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Coleridge, I had been pleased with, and had hired. This we furnished for about a hundred pounds, which sum had come to my sister by a legacy from her uncle Crackanthorp.
I fell to composition immediately, and published, in 1800, the second volume of the Lyrical Ballads.
In the year 1802 I married Mary Hutchinson, at Brompton, near Scarborough, to which part of the country the family had removed from Sockburn. We had known each other from childhood, and had practised reading and spelling under the same old dame at Penrith, a remarkable personage, who had taught three generations, of the upper classes principally, of the town of Penrith and its neighbourhood.
After our marriage we dwelt, together with our sister, at Townend, where three of our children were born. In the spring of 1808, the increase of our family caused us to remove to a larger house, then just built, Allan Bank, in the same vale; where our two younger children were born, and who died at the rectory, the house we afterwards occupied for two years. They died in 1812, and in 1813 we came to Rydal Mount, where we have since lived with no further sorrow till 1836, when my sister became a confirmed invalid, and our sister Sarah Hutchinson died. She lived alternately with her brother and with us.
Two years and a half have passed away since the dictation of the autobiographical notes which have been inserted in the foregoing chapter. The voice which uttered them is still. The Poet fell asleep in death, and was buried in peace, by the side of his beloved daughter Dora, in Grasmere churchyard.
Here the present labour begins; and I sit down to perform it in the Poet's own abode. 1 RYDAL Mount is now clad in all its summer beauty. Many persons of the present generation are familiar with the scene in which he habitually resided for the last thirty-seven years of his life; but they who may live in foreign climes, or in future ages, may feel a desire to form for themselves a picture of the place in which the Poet lived so long, in which he breathed his last, and with which his poems are, and ever will be, associated in the public mind.
I shall, therefore, describe it as it is now. The house stands upon the sloping side of a rocky hill, called Nab's Scar. It has a southern aspect. In front of it is a small, semicircular area of grey gravel, fringed with shrubs and flowers, the house forming the diameter of the circle. From this area, there is a descent by a few stone steps southward, and then a gentle ascent to a grassy mound. Here let us rest a little. At our back is the house; in front, rather to the left in the horizon, is WANSFELL, on which the light of the evening sun rests, and to which the Poet has paid a grateful tribute in two of his later sonnets :
" In the neighbouring woods of Rydal is the waterfall which was described in one of his earliest poems.
with sparkling foam, a small cascade
Erening Walk, i. 4.
“ Wansfell! this household has a favoured lot,
Living with liberty on thee to gaze.” Beneath it, the blue smoke shows the place of the town of AMBLESIDE. In front is the lake of WINDERMERE, shining in the sun; also in front, but more to the right, are the fells of LOUGHRIGG, one of which throws up a massive solitary crag, on which the Poet's imagination pleased itself to plant an imperial castle 2:
“Aerial rock, whose solitary brow,
From this low threshold, daily meets the sight.”3 Looking to the right, in the garden, is a beautiful glade, overhung with rhododendrons in most luxuriant leaf and bloom. Near them is a tall ash-tree, in which a thrush has sung for hours together during many years. Not far from it is a laburnum, in which the osier cage of the doves was hung.“ Below, to the west, is the vegetable garden, not parted off from the rest, but blended with it by parterres of flowers and shrubs.
Returning to the platform of grey gravel before the house, we pass under the shade of a fine sycamore, and ascend to the westward by fourteen steps of stones, about nine feet long, in the interstices of which grow the yellow flowering poppy and the wild geranium, or Poor Robin,
Gay With his red stalks upon a sunny day;" a favourite with the Poet, as his verses show. The
| Vol. ii. p. 317, 318. Sonnets xlii. xliii.
3 Vol. ii.
265. 4 See vol. ii. p. 313.
5 Vol. ii. p. 55. 6 See vol. v. p. 16. “Poor Robin,” written March, 1840.
steps above-mentioned lead to an upward sloping TERRACE, about two hundred and fifty feet long. On the right side it is shaded by laburnums, Portugal laurels, mountain ash, and fine walnut trees and cherries : on the left it is flanked by a low stone wall, coped with rude slates, and covered with lichens, mosses, and wild flowers. The fern waves on the walls, and at its base grows the wild strawberry and foxglove. Beneath this wall, and parallel to it, on the left, is a level TERRACE, constructed by the Poet for the sake of a friend most dear to him and his, who, for the last twenty years of Mr. Wordsworth’s life, was often a visitor and inmate of Rydal Mount." This terrace was a favourite resort of the Poet, being
I That deep and tender affection which breathes in the Poet's writings, and has endeared him and them to so many hearts, is no where more gracefully and sweetly expressed than in the two following sonnets, hitherto unpublished, addressed to the same friend for whom the lower terrace was formed :
On a Portrait of I. F., painted by Margaret Gillies.
nor grieve to think that we must die,
“ WILLIAM WORDSWORTA. “Rydal Mount, New Year's Day, 1840.”