1823 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

William Wordsworth

Anonymous, in "The Literary Police Office, Bow-Street, London" Port Folio [Philadelphia] S4 15 (June 1823) 504.



WILLIAM WORDSWORTH, a pedlar by trade, that hawks about shoe-laces and philosophy, was put to the bar, charged with stealing a poney, value 40s. from a Mrs. Foy, of Westmoreland; but as no one was near him at the time, and as he was "beside himself," the charge could not be brought home. Another charge, however, was made against him, for converting to his own use a spade, with which Mr. Wilkinson had tilled his lands — but as Mr. Wilkinson was a gentleman of the Quaker persuasion, he would not appear to swear, and William also escaped on this charge. There were several readers of William's books who were ready to swear, but their oaths could not be taken. The prisoner had several duplicates of little childish poems and toys about him, which he said he obtained from his grandmother. But it appearing that he had often imposed himself off as that old lady, he was remanded to allow of some inquiry. He conducted himself very extravagantly while before the magistrates, so as to give an idea that he was not quite right. He called himself the first man — kind of the poets — and wanted to read passages of his own works to prove it. The officers had much difficulty in restraining him from getting out of the dock to beat the magistrates brains out with a log of the Excursion. Jeffrey, the officer was obliged to "pinion" him.