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he could not but meet with real frailty, and did not look for peace where alone it could be found. Hence his mind was ill at ease."'*
It is to this period that reference is made in those books of the Prelude entitled “ Imagination and Taste, how lost and repaired.” And indeed it is the Synopsis of human history. Thus it is that by disappointment and loss of faith in man, all who have trusted, break from the Anchorage of Faith; the only difference being that to some the disappointment arises from one cause, and some from another. Simple natures know nothing of those terrible tempests which shake the souls capable of more profound observation, more extensive survey, and deeper feelings; but what matters that; the destruction of the ant-hill is to the ant as important a matter as is the destruction of a kingdom to men. The bird that returns to its brake and finds its nest gone, is as much cast forth from all rest as the poor villagers visited by the earthquake; shall we debate who are the noblest natures? those who feel through their hearts in dreary misanthropic moods, the rent of their nature from their kind; or those on whom all the voices of the storms of Revolution make their appeal in vain. The disappointments which shake our trust, sometimes result from the rending of our affections, and sometimes our faith in man. Wordsworth had evidently indulged in a very sanguine dream of human excellence and greatness; and he was perhaps especially inclined
to regard those with respect who founded all their speeches and exertions in boasted love to, and belief in man. He visited them at home to be disenchanted; he very affectingly describes his feelings at the time of the breaking out of the French Revolution
“I brought with me the faith, That if France prospered, good men would not long Pay fruitless worship to humanity.”
He expected an universal triumph of goodness—an inauguration of virtue, justice, and truth. He met with a two-fold cause of sorrow,* but one of his most especial sources of grief was that England allied herself with the confederacy of Europe to crush the liberties of France. To him at that moment England seemed recreant to herself—seemed to him to depart from the central principle of her History and her Being
Of my beloved Country. Wishing not
And tossed about in whirlwind." All have to undergo some great grief in life-many a far more close and severe grief than that which assailed our poet. Compared with those conflicts which many hearts have to bear and endure, his will seem indeed trifling. Still it was a mighty grief, no less than the reeling and splitting of a world, and the shaking foundations that seemed to stand firm and venerable beneath the feet-only, the cracking of the world is not so grave a matter to a man as the cracking of the heart, and the one is much more easily mended than the other. These rendings of heart or world too tend to harden, and to give substance to the mental nature, they strengthen, and when the spirit has recovered the shock they renew. A man has no very firm foundation who has not had, two or three times, his structure on the sand washed away; on the whole, have we not to say that great disappointments are among our best educators; they send away some pleasant illusions ; let in some beams of light, painful it may be to the eye, but these illusions are illusions, and light is light, and it is by passing through the one, and gratefully receiving the other, that we are admitted to the true reality of things.
THE POET AND HIS SISTER.
“Under yon orchard in yon humble cot,
Up to this period the Poet had been for the most part a solitary, and perhaps not a very happy, wanderer
over the world; we cannot see that any person as yet bad greatly influenced his life, and through his whole mental history it is difficult to find that any book or books materially affected him. He was separated from his brothers; he had in no distinct sense of the word a home, and he was the subject of feelings and thoughts which as yet had no kindred nature with which to communicate ; for it seems he had been almost wholly separated from his sister, - his sister, who was however soon to exercise so fine and hallowing a control over his life and character : we shall have occasion to revert to his frequent and most affectionate mention of her; indeed it is clear that the history of the Poet's mind would be quite incomplete without thus tracing their connection together, since it is in reference to her he says
“She gave me eyes, she gave me ears,
And love and thought and joy."
His nature was exquisite, and most sensitive in its tenderness, but it possessed many elements of a more stern and invulnerable character; and we cannot but think that his life would have presented a wholly different aspect to the world had his sister not been with him. We have sometimes even questioned whether she did not prevent his attainment to a higher eminence by constantly calling off his attention to shades and colours, and shapes, of simple and ineffable beauty, and thus preventing him from building up one great and elabo