Recollections of a Tour Made in Scotland A.D. 1803
by Dorothy Wordsworth
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This ebook was transcribed by Les Bowler.


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Edited by J. C. Shairp




First Week.

1. Left Keswick—Grisdale—Mosedale—Hesket 1 Newmarket—Caldbeck Falls

2. Ross Castle—Carlisle—Hatfield—Longtown 2

3. Solway Moss—Enter Scotland—Springfield—Gretna 3 Green—Annan—Dumfries

4. Burns's Grave 5

Ellisland—Vale of Nith 7

Brownhill 8

Poem to Burns's Sons 10

5. Thornhill—Drumlanrig—River Nith 11

Turnpike House 12

Sportsman 13

Vale of Menock 14

Wanlockhead 15

Leadhills 18

Miners 19

Hopetoun mansion 20

Hostess 20

6. Road to Crawfordjohn 22

Douglas Mill 28

Clyde—Lanerk 31

Boniton Linn 33

Second Week.

7. Falls of the Clyde 35

Cartland Crags 40

Fall of Stonebyres—Trough of the Clyde 43

Hamilton 44

8. Hamilton House 45

Baroncleuch—Bothwell Castle 48

Glasgow 52

9. Bleaching ground (Glasgow Green) 53

Road to Dumbarton 55

10. Rocks and Castle of Dumbarton 58

Vale of Leven 62

Smollett's Monument 63

Loch Achray 64

Luss 67

11. Islands of Loch Lomond 71

Road to Tarbet 75

The Cobbler 78

Tarbet 79

12. Left Tarbet for the Trossachs 81

Rob Roy's Caves 82

Inversneyde Ferryhouse and Waterfall 83

Singular building 84

Loch Ketterine 86

Glengyle 88

Mr. Macfarlane's 89

13. Breakfast at Glengyle 91

Lairds of Glengyle—Rob Roy 92

Burying ground 94

Ferryman's Hut 95

Trossachs 96

Loch Achray 101

Return to Ferryman's Hut 102

Third Week.

14. Left Loch Ketterine 106

Garrison House—Highland Girls 107

Ferryhouse at Inversneyde 108

Poem to the Highland Girl 113

Return to Tarbet 115

15. Coleridge resolves to go home 117

Arrochar—Loch Long 118

Parted with Coleridge 119

Glen Croe—The Cobbler 121

Glen Kinglas—Cairndow 123

16. Road to Inverary 124

Inverary 126

17. Vale of Arey 129

Loch Awe 134

Kilchurn Castle 138

Dalmally 139

18. Loch Awe 141

Taynuilt 143

Bunawe—Loch Etive 144

Tinkers 149

19. Road by Loch Etive downwards 152

Dunstaffnage Castle 153

Loch Crerar 156

Strath of Appin—Portnacroish 158

Islands of Loch Linnhe 159

Morven 160

Lord Tweeddale 161

Strath of Duror 163

Ballachulish 164

20. Road to Glen Coe up Loch Leven 165

Blacksmith's house 166

Glen Coe 172

Whisky hovel 174

King's House 175

Fourth Week.

21. Road to Inveroran 180

Inveroran—Public-house 182

Road to Tyndrum 183

Tyndrum 184

Loch Dochart 185

22. Killin 186

Loch Tay 188

Kenmore 189

23. Lord Breadalbane's grounds 193

Vale of Tay—Aberfeldy—Falls of Moness 194

River Tummel—Vale of Tummel 196

Fascally—Blair 197

24. Duke of Athol's gardens 198

Falls of Bruar—Mountain-road to Loch Tummel 201

Loch Tummel 203

Rivers Tummel and Garry 204

Fascally 205

25. Pass of Killicrankie—Sonnet 207

Fall of Tummel 208

Dunkeld 209

Fall of the Bran 210

26. Duke of Athol's gardens 211

Glen of the Bran—Rumbling Brig 212

Narrow Glen—Poem 213

Crieff 215

27. Strath Erne 215

Lord Melville's house—Loch Erne 216

Strath Eyer—Loch Lubnaig 217

Bruce the Traveller—Pass of Leny—Callander 218

Fifth Week.

28. Road to the Trossachs—Loch Vennachar 219

Loch Achray—Trossachs—Road up Loch Ketterine 220

Poem: 'Stepping Westward' 221

Boatman's hut 222

29. Road to Loch Lomond 223

Ferryhouse at Inversneyde 223

Walk up Loch Lomond 224

Glenfalloch 226

Glengyle 228

Rob Roy's Grave—Poem 229

Boatman's Hut 233

30. Mountain-Road to Loch Voil 235

Poem, 'The Solitary Reaper' 237

Strath Eyer 239

31. Loch Lubnaig 240

Callander—Stirling—Falkirk 241

32. Linlithgow—Road to Edinburgh 242

33. Edinburgh 243

Roslin 245

34. Roslin—Hawthornden 246

Road to Peebles 247

Sixth Week.

35. Peebles—Neidpath Castle—Sonnet 248

Tweed 249

Clovenford 251

Poem on Yarrow 252

36. Melrose—Melrose Abbey 255

37. Dryburgh 257

Jedburgh—Old Woman 260

Poem 262

38. Vale of Jed—Ferniehurst 265

39. Jedburgh—The Assizes 267

Vale of Teviot 268

Hawick 270

40. Vale of Teviot—Branxholm 270

Moss Paul 271

Langholm 272

41. Road to Longtown 272

River Esk—Carlisle 273

42. Arrival at home 274







To the Sons of Burns, after visiting the Grave of their 277 Father

At the Grave of Burns, 1803 278

Thoughts suggested the day following, on the Banks of 281 Nith, near the Poet's Residence

To a Highland Girl 113

Address to Kilchurn Castle, upon Loch Awe 285

Sonnet in the Pass of Killicrankie 207

Glen Almain; or the Narrow Glen 213

The Solitary Reaper 237

Stepping Westward 221

Rob Roy's Grave 229

Sonnet composed at Neidpath Castle 248

Yarrow Unvisited 252

The Matron of Jedborough and her Husband 262

Fly, some kind Spirit, fly to Grasmere Vale! 274

The Blind Highland Boy 286


The Brownie's Cell 298

Cora Linn, in sight of Wallace's Tower 283

Effusion, in the Pleasure-ground on the banks of the Bran, 294 near Dunkeld

Yarrow Visited 301


Yarrow Re-visited 304

On the Departure of Sir Walter Scott from Abbotsford, for 307 Naples

The Trossachs 308


Those who have long known the poetry of Wordsworth will be no strangers to the existence of this Journal of his sister, which is now for the first time published entire. They will have by heart those few wonderful sentences from it which here and there stand at the head of the Poet's 'Memorials of a Tour in Scotland in 1803.' Especially they will remember that 'Extract from the Journal of my Companion' which preludes the 'Address to Kilchurn Castle upon Loch Awe,' and they may sometimes have asked themselves whether the prose of the sister is not as truly poetic and as memorable as her brother's verse. If they have read the Memoirs of the Poet published by his nephew the Bishop of Lincoln, they will have found there fuller extracts from the Journal, which quite maintain the impression made by the first brief sentences. All true Wordsworthians then will welcome, I believe, the present publication. They will find in it not only new and illustrative light on those Scottish poems which they have so long known, but a faithful commentary on the character of the poet, his mode of life, and the manner of his poetry. Those who from close study of Wordsworth's poetry know both the poet and his sister, and what they were to each other, will need nothing more than the Journal itself. If it were likely to fall only into their hands, it might be left without one word of comment or illustration. But as it may reach some who have never read Wordsworth, and others who having read do not relish him, for the information of these something more must be said. The Journal now published does not borrow all its worth from its bearing on the great poet. It has merit and value of its own, which may commend it to some who have no heart for Wordsworth's poetry. For the writer of it was in herself no common woman, and might have secured for herself an independent reputation, had she not chosen rather that other part, to forget and merge herself entirely in the work and reputation of her brother.

