In 1864 I made a pilgrimage to the home and grave of Wordsworth, — the haunts he loved, and the places he has made familiar as household words to millions living and for millions yet to come. I will ask the reader of this Memory to visit them with me—
In that sweet mood, when pleasant thoughts
Bring sad thoughts to the mind.
It is needless to say that "the Lake district" is known to every tourist. If it be not, it ought to be. Shame be to him who travels to view the scenery of the Continent, and ignores the landscape-beauties of his own land! In Cumberland and Westmoreland there are charms with which, in some respects, no country of the world can compete. I limit my thoughts exclusively to the points and places familiar to readers of Wordsworth but there are a thousand objects in that lovely and magnificent locality of which even he has made no note. When the great man lived there it was hard to reach; the traveller had days of toil before he saw "lofty Helvellyn;" he may now be at its foot before the sun sets on the day he leaves his home in London. The wayside inns that gave him little more than shelter have been displaced by superb "hotels." We need not pause to inquire whether such "palaces" and roads improve the counties of hill and valley, wood and water; at least they afford more comforts to those who there seek health, relaxation, or enjoyment in delights that are derived from nature. One of the most attractive of these hotels I have pictured; it is not the one where I was "at home:" that is at Ambleside, in the centre of a town whence excursions to all "the lions" may be made easily. The "Prince of Wales Hotel" stands on a border of Grasmere Lake, a few yards only from its eastern bank.
Let us, however, set out on our tour to "the land of Wordsworth," first entering the house — RYDAL MOUNT — in which he lived from the year 1813 to the year of his death in 1850. Nay, rather let us, for the moment, pass it by — closing our eyes as we pass — and, a mile or so farther on, drop down upon a little humble cottage by the roadside. "That little cottage (at Town End, Grasmere) was Wordsworth's, from the time of his marriage, and earlier — in fact, from the beginning of the century to the year 1808. Afterwards, for many years, it was mine." So writes De Quincey. It was then a white cottage, "with two yew-trees breaking the glare of its white walls." The house has undergone little change; the low rooms are unaltered; the flight of stairs to the "drawing-room " — "fourteen in all;" the fire-place, "half kitchen and half parlour fire;" the small and contracted bed-rooms; the road close in front, the wide open view of mountains, and the steep hill, covered with wild shrubs and underwood that overhung the house behind — these are all as they were when the poet left them more than half a century ago. Such was his first house — his "little nook of mountain ground."
Rydal Mount is about two miles from Ambleside, on the road to Keswick, and about the same distance from Grasmere. It stands a few yards out of the main road, on high ground — a projection of the hill called "Nab Scar" — and commands an extensive view, to which I shall refer presently. Rydal village is in the hollow underneath, in a narrow gorge, "formed by the advance of Loughrigg Fell and Rydal Nab." In the immediate neighbourhood are some of the finest waterfalls of the district, in the park of Lady Le Fleming — "Lady of a lofty line." The house is comfortable, without being by any means grand; it is covered with jasmine, roses, and ivy. — The rooms are many, but small; it has not undergone much alteration at the hands of its present tenant, although by a former occupier, Wordsworth's small parlour — his "study," if he had any — has been "deformed" by removing the old jutting-out fire-place, in the corner of which host and guest might, and did often, sit. A little corner cupboard of oak let into the wall remains to suggest that there the half-finished book was placed when the sunshine or moonshine gave the poet a call to come forth. That, then, was his library; but a library was, as all know, a secondary consideration with the poet; "he had small need of books," although, as his nephew tells us, "he was extremely well read in English poetry." We have also the evidence of Southey that he was intimately acquainted with the poets of Great Britain; had deeply read and closely studied them; was not only familiar with them, but knew them well, even those of whom so many others know nothing.
The word "Salve" still gives its welcome at the door-step; it is a mosaic presented to the poet by a friend who brought it for him from Italy.
A mound, immediately opposite the door, to reach which you descend half-a-score of time-worn steps, edged with ferns and wild flowers, commands the prospect on which the poet loved to look — the lovely vale of the Rotha. In front — to the left — is Wansfell. His household, the poet writes, has a favoured lot, "Living with liberty to gaze on thee." Underneath it is Ambleside; to the right are the fells of Loughrigg, with its solitary crag that "daily meets the sight." Immediately in front are — Windermere to the left, Rydal Water to the right. From the summit of Nab Scar, within ken, are Windermere, Rydal, Grasmere, and Coniston Lakes; the Tarns also of Loughrigg, Easedale, Elterwater, and Blellam; while, far away, Solway Frith is distinctly visible. On the summit of Helm Crag, seen in all directions in the locality, are two singular rocks, known throughout the district as "the Lion and the Lamb;" they convey the idea — the lesser crouching at the feet of the larger animal, supplicating mercy. Such were the sights that
From this low threshold daily meet my sight,
When I step forth to hail the morning light.
