The Poetical Works of William Wordsworth, Vol. III
by William Wordsworth
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' ... stand, SACRED as a Shrine.'

We owe great thanks to Mrs. Sturge for first surveying the place, to ascertain the possibility of finding a mountain rock sufficiently striking in position; to Mr. Richardson, jun., for his etching of the rock, upon which the inscription is to be made; to his father for the kind trouble he took in the measurement of the said rock; and particularly to the seconder of the original proposal, and my coadjutor in the task of final selection and superintending the work, Mr. W. H. Hills.


P. S.—When we came to examine the rock, we found the area for the panel less than we had hoped for, owing to certain rock fissures, which, by acting as drains for the rainwater on the surface, would have much interfered with the durability of the inscription. The available space for the panel remains 3 feet 7 in length by 1 foot 9 inches in depth. Owing to the fineness of the grain of the stone, it may be quite possible to letter the native rock; but it has been difficult to fix on a style of lettering for the inscription that shall be at once in good taste, forcible, and plain. It was proposed that the Script type of letter which was made use of in the inscription cut on the rock, in the late Mr. Ball's garden grounds below the Mount at Rydal, should be adopted; but a final decision has been given in favour of a style of lettering which Mrs. Rawnsley has designed. The panel is, from its position, certain to attract the eye of the wanderer from Patterdale up to the Grisedale Pass.

H. D. R."

See the note to 'The Waggoner', p. 112, referring to the Rock of Names, on the shore of Thirlmere.

The following extract from 'Recollections from 1803 to 1837, with a Conclusion in 1868, by the Hon. Amelia Murray' (London: Longmans, Green, and Co. 1868)—refers to the loss of the 'Abergavenny':

"One morning, coming down early, I saw what I thought was a great big ship without any hull. This was the 'Abergavenny', East Indiaman, which had sunk with all sails set, hardly three miles from the shore, and all on board perished.

Had any of the crew taken refuge in the main-top, they might have been saved; but the bowsprit, which was crowded with human beings, gave a lurch into the sea as the ship settled down, and thus all were washed off—though the timber appeared again above water when the 'Abergavenny' touched the ground. The ship had sprung a leak off St. Alban's Head; and in spite of pumps, she went to the bottom just within reach of safety." Pp. 12, 13.

A 'Narrative of the loss of the "Earl of Abergavenny" East Indiaman, off Portland, Feb. 5, 1805', was published in pamphlet form (8vo, 1805), by Hamilton and Bird, 21 High Street, Islington.

For much in reference to John Wordsworth, which illustrates both these 'Elegiac Verses', and the poem "On the Naming of Places" which follows them, I must refer to his 'Life' to be published in another volume of this series; but there is one letter of Dorothy Wordsworth's, written to her friend Miss Jane Pollard (afterwards Mrs. Marshall), in reference to her brother's death, which may find a place here. For the use of it I am indebted to the kindness of Mrs. Marshall's daughter, the Dowager Lady Monteagle:

"March 16th, 1805. Grasmere.

"... It does me good to weep for him, and it does me good to find that others weep, and I bless them for it. ... It is with me, when I write, as when I am walking out in this vale, once so full of joy. I can turn to no object that does not remind me of our loss. I see nothing that he would not have loved, and enjoyed.... My consolations rather come to me in gusts of feeling, than are the quiet growth of my mind. I know it will not always be so. The time will come when the light of the setting sun upon these mountain tops will be as heretofore a pure joy; not the same gladness, that can never be—but yet a joy even more tender. It will soothe me to know how happy he would have been, could he have seen the same beautiful spectacle.... He was taken away in the freshness of his manhood; pure he was, and innocent as a child. Never human being was more thoroughly modest, and his courage I need not speak of. He was 'seen speaking with apparent cheerfulness to the first mate a few minutes before the ship went down;' and when nothing more could be done, He said, 'the will of God be done.' I have no doubt when he felt that it was out of his power to save his life he was as calm as before, if some thought of what we should endure did not awaken a pang.... He loved solitude, and he rejoiced in society. He would wander alone amongst these hills with his fishing-rod, or led on by the mere pleasure of walking, for many hours; or he would walk with W. or me, or both of us, and was continually pointing out—with a gladness which is seldom seen but in very young people—something which perhaps would have escaped our observation; for he had so fine an eye that no distinction was unnoticed by him, and so tender a feeling that he never noticed anything in vain. Many a time has he called out to me at evening to look at the moon or stars, or a cloudy sky, or this vale in the quiet moonlight; but the stars and moon were his chief delight. He made of them his companions when he was at sea, and was never tired of those thoughts which the silence of the night fed in him. Then he was so happy by the fireside. Any little business of the house interested him. He loved our cottage. He helped us to furnish it, and to make the garden. Trees are growing now which he planted.... He staid with us till the 29th of September, having come to us about the end of January. During that time Mary Hutchinson—now Mary Wordsworth—staid with us six weeks. John used to walk with her everywhere, and they were exceedingly attached to each other; so my poor sister mourns with us, not merely because we have lost one who was so dear to William and me, but from tender love to John and an intimate knowledge of him. Her hopes as well as ours were fixed on John.... I can think of nothing but of our departed Brother, yet I am very tranquil to-day. I honour him, and love him, and glory in his memory...."

Southey, writing to his friend, C. W. W. Wynn, on the 3rd of April 1805, says:


I have been grievously shocked this evening by the loss of the 'Abergavenny', of which Wordsworth's brother was captain. Of course the news came flying up to us from all quarters, and it has disordered me from head to foot. At such circumstances I believe we feel as much for others as for ourselves; just as a violent blow occasions the same pain as a wound, and he who breaks his shin feels as acutely at the moment as the man whose leg is shot off. In fact, I am writing to you merely because this dreadful shipwreck has left me utterly unable to do anything else. It is the heaviest calamity Wordsworth has ever experienced, and in all probability I shall have to communicate it to him, as he will very likely be here before the tidings can reach him. What renders any near loss of this kind so peculiarly distressing is, that the recollection is perpetually freshened when any like event occurs, by the mere mention of shipwreck, or the sound of the wind. Of all deaths it is the most dreadful, from the circumstances of terror which accompany it...."

(See 'The Life and Correspondence of Robert Southey', vol. ii. p. 321.)

The following is part of a letter from Mary Lamb to Dorothy Wordsworth on the same subject. It is undated:


I wished to tell you that you would one day feel the kind of peaceful state of mind and sweet memory of the dead, which you so happily describe, as now almost begun; but I felt that it was improper, and most grating to the feelings of the afflicted, to say to them that the memory of their affliction would in time become a constant part, not only of their dreams, but of their most wakeful sense of happiness. That you would see every object with and through your lost brother, and that that would at last become a real and everlasting source of comfort to you, I felt, and well knew, from my own experience in sorrow; but till you yourself began to feel this, I did not dare to tell you so; but I send you some poor lines, which I wrote under this conviction of mind, and before I heard Coleridge was returning home.


"Why is he wandering on the sea?— Coleridge should now with Wordsworth be. By slow degrees he'd steal away Their woes, and gently bring a ray (So happily he'd time relief,) Of comfort from their very grief. He'd tell them that their brother dead, When years have passed o'er their head, Will be remembered with such holy, True and tender melancholy, That ever this lost brother John Will be their heart's companion. His voice they'll always hear, His face they'll always see; There's naught in life so sweet As such a memory."

(See 'Final Memorials of Charles Lamb', by Thomas Noon Talfourd, vol. ii. pp. 233, 234.)—Ed.

* * * * *


Composed 1800 to 1805.—Published 1815

[The grove still exists; but the plantation has been walled in, and is not so accessible as when my brother John wore the path in the manner here described. The grove was a favourite haunt with us all while we lived at Town-end.—I. F.]

This was No. VI. of the "Poems on the Naming of Places." For several suggested changes in MS. see Appendix I. p. 385.—Ed.

When, to the attractions of the busy world, Preferring studious leisure, I had chosen A habitation in this peaceful Vale, Sharp season followed of continual storm In deepest winter; and, from week to week, 5 Pathway, and lane, and public road, were clogged With frequent showers of snow. Upon a hill At a short distance from my cottage, stands A stately Fir-grove, whither I was wont To hasten, for I found, beneath the roof 10 Of that perennial shade, a cloistral place Of refuge, with an unincumbered floor. Here, in safe covert, on the shallow snow, And, sometimes, on a speck of visible earth, The redbreast near me hopped; nor was I loth 15 To sympathise with vulgar coppice birds That, for protection from the nipping blast, Hither repaired.—A single beech-tree grew Within this grove of firs! and, on the fork Of that one beech, appeared a thrush's nest; 20 A last year's nest, conspicuously built At such small elevation from the ground As gave sure sign that they, who in that house Of nature and of love had made their home Amid the fir-trees, all the summer long 25 Dwelt in a tranquil spot. And oftentimes, A few sheep, stragglers from some mountain-flock, Would watch my motions with suspicious stare, From the remotest outskirts of the grove,— Some nook where they had made their final stand, 30 Huddling together from two fears—the fear Of me and of the storm. Full many an hour Here did I lose. But in this grove the trees Had been so thickly planted, and had thriven In such perplexed and intricate array; 35 That vainly did I seek, beneath [1] their stems A length of open space, where to and fro My feet might move without concern or care; And, baffled thus, though earth from day to day Was fettered, and the air by storm disturbed, 40 I ceased the shelter to frequent, [2]—and prized, Less than I wished to prize, that calm recess.

The snows dissolved, and genial Spring returned To clothe the fields with verdure. Other haunts Meanwhile were mine; till, one bright April day, 45 By chance retiring from the glare of noon To this forsaken covert, there I found A hoary pathway traced between the trees, And winding on with such an easy line Along a natural opening, that I stood 50 Much wondering how I could have sought in vain [3] For what was now so obvious. [4] To abide, For an allotted interval of ease, Under my cottage-roof, had gladly come From the wild sea a cherished Visitant; [5] 55 And with the sight of this same path—begun, Begun and ended, in the shady grove, [6] Pleasant conviction flashed upon my mind [7] That, to this opportune recess allured, He had surveyed it with a finer eye, 60 A heart more wakeful; and had worn the track [8] By pacing here, unwearied and alone, [A] In that habitual restlessness of foot That haunts the Sailor measuring [9] o'er and o'er His short domain upon the vessel's deck, 65 While she pursues her course [10] through the dreary sea.