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DOROTHY WORDSWORTH was the only sister of the poet, a year and a half younger, having been born on Christmas Day 1771. The five children who composed the family, four sons and one daughter, lost their mother in 1778, when William was eight, and Dorothy six years old. The father died five years afterwards, at the close of 1783, and the family home at Cockermouth was broken up and the children scattered. Before his father's death, William, in his ninth year, had gone with his elder brother to school at Hawkshead, by the lake of Esthwaite, and after the father died Dorothy was brought up by a cousin on her mother's side, Miss Threlkeld, afterwards Mrs. Rawson, who lived in Halifax. During the eight years which Wordsworth spent at school, or, at any rate, from the time of his father's death, he and his sister seem seldom, if ever, to have met.

The first college vacation in the summer of 1788 brought him back to his old school in the vale of Esthwaite, and either this or the next of his undergraduate summers restored him to the society of his sister at Penrith. This meeting is thus described in the 'Prelude:'—

'In summer, making quest for works of art, Or scenes renowned for beauty, I explored That streamlet whose blue current works its way Between romantic Dovedale's spiry rocks; Pried into Yorkshire dales, or hidden tracts Of my own native region, and was blest Between these sundry wanderings with a joy Above all joys, that seemed another morn Risen on mid-noon; blest with the presence, Friend! Of that sole sister, her who hath been long Dear to thee also, thy true friend and mine, Now, after separation desolate Restored to me—such absence that she seemed A gift then first bestowed.'

They then together wandered by the banks of Emont, among the woods of Lowther, and 'climbing the Border Beacon looked wistfully towards the dim regions of Scotland.' Then and there too Wordsworth first met that young kinswoman who was his wife to be.

During the following summers the Poet was busy with walking tours in Switzerland and North Italy, his residence in France, his absorption in the French Revolution, which kept him some years longer apart from his sister. During those years Miss Wordsworth lived much with her uncle Dr. Cookson, who was a canon of Windsor and a favourite with the Court, and there met with people of more learning and refinement, but not of greater worth, than those she had left in her northern home.

In the beginning of 1794 Wordsworth, returned from his wanderings, came to visit his sister at Halifax, his head still in a whirl with revolutionary fervours. He was wandering about among his friends with no certain dwelling-place, no fixed plan of life, his practical purposes and his opinions, political, philosophical, and religious, all alike at sea. But whatever else might remain unsettled, the bread-and-butter question, as Coleridge calls it, could not. The thought of orders, for which his friends intended him, had been abandoned; law he abominated; writing for the newspaper press seemed the only resource. In this seething state of mind he sought once more his sister's calming society, and the two travelled together on foot from Kendal to Grasmere, from Grasmere to Keswick, 'through the most delightful country that was ever seen.'

Towards the close of this year (1794) Wordsworth would probably have gone to London to take up the trade of a writer for the newspapers. From this however he was held back for a time by the duty of nursing his friend Raisley Calvert, who lay dying at Penrith. Early in 1795 the young man died, leaving to his friend, the young Poet, a legacy of 900 pounds. The world did not then hold Wordsworth for a poet, and had received with coldness his first attempt, 'Descriptive Sketches and an Evening Walk,' published two years before. But the dying youth had seen further than the world, and felt convinced that his friend, if he had leisure given him to put forth his powers, would do something which would make the world his debtor. With this view he bequeathed him the small sum above named. And seldom has such a bequest borne ampler fruit. 'Upon the interest of the 900 pounds, 400 pounds being laid out in annuity, with 200 pounds deducted from the principal, and 100 pounds a legacy to my sister, and 100 pounds more which "The Lyrical Ballads" have brought me, my sister and I have contrived to live seven years, nearly eight.' So wrote Wordsworth in 1805 to his friend Sir George Beaumont. Thus at this juncture of the Poet's fate, when to onlookers he must have seemed both outwardly and inwardly well-nigh bankrupt, Raisley Calvert's bequest came to supply his material needs, and to his inward needs his sister became the best earthly minister. For his mind was ill at ease. The high hopes awakened in him by the French Revolution had been dashed, and his spirit, darkened and depressed, was on the verge of despair. He might have become such a man as he has pictured in the character of 'The Solitary.' But a good Providence brought his sister to his side and saved him. She discerned his real need and divined the remedy. By her cheerful society, fine tact, and vivid love for nature she turned him, depressed and bewildered, alike from the abstract speculations and the contemporary politics in which he had got immersed, and directed his thoughts towards truth of poetry, and the face of nature, and the healing that for him lay in these.

'Then it was That the beloved sister in whose sight Those days were passed— Maintained for me a saving intercourse With my true self; for though bedimmed and changed Much, as it seemed, I was no further changed Than as a clouded or a waning moon: She whispered still that brightness would return, She, in the midst of all, preserved me still A Poet, made me seek beneath that name, And that alone, my office upon earth.

By intercourse with her and wanderings together in delightful places of his native country, he was gradually led back

'To those sweet counsels between head and heart Whence genuine knowledge grew.'

The brother and sister, having thus cast in their lots together, settled at Racedown Lodge in Dorsetshire in the autumn of 1795. They had there a pleasant house, with a good garden, and around them charming walks and a delightful country looking out on the distant sea. The place was very retired, with little or no society, and the post only once a week. But of employment there was no lack. The brother now settled steadily to poetic work; the sister engaged in household duties and reading, and then when work was over, there were endless walks and wanderings. Long years afterwards Miss Wordsworth spoke of Racedown as the place she looked back to with most affection. 'It was,' she said, 'the first home I had.'

The poems which Wordsworth there composed were not among his best,—'The Borderers,' 'Guilt or Sorrow,' and others. He was yet only groping to find his true subjects and his own proper manner. But there was one piece there composed which will stand comparison with any tale he ever wrote. It was 'The Ruined Cottage,' which, under the title of the 'Story of Margaret,' he afterwards incorporated in the first Book of 'The Excursion.' It was when they had been nearly two years at Racedown that they received a guest who was destined to exercise more influence on the self-contained Wordsworth than any other man ever did. This was S. T. Coleridge. One can imagine how he would talk, interrupted only by their mutually reading aloud their respective Tragedies, both of which are now well-nigh forgotten, and by Wordsworth reading his 'Ruined Cottage,' which is not forgotten. Miss Wordsworth describes S. T. C., as he then was, in words that are well known. And he describes her thus, in words less known,—'She is a woman indeed, in mind I mean, and in heart; for her person is such that if you expected to see a pretty woman, you would think her ordinary; if you expected to see an ordinary woman, you would think her pretty, but her manners are simple, ardent, impressive. In every motion her innocent soul out-beams so brightly, that who saw her would say, "Guilt was a thing impossible with her." Her information various, her eye watchful in minutest observation of nature, and her taste a perfect electrometer.'