Now and then the sound of the not far-off cascade greets the ear, softened by distance into melody. Immediately underneath is the modern church — Lady Le Fleming's Chapel; it is there still — with its holy response to the poet's prayer when first the woods embraced that daughter of her pious care"—
Heaven prosper it! May peace, and love,
And hope, and consolation fall,
Through its meek influence, from above,
And penetrate the hearts of all.
It is, however, the walks about — the Poet's Walk especially — that pilgrims will visit as a Shrine; they are sufficiently "trim," but Nature is allowed to have her will, and they are full of wild flowers — the foxglove, the wild strawberry, and various ferns abounding. At the extremity of one of them is a summer-house lined with fir cones, which must be recruited now and then, for they supply pilgrims with relics.
The Poet's Walk leads from the house, through a shaded and narrow pathway; he consigned it to the care of "those pure minds who reverence the Muse." For
A poet's hand first shaped it; and the steps
Of that same bard, repeated to and fro
At morn, at noon, and under moonlight skies,
Through the vicissitudes of many a year,
Forbade the weeds to creep o'er its grey line.
It is, I rejoice to say, carefully kept; an aged gardener, who was there in Wordsworth's time, still trims the borders and weeds the banks. And the gentleman who dwells there — whether he reverences or is indifferent to the Muse, I cannot say — keeps the place in order, giving entrance to the public on certain days. But I could not fail, in visiting the poet's house, to quote the lines written on it by Mary Jane Jewsbury in 1826:—
What shall outward signs avail
If the answering spirit fail?
What this beauteous dwelling be
If it hold not HEARTS for thee?
You pass out of the grounds by a small gateway, and have a long walk that leads to Grasmere. Of this walk Mrs. Lynn Linton says, "The terrace walk along Nab Scar, with its desolation, sometimes left bare and naked to the sky, and sometimes clothed with fern, and moss, and lichen, is very lovely; lovely, from the first step outside the poet's garden, to the last, by White Moss, and the little pool fringed with water-lilies." "Hundreds of times," writes the poet, "have I here watched the dancing of shadows amid a press of sunshine, and other beautiful appearances of light and shade, flowers and shrubs."
The grounds slope, sometimes with a sudden and steep descent. One of the paths leads to "Dora's field." In that field there is a venerable oak, the branches of which are thickly covered with lichens and ferns, that have thrust their roots deep into the moist bark; and at its foot there is a spring where grow the plants that flourish best in perpetual moisture. There, too, is the stone that at Wordsworth's suit was spared: the lines he wrote are engraved on a brass tablet, let into it:—
In these fair vales hath many a tree,
At Wordsworth's suit, been spared;
And from the builder's hand, this stone,
For some rude beauty of its own,
Was rescued by the bard.
So let it rest; and time will come
When here the tender-hearted
May heave a gentle sigh for him
As one of the departed.
In this spot, it seemed to me, and no doubt it will so seem to all visitors who love the bard and reverence his memory, that Wordsworth was more palpably present than elsewhere; and it will demand no great degree of hero-worship to utter, beside that stone and that aged tree, his own words applied to his predecessors in his "high calling:"—
Blessings he with them, and eternal praise,
Who gave us nobler loves and nobler cares,
The poets, who on earth have made us heirs
Of true and pure delight by heavenly lays.
From the house our steps naturally pace to the grave in which the mortal part of Wordsworth rests. Happily, he sleeps among the scenes he has made immortal; happily, it was not his destiny to "moulder in a far-off field of Rome." The little graveyard of Grasmere, "the Churchyard among the Mountains," was familiar to all readers of "The Excursion" before the poet was laid there. It receives mournful, yet happy, interest as the place in which he "sleeps" among the dalesmen of Grasmere valley, upon whose shoulders — "the shoulders of neighbours," in accordance with his wish, expressed long years before — he was borne to his grave. By the side of his beloved Dora he was buried. It is a humble grave: they are plain, erect stones that record his name, and those of his immediate relatives. He reposes under the green turf: no weight of monumental marble keeps the daisies from growing there. Others, no doubt, have done as I did — transplanted a wild flower from his "Walk" to the mound that rises over his remains; and others, no doubt, for generations yet to come, will do as I did, breathe a prayer of fervent and grateful homage to his memory at the foot of the grave in which his mortal part is at rest from labour:—
The common growth of mother Earth
Suffices me — her tears, her mirth,
Her humblest mirth and tears!