When thou hadst quitted Esthwaite's pleasant shore, And taken thy first leave of those green hills And rocks that were the play-ground of thy youth, Year followed year, my Brother! and we two, 70 Conversing not, knew little in what mould Each other's mind was fashioned; [11] and at length When once again we met in Grasmere Vale, Between us there was little other bond Than common feelings of fraternal love. 75 But thou, a School-boy, to the sea hadst carried Undying recollections; Nature there Was with thee; she, who loved us both, she still Was with thee; and even so didst thou become A silent Poet; from the solitude 80 Of the vast sea didst bring a watchful heart Still couchant, an inevitable ear, And an eye practised like a blind man's touch. —Back to the joyless Ocean thou art gone; Nor from this vestige of thy musing hours 85 Could I withhold thy honoured name,—and now I love the fir-grove [12] with a perfect love. Thither do I withdraw when cloudless suns Shine hot, or wind blows troublesome and strong; And there I sit at evening, when the steep 90 Of Silver-how, and Grasmere's peaceful [13] lake, And one green island, gleam between the stems Of the dark firs, a visionary scene! And, while I gaze upon the spectacle Of clouded splendour, on this dream-like sight 95 Of solemn loveliness, I think on thee, My Brother, and on all which thou hast lost. Nor seldom, if I rightly guess, while Thou, Muttering the verses which I muttered first Among the mountains, through the midnight watch 100 Art pacing thoughtfully [14] the vessel's deck In some far region, here, while o'er my head, At every impulse of the moving breeze, The fir-grove murmurs with a sea-like sound, [B] Alone I tread this path;—for aught I know, 105 Timing my steps to thine; and, with a store Of undistinguishable sympathies, Mingling most earnest wishes for the day When we, and others whom we love, shall meet A second time, in Grasmere's happy Vale. 110

* * * * *


[Variant 1:


... between ... 1815.]

[Variant 2:


And, baffled thus, before the storm relaxed, I ceased that Shelter to frequent,—1815.

... the shelter ... 1827.]

[Variant 3:


Much wondering at my own simplicity How I could e'er have made a fruitless search 1815.]

[Variant 4:

... At the sight Conviction also flashed upon my mind That this same path (within the shady grove Begun and ended) by my Brother's steps Had been impressed.—...

These additional lines appeared only in 1815 and 1820.]

[Variant 5:


... To sojourn a short while Beneath my roof He from the barren seas Had newly come—a cherished Visitant! 1815.

... To abide, For an allotted interval of ease, Beneath my cottage roof, had newly come From the wild sea a cherished Visitant; 1827.

Beneath my cottage roof, had gladly come 1840.

... had meanwhile come C. [a]]

[Variant 6: This and the previous line were added in 1827.]

[Variant 7:


And much did it delight me to perceive 1815.]

[Variant 8:


A heart more wakeful; that, more both to part From place so lovely, he had worn the track 1815.]

[Variant 9:


With which the Sailor measures ... 1815.]

[Variant 10:


While she is travelling ... 1815.]

[Variant 11:


... minds were fashioned;... 1815.]

[Variant 12:


... art gone; And now I call the path-way by thy name, And love the fir-grove 1815.]

[Variant 13:


... placid ... 1815.]

[Variant 14:


Art pacing to and fro ... 1815.]

* * * * *


[Footnote A: Compare Daniel's 'Hymens Triumph', ii. 4:

'And where no sun could see him, where no eye Might overlook his lonely privacy; There in a path of his own making, trod Rare as a common way, yet led no way Beyond the turns he made.'


[Footnote B: Compare the line in Coleridge's 'Hymn before Sun-rise, in the Vale of Chamouni':

'Ye pine groves with your soft and soul-like sound,'


* * * * *


[Sub-Footnote a: In the late Lord Coleridge's copy of the edition of 1836, there is a footnote in Wordsworth's handwriting to the word "meanwhile" which is substituted for "newly." "If 'newly' come, could he have traced a visible path?"—Ed.]

This wish was not granted; the lamented Person, not long after, perished by shipwreck, in discharge of his duty as Commander of the Honourable East India Company's Vessel, the 'Earl of Abergavenny'.—W. W. 1815.

For the date of this poem in the Chronological Tables given in the editions of 1815 and 1820, Wordsworth assigned the year 1802. But, in the edition of 1836, he assigned it to the year 1805, the date retained by Mr. Carter in the edition of 1857. Captain Wordsworth perished on the 5th of February 1805; and if the poem was written in 1805, it must have been in the month of January of that year. The note to the poem is explicit—"Not long after" he "perished by shipwreck," etc. Thus the poem may have been written in the beginning of 1805; but it is not at all certain that part of it at least does not belong to an earlier year. John Wordsworth lived with his brother and sister at the Town-end Cottage, Grasmere, during part of the winter, and during the whole of the spring, summer, and autumn of 1800, William and John going together on foot into Yorkshire from the 14th of May to the 7th of June. John left Grasmere on Michaelmas day (September 29th) 1800, and never returned to it again. The following is Miss Wordsworth's record of that day in her Journal of 1800:

"On Monday, 29th, John left us. William and I parted with him in sight of Ullswater. It was a fine day, showery, but with sunshine and fine clouds. Poor fellow, my heart was right sad, I could not help thinking we should see him again, because he was only going to Penrith."

In the spring of 1801, John Wordsworth sailed for China in the 'Abergavenny'. He returned from this voyage in safety, and the brothers met once again in London. He went to sea again in 1803, and returned to London in 1804, but could not visit Grasmere; and in the month of February 1805—shortly after he was appointed to the command of the 'Abergavenny'—the ship was lost at the Bill of Portland, and every one on board perished. It is clear that the latter part of the poem, "When, to the attractions of the busy world," was written between John Wordsworth's departure from Grasmere and the loss of the 'Abergavenny', i. e. between September 1800 and February 1805, as there are references in it both to what his brother did at Grasmere and to his return to sea:

'Back to the joyless Ocean thou art gone.'

There are some things in the earlier part of the poem that appear to negative the idea of its having been written in 1800. The opening lines seem to hint at an experience somewhat distant. He speaks of being "wont" to do certain things. But, on the other hand, I find an entry in Dorothy Wordsworth's Journal, which leads me to believe that the poem may have been begun in 1800, and that the first part, ending (as it did then) with the line:

'While she is travelling through the dreary sea,'

may have been finished before John Wordsworth left Grasmere; the second part being written afterwards, while he was at sea; and that this is the explanation of the date given in the editions of 1815 and 1820, viz. 1802.

Passages occur in Dorothy Wordsworth's Journal to the following effect:

"Monday Morning, 1st September.—We walked in the wood by the lake. William read 'Joanna' and 'the Firgrove' to Coleridge."

A little earlier there is the record,

"Saturday, 22nd August.—William was composing all the morning.... William read us the poem of 'Joanna' beside the Rothay by the roadside."

Then, on Friday, the 25th August, there is the entry,

"We walked over the hill by the Firgrove, I sate upon a rock and observed a flight of swallows gathering together high above my head. We walked through the wood to the stepping stones, the lake of Rydale very beautiful, partly still, I left William to compose an inscription, that about the path...."

Then, next day,

"Saturday morning, 30th August.—William finished his inscription of the Pathway, then walked in the wood, and when John returned he sought him, and they bathed together."

To what poem Dorothy Wordsworth referred under the name of the "Inscription of the Pathway" has puzzled me much. There is no poem amongst his "Inscriptions" (written in or before August 1800) that corresponds to it in the least. But, if my conjecture is right that this "Poem on the Naming of Places," beginning:

'When, to the attractions of the busy world,'

was composed at two different times, it is quite possible that "the Firgrove" which was read—along with 'Joanna'—to Coleridge on September 1st, 1800, was the first part of this very poem.

If this supposition is correct, some light is cast both on the "Inscription of the Pathway." and on the date assigned by Wordsworth himself to the poem. There is a certain fitness, however, in this poem being placed—as it now is—in sequence to the 'Elegiac Verses' in memory of John Wordsworth, beginning, "The Sheep-boy whistled loud," and near the fourth poem 'To the Daisy', beginning, "Sweet Flower! belike one day to have."

The "Fir-grove" still exists. It is between Wishing Gate and White Moss Common, and almost exactly opposite the former. Standing at the gate and looking eastwards, the grove is to the left, not forty yards distant. Some of the firs (Scotch ones) still survive, and several beech trees, not "a single beech-tree," as in the poem. From this, one might infer that the present colony had sprung up since the beginning of the century, and that the special tree, in which was the thrush's nest, had perished; but Dr. Cradock wrote to me that "Wordsworth pointed out the tree to Miss Cookson a few days before Dora Wordsworth's death. The tree is near the upper wall and tells its own tale." The Fir-grove—"John's Grove"—can easily be entered by a gate about a hundred yards beyond the Wishing-gate, as one goes toward Rydal. The view from it, the "visionary scene,"

'the spectacle Of clouded splendour, ... this dream-like sight Of solemn loveliness,'

is now much interfered with by the new larch plantations immediately below the firs. It must have been very different in Wordsworth's time, and is constantly referred to in his sister's Journal as a favourite retreat, resorted to

'when cloudless suns Shone hot, or wind blew troublesome and strong.'

In the absence of contrary testimony, it might be supposed that "the track" which the brother had "worn,"

'By pacing here, unwearied and alone,'

faced Silver-How and the Grasmere Island, and that the single beech tree was nearer the lower than the upper wall. But Miss Cookson's testimony is explicit. Only a few fir trees survive at this part of the grove, which is now open and desolate, not as it was in those earlier days, when

'the trees Had been so thickly planted, and had thriven With such perplexed and intricate array, That vainly did I seek, beneath their stems A length of open space ...'

Dr. Cradock remarks,

"As to there being more than one beech, Wordsworth would not have hesitated to sacrifice servile exactness to poetical effect." He had a fancy for "one"—

'Fair as a star when only one Is shining in the sky;'

"'One' abode, no more;" Grasmere's "one green island;" "one green field."

