged poet: :

"Beauty—a living Presence of the earth,
Surpassing the most fair ideal Forms

Which craft of delicate Spirits hath composed
From earth's materials-waits upon my steps;
Pitches her tents before me as I move,

An hourly neighbour. Paradise, and groves
Elysian, Fortunate Fields,-like those of old,
Sought in the Atlantic main :--why should they be
A history only of departed things,

Or a mere fiction of what never was?
For the discerning intellect of Man,
When wedded to this goodly universe
In love and holy passion, shall find these
A simple produce of the common day.

By words

Which speak of nothing more than what we are
Would I arouse the sensual from their sleep
Of death, and win the vacant and the vain
To nobler raptures."

It is this purpose which has led Wordsworth to consecrate by his imagination things which poetry never shone upon before. You will find in this way a dignity and grace given to feelings which before were perhaps deemed unworthy a second thought. For instance, it is hardly possible for any one to pass along the vacant, noiseless street of a city at very early morn, before the population is stirring,—to move amid the sleeping power of a large city,--without a sense of the tranquillity of the moment. The emotion is a natural, a common, and a simple one, but it is indefinite and evanescent, and therefore needs the imaginative power of a true poet to give it impressiveness without spoiling its simplicity. Wordsworth once gazed upon sleeping London, and the feeling I have just been speaking of is now a thing registered for ever in



poetry, in the exquisite expression of deep repose which he has given in his famous sonnet on Westminster Bridge :


"Earth has not anything to show more fair.
Dull would he be of soul who could pass by
A sight so touching in its majesty ;
This city now doth like a garment wear
The beauty of the morning; silent, bare,
Ships, towers, domes, theatres, and temples lie
Open unto the fields and to the sky,

All bright and glittering in the smokeless air.
Never did sun more beautifully steep,
In his first splendour, valley, rock, or hill;
Ne'er saw I, never felt, a calm so deep.
The river glideth at his own sweet will;
Dear God! the very houses seem asleep,
And all that mighty heart is lying still."

To take one other illustration; most persons have, I imagine, on looking on the placid surface of a pure and transparent sheet of water, felt a sort of thoughtless impulse, often uttering a sportive wish, to plunge into it. It would hardly be supposed that this blind impulse was susceptible of poetry or of an imaginative solution:


Why stand we gazing on the sparkling brine
With wonder, smit with its transparency,
And all enraptured with its purity?
Because the unstain'd, the clear, the crystalline,
Have ever in them something of benign ;
Whether in gem, in water, or in sky,
A sleeping infant's brow, or wakeful eye
Of a young maiden, only not divine :
Scarcely the hand forbears to dip its palm
For beverage drawn as from a mountain well;
Temptation centres in the liquid calm;
Our daily raiment seems no obstacle
To instantaneous plunging in deep sea
And revelling in long embrace with thee."

Another form of poetic communion with nature is that which discovers a sympathy between the appearances of the outer world and emotions stirring in the heart. This is another great element of Wordsworth's poetry. On one occasion, having just read that the death of a celebrated and very popular British statesman was hourly looked for, he walks forth in the evening of a stormy day, and what he beholds and feels is a type of both the agitated spirit of the poet and his

countrymen, and of the steady, placid light of a meditative resignation :

"Loud is the vale: the voice is up

With which she speaks when storms are gone,—
A mighty unison of streams!

Of all her voices one!

"Loud is the vale: this inland depth
In peace is roaring like the sea;
Yon star upon the mountain-top
Is listening quietly.

"Sad was I, even to pain deprest;

Importunate and heavy load!
The comforter hath found me here
Upon this lonely road;

"And many thousands now are sad,

Wait the fulfilment of their fear;
For he must die who was their stay,
Their glory disappear.

"A power is passing from the earth

To breathless nature's dark abyss;
But, when the great and good depart,
What is it more than this?—

"That man, who is from God sent forth,
Doth yet again to God return?
Such ebb and flow must ever be:

Then wherefore should we mourn?"

