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the level of superficial observers and unthinking minds. Every great poet is a teacher: I wish either to be considered as a teacher, or as nothing.
“To turn to a more pleasing subject. Have you painted anything else beside this picture from ‘Peter Bell?' Your two oil-paintings (and, indeed, everything I have of yours) have been much admired by the artists who have seen them. And, for our own parts, we like them better every day; this, in particular, is the case with the small picture from the neighbourhood of Coleorton, which, indeed, pleased me much at the first sight, but less impressed the rest of our household, who now see as many beauties in it as I do myself. Havill, the water-colour painter, was much pleased with these things; he is painting at Ambleside, and has done a view of Rydal Water, looking down upon it from Rydal Park, of which I should like to know your opinion; it will be exhi. bited in the spring, in the water-colour Exhibition. I have purchased a black-lead pencil sketch of Mr. Green, of Ambleside, which, I think, has great merit, the materials being uncommonly picturesque, and well put together: I should dearly like to have the same subject (it is the cottage at Glencoign, by Ulleswater) treated by you. In the poem I have just written, you will find one situation which, if the work should ever become familiarly known, would furnish as fine a subject for a picture as any thing I remember in poetry ancient or modern. I need not mention what it is, as when you read the poem you cannot miss it. We have at last had, by the same post, two letters from Coleridge, long and melancholy; and also, from Keswick, an account so depressing as to the state of his health, that I should have set off immediately to London, to see him, if I had not myself been confined by indisposition.
“ I hope that Davy is by this time perfectly restored to health. Believe me, my dear Sir George,
" Most sincerely yours,
" W. WORDSWORTH."
WORDSWORTH AT COLEORTON.
“ I am now,” says Mr. Wordsworth to Mr. Wrangham, November 7. 1806, “ with my family at Coleorton, near Ashby-de-la-Zouch, Leicestershire, occupying a house, for the winter, of Sir George Beaumont's; our own cottage at Grasmere being far too small for our family to winter in, though we manage well enough in it during the suminer."
Sir George Beaumont was now engaged in rebuilding the Hall and laying out the grounds at Coleorton, and this circumstance gave occasion to frequent communications between him and Mr. Wordsworth on the principles of beauty in Houses, Parks, and Gardens. The following letter, written by Wordsworth before he came to Coleorton, is an interesting specimen of this correspondence, and serves to show how the same elements which produce what is graceful in poetry are the cause of beauty in other kindred arts, and that there are certain elemental laws of a prima philosophia (as it has been called) which are of general application. On a knowledge and careful study of these laws all true taste in the arts must rest. And it may be of service, even to those who are professionally most conversant with the practical details of art, to have their attention called to these primary principles, without which, all technical dexterity is little better than mere superficial sciolism. The principles laid down in this letter may
also be commended to the attention of the En. glish gentry and aristocracy.
To Sir George Beaumont, Bart.
6 Grasmere, Oct. 17. 1805. “ My dear Sir George, “I was very glad to learn that you had room for me at Coleorton, and far more so, that
your so much mnended. Lady Beaumont's last letter to my sister has made us wish that you were fairly through your present engagements with workmen and builders, and, as to improvements, had smoothed over the first difficulties, and gotten things into a way of improving themselves. I do not suppose that any man ever built a house, without finding in the progress of it obstacles that were unforeseen, and something that might have been better planned; things teasing and vexatious when they come, however the mind may have been made up at the outset to a general expectation of the kind.
“ With respect to the grounds, you have there the advantage of being in good hands, namely, those of Nature; and, assuredly, whatever petty crosses from contrariety of opinion or any other cause you may now meet with, these will soon disappear, and leave nothing behind but satisfaction and harmony. Setting out from the distinction made by Coleridge which you mention, that your house will belong to the country, and not the country be an appendage to your house, you cannot be wrong. Indeed, in the present state of society, I see nothing interesting either to the imagination or the heart, and, of course, nothing which true taste can approve,
interference with Nature, grounded upon any other principle. In times when the feudal system was in its vigour, and the personal importance of every chieftain might be said to depend entirely upon the extent of his landed property and rights of seignory; when the king, in the habits of people's minds, was considered as the primary and true proprietor of the soil, which was granted out by him to different lords, and again by them to their several tenants under them, for the joint defence of all; there might have been something imposing to the imagination in the whole face of a district, testifying, obtrusively even, its dependence upon its chief. Such an image would have been in the spirit of the society, implying power, grandeur, military state, and security; and, less directly, in the person of the chief, high birth, and knightly education and accomplishments; in short, the most of what was then deemed interesting or affecting. Yet, with the exception of large parks and forests, nothing of this kind was known at that time, and these were left in their wild state, so that such display of ownership, so far from taking from the beauty of Nature, was itself a chief cause of that beauty being left unspoiled and unimpaired. The improvements, when the place was sufficiently tranquil to admit of any, though absurd and monstrous in themselves, were confined (as our present laureate has observed, I remember, in one of his essays) to an acre or two about the house in the shape of garden with terraces, &c. So that Nature had greatly the advantage in those days, when what has been called English gardening was unheard of. This is now beginning to be perceived, and we are