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outfit of his voyage; and on the following day Mr Wordsworth and his daughter arrived from Westmoreland to take farewell of him. This was a very fortunate circumstance—nothing could have gratified Sir Walter more, or sustained him better, if he needed any support from without. On the 22d — all his arrangements being completed, and Laidlaw having received a paper of instructions, the last article of which repeats the caution to be “ very careful of the dogs” — these two great poets, who had through life loved each other well, and, in spite of very different theories as to art, appreciated each other's genius more justly than inferior spirits ever did either of them, spent the morning together in a visit to Newark. Hence the last of the three poems by which Wordsworth has connected his name to all time with the most romantic of Scottish streams. But I need not transcribe a piece so well known as the “ Yarrow Revisited.”
Sitting that evening in the library, Sir Walter said a good deal about the singularity that Fielding and Smollett had both been driven abroad by declining health, and never returned — which circumstance, though his language was rather cheerful at this time, he had often before alluded to in a darker fashion; and Mr Wordsworth expressed his regret that neither of those great masters of romance appeared to have been surrounded with any due marks of respect in
the close of life. I happened to observe that Cervantes, on his last journey to Madrid, met with an incident which seemed to have given him no common satisfaction. Sir Walter did not remember the passage, and desired me to find it out in the life by Pellicer which was at hand, and translate it. I did so, and he listened with lively though pensive interest. Our friend Allan, the historical painter, had also come out that day from Edinburgh, and he lately told me that he remembers nothing he ever saw with so much sad pleasure as the attitudes and aspect of Scott and Wordsworth as the story went on. Mr Wordsworth was at that time, I should notice though indeed his noble stanzas tell it - in but a feeble state of general health. He was, moreover, suffering so much from some malady in his eyes that he wore a deep green shade over them. Thus he sat between Sir Walter and his daughter: absit omen - but it was no wonder that Allan thought as much of Milton as of Cervantes. The anecdote of the young student's raptures on discovering that he had been riding all day with the author of Don Quixote, is introduced in the preface for Count Robert, and Castle Dangerous, which — (for I may not return to the subject) — came out at the close of November in four volumes, as the Fourth Series of Tales of My Landlord.
The following Sonnet was, no doubt, composed by
Mr Wordsworth that same evening of the 22d September:
“ A trouble, not of clouds, or weeping rain,
Nor of the setting sun's pathetic light
Rokeby - London - Epitaph on Helen Walker
Portsmouth — Voyage in the Barham – Graham's Island - Letter to Mr Skene - Malta — Notes by Mrs John Davy.
SEPT. —DEC. 1831.
EARLY on the 23d of September, Sir Walter left Abbotsford, attended by his daughter Anne, and myself, and we reached London by easy stages on the 28th, having spent one day at Rokeby. I have nothing to mention of this journey except that, notwithstanding all his infirmities, he would not pass any object to which he had ever attached special interest, without getting out of the carriage to revisit it. His anxiety (for example) about the gigantic British or Danish effigy in the churchyard at Penrith, which we had all seen dozens of times before, seemed as great as if not a year had fled since 1797. It may be supposed that his parting with Mr Morritt was a grave one. Finding that he had left the ring he then usually wore behind him at one of the inns on the road, he wrote to his friend to make enquiries after it, as it had been dug out of the ruins of Hermitage Castle, and probably belonged of yore to one of the “ Dark Knights of Liddesdale ;” and if recovered, to keep it until he should come back to reclaim it, but, in the meantime, to wear it for his sake. The ring, which is a broad belt of silver, with an angel holding the Heart of Douglas, was found, and is now worn by Mr Morritt.
Sir Walter arrived in London in the midst of the Lords' debates on the second Reform bill, and the ferocious demonstrations of the populace on its rejection were in part witnessed by him. He saw the houses of several of the chief Tories, and above all, that of the Duke of Wellington, shattered and almost sacked. He heard of violence offered to the persons of some of his own noble friends; and having been invited to attend the christening of the infant heir of Buccleuch, whose godfather the King had proposed to be, on a day appointed by his Majesty, he had the pain to understand that the ceremony must be adjourned, because it was not considered safe for his Majesty to visit, for such a purpose, the palace of one of his most amiable as well as illustrious peers.
The following is part of a letter which I lately