Passing from inanimate nature, I must hasten rapidly along the farreaching line of Wordsworth's poetic sympathies, entering next into the range of the lower orders of animal life. The tenderness of the human heart for the dumb creatures which surround us is a sentiment as pure as it is appropriate. Neglected, it leads to cruelty worse than brutish; but, on the other hand, in may be overwrought into a species of sentimental misanthropy. When one of Sir Walter Scott's dearest pet dogs died, he caused it to be buried in his garden,—his children weeping over the remains of their mute playmate, and he, as Mrs. Lockhart remembered, smoothing down the turf with one of the saddest expressions she had ever seen on his face. When afterwards the noblest and most celebrated of his favourites died, he caused a stone and inscription to be placed, near the gate of Abbotsford, over the dog's grave. When Lord Byron's dog expired, he set up a conspicuous monument in the garden at Newstead Abbey, with an elaborate poetic inscription, recording the virtues of the dead dog in an affected strain of


abuse and hatred of living men: The poet, moreover, by his will,

directed his own body to be buried near his faithful favourite. Now, every one must feel that this is a gross perversion of a feeling which might be chastened to better uses. The moment you find appropriated to the brute creation the obsequies which the heart hallows for man alone, you recoil instinctively from it, as either involving a heartless mockery or as degrading to humanity. The affection towards the creatures beneath us in the scale of being may be made to flow in a deep and true channel, as this tribute to a favourite dog well shows:


'Lie here, without a record of thy worth,

Beneath a covering of the common earth!
It is not from unwillingness to praise,

Or want of love, that here no stone we raise.
More thou deserv'st; but this man gives to man,
Brother to brother :-this is all we can.

Yet they to whom thy virtues made thee dear
Shall find thee through all changes of the year;
This oak points out thy grave; the silent tree
Will gladly stand a monument of thee.

I grieved for thee, and wish'd thy end were past,
And willingly have laid thee here at last :
For thou hadst lived till everything that cheers,
In thee, had yielded to the weight of years;
Extreme old age had wasted thee away
And left thee but the glimmering of the day.
Thy ears were deaf, and feeble were thy knees;
I saw thee stagger in the summer breeze,
Too weak to stand against its sportive breath,
And ready for the gentlest stroke of death.
It came, and we were glad; yet tears were shed;
Both man and woman wept when thou wert dead;---
Not only for a thousand thoughts, that were

Old household thoughts, in which thou hadst thy share,
But for some precious boons vouchsafed to thee,
Found scarcely anywhere in like degree!
For love that comes to all-the holy sense,
Best gift of God-in thee was most intense.
A chain of heart, a feeling of the mind,
A tender sympathy, which did thee bind
Not only to us men, but to thy kind.
Yea, for thy fellow-brutes in thee we saw
The soul of love, love's intellectual law :
Hence, if we wept, it was not done in shame;
Our tears from passion and from reason came,
And therefore shalt thou be an honour'd name."

There is a beautiful expression of Wordsworth's meditative fancy inspired by musing over some gold and silver fishes in a vase, which I allude to, however, rather because of a higher inspiration prompted by the slight hint, the restoration of them to freedom. It tells his deep sympathy with the liberty of all the mere animal creation :


"Who can divine what impulses from God

Reach the caged lark, within a town-abode,
From his poor inch or two of daisied sod?
Oh, yield him back his privilege! No sea
Sweils like the bosom of a man set free;
A wilderness is rich with liberty.

Roll on, ye spouting whales, who die cr keep
Your independence in the fathomless deep!
Spread, tiny nautilus, the living sail;
Dive at thy choice, or brave the freshening gale.
If unreproved the ambitious eagle mount
Sunward to seek the daylight in its fount,
Bays, gulfs, and oceans, Indian width, shall be,
Till the world perishes, a field for thee."

But the noblest dedication of Wordsworth's genius has been in his communion with his fellow-men,—a sympathy as expanded as ever filled the human heart, comprehensive of the highest and the lowliest of the race, and shedding a glory on all conditions of humanity :

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"T is nature's law
That none, the meanest of created things,
Of forms created the most vile and brute,
The dullest or most noxious, should exist
Divorced from good,-a spirit and pulse of good, -
A life and soul to every mode of being
Inseparably link'd. Then be assured
That least of all can aught that ever own'd
The heaven-regarding eye and front sublime
Which man is born to, sink, howe'er depress'd,
So low as to be scorn'd without a sin,
Without offence to God, cast out of view,
Like the dry remnant of a garden-flower
Whose seeds are shed, or as an implement
Worn out and useless.

No! man is dear to man; the poorest poor
Long for some moments in a weary life

When they can know and feel that they have been
Themselves the fathers and the dealers out
Of some small blessings, have been kind to such
As needed kindness, for this single cause :--
That we have all of us one human heart."

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