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little more than a rearrangement, in metrical sequence, of the ipsissima verba of Dorothy's journal. In 1815 Wordsworth added a footnote: “The subject of these Stanzas is rather an elementary feeling and simple impression (approaching to the nature of an ocular spectrum) upon the imaginative faculty, than an exertion of it." But in those days it was held to be beneath the dignity of verse to record such simple impressions,' or mere imagery. No appearance in nature, however interesting, might be described by the Poet except for the purpose of moralizing it, i.e., connecting it, by obscure analogies, with the world of man. Coleridge examines and explodes this opinion in a letter to Wm. Sotheby, September 10, 1802.
“ Nature,” he says,
" has her proper interest, and he will know what it is who believes and feels that everything has a life of its own, and that we are all ONE LIFE. A poet's heart and intellect should be combined, intimately combined and unified with the appearances of nature, and not merely held in solution and loose mixture with them in the shape of formal similes" (Letters, ed. Mr. E. H. Coleridge, p. 403). Coleridge, how
ever, found fault with the lines—"the two best in the poem,” according to the Poet, who ascribes them to his wife :
“They flash upon that inward eye
“ If (he says) we describe in such lines the mere calling up, through a visual spectrum, of the feelings and images that had accompanied the original impression, in what words shall we describe the joy of retrospection, when the images and virtuous actions of a whole well-spent life pass before that conscience which is indeed the inward eye: which is indeed “the bliss of solitude ?'"1 And from the public not one of Wordsworth's Ballads—not even Alice Fell or The Idiot Boy-drew a fiercer stormblast of
1 We fear that in this passage, as in his remarks on II. 121-124 of the Intimations of Immortality Ode, Coleridge can hardly be acquitted of an intent to wound his old friend. And then—for S. T. C., of all men, to talk of the joy lying in the retrospect of a well-spent life! Is it not as though Baby Charles were to celebrate the praises of plaindealing, or Steenie to lecture on the obligation of continence ?
obloquy than did these stanzas, which are now justly ranked amongst their author's dearest masterpieces. The author of the Simpliciad bracketed the dancing, laughing daffodils' with the galloping waterfalls,' the 'swarming hailstones,' the trampling waves,' the trumpeting cataracts' and the thronging echoes; ' and here again, as in the instance of the fiery heart' (page 188), Wordsworth “yielded to the occasion's call,” substituting 'golden' for
dancing' (1. 4) and jocund' for 'laughing ' (1. 10) in 1815. In the same year. Along' (1. 5) became • Beside,' and l. 6 was altered to: Fluttering and dancing in the breeze." Also the following stanza was added between stanzas i. and ü. :
“ Continuous as the stars that shine
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance." “Who fancied what a pretty sight" (page 51).-Composed 1803 (W.-1836). "Love-sick' (1. 8) became 'gentle' in 1836.
The Sparrow's Nest (page 53).—Composed 1801 (W.-1836). John Wordsworth, the Poet's father, occupied “a substantial, two-storied mansion of Jacobean type, solid, square, ugly, but comfortable and roomy, set back from the main street” of Cockermouth. The garden at the back abutted on the river Derwent. “ Still survive, against the terrace wall behind the house over the river, its privet and rose hedges” (Rawnsley, The English Lakes, i., p. 189). A contemptuous reference to 11. 1-4 in The Simpliciad led to their recasting in 1815, as follows:
“ Behold within the leafy shade
The defective rhyme in 11. 11, 12 remained unaltered until 1845, when the lines were thus remodelled :
“ She looked at it and seemed to fear it;
Gipsies (page 55).-Composed 1807 (W.-1836). Wordsworth had seen the gipsies near Castle Donnington, as he journeyed to and from Derby. Coleridge detected in this poem the vice of“ mental bombast," i.e., thoughts and images too great for the subject. Wordsworth expresses his ruth at the indolence of the gipsies in language which “ would have been rather above than below the mark, had it been applied to the immense empire of China improgressive for thirty centuries.” (Cf. his criticism of ll. 15, 16 of The Daffodils, page 192.) Wordsworth felt the abruptness of the conclusion, and in 1820 added four lines of apology:
· Yet, witness all that stirs in heaven or earth! In scorn I speak not ;—they are what their birth
And breeding suffer them to be;
Wild outcasts of society!” In 1827, feeling that the closing lines (23, 24) of 1807 were too weak and prosaic for their position, he substituted for them the following: " Life which the
reprove As on their silent tasks they move!" --thus sacrificing the expressive phrase "goings-on,"