Since the above note was printed, new light has been cast on the "Inscription of the Pathway," for which see volume viii. of this edition.—Ed.

* * * * *



Composed 1805.—Published 1815

[Suggested to her, while beside my sleeping children.—I. F.]

One of the "Poems founded on the Affections."—Ed.

The days are cold, the nights are long, The north-wind sings a doleful song; Then hush again upon my breast; All merry things are now at rest, Save thee, my pretty Love! 5

The kitten sleeps upon the hearth, The crickets long have ceased their mirth; There's nothing stirring in the house Save one wee, hungry, nibbling mouse, Then why so busy thou? 10

Nay! start not at that sparkling light; 'Tis but the moon that shines so bright On the window pane bedropped with rain: Then, little Darling! sleep again, And wake when it is day. 15

This poem underwent no change in successive editions. The title in all the earlier ones (1815 to 1843) was 'The Cottager to her Infant. By a Female Friend'; and in the preface to the edition of 1815, Wordsworth wrote,

"Three short pieces (now first published) are the work of a Female Friend; ... if any one regard them with dislike, or be disposed to condemn them, let the censure fall upon him, who, trusting in his own sense of their merit, and their fitness for the place which they occupy, extorted them from the Authoress."

In the edition of 1845, he disclosed the authorship; and gave the more natural title, 'By my Sister'. Other two poems by her were introduced into the edition of 1815, and subsequent ones, viz. the 'Address to a Child', and 'The Mother's Return'. In an appendix to a MS. copy of the 'Recollections of a Tour made in Scotland', by Dorothy Wordsworth, transcribed by Mrs. Clarkson, I find the poem 'The Cottager to her Infant' with two additional stanzas, which are there attributed to Wordsworth. The appendix runs thus:

"To my Niece Dorothy, a sleepless Baby


(The third and fourth stanzas which follow by W. W.)

'Ah! if I were a lady gay I should not grieve with thee to play; Right gladly would I lie awake Thy lively spirits to partake, And ask no better cheer.

But, Babe! there's none to work for me. And I must rise to industry; Soon as the cock begins to crow Thy mother to the fold must go To tend the sheep and kine.'"


* * * * *


Composed 1805.—Published 1819

[Written at Town-end, Grasmere. The characters and story from fact.—I. F.]

"In Cairo's crowded streets The impatient Merchant, wondering, waits in vain, And Mecca saddens at the long delay."




When I sent you, a few weeks ago, the Tale of 'Peter Bell', you asked "why THE WAGGONER was not added?"—To say the truth,—from the higher tone of imagination, and the deeper touches of passion aimed at in the former, I apprehended, this little Piece could not accompany it without disadvantage. In the year 1806, if I am not mistaken, THE WAGGONER was read to you in manuscript; and, as you have remembered it for so long a time, I am the more encouraged to hope, that, since the localities on which it partly depends did not prevent its being interesting to you, it may prove acceptable to others. Being therefore in some measure the cause of its present appearance, you must allow me the gratification of inscribing it to you; in acknowledgment of the pleasure I have derived from your Writings, and of the high esteem with which I am Very truly yours, WILLIAM WORDSWORTH.

RYDAL MOUNT, May 20th, 1819.


'Tis spent—this burning day of June! Soft darkness o'er its latest gleams is stealing; The buzzing dor-hawk, round and round, is wheeling,— That solitary bird Is all that can be heard [1] 5 In silence deeper far than that of deepest noon!

Confiding Glow-worms, 'tis a night Propitious to your earth-born light! But, where the scattered stars are seen In hazy straits the clouds between, 10 Each, in his station twinkling not, Seems changed into a pallid spot. [2] The mountains against heaven's grave weight Rise up, and grow to wondrous height. [3] The air, as in a lion's den, 15 Is close and hot;—and now and then Comes a tired [4] and sultry breeze With a haunting and a panting, Like the stifling of disease; But the dews [5] allay the heat, 20 And the silence makes it sweet.

Hush, there is some one on the stir! 'Tis Benjamin the Waggoner; Who long hath trod this toilsome way, Companion of the night and [6] day. 25 That far-off tinkling's drowsy cheer, Mix'd with a faint yet grating sound In a moment lost and found, The Wain announces—by whose side Along the banks of Rydal Mere 30 He paces on, a trusty Guide,— Listen! you can scarcely hear! Hither he his course is bending;— Now he leaves the lower ground, And up the craggy hill ascending 35 Many a stop and stay he makes, Many a breathing-fit he takes;—[7] Steep the way and wearisome, Yet all the while his whip is dumb!

The Horses have worked with right good-will, 40 And so [8] have gained the top of the hill; He was patient, they were strong, And now they smoothly glide along, Recovering [9] breath, and pleased to win The praises of mild Benjamin. 45 Heaven shield him from mishap and snare! But why so early with this prayer? Is it for threatenings in the sky? Or for some other danger nigh? No; none is near him yet, though he 50 Be one of much infirmity; [10] For at the bottom of the brow, Where once the DOVE and OLIVE-BOUGH Offered a greeting of good ale To all who entered Grasmere Vale; 55 And called on him who must depart To leave it with a jovial heart; There, where the DOVE and OLIVE-BOUGH Once hung, a Poet harbours now, A simple water-drinking Bard; 60 Why need our Hero then (though frail His best resolves) be on his guard? He marches by, secure and bold; Yet while he thinks on times of old, It seems that all looks wondrous cold; 65 He shrugs his shoulders, shakes his head, And, for the honest folk within, It is a doubt with Benjamin Whether they be alive or dead!

Here is no danger,—none at all! 70 Beyond his wish he walks secure; [11] But pass a mile—and then for trial,— Then for the pride of self-denial; If he resist that tempting door, Which with such friendly voice will call; 75 If he resist those casement panes, And that bright gleam which thence will fall Upon his Leaders' bells and manes, Inviting him with cheerful lure: For still, though all be dark elsewhere, 80 Some shining notice will be 'there' Of open house and ready fare.

The place to Benjamin right well [12] Is known, and by as strong a spell As used to be that sign of love 85 And hope—the OLIVE-BOUGH and DOVE; He knows it to his cost, good Man! Who does not know the famous SWAN? Object uncouth! and yet our boast, [13] For it was painted by the Host; 90 His own conceit the figure planned, 'Twas coloured all by his own hand; And that frail Child of thirsty clay, Of whom I sing [14] this rustic lay, Could tell with self-dissatisfaction 95 Quaint stories of the bird's attraction! [C]

Well! that is past—and in despite Of open door and shining light. And now the conqueror essays The long ascent of Dunmail-raise; 100 And with his team is gentle here As when he clomb from Rydal Mere; His whip they do not dread—his voice They only hear it to rejoice. To stand or go is at their pleasure; 105 Their efforts and their time they measure By generous pride within the breast; And, while they strain, and while they rest, He thus pursues his thoughts at leisure.

Now am I fairly safe to-night—110 And with proud cause my heart is light: [15] I trespassed lately worse than ever— But Heaven has blest [16] a good endeavour; And, to my soul's content, [17] I find The evil One is left behind. 115 Yes, let my master fume and fret, Here am I—with my horses yet! My jolly team, he finds that ye Will work for nobody but me! Full proof of this the Country gained; 120 It knows how ye were vexed and strained, And forced unworthy stripes to bear, When trusted to another's care. [18] Here was it—on this rugged slope, Which now ye climb with heart and hope, 125 I saw you, between rage and fear, Plunge, and fling back a spiteful ear, And ever more and more confused, As ye were more and more abused: [19] As chance would have it, passing by 130 I saw you in that [20] jeopardy: A word from me was like a charm; [D] Ye pulled together with one mind; [21] And your huge burthen, safe from harm, Moved like a vessel in the wind! 135 —Yes, without me, up hills so high 'Tis vain to strive for mastery. Then grieve not, jolly team! though tough The road we travel, steep, and rough; [22] Though Rydal-heights and Dunmail-raise, 140 And all their fellow banks and braes, Full often make you stretch and strain, And halt for breath and halt again, Yet to their sturdiness 'tis owing That side by side we still are going! 145

While Benjamin in earnest mood His meditations thus pursued, A storm, which had been smothered long, Was growing inwardly more strong; And, in its struggles to get free, 150 Was busily employed as he. The thunder had begun to growl— He heard not, too intent of soul; The air was now without a breath— He marked not that 'twas still as death. 155 But soon large rain-drops on his head [23] Fell with the weight of drops of lead;— He starts—and takes, at the admonition, A sage survey of his condition. [24] The road is black before his eyes, 160 Glimmering faintly where it lies; Black is the sky—and every hill, Up to the sky, is blacker still— Sky, hill, and dale, one dismal room, [25] Hung round and overhung with gloom; 165 Save that above a single height Is to be seen a lurid light, Above Helm-crag [E]—a streak half dead, A burning of portentous red; And near that lurid light, full well 170 The ASTROLOGER, sage Sidrophel, Where at his desk and book he sits, Puzzling aloft [26] his curious wits; He whose domain is held in common With no one but the ANCIENT WOMAN, 175 Cowering beside her rifted cell, As if intent on magic spell;- Dread pair, that, spite of wind and weather, Still sit upon Helm-crag together!

The ASTROLOGER was not unseen 180 By solitary Benjamin; But total darkness came anon, And he and every thing was gone: And suddenly a ruffling breeze, (That would have rocked the sounding trees 185 Had aught of sylvan growth been there) Swept through the Hollow long and bare: [27] The rain rushed down—the road was battered, As with the force of billows shattered; The horses are dismayed, nor know 190 Whether they should stand or go; And Benjamin is groping near them, Sees nothing, and can scarcely hear them. He is astounded,—wonder not,— With such a charge in such a spot; 195 Astounded in the mountain gap With thunder-peals, clap after clap, Close-treading on the silent flashes— And somewhere, as he thinks, by crashes [28] Among the rocks; with weight of rain, 200 And sullen [29] motions long and slow, That to a dreary distance go— Till, breaking in upon the dying strain, A rending o'er his head begins the fray again.

Meanwhile, uncertain what to do, 205 And oftentimes compelled to halt, The horses cautiously pursue Their way, without mishap or fault; And now have reached that pile of stones, Heaped over brave King Dunmail's bones; 210 He who had once supreme command, Last king of rocky Cumberland; His bones, and those of all his Power, Slain here in a disastrous hour!

