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had led him to read more in the early part of his life. Wilkie's style of painting does not require that the mind should be fed from books; but I do not think it possible to excel in landscape painting without a strong tincture of the poetic spirit.*
OF THE INSCRIPTIONS AT COLEORTON.
Letter to Lady Beaumont.
Grasmere, Wednesday, Nov. 20. 1811. MY DEAR LADY BEAUMONT,
When you see this you will think I mean to overrun you with inscriptions: I do not mean to tax you with putting them up, only with reading them. The following I composed yesterday morning, in a walk from Brathway, whither I had been to accompany my sister.
FOR A SEAT IN THE GROVES OF COLEORTON.
The ivied ruins of forlorn Grace Dieu, &c. &c. I hope that neither you nor Sir George will think that the above takes from the effect of the mention of Francis Beaumont in the poem upon the cedar. Grace Dieu is itself so interesting a spot, and has naturally and historically such a connection with Coleorton, that I could not deny myself the pleasure of paying it this mark of attention. The thought of writing the inscription occurred to me many years ago. I took the liberty of transcribing for Sir George an alteration which I had made in the inscription for St. Herbert's island; I was not then quite satisfied with it; I have since retouched it, and will trouble you to read him the following, which I hope will give you pleasure.
This island, guarded from profane approach
Gave to St. Herbert a benign retreat, &c. &c. I ought to mention, that the line,
And things of holy use unhallowed lie, is taken from the following of Daniel, Strait all that holy was unhallowed lies.
* Memoirs, vol. i. pp. 360-3.
I will take this occasion of recommending to you (if you happen to have Daniel's poems) to read the epistle addressed to the Lady Margaret, Countess of Cumberland, beginning,
He that of such a height hath built his mind. The whole poem is composed in a strain of meditative morality more dignified and affecting than anything of the kind I ever read. It is, besides, strikingly applicable to the revolutions of the present times.
My dear Lady Beaumont, your letter and the accounts it contains of the winter-garden, gave me great pleasure. I cannot but think, that under your care, it will grow up into one of the most beautiful and interesting spots in England. We all here have a longing desire to see it. I have mentioned the high opinion we have of it to a couple of my friends, persons of taste living in this country, who are determined, the first time they are called up to London, to turn aside to visit it; which I said they might without scruple do, if they mentioned my name to the gardener. My sister begs me to say, that she
, is aware how long she has been in your debt, and that she should have written before now, but that, as I have, latterly, been in frequent communication with Coleorton, she thought it as well to defer answering your letter. Do you see the Courier newspaper at Dunmow? I ask on account of a little poem upon the comet, which I have read in it to-day. Though with several defects, and some feeble and constrained expressions, it has great merit, and is far superior to the run, not merely of newspaper, but of modern poetry in general. I half suspect it to be Coleridge's, for though it is, in parts, inferior to him, I know no other writer of the day who can do so well. It consists of five stanzas, in the measure of the 'Fairy Queen. It is to be found in last Saturday's paper, November 16th. If you don't see the Courier we will transcribe it for you. As so much of this letter is taken up with my verses, I will e'en trespass still further on your indulgence, and conclude with a sonnet, which I wrote some time ago upon the poet, John Dyer. If you have not read the 'Fleece,' I would strongly recommend it to you.
‘ The character of Dyer, as a patriot, a citizen, and a tenderhearted friend of humanity was, in some respects, injurious to him as a poet, and has induced him to dwell, in his poem, upon
processes which, however important in themselves, were unsusceptible of being poetically treated. Accordingly, his poem is, in several places, dry and heavy; but its beauties are innumerable, and of a high order. In point of imagination and purity of style, I am not sure that he is not superior to any writer in verse since the time of Milton.
Those southern tracts of Cambria, deep embayed, &c. &c. In the above is one whole line from the 'Fleece,' and two other expressions. When you read the 'Fleece' you will recognise them. I remain, my dear Lady Beaumont,
Your sincere friend,
EXCURSION IN NORTH WALES.
Letter to Sir George H. Beaumont.