The result of this meeting of the two poets was that the Wordsworths shifted their abode from Racedown to Alfoxden, near Nether Stowey, in Somersetshire, to be near Coleridge. Alfoxden was a large furnished mansion, which the brother and sister had to themselves. 'We are three miles from Stowey, the then abode of Coleridge,' writes the sister, 'and two miles from the sea. Wherever we turn we have woods, smooth downs, and valleys, with small brooks running down them, through green meadows, hardly ever intersected with hedgerows, but scattered over with trees. The hills that cradle these valleys are either covered with fern and bilberries, or oak woods, which are cut for charcoal. Walks extend for miles over the hill-tops, the great beauty of which is their wild simplicity—they are perfectly smooth, without rocks.' It was in this neighbourhood, as the two poets loitered in the silvan combs or walked along the smooth Quantock hill-tops, looking seaward, with the 'sole sister,' the companion of their walks, that they struck each from the other his finest tones. It was with both of them the heyday of poetic creation. In these walks it was that Coleridge, with slight hints from Wordsworth, first chaunted the vision of the Ancient Mariner, and then alone, 'The rueful woes of Lady Christabel.' This, too, was the birthday of some of the finest of the Lyrical Ballads, of 'We are seven,' 'Simon Lee,' 'Expostulation and Reply,' and 'The Tables Turned,' 'It is the first mild day in March,' and 'I heard a thousand blended notes.' Coleridge never knew again such a season of poetic creation, and Wordsworth's tardier, if stronger, nature, received from contact with Coleridge that quickening impulse which it needed, and which it retained during all its most creative years.

But if Coleridge, with his occasional intercourse and wonderful talk, did much for Wordsworth, his sister, by her continual companionship, did far more. After the great revulsion from the excesses of the French Revolution, she was with him a continually sanative influence. That whole period, which ranged from 1795 till his settling at Grasmere at the opening of the next century, and of which the residence at Racedown and Alfoxden formed a large part, was the healing time of his spirit. And in that healing time she was the chief human minister. Somewhere in the 'Prelude' he tells that in early youth there was a too great sternness of spirit about him, a high but too severe moral ideal by which he judged men and things, insensible to gentler and humbler influences. He compares his soul to a high, bare craig, without any crannies in which flowers may lurk, untouched by the mellowing influences of sun and shower. His sister came with her softening influence, and sowed in it the needed flowers, and touched it with mellowing colours:

'She gave me eyes, she gave me ears, And humble cares and delicate fears, A heart, the fountain of sweet tears And love, and thought and joy.'

Elsewhere in the 'Prelude' he describes how at one time his soul had got too much under the dominion of the eye, so that he kept comparing scene with scene, instead of enjoying each for itself—craving new forms, novelties of colour or proportion, and insensible to the spirit of each place and the affections which each awakens. In contrast with this temporary mood of his own he turns to one of another temper:—

'I knew a maid, A young enthusiast who escaped these bonds, Her eye was not the mistress of her heart, She welcomed what was given, and craved no more; Whate'er the scene presented to her view, That was the best, to that she was attuned By her benign simplicity of life. Birds in the bower, and lambs in the green field, Could they have known her, would have loved; methought Her very presence such a sweetness breathed, That flowers, and trees, and even the silent hills, And everything she looked on, should have had An intimation how she bore herself Towards them and to all creatures. God delights In such a being; for her common thoughts Are piety, her life is gratitude.'

But it was not his sister the Poet speaks of here, but of his first meeting with her who afterwards became his wife.

The results of the residence at Racedown, but especially at Alfoxden, appeared in the shape of the first volume of the 'Lyrical Ballads,' which were published in the autumn of 1798 by Mr. Cottle at Bristol. This small volume opens with Coleridge's 'Rime of the Ancyent Marinere,' and is followed by Wordsworth's short but exquisite poems of the Alfoxden time, and is closed by the well-known lines on Tintern Abbey. Wordsworth reaches about the highest pitch of his inspiration in this latter poem, which contains more rememberable lines than any other of his, of equal length, save perhaps the Immortality Ode. It was the result of a ramble of four or five days made by him and his sister from Alfoxden in July 1798, and was composed under circumstances 'most pleasant,' he says, 'for me to remember.' He began it upon leaving Tintern, after crossing the Wye, and concluded it as he was entering Bristol in the evening.

Every one will recollect how, after its high reflections he turns at the close to her, 'his dearest Friend,' 'his dear, dear Friend,' and speaks of his delight to have her by his side, and of the former pleasures which he read in 'the shooting lights of her wild eyes,' and then the almost prophetic words with which he forebodes, too surely, that time when 'solitude, or fear, or pain, or grief should be her portion.'

That September (1798) saw the break-up of the brief, bright companionship near Nether Stowey. Coleridge went with Wordsworth and his sister to Germany, but soon parted from them and passed on alone to Gottingen, there to study German, and lose himself in the labyrinth of German metaphysics. Wordsworth and Dorothy remained at Goslar, and, making no acquaintances, spent the winter—said to have been the coldest of the century—by the German stoves, Wordsworth writing more lyrical poems in the same vein which had been opened so happily at Alfoxden. There is in these poems no tincture of their German surroundings; they deal entirely with those which they had left on English ground. Early in spring they returned to England, to spend the summer with their friends the Hutchinsons at Sockburn-upon-Tees. There Dorothy remained, while in September Wordsworth made with Coleridge the walking tour through the lakes of Westmoreland and Cumberland, which issued in his choice of a home at Grasmere for himself and his sister.

At the close of the year Wordsworth and his sister set off and walked, driven forward by the cold, frosty winds blowing from behind, from Wensleydale over Sedbergh's naked heights and the high range that divides the Yorkshire dales from the lake country. On the shortest day of the year (St. Thomas's Day) they reached the small two-story cottage at the Townend of Grasmere, which, for the next eight years, was to be the poet's home, immortalised by the work he did in it. That cottage has behind it a small orchard-plot or garden ground shelving upwards toward the woody mountains above, and in front it looks across the peaceful lake with its one green island, to the steeps of Silver-how on the farther side. Westward it looks on Helm Craig, and up the long folds of Easedale towards the range that divides Easedale from Borrowdale. In this cottage they two lived on their income of a hundred pounds a year, Dorothy doing all the household work, for they had then, it has been said, no servant. Besides this, she had time to write out all his poems—for Wordsworth himself could never bear the strain of transcribing—to read aloud to him of an afternoon or evening—at one such reading by her of Milton's Sonnets it was that his soul took fire and rolled off his first sonnets—and to accompany him on his endless walks. Nor these alone—her eye and imagination fed him, not only with subjects for his poetry, but even with images and thoughts. What we are told of the poem of the 'Beggars' might be said of I know not how many more. 'The sister's eye was ever on the watch to provide for the poet's pen.' He had a most observant eye, and she also for him; and his poems are sometimes little more than poetic versions of her descriptions of the objects which she had seen; and which he treated as seen by himself. Look at the poem on the 'Daffodils' and compare with it these words taken from the sister's Journal. 'When we were in the woods below Gowbarrow Park, we saw a few daffodils close by the water-side. As we went along there were more and yet more; and at last, under the boughs of the trees, we saw there were a long belt of them along the shore. I never saw daffodils so beautiful. They grew among the mossy stones about them. Some rested their heads on the stones, as on a pillow; the rest tossed, and reeled, and danced, and seemed as if they verily laughed with the wind, they looked so gay and glancing.' It may also be noted that the Poet's future wife contributed to this poem these two best lines—

'They flash upon that inward eye, Which is the bliss of solitude.'

Or take another description from Miss Wordsworth's Journal of a birch-tree, 'the lady of the woods,' which her brother has not versified:—'As we were going along we were stopped at once, at the distance, perhaps, of fifty yards from our favourite birch-tree: it was yielding to the gust of the wind, with all its tender twigs; the sun shone upon it, and it glanced in the wind like a flying sunshiny shower. It was a tree in shape, with stem and branches, but it was like a spirit of water.'