When, passing through this narrow strait, 215 Stony, and dark, and desolate, Benjamin can faintly hear A voice that comes from some one near, A female voice:—"Whoe'er you be, Stop," it exclaimed, "and pity me!" 220 And, less in pity than in wonder, Amid the darkness and the thunder, The Waggoner, with prompt command, Summons his horses to a stand.

While, with increasing agitation, 225 The Woman urged her supplication, In rueful words, with sobs between— The voice of tears that fell unseen; [30] There came a flash—a startling glare, And all Seat-Sandal was laid bare! 230 'Tis not a time for nice suggestion, And Benjamin, without a question, Taking her for some way-worn rover, [31] Said, "Mount, and get you under cover!" Another voice, in tone as hoarse 235 As a swoln brook with rugged course, Cried out, "Good brother, why so fast? I've had a glimpse of you—'avast!' Or, since it suits you to be civil, Take her at once—for good and evil!" 240

"It is my Husband," softly said The Woman, as if half afraid: By this time she was snug within, Through help of honest Benjamin; She and her Babe, which to her breast 245 With thankfulness the Mother pressed; And now the same strong voice more near Said cordially, "My Friend, what cheer? Rough doings these! as God's my judge, The sky owes somebody a grudge! 250 We've had in half an hour or less A twelvemonth's terror [32] and distress!"

Then Benjamin entreats the Man Would mount, too, quickly as he can: The Sailor—Sailor now no more, 255 But such he had been heretofore— To courteous Benjamin replied, "Go you your way, and mind not me; For I must have, whate'er betide, My Ass and fifty things beside,—260 Go, and I'll follow speedily!"

The Waggon moves—and with its load Descends along the sloping road; And the rough Sailor instantly Turns to a little tent hard by: [33] 265 For when, at closing-in of day, The family had come that way, Green pasture and the soft warm air Tempted [34] them to settle there.— Green is the grass for beast to graze, 270 Around the stones of Dunmail-raise!

The Sailor gathers up his bed, Takes down the canvass overhead; And, after farewell to the place, A parting word—though not of grace, 275 Pursues, with Ass and all his store, The way the Waggon went before.


If Wytheburn's modest House of prayer, As lowly as the lowliest dwelling, Had, with its belfry's humble stock, 280 A little pair that hang in air, Been mistress also of a clock, (And one, too, not in crazy plight) Twelve strokes that clock would have been telling Under the brow of old Helvellyn—285 Its bead-roll of midnight, Then, when the Hero of my tale Was passing by, and, down the vale (The vale now silent, hushed I ween As if a storm had never been) 290 Proceeding with a mind at ease; While the old Familiar of the seas [35] Intent to use his utmost haste, Gained ground upon the Waggon fast, And gives another lusty cheer; 295 For spite of rumbling of the wheels, A welcome greeting he can hear;— It is a fiddle in its glee Dinning from the CHERRY TREE!

Thence the sound—the light is there—300 As Benjamin is now aware, Who, to his inward thoughts confined, Had almost reached the festive door, When, startled by the Sailor's roar, [36] He hears a sound and sees the light, 305 And in a moment calls to mind That 'tis the village MERRY-NIGHT! [F]

Although before in no dejection, At this insidious recollection His heart with sudden joy is filled,—310 His ears are by the music thrilled, His eyes take pleasure in the road Glittering before him bright and broad; And Benjamin is wet and cold, And there are reasons manifold 315 That make the good, tow'rds which he's yearning, Look fairly like a lawful earning.

Nor has thought time to come and go, To vibrate between yes and no; For, cries the Sailor, "Glorious chance 320 That blew us hither!—let him dance, Who can or will!—my honest soul, Our treat shall be a friendly bowl!" [37] He draws him to the door—"Come in, Come, come," cries he to Benjamin! 325 And Benjamin—ah, woe is me! Gave the word—the horses heard And halted, though reluctantly.

"Blithe souls and lightsome hearts have we, Feasting at the CHERRY TREE!" 330 This was the outside proclamation, This was the inside salutation; What bustling—jostling—high and low! A universal overflow! What tankards foaming from the tap! 335 What store of cakes in every lap! What thumping—stumping—overhead! The thunder had not been more busy: With such a stir you would have said, This little place may well be dizzy! 340 'Tis who can dance with greatest vigour— 'Tis what can be most prompt and eager; As if it heard the fiddle's call, The pewter clatters on the wall; The very bacon shows its feeling, 345 Swinging from the smoky ceiling!

A steaming bowl, a blazing fire, What greater good can heart desire? 'Twere worth a wise man's while to try The utmost anger of the sky: 350 To seek for thoughts of a gloomy cast, If such the bright amends at last. [38] Now should you say [39] I judge amiss, The CHERRY TREE shows proof of this; For soon of all [40] the happy there, 355 Our Travellers are the happiest pair; All care with Benjamin is gone— A Caesar past the Rubicon! He thinks not of his long, long strife;— The Sailor, Man by nature gay, 360 Hath no resolves to throw away; [41] And he hath now forgot his Wife, Hath quite forgotten her—or may be Thinks her the luckiest soul on earth, Within that warm and peaceful berth, [42] 365 Under cover, Terror over, Sleeping by her sleeping Baby.

With bowl that sped from hand to hand, The gladdest of the gladsome band, 370 Amid their own delight and fun, [43] They hear—when every dance is done, When every whirling bout is o'er—[44] The fiddle's squeak [G]—that call to bliss, Ever followed by a kiss; 375 They envy not the happy lot, But enjoy their own the more!

While thus our jocund Travellers fare, Up springs the Sailor from his chair— Limps (for I might have told before 380 That he was lame) across the floor— Is gone—returns—and with a prize; With what?—a Ship of lusty size; A gallant stately Man-of-war, Fixed on a smoothly-sliding car. 385 Surprise to all, but most surprise To Benjamin, who rubs his eyes, Not knowing that he had befriended A Man so gloriously attended!

"This," cries the Sailor, "a Third-rate is—390 Stand back, and you shall see her gratis! This was the Flag-ship at the Nile, The Vanguard—you may smirk and smile, But, pretty Maid, if you look near, You'll find you've much in little here! 395 A nobler ship did never swim, And you shall see her in full trim: I'll set, my friends, to do you honour, Set every inch of sail upon her." So said, so done; and masts, sails, yards, 400 He names them all; and interlards His speech with uncouth terms of art, Accomplished in the showman's part; And then, as from a sudden check, Cries out—"'Tis there, the quarter-deck 405 On which brave Admiral Nelson stood— A sight that would have roused your blood! One eye he had, which, bright as ten, Burned like a fire among his men; Let this be land, and that be sea, 410 Here lay the French—and thus came we!" [H]

Hushed was by this the fiddle's sound, The dancers all were gathered round, And, such the stillness of the house, You might have heard a nibbling mouse; 415 While, borrowing helps where'er he may, The Sailor through the story runs Of ships to ships and guns to guns; And does his utmost to display The dismal conflict, and the might 420 And terror of that marvellous [45] night! "A bowl, a bowl of double measure," Cries Benjamin, "a draught of length, To Nelson, England's pride and treasure, Her bulwark and her tower of strength!" 425 When Benjamin had seized the bowl, The mastiff, from beneath the waggon, Where he lay, watchful as a dragon, Rattled his chain;—'twas all in vain, For Benjamin, triumphant soul! 430 He heard the monitory growl; Heard—and in opposition quaffed A deep, determined, desperate draught! Nor did the battered Tar forget, Or flinch from what he deemed his debt: 435 Then, like a hero crowned with laurel, Back to her place the ship he led; Wheeled her back in full apparel; And so, flag flying at mast head, Re-yoked her to the Ass:—anon, 440 Cries Benjamin, "We must be gone." Thus, after two hours' hearty stay, Again behold them on their way!


Right gladly had the horses stirred, When they the wished-for greeting heard, 445 The whip's loud notice from the door, That they were free to move once more. You think, those [46] doings must have bred In them disheartening doubts and dread; No, not a horse of all the eight, 450 Although it be a moonless night, Fears either for himself or freight; For this they know (and let it hide, In part, the offences of their guide) That Benjamin, with clouded brains, 455 Is worth the best with all their pains; And, if they had a prayer to make, The prayer would be that they may take With him whatever comes in course, The better fortune or the worse; 460 That no one else may have business near them, And, drunk or sober, he may steer them.

So, forth in dauntless mood they fare, And with them goes the guardian pair.

Now, heroes, for the true commotion, 465 The triumph of your late devotion! Can aught on earth impede delight, Still mounting to a higher height; And higher still—a greedy flight! Can any low-born care pursue her, 470 Can any mortal clog come to her? [J] No notion have they—not a thought, That is from joyless regions brought! And, while they coast the silent lake, Their inspiration I partake; 475 Share their empyreal spirits—yea, With their enraptured vision, see— O fancy—what a jubilee! What shifting pictures—clad in gleams Of colour bright as feverish dreams! 480 Earth, spangled sky, and lake serene, Involved and restless all—a scene Pregnant with mutual exaltation, Rich change, and multiplied creation! This sight to me the Muse imparts;—485 And then, what kindness in their hearts! What tears of rapture, what vow-making, Profound entreaties, and hand-shaking! What solemn, vacant, interlacing, As if they'd fall asleep embracing! 490 Then, in the turbulence of glee, And in the excess of amity, Says Benjamin, "That Ass of thine, He spoils thy sport, and hinders mine: If he were tethered to the waggon, 495 He'd drag as well what he is dragging; And we, as brother should with brother, Might trudge it alongside each other!"

Forthwith, obedient to command, The horses made a quiet stand; 500 And to the waggon's skirts was tied The Creature, by the Mastiff's side, The Mastiff wondering, and perplext With dread of what will happen next; And thinking it but sorry cheer, 505 To have such company so near! [47]

This new arrangement made, the Wain Through the still night proceeds again; No Moon hath risen her light to lend; But indistinctly may be kenned 510 The VANGUARD, following close behind, Sails spread, as if to catch the wind!