A group of yew-trees throw their shadow on the grave; they were planted by his own hands, "principally, if not entirely;" and who is there that will not say "Amen" to the poet's wish, "May they be taken care of hereafter;" and to his hope that some future generation may see them rivals to the "Pride of Lorton Vale," and the forlorn sisters that give at once gloom and gladness to Borrowdale?
The river Rothay meanders round the churchyard; it may be rude and harsh in winter, but it pursued its course to Lake Grasmere with a gentle and harmonious melody when I was there. Alone for a long half-hour I stood — mute. Suddenly a group of children passed through the little gate, arranged some wild flowers under the church porch, and laid them on the poet's grave, "under the yew-trees and beside the gushing Rothay," the spot "he had chosen for himself." The poet would have loved to see that sight; possibly did see it.
The subject of Religion was not prominent — certainly not intrusive — in his writings, yet it breathes through almost everything he wrote; the essentially holy mind of the poet is everywhere manifest. No writer, living or "dead," has better taught us how "To look through Nature op to Nature's God."
I found, in Mr. Dillon's collection of autographs, a letter written by Wordsworth to the painter Haydon, dated January 20th, 1817, which, I believe, has never been in type. I am, therefore, induced to print it.
"Thelwall, the politician, many sears ago lost a daughter. I knew her; she was a charming creature. Thelwall's were the agonies of an unbeliever, and he expressed them vigorously in several copies of harmonious blank verse, a metre which he writes well, for he has a good ear. These effusions of anguish were published; but though they have great merit, we cannot read them but with much more pain than pleasure. You probably know how much I have suffered in this way myself, having lost, within the short space of half a year, two delightful creatures, a girl and a boy, of the several ages of four and six and a half. That was four years ago, but they are perpetually present to my eyes. I do not mourn for them, yet I am sometimes weak enough to wish that I had them again. They are laid side by side in Grasmere Churchyard; on the headstone of one is that beautiful text of Scripture, 'Suffer the little children to come unto Me, and forbid them not, for of such is the kingdom of heaven;' and on that of the other are inscribed the following verses:—
Six months to six years added, he remained
Upon this sinful earth, by sin unstained;
O blessed Lord, whose merry then removed
A child that every eye that looked on loved,
Support us, — teach us calmly to resign
What we possessed — and now is wholly Thine!
These verses I have inscribed because they are imbued with that sort of consolation which you say — is deprived of. It is the only support to be depended upon, and happy are they to whom it is vouchsafed."
We turn from the churchyard and the church, the church that contains a memorial stone, with a medallion portrait (Harriet Martineau tells us), "accompanied by an inscription adapted from a dedication of the Rev. John Keble." Wordsworth described that church in 1790. It has been "renovated" since; but still the roof is upheld by "naked rafters," and still "admonishing texts" speak from its white walls.
The accompanying view is of the head of Windermere, looking towards Rydal; it is engraved from a drawing by Jacob Thompson, taken before the locality was changed — dotted with villas — and represents the lovely scene as it was when Wordsworth looked upon it. There is the steep hill behind the poet's dwelling; behind the group of trees is Ambleside; the vale of Rydal is hidden by the dark mass in the middle of the dell; to the left is Loughrigg Fell; and underneath it, more to the left, is the entrance to the vale of Langdale.
You cannot walk a mile in that rugged and wild, and grand and fair, district without quoting some passage from the poet; linking it, as it will be linked for ever, with the place or object on which you look. Every spot is consecrated by his genius; he has left his mark everywhere; the lakes, the rivers, the hills, the mountains, the dales and dells, the rocks and crags, the islands and waterfalls, are all signed with his name:—
Deep pools, tall trees, black chasms, and dizzy crags,
And tottering towers.
"Wordsworth has himself told us that nine-tenths of his verses were murmured in the open air, and about them there is an out-door fragrance. We sniff the mountain breeze, and hear the murmur of the forest, and gaze into the clear depths of the rocky stream; and even in his loftiest mood, when raised into a purer atmosphere than we breathe on earth, his thoughtful brow is still fanned by its gales, his inspiration is coloured by its beauty, and finds a fit local habitation amidst its natural scenes."