The life which the Poet and his sister lived during the eight years at the Townend of Grasmere stands out with a marked individuality which it is delightful ever so often to recur to. It was as unlike the lives of most literary or other men, as the most original of his poems are unlike the ordinary run of even good poetry. Their outward life was exactly like that of the dalesmen or 'statesmen'—for so the native yeomen proprietors are called—with whom they lived on the most friendly footing, and among whom they found their chief society. Outwardly their life was so, but inwardly it was cheered by imaginative visitings to which these were strangers. Sheltered as they then were from the agitations of the world, the severe frugality of the life they led ministered in more than one way to feed that poetry which introduced a new element into English thought. It kept the mind cool, and the eye clear, to feel once more that kinship between the outward world and the soul of man, to perceive that impassioned expression in the countenance of all nature, which, if felt by primeval men, ages of cultivation have long forgotten. It also made them wise to practise the same frugality in emotional enjoyment which they exercised in household economy. It has been well noted {0a} that this is one of Wordsworth's chief characteristics. It is the temptation of the poetic temperament to be prodigal of passion, to demand a life always strung to the highest pitch of emotional excitement, to be never content unless when passing from fervour to fervour. No life can long endure this strain. This is specially seen in such poets as Byron and Shelley, who speedily fell from the heights of passion to the depths of languor and despondency. The same quick using up of the power of enjoyment produces the too common product of the blase man and the cynic. Wordsworth early perceived that all, even the richest, natures have but a very limited capacity of uninterrupted enjoyment, and that nothing is easier than to exhaust this capacity. Hence he set himself to husband it, to draw upon it sparingly, to employ it only on the purest, most natural, and most enduring objects, and not to speedily dismiss or throw them by and demand more, but to detain them till they had yielded him their utmost. From this in part it came that the commonest sights of earth and sky—a fine spring day, a sunset, even a chance traveller met on a moor, any ordinary sorrow of man's life—yielded to him an amount of imaginative interest inconceivable to more mundane spirits. The simple healthiness and strict frugality of his household life suited well, and must have greatly assisted, that wholesome frugality of emotion which he exercised.

During those seven or eight Grasmere years, the spring of poetry which burst forth at Alfoxden, and produced the first volume of 'Lyrical Ballads,' flowed steadily on and found expression in other poems of like quality and spirit,—'Hartleap Well,' 'The Brothers,' 'Michael,' which, with others of the same order, written in Germany, appeared in the second volume of 'Lyrical Ballads.' And after these two volumes had gone forth, Grasmere still gave more of the same high order,—'The Daffodils,' 'The Leech-Gatherer,' and above all the 'Ode on Immortality.' It was too the conclusion of the 'Prelude,' and the beginning of the 'Excursion.' So that it may be said that those Grasmere years, from 1800 to 1807, mark the period when Wordsworth's genius was in its zenith. During all this time, sister Dorothy was by his side, ministering to him, equally in body and in mind—doing the part of household servant, and not less that of prompter and inspirer of his highest songs.

But this life of theirs, retired and uneventful as it seems, was not without its own incidents. Such was the homecoming of their younger sailor-brother John, who, in the first year of their residence at Grasmere—

'Under their cottage roof, had gladly come From the wild sea a cherished visitant.'

He was, what his brother calls him, 'a silent poet,' and had the heart and sense to feel the sterling quality of his brother's poems, and to foretell with perfect confidence their ultimate acceptance, at the time when the critic wits who ruled the hour treated them with contempt. The two brothers were congenial spirits, and William's poetry has many affecting allusions to his brother John, whose intention it was, when his last voyage was over, to settle in 'Grasmere's happy vale,' and to devote the surplus of his fortune to his brother's use. On his last voyage he sailed as captain of the 'Earl of Abergavenny' East-Indiaman, at the opening of February 1805; and on the 5th of that month, the ill-fated ship struck on the Shambles of the Bill of Portland, and the captain and most of the crew went down with her. To the brother and sister this became a permanent household sorrow. But in time they found comfort in that thought with which the Poet closes a remarkable letter on his brother's loss,—'So good must be better; so high must be destined to be higher.'

Another lesser incident was a short tour to the Continent, in which, as the brother and sister crossed Westminster Bridge, outside the Dover coach, both witnessed that sunrise which remains fixed for ever in the famous sonnet. Another incident, and more important, was Wordsworth's marriage in October 1802, when he brought home his young wife, Mary Hutchinson, his sister's long-time friend, to their cottage at Townend. This is she whom he has sung in the lines—'She was a phantom of delight;' of whom he said in plain prose, 'She has a sweetness all but angelic, simplicity the most entire, womanly self-respect and purity of heart speaking through all her looks, acts, and movements.' The advent of Mrs. Wordsworth brought no change to Dorothy. She still continued to fill to her brother and his wife the same place which she had filled when her brother was alone, sharing in all the household duties and family interests, and still accompanying him in his rambles when Mrs. Wordsworth was detained at home. The year after the marriage, that is, in the fourth year of the Grasmere residence, after the first son was born, the brother and sister, accompanied by Coleridge, set out on that tour the Journal of which is here published. Portions of it have already appeared in the 'Memoirs' of Wordsworth, but it is now for the first time given in full, just as it came from the pen of Miss Wordsworth seventy years ago. As I shall have to speak of it again, I may now pass on and note the few facts that still remain to be told in illustration of the writer's character.

In the years which followed the tour in Scotland, other children were added to Wordsworth's family, till the small cottage at the Townend could no longer accommodate the household. The second child was the poet's only daughter, whom after his sister he called Dorothy, generally known as Dora, for, as he tells Lady Beaumont, he could not find it in his heart to call her by another name. This second Dora occupies in Wordsworth's later poetry the same place which the first Dorothy held in his earlier. Aunt Dorothy's love, as it expanded to take in each newcomer, did not lose any of its intensity towards her brother. While the uneasiness which the act of writing had always occasioned him was not diminished, weakness of eyesight increased. Then she had to write for him, she read to him, she walked with him as of old, besides sharing in all household cares. In November 1806, Wordsworth removed with his family to Coleorton, in Leicestershire, to spend the winter there in a house of Sir George Beaumont's; 'Our own cottage,' he writes, 'being far too small for our family to winter in, though we manage well enough in it during the summer.' In the spring of 1807, Wordsworth and his wife visited London. Dorothy, who was left with the children, wrote the poem called 'The Mother's Return,' as a welcome to Mrs. Wordsworth when she came back. This with two other poems, written by her for the children, one on 'The Wind,' the other called 'The Cottager to her Infant,' afterwards appeared in an edition of her brother's poems.

This seems the proper place to give the account of Miss Wordsworth, as she appeared to De Quincey, when in 1807 he first made the acquaintance of Wordsworth, just before the Poet and his family quitted their old home in the cottage at Grasmere Townend. After speaking of Mrs. Wordsworth, he continues:—

'Immediately behind her moved a lady, shorter, slighter, and perhaps, in all other respects, as different from her in personal characteristics as could have been wished for the most effective contrast. "Her face was of Egyptian brown;" rarely, in a woman of English birth, had I seen a more determinate gipsy tan. Her eyes were not soft as Mrs. Wordsworth's, nor were they fierce or bold; but they were wild and startling, and hurried in their motion. Her manner was warm, and even ardent; her sensibility seemed constitutionally deep; and some subtle fire of impassioned intellect apparently burned within her, which—being alternately pushed forward into a conspicuous expression by the irresistible instincts of her temperament, and then immediately checked in obedience to the decorum of her sex and age and her maidenly condition—gave to her whole demeanour, and to her conversation, an air of embarrassment, and even of self-conflict, that was almost distressing to witness. Even her very utterance and enunciation often suffered in point of clearness and steadiness, from the agitation of her excessive organic sensibility. At times the self-counteraction and self-baffling of her feelings caused her even to stammer. But the greatest deductions from Miss Wordsworth's attractions, and from the exceeding interest which surrounded her, in right of her character, of her history, and of the relation which she fulfilled towards her brother, were the glancing quickness of her motions, and other circumstances in her deportment (such as her stooping attitude when walking), which gave an ungraceful character to her appearance when out of doors . . . .

'Her knowledge of literature was irregular and thoroughly unsystematic. She was content to be ignorant of many things; but what she knew, and had really mastered, lay where it could not be disturbed—in the temple of her own most fervid heart.'

