« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
which he was rapidly nearing the end of his own earthly existence.
The end came at last, and the great poet of nature went to join those from whom he had been parted for some little time. It was on the 23rd of April, 1850, and he was in his eightieth year. It was fitting that he should pass away from earth in spring, for it was his favourite season; it was the brightest time of the year to him : he was born therein, and therein he died. And in the time of the springing of flowers they buried him in the little churchyard at Gras. mere. There he lies, in the shadow of the great mountains that he made famous, and all that is beautiful and lovely watches over him.
And his countrymen knew when he died that a great poet was dead. He had been reviled and abused by most critics; but now every one felt him to have been a poet, and a very great one. Years have passed away since his death, and there are thousands now who recognise in him a benefactor to the world, and in his poetry unfathom. able comfort and glorious counsels. Now that his best work has been put before the public by one * to whom the labour has been of love, and whose prefatory words are worthy to be set in gold, WORDSWORTH is beginning to find his true place in the roll of mighty poets, and that place is amongst the very highest. In his poetry there is so high a note that it were impossible not to feel after reading it that the world is a very paradise to be in, and that life, after all, is well worth living.
WORDSWORTH's works are well worth reading in any place, but if there is one spot where they should be read it is in the district surrouxding his mountain home. When
* Matthew Arnold.
the student has traversed that splendid country in every nook and corner ; seen Cockermouth, where the poet was born ; Hawkshead, where he was at school ; Grasmere, where he lived so long, and at last died; then he will understand WORDSWORTH better, and value him more. Let him go on a quiet evening to the little churchyard at Grasmere and look at the last resting place of his author, and on the still mountains above and the blue lake below him, and feel how glorious the scene is and the place. He will instinctively bow his head in homage to that Being, of whom WORDSWORTH was the high priest, and he will feel how great, how good, how entirely noble was the man that lies buried at his feet. Everything around the grave breathes of love, of peace, of heaven. And there he sleeps who loved all with the love that was given him in so great a measure. He lies there in that silent place, with nothing to watch above him in the stillness of the night but the quietness of the peaceful presence of the purple hills. How great he was, how rich in all goodness, how pure of heart, how humble, how unselfish, and how much do we, his fellow men, owe him of happiness and counsel and perfect example !
ODE ON INTIMATIONS OF IMMORTALITY
From Recollections of Early Childhood.
THERE was a time when meadow, grove, and stream, The earth, and every common sight,
To me did seem
Apparelled in celestial light, The glory and the freshness of a dream. It is not now as it hath been of yore ;
Turn wheresoe'er I may,
By night or day, The things which I have seen I now can see no more !
The rainbow comes and goes,
The moon doth with delight
Waters on a starry night
Are beautiful and fair ;
But yet I know, where'er I go,
Now, while the birds thus sing a joyous song,
As to the tabor's sound,
And I again am strong :
And all the earth is gay;
Land and sea
And with the heart of May
Thou child of joy,
Ye blessed creatures, I have heard the call
Ye to each other make; I see
My heart is at your festival,
My head hath its coronal,
O, evil day ! if I were sullen
This sweet May morning ;