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WORDSWORTA'S MINOR WORKS.

Southey;* Sonnets on the River Duddon; The Waggoner, dedicated to Charles Lamb; Memorials of a Tour on the Continent; Ecclesiastical Sonnets; Yarrow Revisited, and other Poems; and The Prelude, a fragment of autobiography, describing the growth of a poet's mind, which was not published until the author was dead. In the composition of Sonnets, a poetic form of which he was remarkably fond, he has not been excelled by the finest of the old masters. As he says of Milton, we may say of himself with regard to the sonnet, –

In his hand
The thing became a trumpet, whence he blew
Soul-animating strains."

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“Wordsworth's sonnet never goes off, as it were, with a clap or repercussion at the close; but is thrown up like a rocket, breaks into light, and falls in a soft shower of brightness.”

Some of his minor poems, displaying his genius in its simple beauty and unaffected grace, are Ruth, a touching tale of Love and Madness; We are Seven, a glimpse of that higher wisdom which the lips of childhood often speak; the classic Laodamia, clear-lined and graceful as an antique cameo; and those Lines on Revisiting the Wye, of which we quote a part, rich in the calmly eloquent philosophy that formed the golden woof of all he wrote.

In 1842 the old man, then past seventy, resigning his public office to his son, received a pension of £300 a year; and in 1843, on the death of Southey, he became poet-laureate. Seven years

later, he sank into the grave, dying a few days after the April 23, completion of his eightieth year.

His remains were 1850

laid in the churchyard of Grasmere, by the side of his darling daughter, who had been taken from him three

A.D.

years before.

* One of the finest examples of Wordsworth's direct simplicity of expression occurs in the description of Peter's utter want of sympathy with the beauty of Nature,

"A primrose by a river's brim,
A yellow primrose was to him,

And it was nothing more."

SPECIMEN OF WORDSWORTH'S VERSE

459

THOUGHTS ON REVISITING THE WYE.

Oh ! how oft,
In darkness, and amid the many shapes
Of joyless daylight, when the fretful stir
Unprofitable, and the fever of the world,
Have hung upon the beatings of my heart,
How oft in spirit have I turned to thee,
O silvan Wye! thou wanderer through the woods-
How often has my spirit turned to thee !
And now, with gleams of half-extinguished thought,
With many recognitions dim and faint,
And somewhat of a sad perplexity,
The picture of the mind revives again,
While here I stand, not only with the sense
Of present pleasure, but with pleasing thoughts
That in this moment there is life and food
For future years. And so I dare to hope,
Though changed, no doubt, from what I was when first
I came among these hills; when, like a roe,
I bounded o'er the mountains, by the sides
Of the deep rivers, and the lonely streams,
Wherever nature led; more like a man
Flying from something that he dreads, than one
Who sought the thing he loved. For nature then-
The coarser pleasures of my boyish days
And their glad animal movements all gone by-
To me was all in all—I cannot paint
What then I was. The sounding cataract
Haunted me like a passion; the tall rock,
The mountain, and the deep and gloomy wood,
Their colours and their forms were then to me
An appetite; a feeling and a love
That had no need of a remoter charm,
By thought supplied, or any interest
Unborrowed from the eye. That time is past,
And all its aching joys are now no more,
And all its dizzy raptures. Not for this
Faint I, nor mourn, nor murmur; other gifts
Have followed,—for such loss, I would believe,
Abundant recompense. For I have learned
To look on nature, not as in the hour
Of thoughtless youth, but hearing oftentimes
The still sad music of humanity,
Nor harsh nor grating, though of ample power
To chasten and subdue. And I have felt

469

SPECIMEN OF WORDSWORTH'S VERSE.

A presence that disturbs me with the joy
Of elevated thoughts; a sense sublime
Of something far more deeply interfused,
Whose dwelling is the light of setting suns,
And the round ocean, and the living air,
And the blue sky, and in the mind of man;
A motion and a spirit that impels
All thinking things, all objects of all thonght,
And rolls through all things. Therefore am I still
A lover of the meadows and the woods
And mountains, and of all that we behold
From this green earth,-of all the mighty world
Of eye and ear, both what they half create
And what perceive; well pleased to recognise
In nature, and the language of the sense,
The anchor of my purest thoughts, the nurse,
The guide, the guardian of my heart, and soul
Of all my moral being

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DISTINGUISHED as a descriptive poet by his fine Lays of Ancient Rome, and yet more distinguished as a master of English prose by his Essays and his noble History of England, Macaulay stands prominent among the highest literary names of the nineteenth century. When, amid the Christmas festivities of 1859, a mournful whisper crept into almost every bome in the land, telling of his death, there were few hearts so thoroughly engrossed by the pleasures of the passing hour as not to send a thought of affectionate sorrow into that quiet room at Kensington, where the great Historian and Essayist—the only man whom England ever made a lord for the power of his pen—lay mute and still among his cherished books and the half-written sheets of his unfinished volume.

Macaulay was of Scottish lineage, being a descendant of the Macaulays of Lewis in Ross-shire. His grandfather, John, was a Presbyterian minister. His father, Zachary, who spent part of his life in Jamaica, became well known for his exertions in opposition to the hateful slave-trade. At Rothley Temple in Leicestershire, the seat of Zachary's brother-in-law, a rich English merchant and member of Parliament, the future historian was born in 1800, and was named Thomas Babington, after the uncle in whose house he first saw the light.

Young Macaulay's career as a student of Trinity College, Cambridge, was crowned with high honours. Entering in 1818, he

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462

ARTICLE ON

I MILTON."

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obtained in the following year the Chancellor's medal for a poem called Pompeii; in 1821 he received a similar distinction for a poem on Evening, and was, besides, elected to the Craven scholarship; and he had been for a year Fellow of Trinity when, in 1825, he took his degree of Master of Arts. And in the arena of the Union Debating Society, where the keenest and brightest minds of Cambridge met to display their skill in fence, few could measure weapons with Babington Macaulay. Such honours formed no unfitting prelude for the career of literary and political renown upon which he entered without delay. While yet an undergraduate, he had contributed to The Etonian, a short-lived serial conducted by Praed, his most formidable rival at the Union ; and had also, in company with that author of “Quince" and the “Red Fisherman," written for Knight's Quarterly Magazine. Here his first public laurels were won. But the young student of law-he was now working away at Lincoln's Inn in preparation for his call to the bar—before donning the legal robe, had achieved a success of which many older men might well be proud. Milton's newly-found treatise on "Christian Doctrine” having been rendered into English, Macaulay contributed to

an August number of the “Edinburgh Review” that 1825 article on Milton, which must be regarded as the

starting-point of his literary fame. It was brilliant

even to excess. The writer himself, when the added skill and taste of nearly twenty years, had chastened his style, condemned this article, as being "overloaded with gaudy and ungraceful ornament.” But its appearance was felt, by all the reading public, to mark the rising of a new star of uncommon lustre above the horizon; and it is easier to forgive an excess of real brilliance, which, we know, coming years must purify and subdue, than to endure a poverty of light, or, still worse, that display of pinchbeck jewels, glittering with affected lustre, of which ur young literature is too full.

About six months after the appearance of Milton, the writer · was called to the English bar. We pass lightly over his professional and political career. His Whig friends soon made him a

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A.D.

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