It may not be amiss here to add from the same gossipy but graphic pen, a description of the Townend home, and of the way of life there, which has often before been quoted:—

'A little semi-vestibule between two doors prefaced the entrance into what might be considered the principal room of the cottage. It was an oblong square, not above eight and a half feet high, sixteen feet long, and twelve broad, very prettily wainscoted from the floor to the ceiling with dark polished oak, slightly embellished with carving. One window there was—a perfect and unpretending cottage window—with little diamond panes, embowered at almost every season of the year with roses, and, in the summer and autumn, with a profusion of jasmine and other fragrant shrubs. From the exuberant luxuriance of the vegetation around it, this window, though tolerably large, did not furnish a very powerful light to one who entered from the open air . . . . I was ushered up a little flight of stairs, fourteen in all, to a little drawing-room, or whatever the reader chooses to call it. Wordsworth himself has described the fireplace of this room as his

"Half kitchen, and half parlour fire."

It was not fully seven feet six inches high, and in other respects pretty nearly of the same dimensions as the rustic hall below. There was, however, in a small recess, a library of perhaps three hundred volumes, which seemed to consecrate this room as the poet's study and composing-room, and such occasionally it was.

'About four o'clock it might be when we arrived. At that hour in November the daylight soon declined, and in an hour and a half we were all collected about the tea-table.

'This with the Wordsworths, under the simple rustic system of habits which they cherished then and for twenty years after, was the most delightful meal of the day, just as dinner is in great cities, and for the same reason, because it was prolonged into a meal of leisure and conversation. That night I found myself, about eleven at night, in a pretty bedroom, about fourteen feet by twelve. Much I feared that this might turn out the best room in the house; and it illustrates the hospitality of my new friends to mention that it was . . . .

'Next morning Miss Wordsworth I found making breakfast in the little sitting-room. No one was there, no glittering breakfast service; a kettle boiled upon the fire; and everything was in harmony with these unpretending arrangements.

'I rarely had seen so humble a menage; and, contrasting the dignity of the man with this honourable poverty, and this courageous avowal of it, his utter absence of all effort to disguise the simple truth of the case, I felt my admiration increased.

'Throughout the day, which was rainy, the same style of modest hospitality prevailed. Wordsworth and his sister, myself being of the party, walked out in spite of the rain, and made the circuit of the two lakes, Grasmere and its dependency Rydal, a walk of about six miles.

'On the third morning after my arrival in Grasmere, I found the whole family, except the two children, prepared for the expedition across the mountains. I had heard of no horses, and took it for granted that we were to walk; however, at the moment of starting, a cart, the common farmer's cart of the country, made its appearance, and the driver was a bonny young woman of the vale. Accordingly we were all carted along to the little town or large village of Ambleside, three and a half miles distant. Our style of travelling occasioned no astonishment; on the contrary, we met a smiling salutation wherever we appeared; Miss Wordsworth being, as I observed, the person most familiarly known of our party, and the one who took upon herself the whole expenses of the flying colloquies exchanged with stragglers on the road.'

When the family had to leave this cottage home at Townend, they migrated to Allan Bank in 1808, and there remained for three years. In the spring of 1811 they moved to the Parsonage of Grasmere, and thence, in the spring of 1813, to Rydal Mount, their final abode. Their sojourn in the Parsonage was saddened by the loss of two children, who died within six months of each other, and were laid side by side in the churchyard of Grasmere. The Parsonage looks right across the road on that burial-place, and the continual sight of this was more than they could bear. They were glad therefore to withdraw from it, and to exchange the vale of Grasmere, now filled for them with too mournful recollections, for the sweet retirement of Rydal.

Through all these changes sister Dorothy went of course with them, and shared the affliction of the bereaved parents, as she had formerly shared their happiness. In 1814, the year of the publication of the 'Excursion,' all of which Miss Wordsworth had transcribed, her brother made another tour in Scotland, and this time Yarrow was not unvisited. His wife and her sister went with him, but Dorothy, having stayed at home probably to tend the children, did not form one of the party, a circumstance which her brother always remembered with regret.

In the summer of 1820, however, she visited the Continent with her brother and Mrs. Wordsworth, but of this tour no record remains. Another visit, the last but one, Wordsworth made to Scotland in 1831, accompanied by his daughter Dora. This time Yarrow was revisited in company with Sir Walter Scott, just before his last going from Tweedside. Wordsworth has chronicled his parting with Scott in two affecting poems, which if any reader does not know by heart, I would recommend him to read them in the Appendix to this Journal. {0b}

But by the time this expedition was made, Dorothy was an invalid confined to a sick-room. In the year 1829 she was seized by a severe illness, which so prostrated her, body and mind, that she never recovered from it. The unceasing strain of years had at last worn out that buoyant frame and fervid spirit. She had given herself to one work, and that work was done. To some it may seem a commonplace one,—to live in and for her brother, to do by him a sister's duty. With original powers which, had she chosen to set up on her own account, might have won for her high literary fame, she was content to forget herself, to merge all her gifts and all her interests in those of her brother. She thus made him other and higher than he could have been had he stood alone, and enabled him to render better service to the world than without her ministry he could have done. With this she was well content. It is sad to think that when the world at last knew him for what he was, the great original poet of this century, she who had helped to make him so was almost past rejoicing in it. It is said that during those latter years he never spoke of her without his voice being sensibly softened and saddened. The return of the day when they two first came to Grasmere was to him a solemn anniversary. But though so enfeebled, she still lived on, and survived her brother by nearly five years. Her death took place at Rydal Mount in January 1855, at the age of eighty-three. And now, beside her brother and his wife and others of that household, she rests in the green Grasmere churchyard, with the clear waters of Rotha murmuring by.

To return to the Journal. As we read it, let us bear always in mind that it was not meant for us, for the world, or 'the general reader,' but to be listened to by a small family circle, gathered round the winter fire. We should therefore remember that in reading it we are, as it were, allowed, after seventy years, to overhear what was not primarily meant for our ears at all. This will account for a fulness and minuteness of detail which to unsympathetic persons may perhaps appear tedious. But the writer was telling her story, not for unsympathetic persons, not for 'general readers,' much less for literary critics, but for 'the household hearts that were her own,' on whose sympathy she could reckon, even down to the minutest circumstances of this journey. And so there is no attempt at fine or sensational writing, as we now call it, no attempt at that modern artifice which they call word-painting. But there is the most absolute sincerity, the most perfect fidelity to her own experience, the most single-minded endeavour to set down precisely the things they saw and heard and felt, just as they saw and felt and heard them, while moving on their quiet way. And hence perhaps the observant reader who submits himself to the spirit that pervades this Journal may find in its effortless narrative a truthfulness, a tenderness of observation, a 'vivid exactness,' a far-reaching and suggestive insight, for which he might look in vain in more studied productions.