"Thy wife and child are snug and warm, Thy ship will travel without harm; I like," said Benjamin, "her shape and stature: 515 And this of mine—this bulky creature Of which I have the steering—this, Seen fairly, is not much amiss! We want your streamers, friend, you know; But, altogether [48] as we go, 520 We make a kind of handsome show! Among these hills, from first to last, We've weathered many a furious blast; Hard passage forcing on, with head Against the storm, and canvass spread. 525 I hate a boaster; but to thee Will say't, who know'st both land and sea, The unluckiest hulk that stems [49] the brine Is hardly worse beset than mine, When cross-winds on her quarter beat; 530 And, fairly lifted from my feet, I stagger onward—heaven knows how; But not so pleasantly as now: Poor pilot I, by snows confounded, And many a foundrous pit surrounded! 535 Yet here we are, by night and day Grinding through rough and smooth our way; Through foul and fair our task fulfilling; And long shall be so yet—God willing!"

"Ay," said the Tar, "through fair and foul—540 But save us from yon screeching owl!" That instant was begun a fray Which called their thoughts another way: The mastiff, ill-conditioned carl! What must he do but growl and snarl, 545 Still more and more dissatisfied With the meek comrade at his side! Till, not incensed though put to proof, The Ass, uplifting a hind hoof, Salutes the Mastiff on the head; 550 And so were better manners bred, And all was calmed and quieted.

"Yon screech-owl," says the Sailor, turning Back to his former cause of mourning, "Yon owl!—pray God that all be well! 555 'Tis worse than any funeral bell; As sure as I've the gift of sight, We shall be meeting ghosts to-night!" —Said Benjamin, "This whip shall lay A thousand, if they cross our way. 560 I know that Wanton's noisy station, I know him and his occupation; The jolly bird hath learned his cheer Upon [50] the banks of Windermere; Where a tribe of them make merry, 565 Mocking the Man that keeps the ferry; Hallooing from an open throat, Like travellers shouting for a boat. —The tricks he learned at Windermere This vagrant owl is playing here—570 That is the worst of his employment: He's at the top [51] of his enjoyment!"

This explanation stilled the alarm, Cured the foreboder like a charm; This, and the manner, and the voice, 575 Summoned the Sailor to rejoice; His heart is up—he fears no evil From life or death, from man or devil; He wheels [52]—and, making many stops, Brandished his crutch against the mountain tops; 580 And, while he talked of blows and scars, Benjamin, among the stars, Beheld a dancing—and a glancing; Such retreating and advancing As, I ween, was never seen 585 In bloodiest battle since the days of Mars!


Thus they, with freaks of proud delight, Beguile the remnant of the night; And many a snatch of jovial song Regales them as they wind along; 590 While to the music, from on high, The echoes make a glad reply.— But the sage Muse the revel heeds No farther than her story needs; Nor will she servilely attend 595 The loitering journey to its end. —Blithe spirits of her own impel The Muse, who scents the morning air, To take of this transported pair A brief and unreproved farewell; 600 To quit the slow-paced waggon's side, And wander down yon hawthorn dell, With murmuring Greta for her guide. —There doth she ken the awful form Of Raven-crag—black as a storm—605 Glimmering through the twilight pale; And Ghimmer-crag, [K] his tall twin brother, Each peering forth to meet the other:— And, while she roves [53] through St. John's Vale, Along the smooth unpathwayed plain, 610 By sheep-track or through cottage lane, Where no disturbance comes to intrude Upon the pensive solitude, Her unsuspecting eye, perchance, With the rude shepherd's favoured glance, 615 Beholds the faeries in array, Whose party-coloured garments gay The silent company betray: Red, green, and blue; a moment's sight! For Skiddaw-top with rosy light 620 Is touched—and all the band take flight. —Fly also, Muse! and from the dell Mount to the ridge of Nathdale Fell; Thence, look thou forth o'er wood and lawn Hoar with the frost-like dews of dawn; 625 Across yon meadowy bottom look, Where close fogs hide their parent brook; And see, beyond that hamlet small, The ruined towers of Threlkeld-hall, Lurking in a double shade, 630 By trees and lingering twilight made! There, at Blencathara's rugged feet, Sir Lancelot gave a safe retreat To noble Clifford; from annoy Concealed the persecuted boy, 635 Well pleased in rustic garb to feed His flock, and pipe on shepherd's reed Among this multitude of hills, Crags, woodlands, waterfalls, and rills; Which soon the morning shall enfold, 640 From east to west, in ample vest Of massy gloom and radiance bold.

The mists, that o'er the streamlet's bed Hung low, begin to rise and spread; Even while I speak, their skirts of grey 645 Are smitten by a silver ray; And lo!—up Castrigg's naked steep (Where, smoothly urged, the vapours sweep Along—and scatter and divide, Like fleecy clouds self-multiplied) 650 The stately waggon is ascending, With faithful Benjamin attending, Apparent now beside his team— Now lost amid a glittering steam: [54] And with him goes his Sailor-friend, 655 By this time near their journey's end; And, after their high-minded riot, Sickening into thoughtful quiet; As if the morning's pleasant hour, Had for their joys a killing power. 660 And, sooth, for Benjamin a vein Is opened of still deeper pain, As if his heart by notes were stung From out the lowly hedge-rows flung; As if the warbler lost in light [L] 665 Reproved his soarings of the night, In strains of rapture pure and holy Upbraided his distempered folly. [55]

Drooping is he, his step is dull; [56] But the horses stretch and pull; 670 With increasing vigour climb, Eager to repair lost time; Whether, by their own desert, Knowing what cause there is [57] for shame, They are labouring to avert 675 As much as may be of the blame, [58] Which, they foresee, must soon alight Upon his head, whom, in despite Of all his failings, they love best; [59] Whether for him they are distrest, 680 Or, by length of fasting roused, Are impatient to be housed: Up against the hill they strain Tugging at the iron chain, Tugging all with might and main, 685 Last and foremost, every horse To the utmost of his force! And the smoke and respiration, Rising like an exhalation, Blend [60] with the mist—a moving shroud 690 To form, an undissolving cloud; Which, with slant ray, the merry sun Takes delight to play upon. Never golden-haired Apollo, Pleased some favourite chief to follow 695 Through accidents of peace or war, In a perilous moment threw Around the object of his care Veil of such celestial hue; [61] Interposed so bright a screen—700 Him and his enemies between!

Alas! what boots it?—who can hide, When the malicious Fates are bent On working out an ill intent? Can destiny be turned aside? 705 No—sad progress of my story! Benjamin, this outward glory Cannot shield [62] thee from thy Master, Who from Keswick has pricked forth, Sour and surly as the north; 710 And, in fear of some disaster, Comes to give what help he may, And [63] to hear what thou canst say; If, as needs he must forebode, [64] Thou hast been loitering [65] on the road! 715 His fears, his doubts, [66] may now take flight— The wished-for object is in sight; Yet, trust the Muse, it rather hath Stirred him up to livelier wrath; Which he stifles, moody man! 720 With all the patience that he can; To the end that, at your meeting, He may give thee decent greeting.

There he is—resolved to stop, Till the waggon gains the top; 725 But stop he cannot—must advance: Him Benjamin, with lucky glance, Espies—and instantly is ready, Self-collected, poised, and steady: And, to be the better seen, 730 Issues from his radiant shroud, From his close-attending cloud, With careless air and open mien. Erect his port, and firm his going; So struts yon cock that now is crowing; 735 And the morning light in grace Strikes upon his lifted face, Hurrying the pallid hue away That might his trespasses betray. But what can all avail to clear him, 740 Or what need of explanation, Parley or interrogation? For the Master sees, alas! That unhappy Figure near him, Limping o'er the dewy grass, 745 Where the road it fringes, sweet, Soft and cool to way-worn feet; And, O indignity! an Ass, By his noble Mastiffs side, Tethered to the waggon's tail: 750 And the ship, in all her pride, Following after in full sail! Not to speak of babe and mother; Who, contented with each other, And snug as birds in leafy arbour, 755 Find, within, a blessed harbour!

With eager eyes the Master pries; Looks in and out, and through and through; Says nothing—till at last he spies A wound upon the Mastiff's head, 760 A wound, where plainly might be read What feats an Ass's hoof can do! But drop the rest:—this aggravation, This complicated provocation, A hoard of grievances unsealed; 765 All past forgiveness it repealed; And thus, and through distempered blood On both sides, Benjamin the good, The patient, and the tender-hearted, Was from his team and waggon parted; 770 When duty of that day was o'er, Laid down his whip—and served no more.— Nor could the waggon long survive, Which Benjamin had ceased to drive: It lingered on;—guide after guide 775 Ambitiously the office tried; But each unmanageable hill Called for his patience and his skill;— And sure it is, that through this night, And what the morning brought to light, 780 Two losses had we to sustain, We lost both WAGGONER and WAIN!

* * * * *

Accept, O Friend, for praise or blame, The gift of this adventurous song; A record which I dared to frame, 785 Though timid scruples checked me long; They checked me—and I left the theme Untouched;—in spite of many a gleam Of fancy which thereon was shed, Like pleasant sunbeams shifting still 790 Upon the side of a distant hill: But Nature might not be gainsaid; For what I have and what I miss I sing of these;—it makes my bliss! Nor is it I who play the part, 795 But a shy spirit in my heart, That comes and goes—will sometimes leap From hiding-places ten years deep; Or haunts me with familiar face, [67] Returning, like a ghost unlaid, 800 Until the debt I owe be paid. Forgive me, then; for I had been On friendly terms with this Machine: [M] In him, while he was wont to trace Our roads, through many a long year's space, 805 A living almanack had we; We had a speaking diary, That in this uneventful place, Gave to the days a mark and name By which we knew them when they came. 810 —Yes, I, and all about me here, Through all the changes of the year, Had seen him through the mountains go, In pomp of mist or pomp of snow, Majestically huge and slow: 815 Or, with a milder grace [68] adorning The landscape of a summer's morning; While Grasmere smoothed her liquid plain The moving image to detain; And mighty Fairfield, with a chime 820 Of echoes, to his march kept time; When little other business stirred, And little other sound was heard; In that delicious hour of balm, Stillness, solitude, and calm, 825 While yet the valley is arrayed, On this side with a sober shade; On that is prodigally bright— Crag, lawn, and wood—with rosy light. —But most of all, thou lordly Wain! 830 I wish to have thee here again, When windows flap and chimney roars, And all is dismal out of doors; And, sitting by my fire, I see Eight sorry carts, no less a train! 835 Unworthy successors of thee, Come straggling through the wind and rain: And oft, as they pass slowly on, Beneath my windows, [69] one by one, See, perched upon the naked height 840 The summit of a cumbrous freight, A single traveller—and there Another; then perhaps a pair— The lame, the sickly, and the old; Men, women, heartless with the cold; 845 And babes in wet and starveling plight; Which once, [70] be weather as it might, Had still a nest within a nest, Thy shelter—and their mother's breast! Then most of all, then far the most, 850 Do I regret what we have lost; Am grieved for that unhappy sin Which robbed us of good Benjamin;— And of his stately Charge, which none Could keep alive when He was gone! 855

* * * * *


[Variant 1:


The Night-hawk is singing his frog-like tune, Twirling his watchman's rattle about—1805. MS. [a]

The dor-hawk, solitary bird, Round the dim crags on heavy pinions wheeling, Buzzes incessantly, a tiresome tune; That constant voice is all that can be heard 1820.

