1807 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

William Wordsworth

Anne Seward to Walter Scott, 24 August 1807; Letters, ed. Scott (1811) 6:366-37.



Surely Wordsworth must be mad as was ever the poet Lee. Those volumes of his, which you were so good to give me, have excited, by turns, my tenderness and warm admiration, my contemptuous astonishment and disgust. The two latter rose to their utmost height while I read about his dancing daffodils, ten thousand, as he says, in high dance in the breeze beside the river, whose waves dance with them, and the poet's heart, we are told, danced too. Then he proceeds to say, that in the hours of pensive or of pained contemplation, these same capering flowers flash on his memory, and his heart, losing its cares, dances with them again. Surely if his worst foe had chosen to caricature this egotistic manufacturer of metaphysic importance upon trivial themes, he could not have done it more effectively!