Another thing to note is the historic value that now attaches to this Journal. It marks the state of Scotland, and the feeling with which the most finely gifted Englishmen came to it seventy years since, at a time before the flood of English interest and 'tourism' had set in across the Border. The Wordsworths were of course not average English people. They came with an eye awake and trained for nature, and a heart in sympathy with nature and with man in a degree not common either in that or in any other age. They were north-country English too, and between these and the Lowland Scots there was less difference of fibre and of feeling than there generally is between Cumbrians and Londoners. All their lives they had been wont to gaze across the Solway on the dimly-outlined mountains of the Scottish Border. This alone and their love of scenery and of wandering were enough, apart from other inducement, to have lured them northward. But that tide of sentiment, which in our day has culminated in our annual tourist inundation, was already setting in. It had been growing ever since 'The Forty-five,' when the sudden descent of the Highland host on England, arrested only by the disastrous pause at Derby, had frightened the Londoners from their propriety, and all but scared the Second George beyond seas. This terror in time subsided, but the interest in the northern savages still survived, and was further stimulated when, about fifteen years after, the portent of Macpherson's Ossian burst on the astonished world of literature. Then about eleven years later, in 1773, the burly and bigoted English Lexicographer buttoned his great-coat up to the throat and set out on a Highland sheltie from Inverness, on that wonderful 'Tour to the Hebrides,' by which he determined to extinguish for ever Macpherson and his impudent forgeries. Such a tour seemed at that day as adventurous as would now be a journey to the heart of Africa, and the stories which Johnson told of the Hebrideans and their lives let in on his Cockney readers the impression of a world as strange as any which Livingstone could now report of. Then, in 1786, came Burns, whose poetry, if it did not reach the ordinary Englishman of the literary class, at least thrilled the hearts of English poets. That Wordsworth had felt his power we know, for, independent as he stood, and little wont to acknowledge his indebtedness to any, he yet confesses in one place that it was Burns who first set him on the right track. This series of surprises coming from beyond the Tweed had drawn the eyes of Englishmen towards Scotland. Especially two such voices—Ossian speaking from the heart of the Highlands, Burns concentrating in his song the whole strength and the weakness also of Lowland character—seemed to call across the Borders on Wordsworth to come and look on their land. And during all the first days of that journey the thought of Burns and his untimely end, then so recent, lay heavy on his heart.

Again, it were well, as we read, to remember the time when this Diary was written. It was before Scott was known as an original poet, before he had given anything to the world save 'The Border Minstrelsy.' We are accustomed to credit Scott with whatever enchantment invests Scotland in the eyes of the English, and of foreigners. And doubtless a large portion of it is due to him, but perhaps not quite so much as we are apt to fancy. We commonly suppose that it was he who first discovered the Trossachs and Loch Katrine, and revealed them to the world in 'The Lady of the Lake.' Yet they must have had some earlier renown, enough to make Wordsworth, travelling two years before the appearance even of Scott's 'Lay,' turn aside to go in search of them.

To Dorothy Wordsworth and Coleridge this was the first time they had set foot on Scottish ground. Wordsworth himself seems to have crossed the Border two years before this, though of that journey there is no record remaining. As they set forth from Keswick on that August morning one can well believe that

'Their exterior semblance did belie Their soul's immensity.'

None of the three paid much regard to the outward man. Coleridge, perhaps, in soiled nankeen trousers, and with the blue and brass in which he used to appear in Unitarian pulpits, buttoned round his growing corpulency; Wordsworth in a suit of russet, not to say dingy, brown, with a broad flapping straw hat to protect his weak eyesight. And as for Miss Wordsworth, we may well believe that in her dress she thought more of use than of ornament. These three, mounted on their outlandish Irish car, with a horse, now gibbing and backing over a bank, now reduced to a walk, with one of the poets leading him by the head, must have cut but a sorry figure, and wakened many a smile and gibe in passers-by. As they wound their way up Nithsdale, one can well imagine how some Border lord or laird, riding, or driving past in smart equipage, would look on them askance, taking them for what Burns calls a 'wheen gangrel bodies,' or for a set of Dominie Sampsons from the other side the Border, or for some offshoot of the 'Auld Licht' Seceders. Poor Coleridge, ill at ease, and in the dumps all the way, stretched asleep on the car cushions, while the other two were admiring the scenery, could not have added to their hilarity. And it must have been a relief to Wordsworth and his sister, though the Journal hints it not, when he left them at Loch Lomond. But however grotesque their appearance may have been, they bore within them that which made their journey rich in delight to themselves, not to say to others. They were then both in their prime, Wordsworth and his sister being just past thirty. They had the observant eye and the feeling heart which money cannot buy. No doubt to them, accustomed to the cleanness and comfort of the farms and cottages of Westmoreland, those 'homes of ancient peace,' with their warm stone porches and their shelter of household sycamores, the dirt and discomfort of the inns and of the humbler abodes they entered must have been repulsive enough. Even the gentlemen's seats had to them an air of neglect and desolation, and the new plantations of larch and fir with which they had then begun to be surrounded, gave an impression of rawness, barrenness, and lack of geniality. Nor less in large towns, as in Glasgow, were they struck by the dulness and dreariness in the aspect and demeanour of the dim 'common populations.' They saw and felt these things as keenly as any could do. But, unlike ordinary travellers, they were not scared or disgusted by them. They did not think that the first appearance was all. They felt and saw that there was more behind. With lively interest they note the healthy young women travelling barefoot, though well dressed, the children without shoes or stockings, the barefoot boys, some with their caps wreathed with wild-flowers, others who could read Virgil or Homer. They pass, as friends, beneath the humble cottage roofs, look with sympathy on the countenances of the inmates, partake, when bidden, of their homely fare, enter feelingly into their pathetic human histories. They came there not to criticise, but to know and feel.

Again, their intense love for their Westmoreland dales and meres did not send them to look on those of Scotland with a sense of rivalry, but of brotherhood. They were altogether free from that vulgar habit of comparing scene with scene which so poisons the eye to all true perception of natural beauty,—as though the one great end were to graduate all the various scenes of nature in the list of a competitive examination. Hence whatever new they met with, they were ready to welcome and enjoy. They could appreciate the long, bare, houseless, treeless glens, not less than the well-wooded lakes. And yet Miss Wordsworth's home-heartedness makes her long for some touches of home and human habitation to break the long bleak solitudes she passed through. The absolute desolation of the Moor of Rannoch, so stirring to some, was evidently too much for her.

'The loneliness Loaded her heart, the desert tired her eye.'

Again, throughout the Journal we see how to her eye man and nature interact on each other. That deep feeling, so strong in her brother's poetry, of the interest that man gives to nature, and still more the dignity that nature gives to man, is not less strongly felt by her. It is man seen against a great background of nature and solitude that most stirs her imagination. The woman sitting sole by the margin of Daer Water, or the old man alone in the corn-field, or the boy solitary on the Moor of Crawfordjohn—these in her prose are pictures quite akin and equal to many a one that occurs in her brother's verse. This sense of man with 'grandeur circumfused,' 'the sanctity of nature given to man,' is as primary in her as in her brother. I cannot believe that she merely learnt it from him. It must have been innate in both, derived by both from one original source.

One is struck throughout by the absence of all effort at fine or imaginative writing. But this only makes more effective those natural gleams that come unbidden. After the dulness of Glasgow and the Vale of Leven comes that wakening up to very ecstasy among the islands of Loch Lomond,—that new world, magical, enchanting. And then that plunge into the heart of the Highlands, when they find themselves by the shores of Loch Katrine, alone with the native people there,—the smell of the peat-reek within, and the scent of the bog-myrtle without; those 'gentle ardours' that awake, as they move along Lochawe-side and look into the cove of Cruachan, or catch that Appin glen by Loch Linnhe, at the bright sunset hour, enlivened by the haymaking people; or that new rapture they drink in at the first glimpse, from Loch Etive shores, of the blue Atlantic Isles. And then what a fitting close to such a tour was that meeting with Walter Scott; the two great poets of their time, both in the morning of their power, and both still unknown, joining hands of friendship which was to last for life!

But I have said more than enough. Those who care for the things which the Wordsworths cared for will find in this quiet narrative much to their mind. And they will find from it some new light shed on those delightful poems, memorial of that tour, which remain as an undying track of glory illuminating the path these two trod. These poems are printed in the Appendix, that those who know them well may read them once again, and that those who do not know them, except by Guide-book extracts, may turn to them, after reading the Journal, and try whether they cannot find in them something which they never found elsewhere.