There is the Derwent, "fairest of all rivers," that blent its murmurs with his nurse's song — "glory of the vale," the "bright blue river" that was a joy to the very last; there is drear Helvellyn, with its ravines, "a history of forgotten storms" — "lofty Helvellyn," on the summit of which he stood side by side with the "Wizard of the North," when Scott revelled in "his day of strength." There they stood rejoicing; and, as Mrs. Linton writes, "let any one haunted by small cares, by fears worse than cares, and by passions worse than either," go "stand in the midst of that great majesty, the sole small thing, and shall his spirit, which should be the noblest thing of all, let itself be crippled by self and fear, till it lies crawling on earth, when its place is lifting to the heavens? Oh better than written sermon, or spoken exhortation, is one hour on the lonely mountain-top, when the world seems so far off, and God and his angels so near:" — "When inspiration hovered o'er this ground."
St. Herbert's cell is yet on an island in Derwentwater; the cell of the saint who, in his "utter solitude," prayed that he and the man he loved as his own soul — a far-away fellow-labourer, St. Cuthbert — "might die at the same moment,"
Nor in vain
So prayed he!
There is bleak Skiddaw, the poet's love:—
What was the great Parnassus' self to thee,
There is the Greta, giving its gently mournful voice, as it rolls onward to join the Derwent, gliding together into Bassenthwaite,
Among this multitude of hills,
Crags, woodlands, waterfalls, and rills,
with her sinuous banks, her "thousand thrones," "Seats of glad instinct, and loves carolling."
There is the mightiest of all the cataracts. Often
O'er the lake the cataract of Lodore
Pealed to his orisons.
There is still the road the Roman conquerors laid down,—
The massy ways carried along those heights
By Roman perseverance.
There are the "piled-up stones," Druidic relics, laid where they now stand, by British hands, centuries before the Romans were a power in Britain; "long Meg" and her daughters, the "giant mother" and her brood:—
A weight of woe, not easy to be borne,
Fell suddenly upon my spirit, cast
From the dread bosom of the unknown past,
When first I saw that sisterhood forlorn.
And still you may visit the cairn heaped over the bones of Dunmail, — "Last king of rocky Cumberland."
We see the "rocks of St. John" — the crags that, at distance, "resemblance wild to a rough fortress bore," and became a turreted castle when magic seduced King Arthur within its walls, to waste his time and his strength in guilty dalliance.
Here, too, is "the Eden" — a name that, though borrowed from Paradise, is borne rightfully; for here
Nature gives the flowers
That have no rivals among British bowers.
And here is majestic Lowther:—
Lowther, in thy majestic pile are seen
Cathedral pomp, and grace, in apt accord
With the baronial castle's sterner mien.
There is the river Duddon, "the cloud-born stream," "cradled among the mountains " — Duddon, so often his sole listener, and here are the
Hurrying with lordly Duddon to unite.
Here are the nooks with woodbine hung, "half grot, half arbour;" and here is still "the Fairy Chasm," and here "The gloomy niche, capacious, blank, and cold." Still Duddon shelters the startled scaly tribe, and the "dancing insects forged upon his breast;" still "passing winds memorial tributes pay, and torrents chaunt their praise."
And here is his own Rydal. It hath, and will ever have, "a poet of its own," who,
Haunting your green shade
All seasons through, is humbly pleased to braid
Ground flowers, beneath your guardianship self-sown.
Here are yet "the Stepping Stones"—
Stone matched with stone
In studied symmetry;
and here is "the Wishing Gate,"—
Surviving near the public way
The rustic Wishing Gate,
leading to a field sloping to the river's bank. "Time out of mind" has a gate been there. May no evil chance remove it! for there "wishes formed or indulged have favourable issues:"—
And not in vain, when thoughts are cast
Upon the irrevocable past.
The yew-tree, "which to this day stands single," "of vast circumference and gloom profound," is "still the pride of Lorton Vale;" the tree that furnished weapons to those who "Drew their sounding bows at Azincour." And there flourish yet the four solemn sisters — yew-trees planted a thousand years ago:—
Fraternal four of Borrowdale,
Joined in one solemn and capacious grove.
The "golden daffodils" are still here in rich abundance—
Beneath the lake, beside the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze!
And if we wander there in spring-time, we cannot fail to see "A primrose by a river's brim," and, it may be, an ass "Cropping the shrubs of Lerning Lane," to recall the gentle brute that would not leave its dead master, and taught the savage potter to be a wiser and a better man. There are violets on the same "mossy stone," "half hidden from the eye;" and there is "the meanest flower that blows" — the meek daisy, — "the poet's darling," "the unassuming commonplace of nature," that had power to give the poet "Thoughts that do often lie too deep for tears." Still the butterflies sparkle from bud to bud-descendants of those he chased when a boy, with "leaps and springs," while his tender sister stood by
But she, God love her! feared to brush
The dust from off its wings.