... on heavy pinions wheeling, With untired voice sings an unvaried tune; Those burring notes are all that can be heard 1836.

The text of 1845 returns to the first version of 1819.]

[Variant 2:


Now that the children are abed The little glow-worms nothing dread, Such prize as their bright lamps would be. Sooth they come in company, And shine in quietness secure, On the mossy bank by the cottage door, As safe as on the loneliest moor. In the play, or on the hill, Everything is hushed and still; The clouds show here and there a spot Of a star that twinkles not, The air as in ...

From a MS. copy of the poem in Henry Crabb Robinson's 'Diary, etc'. 1812.

Now that the children's busiest schemes Do all lie buried in blank sleep, Or only live in stirring dreams, The glow-worms fearless watch may keep; Rich prize as their bright lamps would be, They shine, a quiet company, On mossy bank by cottage-door, As safe as on the loneliest moor. In hazy straits the clouds between, And in their stations twinkling not, Some thinly-sprinkled stars are seen, Each changed into a pallid spot. 1836.

The text of 1845 returns to that of 1819.]

[Variant 3:


The mountains rise to wond'rous height, And in the heavens there is a weight; 1819.

And in the heavens there hangs a weight; 1827.

In the editions of 1819 to 1832, these two lines follow the line "Like the stifling of disease."]

[Variant 4:


... faint ... 1836.

The text of 1845 returns to that of 1819.]

[Variant 5:


But welcome dews ... 1836.

The text of 1845 returns to that of 1819.]

[Variant 6:


... or ... 1836.

The text of 1845 returns to that of 1819.]

[Variant 7:


Listen! you can hardly hear! Now he has left the lower ground, And up the hill his course is bending, With many a stop and stay ascending;—1836.

The text of 1845 returns to that of 1819.]

[Variant 8:


And now ... 1819.]

[Variant 9:


Gathering ... 1819.]

[Variant 10:


No;—him infirmities beset, But danger is not near him yet; 1836.

The text of 1845 returns to that of 1819.]

[Variant 11:


is he secure; 1819.]

[Variant 12:


full well 1819.]

[Variant 13:


Uncouth although the object be, An image of perplexity; Yet not the less it is our boast, 1819.]

[Variant 14:


... I frame ... 1819.]

[Variant 15:


And never was my heart more light. 1819.]

[Variant 16:


... will bless ... 1819.]

[Variant 17:


... delight, ... 1819.]

[Variant 18:


Good proof of this the Country gain'd, One day, when ye were vex'd and strain'd— Entrusted to another's care, And forc'd unworthy stripes to bear. 1819.]

[Variant 19:

1836. (Expanding four lines into six.)

Here was it—on this rugged spot Which now contented with our lot We climb—that piteously abused Ye plung'd in anger and confused: 1819.]

[Variant 20:


... in your ... 1819.]

[Variant 21:


The ranks were taken with one mind; 1819.]

[Variant 22:


Our road be, narrow, steep, and rough; 1836.

The text of 1845 returns to that of 1819.]

[Variant 23:


large drops upon his head 1819.]

[Variant 24:


He starts-and, at the admonition, Takes a survey of his condition. 1819.]

[Variant 25:


A huge and melancholy room, 1819.]

[Variant 26:


... on high ... 1819.]

[Variant 27: 1836. The previous four lines were added in the edition of 1820, where they read as follows:

And suddenly a ruffling breeze (That would have sounded through the trees Had aught of sylvan growth been there) Was felt throughout the region bare: 1820.]

[Variant 28:


By peals of thunder, clap on clap! And many a terror-striking flash;— And somewhere, as it seems, a crash, 1819.]

[Variant 29:


And rattling ... 1819,]

[Variant 30:

1836. (Compressing six lines into four.)

The voice, to move commiseration, Prolong'd its earnest supplication— "This storm that beats so furiously— This dreadful place! oh pity me!"

While this was said, with sobs between, And many tears, by one unseen; 1819.]

[Variant 31:


And Benjamin, without further question, Taking her for some way-worn rover, 1819.

And, kind to every way-worn rover, Benjamin, without a question, 1836.]

[Variant 32:


... trouble ... 1819.]

[Variant 33:


And to a little tent hard by Turns the Sailor instantly; 1819.

And to his tent-like domicile, Built in a nook with cautious skill, The Sailor turns, well pleased to spy His shaggy friend who stood hard by Drenched—and, more fast than with a tether, Bound to the nook by that fierce weather, Which caught the vagrants unaware: For, when, ere closing-in ... 1836.]

[Variant 34:


Had tempted ... 1819.]

[Variant 35:


Proceeding with an easy mind; While he, who had been left behind, 1819.]

[Variant 36:


Who neither heard nor saw—no more Than if he had been deaf and blind, Till, startled by the Sailor's roar, 1819.]

[Variant 37:


That blew us hither! dance, boys, dance! Rare luck for us! my honest soul, I'll treat thee to a friendly bowl!" 1836.

The text of 1845 returns to that of 1819.]

[Variant 38:


To seek for thoughts of painful cast, If such be the amends at last. 1819.]

[Variant 39:


... think ... 1819.]

[Variant 40:


For soon among ... 1836.

The text of 1845 returns to that of 1819.]

[Variant 41:


And happiest far is he, the One No longer with himself at strife, A Caesar past the Rubicon! The Sailor, Man by nature gay, Found not a scruple in his way; 1836.

The text of 1845 returns to that of 1819.]

[Variant 42:


Deems that she is happier, laid Within that warm and peaceful bed; 1819.]

[Variant 43:


With bowl in hand, (It may not stand) Gladdest of the gladsome band, Amid their own delight and fun, 1819.

With bowl that sped from hand to hand, Refreshed, brimful of hearty fun, The gladdest of the gladsome band, 1836.]

[Variant 44:


They hear—when every fit is o'er—1819.]

[Variant 45:


... wondrous ... 1819.]

[Variant 46:


... these ... 1819.]

[Variant 47:


... the Mastiff's side, (The Mastiff not well pleased to be So very near such company.) 1819.]

[Variant 48:


... all together, ... 1819.]

[Variant 49:


... sails ... 1819.]

[Variant 50:


On ... 1819.]

[Variant 51:


He's in the height ... 1819.]

[Variant 52:


He wheel'd—... 1819.]

[Variant 53:


And, rambling on ... 1819.]

[Variant 54:


Now hidden by the glittering steam: 1836.

The text of 1845 returns to that of 1819.]

[Variant 55:

1845. The previous eight lines were added in 1836, when they read thus:

Say more: for by that power a vein Seems opened of brow-saddening pain: As if their hearts by notes were stung From out the lowly hedge-rows flung; As if the warbler lost in light Reproved their soarings of the night; In strains of rapture pure and holy Upbraided their distempered folly. 1836.]

[Variant 56:


They are drooping, weak, and dull; 1819.

Drooping are they, and weak and dull;—1836.]

[Variant 57:


Knowing that there's cause ... 1819.

Knowing there is cause ... 1827.]

[Variant 58:


They are labouring to avert At least a portion of the blame 1819.

They now are labouring to avert (Kind creatures!) something of the blame, 1836.]

[Variant 59:


Which full surely will alight Upon his head, whom, in despite Of all his faults, they love the best; 1819.

Upon his head, ... 1820.]

[Variant 60:


Blends ... 1819.]

[Variant 61:


Never, surely, old Apollo, He, or other God as old, Of whom in story we are told, Who had a favourite to follow Through a battle or elsewhere, Round the object of his care, In a time of peril, threw Veil of such celestial hue; 1819.

Never Venus or Apollo, Pleased a favourite chief to follow Through accidents of peace or war, In a time of peril threw, Round the object of his care, Veil of such celestial hue; 1832.

Never golden-haired Apollo, Nor blue-eyed Pallas, nor the Idalian Queen, When each was pleased some favourite chief to follow Through accidents of peace or war, In a perilous moment threw Around the object of celestial care A veil so rich to mortal view. 1836.

Never Venus or Apollo, Intent some favourite chief to follow Through accidents of peace or war, Round the object of their care In a perilous moment threw A veil of such celestial hue. C.

Round each object of their care C.]

[Variant 62:


Fails to shield ... 1836.

The text of 1845 returns to that of 1819.]

[Variant 63:


Or ... 1819.]

[Variant 64:


If, as he cannot but forebode, 1836.

The text of 1845 returns to that of 1819.]

[Variant 65:


Thou hast loitered ... 1819.]

[Variant 66:


His doubts—his fears ... 1819.]

[Variant 67:

1827. (Compressing two lines into one.)

Sometimes, as in the present case, Will show a more familiar face; 1819.

Or, proud all rivalship to chase, Will haunt me with familiar face; 1820.]

[Variant 68:


Or, with milder grace ... 1832.

The edition of 1845 reverts to the text of 1819.]

[Variant 69:


... window ... 1819.]

[Variant 70: "Once" 'italicised' in 1820 only.]

* * * * *


[Footnote A: The title page of the edition of 1819 runs as follows: The Waggoner, A Poem. To which are added, Sonnets. By William Wordsworth.

"What's in a NAME?" ... "Brutus will start a Spirit as soon as Caesar!"

