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AT THE GRAVE OF WORDSWORTH.

(November 9, 1887.)

THE world is sadly short such hearts as thine,

High Priest in Nature's temple, now at rest;
Among thy lovers do I stand confest ;
Thy lays, a glorious legacy, are mine.
In thee I see a genius half divine,

A man that loved his fellow-men sincere;
In purpose fixed and strong, in vision clear;
Singer at once and sage—in feeling fine.
Tho' dead thou speakest, noble minstrel, seer ;
For thy inspiring verse no more can die

Than can thy spirit gone to God who gave.
Accept my homage as I linger here,
Between thy sacred ashes and the sky,

And humbly place this wreath upon thy grave.

PREFACE.

In issuing this unpretending volume on William Wordsworth, I need offer but few prefatory remarks.

Whilst there are, as is well known, several indispensable hand-books on this great meditative poet, all more or less elaborate and exhaustive in their way, there is, perhaps, none that is precisely what this professes to be-a popular story of his life; and it is in the hope of supplying one, however humble, that this condensed monograph, the writing of which has indeed been a labour of love, is given to the public.

The Memoirs of William Wordsworth,' by the poet's nephew, the Right Rev. Christopher Wordsworth, D.D., late Lord Bishop of Lincoln, and the Biography,' by the late Rev. E. Paxton Hood, are daily becoming more scarce, having long been out of print, and there would appear to be little likelihood that publications of such magnitude will be re-issued; and it is believed that many will find leisure to peruse this brief sketch who would, doubtless, be deterred from reading volumes of greater length and merit.

Poets,' it has been well said, "are the unacknowledged legislators of the world,' and the name of Wordsworth has grown to be a power in the land that even he in his most ambitious moments never could have anticipated; whilst his influence on the spirit of the age, and on readers of all kindsperhaps more especially on the young-is simply incalculable. To know something, therefore, of such a man, is not only essential, but desirable to a degree; and the present work, within its limited compass, contains, in general at least, accurate and comprehensive information on, at all events, the leading incidents in his prolonged and truly honourable career.

Wordsworth is not the poet of passion and senti

ment, but rather—and this is his praise--of reflection, purity, and humanity; and it is good at times, particularly in these nineteenth-century days of lifeat-high-pressure—when, in the words of Pope, we have too much thinking to have common thought' —for man to be alone; to withdraw himself at intervals from his fellows; and to commune with Nature and with his own heart.

I have to acknowledge my deep indebtedness to a large number of authorities, too extensive to mention in a preface; and if I have inadvertently made use of any copyright matter without the necessary permission, I must ask those interested to accept the expression of my unfeigned regret, and to grant their kind indulgence. I have not wilfully trespassed in this respect. To F. W. H. Myers, Esq., author of the excellent volume on Wordsworth, published in the English Men of Letters Series, I have to avow my hearty and special thanks for his cheerful consent to give the extract from the important letter of Dorothy Wordsworth, with reference to The White Doe of Rylstone,' and any others I might require to make.

I desire also to embrace this—the earliest-opportunity of publicly thanking most cordially Miss Quillinan, of Loughrigg Holme, Rydal ; the Rev. Henry M. Fletcher, rector of Grasmere; J. Fleming Green, Esq., of Grasmere; and Robert Crewdson, Esq., of Rydal Mount; for their generous kindness, and for the valuable assistance afforded by one and all, during my recent visit to the Lake District.

If the perusal of this biography lead to any of its readers making or renewing their acquaintance with the imperishable writicgs of the poet, and impart but a tithe of the pleasure experienced by me in its composition, I shall accomplish the objects I had in view throughout, and be more than abundantly rewarded.

• He either fears his fate too much,

Or his deserts are sinall,
Who dares not put it to the touch,

To win or lose it all.'

J. M. S.

November, 1887.

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