Still we may hear the cock straining its clarion throat, "Threatened by answering farms remote." That surely is the very redbreast the poet welcomed over his threshold; the whole house was his cage. He springs about from bank to bank, now along the Poet's Walk, knowing well that none will make a stir "To scare him as a trespasser." And the lark, is it the same the poet hailed "upspringing," "pilgrim of the sky,"
Type of the wise who soar, but never ream,
True to the kindred points of Heaven and Home?
I heard a stock-dove sing or say
His homely tale this very day.
No doubt it is the bird of which the poet sang so sweetly and so oft. Still
Along the river's stony marge
The sand-lark chants a joyous song;
The thrush is busy in the wood,
And carols loud and strong.
There are all the mountains — "a mob of mountains," as Montgomery called them — go where we will; and the lakes, larger and lesser, that greet the eye from every hill-top; majestic Ullswater, "wooded Winandermere " — "shy Winander,"
'Mid clustering isles and holly-sprinkled steeps;
lovely Derwentwater, lonely Haweswater: they were, each and all, familiar to the poet almost as his own Walk above the Rotha:—
Ye know him well, ye cliffs
And islands of Winander.
They all knew him, and of all he was the Laureate. The "brook" I reverently cross is that
Whose society the poet seeks,
Intent his wasted spirits to renew.
It runs "through rocky passes among flowery creeks;" and that "little unpretending rill of limpid water" is the very one that, to his mind, was brought "oftener than Ganges or the Nile."
Is that "Emma's Dell?" for here we can see
The foliage of the rocks, the birch,
The yew, the holly, and the bright green thorn,
With hanging islands of resplendent furze.
Is that "Johanna's Rock" by Rotha's bank, at which we pause
To note in shrub and tree, in stone and flower,
That intermixture of delicious hues,
turning to look up at "That ancient woman seated on Helm crag?"
Is that the cliff "so high above us " — an "eminence," The last that parleys with the setting sun?"
Is that "The loneliest place we have amid the clouds?"
Is that "the lonely summit" to which his beloved gave his name? Is that "narrow girdle of rough stones and crags" by the eastern shore of Grasmere — is that the place the poet named "Point Rash judgment," for that he there learned and taught
What need there is to he reserved in speech,
And temper all our thoughts with charity?
At least we may rest awhile at "The Swan" — "Who does not know the famous Swan?" The small wayside hostelry is still a palpable reality, and if you drink nothing else at its porch, you may there take in as full and rich a draught of nature as any country on God's earth can supply.
These are the "facts" of the district: the poet has clothed them in glory and in pride — living realities — Romance unveiled by Truth. He is, as John Ruskin says, "the great poetic landscapepainter of the age." He did, indeed, so paint with words as to bring vividly before the mind's eye the grandest and loveliest things in nature.
But who can walk in this favoured locality without calling Fancy to his aid? I know that some of his pictures were drawn far away from the scenes so inseparably linked with his name; but it will be hard to separate any one of them from the district that is so especially his.
It is the high privilege of genius — more especially it is that of the poet — to consecrate the common things of life—
Clothing the palpable and the familiar
With golden exhalations of the dawn.
Time has changed many of them, no doubt; indeed, we know that ruthless rail-road layers have swept away some of the "nooks of English ground" that genius had made sacred; but others remain associated with the poet's history. Let all who love the district, and have power there, preserve them, as they would the cherished children of their homes and hearts.
The plank that in a dell half up Blencathra crosses yonder stream, under which it glides so gently, now that summer, self-satisfied, laughs from the mountain-tops — is that the plank where Lucy Gray left her footmarks half-way over, when the storm was loud and snow was a foot thick above the perilous pathway?
But the sweet face of Lucy Gray
Will never more be seen.
Is that "straggling heap of unhewn stones" at Green-head-ghyll a remainder of the sheepfold reared by "Michael" and "the son of his old age," ere the boy
In the dissolute city gave himself
To evil courses,
and broke the old man's heart?
Give alms to the "female vagrant" you meet in highway or in byway, for does she not recall to memory her whose sad story was poured into the poet's ear?—
And homeless, near a thousand homes, I stood,
And near a thousand tables pined, and wanted food.