London, etc. etc., 1819,—Ed.]

[Footnote B: See 'The Seasons' (Summer), ll. 977-79.—Ed.]

[Footnote C: Such is the progress of refinement, this rude piece of self-taught art has been supplanted by a professional production.—W. W. 1819.

Mr. William Davies writes to me,

"I spent a week there (the Swan Inn) early in the fifties, and well remember the sign over the door distinguishable from afar: the inn, little more than a cottage (the only one), with clean well-sanded floor, and rush-bottomed chairs: the landlady, good old soul, one day afraid of burdening me with some old coppers, insisted on retaining them till I should return from an uphill walk, when they were duly tendered to me. Here I learnt many particulars of Hartley Coleridge, dead shortly before, who had been a great favourite with the host and hostess. The grave of Wordsworth was at that time barely grassed over."—Ed.]

[Footnote D: See Wordsworth's note [Note I to this poem, below], p. 109.—Ed.]

[Footnote E: A mountain of Grasmere, the broken summit of which presents two figures, full as distinctly shaped as that of the famous cobler, near Arracher, in Scotland.—W. W. 1819.]

[Footnote F: A term well known in the North of England, as applied to rural Festivals, where young persons meet in the evening for the purpose of dancing.—W. W. 1819.]

[Footnote G: At the close of each strathspey, or jig, a particular note from the fiddle summons the Rustic to the agreeable duty of saluting his Partner.—W. W. 1819.]

[Footnote H: Compare in 'Tristram Shandy':

"And this, said he, is the town of Namur, and this is the citadel: and there lay the French, and here lay his honour and myself."—Ed.]

[Footnote J: See Wordsworth's note [Note III to this poem, below], p. 109.—Ed.]

[Footnote K: The crag of the ewe lamb.—W. W. 1820.]

[Footnote L: Compare Tennyson's "Farewell, we lose ourselves in light."—Ed.]

[Footnote M: Compare Wordsworth's lines, beginning, "She was a Phantom of delight," p. i, and Hamlet, act II. sc. ii. l. 124.—Ed.]

* * * * *


[Sub-Footnote a: See Wordsworth's note [Note II to the poem, below], p. 109.—Ed.]

* * * * *


(Added in the edition of 1836)


Several years after the event that forms the subject of the foregoing poem, in company with my friend, the late Mr. Coleridge, I happened to fall in with the person to whom the name of Benjamin is given. Upon our expressing regret that we had not, for a long time, seen upon the road either him or his waggon, he said:—"They could not do without me; and as to the man who was put in my place, no good could come out of him; he was a man of no ideas."

The fact of my discarded hero's getting the horses out of a great difficulty with a word, as related in the poem, was told me by an eye-witness.


'The Dor-hawk, solitary bird.'

When the Poem was first written the note of the bird was thus described:

'The Night-hawk is singing his frog-like tune, Twirling his watchman's rattle about—'

but from unwillingness to startle the reader at the outset by so bold a mode of expression, the passage was altered as it now stands.


After the line, 'Can any mortal clog come to her', followed in the MS. an incident which has been kept back. Part of the suppressed verses shall here be given as a gratification of private feeling, which the well-disposed reader will find no difficulty in excusing. They are now printed for the first time.

Can any mortal clog come to her? It can: ... ... But Benjamin, in his vexation, Possesses inward consolation; He knows his ground, and hopes to find A spot with all things to his mind, An upright mural block of stone, Moist with pure water trickling down. A slender spring; but kind to man It is, a true Samaritan; Close to the highway, pouring out Its offering from a chink or spout; Whence all, howe'er athirst, or drooping With toil, may drink, and without stooping.

Cries Benjamin, "Where is it, where? Voice it hath none, but must be near." —A star, declining towards the west, Upon the watery surface threw Its image tremulously imprest, That just marked out the object and withdrew: Right welcome service! ... ...

ROCK OF NAMES! Light is the strain, but not unjust To Thee and thy memorial-trust, That once seemed only to express Love that was love in idleness; Tokens, as year hath followed year, How changed, alas, in character! For they were graven on thy smooth breast By hands of those my soul loved best; Meek women, men as true and brave As ever went to a hopeful grave: Their hands and mine, when side by side With kindred zeal and mutual pride, We worked until the Initials took Shapes that defied a scornful look.— Long as for us a genial feeling Survives, or one in need of healing, The power, dear Rock, around thee cast, Thy monumental power, shall last For me and mine! O thought of pain, That would impair it or profane! Take all in kindness then, as said With a staid heart but playful head; And fail not Thou, loved Rock! to keep Thy charge when we are laid asleep.

W. W.

There is no poem more closely identified with the Grasmere district of the English Lakes—and with the road from Grasmere to Keswick—than 'The Waggoner' is, and in none are the topographical allusions more minute and faithful.

Wordsworth seemed at a loss to know in what "class" of his poems to place 'The Waggoner;' and his frequent changes—removing it from one group to another—shew the artificial character of these classes. Thus, in the edition of 1820, it stood first among the "Poems of the Fancy." In 1827 it was the last of the "Poems founded on the Affections." In 1832 it was reinstated among the "Poems of the Fancy." In 1836 it had a place of its own, and was inserted between the "Poems of the Fancy" and those "Founded on the Affections;" while in 1845 it was sent back to its original place among the "Poems of the Fancy;" although in the table of contents it was printed as an independent poem, closing the series.

The original text of 'The Waggoner' underwent little change, till the year 1836, when it was carefully revised, and altered throughout. The final edition of 1845, however, reverted, in many instances—especially in the first canto—to the original text of 1819.

As this poem was dedicated to Charles Lamb, it may be of interest to note that, some six months afterwards, Lamb presented Wordsworth with a copy of the first edition of 'Paradise Regained' (the edition of 1671), writing on it the following sentence,

"Charles Lamb, to the best knower of Milton, and therefore the worthiest occupant of this pleasant edition.—Jan. 2nd, 1820."

The opening stanzas are unrivalled in their description of a sultry June evening, with a thunder-storm imminent.

' 'Tis spent—this burning day of June! Soft darkness o'er its latest gleams is stealing; The buzzing dor-hawk, round and round, is wheeling,— That solitary bird Is all that can be heard In silence deeper far than that of deepest noon! ... ... The mountains against heaven's grave weight Rise up, and grow to wondrous height. The air, as in a lion's den, Is close and hot;—and now and then Comes a tired and sultry breeze With a haunting and a panting, Like the stifling of disease; But the dews allay the heat, And the silence makes it sweet.'

The Waggoner takes what is now the middle road, of the three leading from Rydal to Grasmere (see the note to 'The Primrose of the Rock'). The "craggy hill" referred to in the lines

'Now he leaves the lower ground, And up the craggy hill ascending ... Steep the way and wearisome,'

is the road from Rydal Quarry up to White Moss Common, with the Glowworm rock on the right, and the "two heath-clad rocks," referred to in the last of the "Poems on the Naming of Places," on the left. He next passes "The Wishing Gate" on the left, John's Grove on the right, and descends by Dove Cottage—where Wordsworth lived—to Grasmere.

'... at the bottom of the brow, Where once the DOVE and OLIVE-BOUGH Offered a greeting of good ale To all who entered Grasmere Vale; And called on him who must depart To leave it with a jovial heart; There, where the DOVE and OLIVE-BOUGH Once hung, a Poet harbours now, A simple water-drinking Bard.'

He goes through Grasmere, passes the Swan Inn,

'He knows it to his cost, good Man! Who does not know the famous SWAN? Object uncouth! and yet our boast, For it was painted by the Host; His own conceit the figure planned, 'Twas coloured all by his own hand.'

As early as 1819, when the poem was first published, "this rude piece of self-taught art had been supplanted" by a more pretentious figure. The Waggoner passes the Swan,

'And now the conqueror essays The long ascent of Dunmail-raise.'

As he proceeds, the storm gathers, and "struggles to get free." Road, hill, and sky are dark; and he barely sees the well-known rocks at the summit of Helm-crag, where two figures seem to sit, like those on the Cobbler, near Arrochar, in Argyle.

'Black is the sky—and every hill, Up to the sky, is blacker still— Sky, hill, and dale, one dismal room, Hung round and overhung with gloom; Save that above a single height Is to be seen a lurid light, Above Helm-crag—a streak half dead, A burning of portentous red; And near that lurid light, full well The ASTROLOGER, sage Sidrophel, Where at his desk and book he sits, Puzzling aloft his curious wits; He whose domain is held in common With no one but the ANCIENT WOMAN, Cowering beside her rifted cell, As if intent on magic spell;— Dread pair, that, spite of wind and weather, Still sit upon Helm-crag together!'

At the top of the "raise"—the water-shed between the vales of Grasmere and Wytheburn—he reaches the familiar pile of stones, at the boundary between the shires of Westmoreland and Cumberland.

'... that pile of stones, Heaped over brave King Dunmail's bones; ... Green is the grass for beast to graze, Around the stones of Dunmail-raise!'

The allusion to Seat-Sandal laid bare by the flash of lightning, and the description, in the last canto, of the ascent of the Raise by the Waggoner on a summer morning, are as true to the spirit of the place as anything that Wordsworth has written. He tells his friend Lamb, fourteen years after he wrote the poem of 'The Waggoner,'

'Yes, I, and all about me here, Through all the changes of the year, Had seen him through the mountains go, In pomp of mist or pomp of snow, Majestically huge and slow: Or, with a milder grace adorning The landscape of a summer's morning; While Grasmere smoothed her liquid plain The moving image to detain; And mighty Fairfield, with a chime Of echoes, to his march kept time; When little other business stirred, And little other sound was heard; In that delicious hour of balm, Stillness, solitude, and calm, While yet the valley is arrayed, On this side with a sober shade; On that is prodigally bright— Crag, lawn, and wood—with rosy light.'

From Dunmail-raise the Waggoner descends to Wytheburn. Externally,

'... Wytheburn's modest House of prayer, As lowly as the lowliest dwelling,'

remains very much as it was in 1805; but the primitive simplicity and "lowliness" of the chapel was changed by the addition a few years ago of an apse, by the removal of some of the old rafters, and by the reseating of the pews.