Hindwell, Radnor, Sept. 20. 1824. MY DEAR SIR GEORGE,
After a three weeks' ramble in North Wales, Mrs. Wordsworth, Dora, and myself are set down quietly here for three weeks more. The weather has been delightful, and everything to our wishes. On a beautiful day we took the steampacket at Liverpool, passed the mouth of the Dee, coasted the extremity of the Vale of Clwyd, sailed close under Great Orm's Head, had a noble prospect of Penmaenmawr, and having almost touched upon Puffin's Island, we reached Bangor Ferry, a little after six in the afternoon. We admired the stupendous preparations for the bridge over the Menai ; and breakfasted next morning at Carnarvon. We employed several hours in exploring the interior of the noble castle, and looking at it from different points of view in the neighbourhood. At half-past four we departed for Llanberris, having fine views as we looked back of C. Castle, the sea, and Anglesey. A little before sunset
* Memoirs, vol. i. pp. 363-6.
we came in sight of Llanberris Lake, Snowdon, and all the craggy hills and mountains surrounding it; the foreground a beautiful contrast to this grandeur and desolation-a green sloping hollow, furnishing a shelter for one of the most beautiful collections of lowly Welsh cottages, with thatched roofs, overgrown with plants, anywhere to be met with : the hamlet is called Cum-y-glo. And here we took boat, while the solemn lights of evening were receding towards the tops of the mountains. As we advanced, Dolbardin Castle came in view, and Snowdon opened upon our admiration. It was almost dark when we reached the quiet and comfortable inn at Llanberris.
There being no carriage-road, we undertook to walk by the Pass of Llanberris, eight miles, to Capel Cerig; this proved fatiguing, but it was the only oppressive exertion we made during the course of our tour. We arrived at Capel Cerig in time for a glance at the Snowdonian range, from the garden of the inn, in connection with the lake (or rather pool) reflecting the crimson clouds of evening. The outline of Snowdon is perhaps seen nowhere to more advantage than from this place. Next morning, five miles down a beautiful valley to the banks of the Conway, which stream we followed to Llanrwst ; but the day was so hot that we could only make use of the morning and evening. Here we were joined, according to previous arrangement, by Bishop Hobart, of New York, who remained with us till two o'clock next day, and left us to complete his hasty tour through North and South Wales. In the afternoon arrived my old college friend and youthful companion among the Alps, the Rev. R. Jones, and in his car we all proceeded to the Falls of the Conway, thence up that river to a newly-erected inn on the Irish road, where we lodged; having passed through bold and rocky scenery along the banks of a stream which is a feeder of the Dee. Next morning we turned from the Irish road three or four miles to visit the Valley of Meditation' (Glyn Mavyr) where Mr. Jones has, at present, a curacy, with a comfortable parsonage. We slept at Corwen, and went down the Dee to Llangollen, which you and dear Lady B. know well. Called upon the celebrated Recluses,* who hoped that you and Lady B. had not forgotten them; they certainly had not forgotten you, and
* The Lady E. Butler, and the Hon. Miss Ponsonby.
they begged us to say that they retained a lively remembrance of you both. We drank tea and passed a couple of hours with them in the evening, having visited the aqueduct over the Dee and Chirk Castle in the afternoon. Lady E. has not been well, and has suffered much in her eyes, but she is surprisingly lively for her years.
Miss P. is apparently in unimpaired health. Next day I sent them the following sonnet from Ruthin, which was conceived, and in a great measure composed, in their grounds.
A stream, to mingle with your favourite Dee,
We passed three days with Mr. Jones's friends in the vale of Clwyd, looking about us, and on the Tuesday set off again, accompanied by our friend, to complete our tour. We dined at Conway, walked to Bennarth, the view from which is a good deal choked up with wood. A small part of the castle has been demolished for the sake of the new road to communicate with the suspension-bridge, which they are about to make to the small island opposite the castle, to be connected by a long embankment with the opposite shore. The bridge will, I think, prove rather ornamental when time has taken off the newness of its supporting masonry; but the mound deplorably impairs the majesty of the water at high-tide; in fact it destroys its lake-like appearance.
Our drive to Aber in the evening was charming; sun setting in glory. We had also a delightful walk next morning up the vale of Aber, terminated by a lofty waterfall ; not much in itself, but most striking as a closing accompaniment to the secluded valley. Here, in the early morning, I saw an odd sight-fifteen milk-maids together, laden with their brimming pails. How cheerful and happy they appeared ! and not a little inclined to joke after the manner of the pastoral persons in Theocritus. That day brought us to Capel Cerig again, after a charming drive up the banks of the Ogwen, having previously had beautiful views of Bangor, the sea, and its shipping. From Capel Cerig down the justly celebrated vale of Nant Gwynant to Bethgelart. In this vale are two small lakes, the higher of which is the only Welsh lake which has any pretensions to compare with our own; and it has one great