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to it. The loss of such men as Lord Nelson is, indeed, great and real; but surely not for the reason which makes most people grieve, a supposition that no other such man is in the country. The old ballad has taught us how to feel on these occasions :
"I trust I have within my realm,
Five hundred good as he.' But this is the evil, that nowhere is merit so much under the power of what (to avoid a more serious expression) one may call that of fortune, as in military and naval service; and it is five hundred to one that such men will not have attained situations where they can show themselves so that the country may know in whom to trust. Lord Nelson had attained that situation; and, therefore, I think (and not for the other reason), ought we chiefly to lament that he is taken from us.
“Mr. Pitt is also gone! by tens of thousands looked upon in like manner as a great loss. For my own part, as probably you know, I have never been able to regard his political life with complacency. I believe him, however, to have been as disinterested a man, and as true a lover of his country, as it was possible for so ambitious a man to be. His first wish (though probably unknown to himself) was that his country should prosper under his administration ; his next, that it should prosper. Could the order of these wishes have been reversed, Mr. Pitt would have avoided many of the grievous mistakes into which, I think, he fell. I know, my
I know, my dear Sir George, you will give me credit for speaking without arrogance; and I am aware it is not unlikely you may differ greatly from me in these points. But I like, in some things, to differ with a friend, and that he should know I differ from him; it seems to make a more healthy friendship, to act as a relief to those notions and feelings which we have in common, and to give them a grace and spirit which they could not otherwise possess."
Something of the same spirit as manifests itself in the above remarks on Lord Nelson's death, is displayed in the lines written in the autumn of this year, on the dissolution of Mr. Fox; the same kind of consolation is suggested in both cases:
“Loud is the Vale! the Voice is up
In that poem, all true greatness is represented as an emanation from the one everlasting source of good ; and although one efflux may fail, yet the fountain is inexhaustible.
Having had occasion to mention incidentally Mr. Thomas Wilkinson, of Yanwath (which lies a little to the south of Penrith, and half way between it and Lowther), I may here refer more directly to the poem addressed to him, and descriptive of his character and pursuits. It was written in 1804:
Spade ! with which Wilkinson hath tilled his lands, And shaped these pleasant walks by Emont's side.” ? In connection with this poem, the following notice, from the mouth of the author, may be inserted here 3 :
To the Spade of a Friend.—“This person was Thomas Wilkinson, a quaker by religious profession; by
I Vol. v. p. 134.
3 MSS. I. F.
2 Vol. iv.
natural constitution of mind —or, shall I venture to say, by God's grace ? he was something better. He had inherited a small estate, and built a house upon it, near Yanwath, upon the banks of the Emont. I have heard him say that his heart used to beat, in his boyhood, when he heard the sound of a drum and fife. Nevertheless, the spirit of enterprise in him confined itself to tilling his ground, and conquering such obstacles as stood in the way of its fertility. Persons of his religious persuasion do now, in a far greater degree than formerly, attach themselves to trade and commerce. He kept the old track. As represented in this poem, he employed his leisure hours in shaping pleasant walks by the side of his beloved river, where he also built something between a hermitage and a summer-house, attaching to it inscriptions, after the manner of Shenstone at his Leasowes. He used to travel from time to time, partly from love of nature, and partly with religious friends, in the service of humanity. His admiration of genius in every department did him much honour. Through his connection with the family in which Edmund Burke was educated, he became acquainted with that great man, who used to receive him with great kindness and condescension; and many times have I heard Wilkinson speak of those interesting interviews. He was honoured also by the friendship of Elizabeth Smith, and of Thomas Clarkson and his excellent wife, and was much esteerned by Lord and Lady Lonsdale, and every member of that family. Among his verses (he wrote many), are some worthy of preservation ; one little poem in particular, upon disturbing, by prying curiosity, a bird while hatching her young in his garden. The latter part of this innocent and good man's life was melancholy; he became blind; and also poor, by becoming surety for some of his relations. He was a bachelor. He bore, as I have often witnessed, his calamities with unfailing resignation. I will only add, that while working in one of his fields, he unearthed a stone of considerable size, then another, and then two more; and observing that they had been placed in order, as if forming the segment of a circle, he proceeded carefully to uncover the soil, and brought into view a beautiful Druid's temple, of perfect, though small dimensions. In order to make his farm more compact, he exchanged this field for another, and, I am sorry to add, the new proprietor destroyed this interesting relic of remote ages for some vulgar purpose. The fact, so far as concerns Thomas Wilkinson, is mentioned in the note on a sonnet on Long Meg and her Daughters.”
POEMS IN TWO VOLUMES,” PUBLISHED IN 1807. UNPOPULARITY.
In the year 1807, appeared two volumes, in 12mo., of poems, by Mr. Wordsworth. These were then published for the first time, and they consist of pieces, for the most part already enumerated, composed in the interval between the year 1800, when the two volumes of “Lyrical Ballads” appeared, and 1807.1
1 The contents of these two volumes are as follows:
CONTENTS OF VOL. I.
POEMS COMPOSED DURING A TOUR CHIEFLY ON FOOT. 1. Beggars. 2. To a Skylark. 3. “ With how sad steps, O moon," &c. 4. Alice Fell. 5. Resolution and Independence.