The Cherry Tree Tavern, where "the village Merry-night" was being celebrated, still stands on the eastern or Helvellyn side of the road. It is now a farm-house; but it will be regarded with interest from the description of the rustic dance, which recalls ('longo intervallo') 'The Jolly Beggars' of Burns. After two hours' delay at the Cherry Tree, the Waggoner and Sailor "coast the silent lake" of Thirlmere, and pass the Rock of Names.

This rock was, until lately, one of the most interesting memorials of Wordsworth and his friends that survived in the Lake District; but the vale of Thirlmere is now a Manchester water-tank, and the place which knew the Rock of Names now knows it no more. It was a sort of trysting place of the poets of Grasmere and Keswick—being nearly half-way between the two places—and there, Wordsworth, Coleridge, and other members of their households often met. When Coleridge left Grasmere for Keswick, the Wordsworths usually accompanied him as far as this rock; and they often met him there on his way over from Keswick to Grasmere. Compare the Hon. Mr. Justice Coleridge's Reminiscences. ('Memoirs of Wordsworth,' vol. ii. p. 310.)

The rock was on the right hand of the road, a little way past Waterhead, at the southern end of Thirlmere; and on it were cut the letters,

W. W. M. H. D. W. S. T. C. J. W. S. H.

the initials of William Wordsworth, Mary Hutchinson, Dorothy Wordsworth, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, John Wordsworth, and Sarah Hutchinson. The Wordsworths settled at Grasmere at the close of the year 1799. As mentioned in a previous note, John Wordsworth lived with his brother and sister during most of that winter, and during the whole of the spring, summer, and autumn of 1800, leaving it finally on September 29, 1800. These names must therefore have been cut during the spring or summer of 1800. There is no record of the occurrence, and no allusion to the rock, in Dorothy Wordsworth's Grasmere Journal of 1800. But that Journal, so far as I have seen it, begins on the 14th of May 1800. Almost every detail of the daily life and ways of the household at Dove Cottage is so minutely recorded in it, that I am convinced that this incident of the cutting of names in the Thirlmere Rock would have been mentioned, had it happened between the 14th of May and John Wordsworth's departure from Grasmere in September. Such references as this, for example, occur in the Journal:

"Saturday, August 2.—William and Coleridge went to Keswick. John went with them to Wytheburn, and staid all day fishing."

I therefore infer that it was in the spring or early summer of 1800 that the names were cut.

I may add that the late Dean of Westminster—Dean Stanley—took much interest in this Rock of Names; and doubt having been cast on the accuracy of the place and the genuineness of the inscriptions, in a letter from Dr. Fraser, then Bishop of Manchester, which he forwarded to me, he entered into the question with all the interest with which he was wont to track out details in the architecture or the history of a Church.

There were few memorials connected with Wordsworth more worthy of preservation than this "upright mural block of stone." When one remembered that the initials on the rock were graven by the hands of William and John Wordsworth, by Samuel Taylor Coleridge, possibly with the assistance of Dorothy Wordsworth, the two Hutchinsons (Mary and Sarah), and that Wordsworth says of it,

'We worked until the Initials took Shapes that defied a scornful look,'

this Thirlmere Rock was felt to be a far more interesting memento of the group of poets that used to meet beside it, than the Stone in the grounds of Rydal Mount, which was spared at Wordsworth's suit, "from some rude beauty of its own." There was simplicity, as well as strength, in the way in which the initials were cut. But the stone was afterwards desecrated by tourists, and others, who had the audacity to scratch their own names or initials upon it. In 1877 I wrote, "The rock is as yet wonderfully free from such; and its preservation is probably due to the dark olive-coloured moss, with which the 'pure water trickling down' has covered the face of the 'mural block,' and thus secured it from observation, even on that highway;" but I found in the summer of 1882 that several other names had been ruthlessly added. When the Manchester Thirlmere scheme was finally resolved upon, an effort was made to remove the Stone, with the view of its being placed higher up the hill on the side of the new roadway. In the course of this attempt, the Stone was broken to pieces.

There is a very good drawing of "The Rock of Names" by Mr. Harry Goodwin, in 'Through the Wordsworth Country, 1892'.

"The Muse" takes farewell of the Waggoner as he is proceeding with the Sailor and his quaint model of the 'Vanguard' along the road toward Keswick. She "scents the morning air," and

'Quits the slow-paced waggon's side, To wander down yon hawthorn dell, With murmuring Greta for her guide.'

The "hawthorn dell" is the upper part of the Vale of St. John.

'—There doth she ken the awful form Of Raven-crag—black as a storm— Glimmering through the twilight pale; And Ghimmer-crag, his tall twin brother, Each peering forth to meet the other.'

Raven-crag is well known,—H.C. Robinson writes of it in his 'Diary' in 1818, as "the most significant of the crags at a spot where there is not one insignificant,"—a rock on the western side of Thirlmere, where the Greta issues from the lake. But there is no rock in the district now called by the name of Ghimmer-crag, or the crag of the Ewe-lamb. I am inclined to think that Wordsworth referred to the "Fisher-crag" of the Ordnance Survey and the Guide Books. No other rock round Thirlmere can with any accuracy be called the "tall twin brother" of Raven-crag: certainly not Great How, nor any spur of High Seat or Bleaberry Fell. Fisher-crag resembles Raven-crag, as seen from Thirlmere Bridge, or from the high road above it; and it is somewhat remarkable that Green—in his Guide to the Lakes (a volume which the poet possessed)—makes use of the same expression as that which Wordsworth adopts regarding these two crags, Raven and Fisher.

"The margin of the lake on the Dalehead side has its charms of wood and water; and Fischer Crag, twin brother to Raven Crag, is no bad object, when taken near the island called Buck's Holm"

('A Description of Sixty Studies from Nature', by William Green of Ambleside, 1810, p. 57). I cannot find any topographical allusion to a Ghimmer-crag in contemporary local writers. Clarke, in his 'Survey of the Lakes', does not mention it.

The Castle Rock, in the Vale of Legberthwaite, between High Fell and Great How, is the fairy castle of Sir Walter Scott's 'Bridal of Triermain'. "Nathdale Fell" is the ridge between Naddle Vale (Nathdale Vale) and that of St. John, now known as High Rigg. The old Hall of Threlkeld has long been in a state of ruinous dilapidation, the only habitable part of it having been for many years converted into a farmhouse. The remaining local allusions in 'The Waggoner' are obvious enough: Castrigg is the shortened form of Castlerigg, the ridge between Naddle Valley and Keswick.

In the "Reminiscences" of Wordsworth, which the Hon. Mr. Justice Coleridge wrote for the late Bishop of Lincoln, in 1850, there is the following reference to 'The Waggoner'. (See 'Memoirs', vol. ii. p. 310.)

"'The Waggoner' seems a very favourite poem of his. He said his object in it had not been understood. It was a play of the fancy on a domestic incident, and lowly character. He wished by the opening descriptive lines to put his reader into the state of mind in which he wished it to be read. If he failed in doing that, he wished him to lay it down. He pointed out with the same view, the glowing lines on the state of exultation in which Ben and his companions are under the influence of liquor. Then he read the sickening languor of the morning walk, contrasted with the glorious uprising of Nature, and the songs of the birds. Here he has added about six most exquisite lines."

The lines referred to are doubtless the eight (p. 101), beginning

'Say more; for by that power a vein,'

which were added in the edition of 1836.

The following is Sara Coleridge's criticism of 'The Waggoner'. (See 'Biographia Literaria', vol. ii. pp. 183, 184, edition 1847.)

"Due honour is done to 'Peter Bell', at this time, by students of poetry in general; but some, even of Mr. Wordsworth's greatest admirers, do not quite satisfy me in their admiration of 'The Waggoner', a poem which my dear uncle, Mr. Southey, preferred even to the former. 'Ich will meine Denkungs Art hierin niemandem aufdringen', as Lessing says: I will force my way of thinking on nobody, but take the liberty, for my own gratification, to express it. The sketches of hill and valley in this poem have a lightness, and spirit—an Allegro touch—distinguishing them from the grave and elevated splendour which characterises Mr. Wordsworth's representations of Nature in general, and from the passive tenderness of those in 'The White Doe', while it harmonises well with the human interest of the piece; indeed it is the harmonious sweetness of the composition which is most dwelt upon by its special admirers. In its course it describes, with bold brief touches, the striking mountain tract from Grasmere to Keswick; it commences with an evening storm among the mountains, presents a lively interior of a country inn during midnight, and concludes after bringing us in sight of St. John's Vale and the Vale of Keswick seen by day-break—'Skiddaw touched with rosy light,' and the prospect from Nathdale Fell 'hoar with the frost-like dews of dawn:' thus giving a beautiful and well-contrasted Panorama, produced by the most delicate and masterly strokes of the pencil. Well may Mr. Ruskin, a fine observer and eloquent describer of various classes of natural appearances, speak of Mr. Wordsworth as the great poetic landscape painter of the age. But Mr. Ruskin has found how seldom the great landscape painters are powerful in expressing human passions and affections on canvas, or even successful in the introduction of human figures into their foregrounds; whereas in the poetic paintings of Mr. Wordsworth the landscape is always subordinate to a higher interest; certainly, in 'The Waggoner', the little sketch of human nature which occupies, as it were, the front of that encircling background, the picture of Benjamin and his temptations, his humble friends and the mute companions of his way, has a character of its own, combining with sportiveness a homely pathos, which must ever be delightful to some of those who are thoroughly conversant with the spirit of Mr. Wordsworth's poetry. It may be compared with the ale-house scene in 'Tam o'Shanter', parts of Voss's Luise, or Ovid's Baucis and Philemon; though it differs from each of them as much as they differ from each other. The Epilogue carries on the feeling of the piece very beautifully."

The editor of Southey's 'Life and Correspondence'—his son, the Rev. Charles Cuthbert Southey—tells us, in a note to a letter from S.T. Coleridge to his father, that the Waggoner's name was Jackson; and that "all the circumstances of the poem are accurately correct." This Jackson, after retiring from active work as waggoner, became the tenant of Greta Hall, where first Coleridge, and afterwards Southey lived. The Hall was divided into two houses, one of which Jackson occupied, and the other of which he let to Coleridge, who speaks thus of him in the letter to Southey, dated Greta Hall, Keswick, April 13, 1801:

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