* * * * *

There is one entry, the last in the Journal, made as late as 1832, which alludes to a fact which, but for this note, might have been left without comment. {0c} Throughout the whole tour no distinction seems to have been made between Saturday and Sunday. One would have thought that, if nothing else, sympathy at least, which they did not lack, would have led Wordsworth and his sister to turn aside and share the Sabbath worship of the native people. Even the tired jade might have put in his claim for his Sabbath rest; not to mention the scandal which the sight of Sunday travellers in lonely parts of Scotland must then have caused, and the name they must many a time have earned for themselves, of 'Sabbath-breakers.' This last entry of 1832, however, marks a change, which, if it came to Dorothy, came not less decidedly to her brother. This change has been often remarked on, and has been stigmatised by 'the enlightened ones' as 'the reaction.' They say that the earlier nature-worship, which they call Pantheistic, speaks the true and genuine man; the later and more consciously Christian mood they regard as the product, not of deepened experience, but of timidity, or at least as the sign of decreasing insight. It is not so that I would interpret it. Wordsworth and his sister, with their rare gift of soul and eye, saw further into nature, and felt it more profoundly than common men can, and had no doubt found there something which the gross world dreams not of. They recovered thence a higher teaching, which men for ages had lost. They learnt to think of God as being actually very near to them in all they saw and heard; not as the mechanical Artificer, who makes a world and then dwells aloof from it, but as

'The Being that is in the clouds and air, That is in the green leaves among the groves.'

In nature, which to most eyes is but a dull lifeless mass, impelled by dead mechanic movements, their finer spirits were aware of a breathing life, a living Presence, distinct, yet not alien from, their own spirits, and thence they drank life, and strength, and joy. And not in nature alone, but from their own hearts, from the deep places of their moral nature, and from their minglings with their fellow-men, they could oftentimes overhear

'The still sad music of humanity, Nor harsh nor grating, though of ample power To chasten and subdue.'

And through this they learned to feel for themselves, and not conventionally, the upholding presence of One on whom the soul's 'dark foundations rest.' Likely enough, in the prime of their strength they may have imagined that these teachings coming from nature and from man were in themselves enough.

But when sorrow and bereavement came, and with them the deepened sense of sin and of utter need, they learned that in nature alone was nothing which in the end they could abide by. They had been true to the lights they had, and they were led on to higher. They were led to go beyond nature and man for their ultimate support, and to overhear from that higher region another, diviner 'tone, into which all the strains of this world's music are ultimately to be resolved.' The Poet, nor less his sister, came at length to feel, what philosophers find so hard to believe,—that The Being whom he had long known as near him in the solitudes of nature, as close to the beatings of his own heart, was He who had so loved him as to die for him. True it is that this later and more distinctly Christian experience is but faintly reflected in Wordsworth's poetry compared with the earlier naturalistic mood. But this is explained by the fact that before the later experience became prominent, the early fervour of poetic creation had already passed. Not the less for this, however, was the poet's later conviction a riper, more advanced wisdom—not a retrogression.


CUILALUINN, June 1874.


William and I parted from Mary on Sunday afternoon, August 14th, 1803; and William, Coleridge, and I left Keswick on Monday morning, the 15th, at twenty minutes after eleven o'clock. The day was very hot; we walked up the hills, and along all the rough road, which made our walking half the day's journey. Travelled under the foot of Carrock, a mountain covered with stones on the lower part; above, it is very rocky, but sheep pasture there; we saw several where there seemed to be no grass to tempt them. Passed the foot of Grisdale and Mosedale, both pastoral valleys, narrow, and soon terminating in the mountains—green, with scattered trees and houses, and each a beautiful stream. At Grisdale our horse backed upon a steep bank where the road was not fenced, just above a pretty mill at the foot of the valley; and we had a second threatening of a disaster in crossing a narrow bridge between the two dales; but this was not the fault of either man or horse. Slept at Mr. Younghusband's public-house, Hesket Newmarket. In the evening walked to Caldbeck Falls, a delicious spot in which to breathe out a summer's day—limestone rocks, hanging trees, pools, and waterbreaks—caves and caldrons which have been honoured with fairy names, and no doubt continue in the fancy of the neighbourhood to resound with fairy revels.

* * * * *

Tuesday, August 16th.—Passed Rose Castle upon the Caldew, an ancient building of red stone with sloping gardens, an ivied gateway, velvet lawns, old garden walls, trim flower-borders with stately and luxuriant flowers. We walked up to the house and stood some minutes watching the swallows that flew about restlessly, and flung their shadows upon the sunbright walls of the old building; the shadows glanced and twinkled, interchanged and crossed each other, expanded and shrunk up, appeared and disappeared every instant; as I observed to William and Coleridge, seeming more like living things than the birds themselves. Dined at Carlisle; the town in a bustle with the assizes; so many strange faces known in former times and recognised, that it half seemed as if I ought to know them all, and, together with the noise, the fine ladies, etc., they put me into confusion. This day Hatfield was condemned {2} I stood at the door of the gaoler's house, where he was; William entered the house, and Coleridge saw him; I fell into conversation with a debtor, who told me in a dry way that he was 'far over-learned,' and another man observed to William that we might learn from Hatfield's fate 'not to meddle with pen and ink.' We gave a shilling to my companion, whom we found out to be a friend of the family, a fellow-sailor with my brother John {3} 'in Captain Wordsworth's ship.' Walked upon the city walls, which are broken down in places and crumbling away, and most disgusting from filth. The city and neighbourhood of Carlisle disappointed me; the banks of the river quite flat, and, though the holms are rich, there is not much beauty in the vale from the want of trees—at least to the eye of a person coming from England, and, I scarcely know how, but to me the holms had not a natural look; there was something townish in their appearance, a dulness in their strong deep green. To Longtown—not very interesting, except from the long views over the flat country; the road rough, chiefly newly mended. Reached Longtown after sunset, a town of brick houses belonging chiefly to the Graham family. Being in the form of a cross and not long, it had been better called Crosstown. There are several shops, and it is not a very small place; but I could not meet with a silver thimble, and bought a halfpenny brass one. Slept at the Graham's Arms, a large inn. Here, as everywhere else, the people seemed utterly insensible of the enormity of Hatfield's offences; the ostler told William that he was quite a gentleman, paid every one genteelly, etc. etc. He and 'Mary' had walked together to Gretna Green; a heavy rain came on when they were there; a returned chaise happened to pass, and the driver would have taken them up; but 'Mr. Hope's' carriage was to be sent for; he did not choose to accept the chaise-driver's offer.

* * * * *

Wednesday, August 17th.—Left Longtown after breakfast. About half-a-mile from the town a guide-post and two roads, to Edinburgh and Glasgow; we took the left-hand road, to Glasgow. Here saw a specimen of the luxuriance of the heath-plant, as it grows in Scotland; it was in the enclosed plantations—perhaps sheltered by them. These plantations appeared to be not well grown for their age; the trees were stunted. Afterwards the road, treeless, over a peat-moss common—the Solway Moss; here and there an earth-built hut with its peat stack, a scanty growing willow hedge round the kailgarth, perhaps the cow pasturing near,—a little lass watching it,—the dreary waste cheered by the endless singing of larks.

