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his, as applied to Reynolds, and to yourself. This, even where it does not produce confusion, is always inelegant. I was, therefore, obliged to drop it; so that we must be content, I fear, with the inscription as it stands below. As you mention that the first copy was mislaid, I will transcribe the first part from that; but you can either choose the Dome or the Abbey as you
&c. &c. “I hope this will do: I tried a hundred different ways, but cannot hit upon anything better. I am sorry to learn from Lady Beaumont, that there is reason to believe that our cedar is already perished. I am sorry for it. The verses upon that subject you and Lady B. praise highly; and certainly, if they have merit, as I cannot but think they have, your discriminating praises have pointed it out. The alteration in the beginning, I think with you, is a great improvement, and the first line is, to my ear, very rich and grateful. As to the Female and Male,' I know not how to get rid of it ; for that circumstance gives the recess an appropriate interest. I remember, Mr. Bowles, the poet, objected to the word ravishment at the end of the sonnet to the winter-garden; yet it has the authority of all the first-rate poets, for instance, Milton :
• In whose sight all things joy, with ravishment, Attracted by thy beauty still to gaze.' Objections upon these grounds merit more attention in regard to inscriptions than any other sort of composition; and on this account, the lines (I mean those upon the niche) had better be suppressed, for it is not improbable that the altering of them might cost me more trouble than writing a hundred fresh ones.
“We were happy to hear that your mother, Lady Beaumont, was so surprisingly well. You do not mention the school at Coleorton. Pray how is Wilkie in health, and also as to progress in his art ? I do not doubt that I shall like Arnold's picture; but he would have been a better painter, if his genius had led him to read more in the early part of his life. Wilkie's style of painting does not require that the mind should be fed from books; but I do not think it possible to excel in landscape painting without a strong tincture of the poetic spirit.”
you see this
“ Grasmere, Wednesday, Nov. 20. 1811. “My dear Lady Beaumont, When
will think I mean to overrun you with inscriptions: I do not mean to tax you with putting them up, only with reading them. The following I composed yesterday morning, in a walk from Brathway, whither I had been to accompany
FOR A SEAT IN THE GROVES OF COLEORTON.
“ I hope that neither you nor Sir George will think that the above takes from the effect of the mention of Francis Beaumont in the poem upon the cedar. Grace Dieu is itself so interesting a spot, and has naturally and historically such a connection with Coleorton, that I could not deny myself the pleasure of paying it this mark of attention.
The thought of writing the inscription occurred to me many years ago. I took the liberty of transcribing for Sir George an alteration which I had made in the inscription for St. Herbert's island; I was not then quite satisfied with it; I have since retouched it, and will trouble you to read him the following, which I hope will give you pleasure.
• This island, guarded from profane approach
&c. &c. “ I ought to mention, that the line,
* And things of holy use unhallowed lie,' is taken from the following of Daniel,
• Strait all that holy was unhallowed lies. I will take this occasion of recommending to you (if you happen to have Daniel's poems) to read the epistle addressed to the Lady Margaret, Countess of Cumberland, beginning,
• He that of such a height hath built his mind.' The whole poem is composed in a strain of meditative morality more dignified and affecting than anything of the kind I ever read. It is, besides, strikingly applicable to the revolutions of the present times.
“My dear Lady Beaumont, your letter and the accounts it contains of the winter-garden, gave me great pleasure. I cannot but think, that under your care, it will grow up into one of the most beautiful and interesting spots in England. We all here have a longing desire to see it. I have mentioned the high opinion we have of it to a couple of my friends, persons of taste living in this country, who are determined, the first time they are called up to London, to turn aside to visit it; which I said they might without scruple do, if they mentioned my name to the gardener. My sister begs me to say, that she is aware how long she has been in your debt, and that she should have written before now, but that, as I have, latterly, been in frequent communication with Coleorton, she thought it as well to defer answering your letter. Do you see the 'Courier' newspaper at Dunmow? I ask on account of a little poem upon the comet, which I have read in it to-day. Though with several defects, and some feeble and constrained expressions, it has great merit, and is far superior to the run, not merely of newspaper, but of modern poetry in general. I half suspect it to be Coleridge's, for though it is, in parts, inferior to him, I know no other writer of the day who can do so well. It consists of five stanzas, in the measure of the “Fairy Queen. It is to be found in last Saturday's paper, November, 16th. If you don't see the Courier' we will transcribe it for you. As so much of this letter is taken up with my verses, I will e'en trespass still further on your indulgence, and conclude with a sonnet, which I wrote some time ago upon the poet, John Dyer. If you have not read the “Fleece, I would strongly recommend it to you. The character of Dyer, as a patriot, a citizen, and a tender-hearted friend of humanity was, in some respects, injurious to him as a poet, and has induced him to dwell, in his poem, upon processes which, however important in themselves, were unsusceptible of being poetically treated. Accordingly, his poem is, in several places, dry and heavy ; but its beauties are innumerable, and of a high order. In point of imagination and purity of style, I am not sure that he is not superior to any writer in verse since the time of Milton.
Bard of the Fleece! whose skilful genius made
“In the above is one whole line from the Fleece,' and two other expressions. When you read the • Fleece' you will recognise them. I remain, my dear Lady Beaumont,
6. Your sincere friend,
" W. WORDSWORTH."