Surely charity cannot be withheld from any wayworn beggar you encounter on the roadside here. That thorn must be the very thorn — "so old and grey" — under the scant shade of which sat, at all times of the day and night, that lonely woman, — "In misery near the miserable thorn," — whose doleful cry was "Misery, O misery!" Poor Ruth! that may be the very "greenwood tree" by the banks of Tone under which she sat; it overhangs the rocks and pools she loved—
Nor ever taxed them with the ill
That had been done to her.
Will it not well repay a visit to distant Ennerdale to read the story of "The Brothers" beside a nameless grave — to see the grey-haired mariner standing there, his fraternal home desolate? Ah! if the touching tale can move us to tears — "a gushing of the heart" — beside a city home-fire, what may it not do in that lonely graveyard, where was nor epitaph nor monument, tombstone nor name — "Only the turf we tread!"
Is that the fountain where, beneath the spreading oak, beside a mossy seat (we see them both), there talked a pair of friends, though one was young, the other seventy-two? Was it beside this hedge, on this highway, the shepherd mourned the "last of his flock?"
A healthy man, a man full grown,
Weep in the public roads alone.
That little maid — "a simple child" — is she the great-grandchild of her — "one of seven" — of whom two slept in the churchyard beneath the churchyard tree? "Her beauty made me glad." Sitting under "Dungeon-ghyll Force," do we see in the boys who saunter there descendants of those who, having "no work to do," watched the poet—
One who loved the brooks
Far better than the sage's books—
as he rescued the lamb from the troubled pool, and gave it to its mother?
And gently did the bard
Those idle shepherd-boys upbraid.
Let us search for the roofless hut in which he met "the Wanderer," a poet, "yet wanting the accomplishment of verse;" who had "small need of books;" whose character was God-made; who learned from nature to worship Him in spirit and in truth. Can we see the well, "shrouded with willow-flowers and plumy fern," at which he bade the poet drink? the hut in which "the wife and widow" dwelt, a-weary, a-weary for the beloved who never came?
If he lived,
She knew not that he lived: if he were dead,
She knew not he was dead.
Is that the spot, "among the mountain fastnesses concealed," where "lonesome and lost" the Solitary lived,
At safe distance from a world
Not moving to his mind?
Is that far-off valley, with its grey church tower, environed by dwellings "single or in several knots " — is that the valley where the poet, the wanderer, and the recluse encountered the good priest, discoursing of things that no gross ear can hear,
And to the highest last,
The head and mighty paramount of truths,—
Immortal life in never-fading worlds
For mortal creatures conquered and secured?
Is that indeed the veritable "churchyard among the mountains" where rest so much of human joys and griefs, hopes and blights-records that live but in the pastor's memory; where green hillocks only mark the graves—
From interruption of sepulchral stones?
But I might go on, page after page, touching every portion of the sublime and beautiful district where the poet had his home and haunts, for you can hardly move a step, or turn the eye on a single point, without finding something he has given to fame, some association of his glory,—
Contented if he might enjoy
The things which others understand;
ever preparing a feast for millions upon millions, who will be his debtors to the end of time.
He lived down "indifference," almost the only human malady to which he had been subjected; he lived to know that he was valued in a measure approaching desert; acknowledged by the senate and "the masses" as a benefactor of all humankind — not for a day, but for ever — in high and holy consciousness that he had done the work of God for the good of man. To WILLIAM WORDSWORTH have been, and will be given, by universal accord, as long as language can utter thought, "Perpetual benedictions!"
Is there any tourist — any one with leisure and means — who has not visited the land of Wordsworth? Shame be to him or her who can boast of having visited many countries of the Continent in search of pleasure, and who remains in guilty ignorance of the charms that are to be found in such abundance close to our own thresholds at home!
What a volume of beauty may be opened by those who spend a month — a week — a day — at the English Lakes! All that Nature can supply of the graceful and the grand are within easy reach; it is impossible to exaggerate in describing the sublime and beautiful of this locality, accessible within a few hours from any part of England.
I cannot think the man or woman lives who can dwell even for a brief time amid these mountains and vales, beside these lakes and rivers — with Wordsworth in his hand — who will not thank God for the intense enjoyment placed at his command — not the less to be valued because it may be so easily obtained. Yes, far too often there is truth in the poet's lines—
Thus 'tis ever; what's within our ken,
Owl-like, we blink at, and direct our search
To furthest Inde in quest of novelties;
Whilst here, at home, upon our very thresholds,
Ten thousand objects hurtle into view,
Of interest wonderful.