We enter Scotland by crossing the river Sark; on the Scotch side of the bridge the ground is unenclosed pasturage; it was very green, and scattered over with that yellow flowered plant which we call grunsel; the hills heave and swell prettily enough; cattle feeding; a few corn fields near the river. At the top of the hill opposite is Springfield, a village built by Sir William Maxwell—a dull uniformity in the houses, as is usual when all built at one time, or belonging to one individual, each just big enough for two people to live in, and in which a family, large or small as it may happen, is crammed. There the marriages are performed. Further on, though almost contiguous, is Gretna Green, upon a hill and among trees. This sounds well, but it is a dreary place; the stone houses dirty and miserable, with broken windows. There is a pleasant view from the churchyard over Solway Firth to the Cumberland mountains. Dined at Annan. On our left as we travelled along appeared the Solway Firth and the mountains beyond, but the near country dreary. Those houses by the roadside which are built of stone are comfortless and dirty; but we peeped into a clay 'biggin' that was very 'canny,' and I daresay will be as warm as a swallow's nest in winter. The town of Annan made me think of France and Germany; many of the houses large and gloomy, the size of them outrunning the comforts. One thing which was like Germany pleased me: the shopkeepers express their calling by some device or painting; bread-bakers have biscuits, loaves, cakes painted on their window-shutters; blacksmiths horses' shoes, iron tools, etc. etc.; and so on through all trades.

Reached Dumfries at about nine o'clock—market-day; met crowds of people on the road, and every one had a smile for us and our car . . . . The inn was a large house, and tolerably comfortable; Mr. Rogers and his sister, whom we had seen at our own cottage at Grasmere a few days before, had arrived there that same afternoon on their way to the Highlands; but we did not see them till the next morning, and only for about a quarter of an hour.

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Thursday, August 18th.—Went to the churchyard where Burns is buried. A bookseller accompanied us. He showed us the outside of Burns's house, where he had lived the last three years of his life, and where he died. It has a mean appearance, and is in a bye situation, whitewashed; dirty about the doors, as almost all Scotch houses are; flowering plants in the windows.

Went on to visit his grave. He lies at a corner of the churchyard, and his second son, Francis Wallace, beside him. There is no stone to mark the spot; {5} but a hundred guineas have been collected, to be expended on some sort of monument. 'There,' said the bookseller, pointing to a pompous monument, 'there lies Mr. Such-a-one'—I have forgotten his name,—'a remarkably clever man; he was an attorney, and hardly ever lost a cause he undertook. Burns made many a lampoon upon him, and there they rest, as you see.' We looked at the grave with melancholy and painful reflections, repeating to each other his own verses:—

'Is there a man whose judgment clear Can others teach the course to steer, Yet runs himself life's mad career Wild as the wave?— Here let him pause, and through a tear Survey this grave. The Poor Inhabitant below Was quick to learn, and wise to know, And keenly felt the friendly glow And softer flame; But thoughtless follies laid him low, And stain'd his name.'

The churchyard is full of grave-stones and expensive monuments in all sorts of fantastic shapes—obelisk-wise, pillar-wise, etc. In speaking of Gretna Green, I forgot to mention that we visited the churchyard. The church is like a huge house; indeed, so are all the churches, with a steeple, not a square tower or spire,—a sort of thing more like a glass-house chimney than a Church of England steeple; grave-stones in abundance, few verses, yet there were some—no texts. Over the graves of married women the maiden name instead of that of the husband, 'spouse' instead of 'wife,' and the place of abode preceded by 'in' instead of 'of.' When our guide had left us, we turned again to Burns's house. Mrs. Burns was gone to spend some time by the sea-shore with her children. We spoke to the servant-maid at the door, who invited us forward, and we sate down in the parlour. The walls were coloured with a blue wash; on one side of the fire was a mahogany desk, opposite to the window a clock, and over the desk a print from the 'Cotter's Saturday Night,' which Burns mentions in one of his letters having received as a present. The house was cleanly and neat in the inside, the stairs of stone, scoured white, the kitchen on the right side of the passage, the parlour on the left. In the room above the parlour the Poet died, and his son after him in the same room. The servant told us she had lived five years with Mrs. Burns, who was now in great sorrow for the death of 'Wallace.' She said that Mrs. Burns's youngest son was at Christ's Hospital.

We were glad to leave Dumfries, which is no agreeable place to them who do not love the bustle of a town that seems to be rising up to wealth. We could think of little else but poor Burns, and his moving about on that unpoetic ground. In our road to Brownhill, the next stage, we passed Ellisland at a little distance on our right, his farmhouse. We might there have had more pleasure in looking round, if we had been nearer to the spot; but there is no thought surviving in connexion with Burns's daily life that is not heart-depressing. Travelled through the vale of Nith, here little like a vale, it is so broad, with irregular hills rising up on each side, in outline resembling the old-fashioned valances of a bed. There is a great deal of arable land; the corn ripe; trees here and there—plantations, clumps, coppices, and a newness in everything. So much of the gorse and broom rooted out that you wonder why it is not all gone, and yet there seems to be almost as much gorse and broom as corn; and they grow one among another you know not how. Crossed the Nith; the vale becomes narrow, and very pleasant; cornfields, green hills, clay cottages; the river's bed rocky, with woody banks. Left the Nith about a mile and a half, and reached Brownhill, a lonely inn, where we slept. The view from the windows was pleasing, though some travellers might have been disposed to quarrel with it for its general nakedness; yet there was abundance of corn. It is an open country—open, yet all over hills. At a little distance were many cottages among trees, that looked very pretty. Brownhill is about seven or eight miles from Ellisland. I fancied to myself, while I was sitting in the parlour, that Burns might have caroused there, for most likely his rounds extended so far, and this thought gave a melancholy interest to the smoky walls. It was as pretty a room as a thoroughly dirty one could be—a square parlour painted green, but so covered over with smoke and dirt that it looked not unlike green seen through black gauze. There were three windows, looking three ways, a buffet ornamented with tea-cups, a superfine largeish looking-glass with gilt ornaments spreading far and wide, the glass spotted with dirt, some ordinary alehouse pictures, and above the chimney-piece a print in a much better style—as William guessed, taken from a painting by Sir Joshua Reynolds—of some lady of quality, in the character of Euphrosyne. 'Ay,' said the servant girl, seeing that we looked at it, 'there's many travellers would give a deal for that, it's more admired than any in the house.' We could not but smile; for the rest were such as may be found in the basket of any Italian image and picture hawker.

William and I walked out after dinner; Coleridge was not well, and slept upon the carriage cushions. We made our way to the cottages among the little hills and knots of wood, and then saw what a delightful country this part of Scotland might be made by planting forest trees. The ground all over heaves and swells like a sea; but for miles there are neither trees nor hedgerows, only 'mound' fences and tracts; or slips of corn, potatoes, clover—with hay between, and barren land; but near the cottages many hills and hillocks covered with wood. We passed some fine trees, and paused under the shade of one close by an old mansion that seemed from its neglected state to be inhabited by farmers. But I must say that many of the 'gentlemen's' houses which we have passed in Scotland have an air of neglect, and even of desolation. It was a beech, in the full glory of complete and perfect growth, very tall, with one thick stem mounting to a considerable height, which was split into four 'thighs,' as Coleridge afterwards called them, each in size a fine tree. Passed another mansion, now tenanted by a schoolmaster; many boys playing upon the lawn. I cannot take leave of the country which we passed through to-day, without mentioning that we saw the Cumberland mountains within half a mile of Ellisland, Burns's house, the last view we had of them. Drayton has prettily described the connexion which this neighbourhood has with ours when he makes Skiddaw say—

'Scurfell {9a} from the sky, That Anadale {9b} doth crown, with a most amorous eye, Salutes me every day, or at my pride looks grim, Oft threatning me with clouds, as I oft threatning him.'

These lines recurred to William's memory, and we talked of Burns, and of the prospect he must have had, perhaps from his own door, of Skiddaw and his companions, indulging ourselves in the fancy that we might have been personally known to each other, and he have looked upon those objects with more pleasure for our sakes. We talked of Coleridge's children and family, then at the foot of Skiddaw, and our own new-born John a few miles behind it; while the grave of Burns's son, which we had just seen by the side of his father, and some stories heard at Dumfries respecting the dangers his surviving children were exposed to, filled us with melancholy concern, which had a kind of connexion with ourselves. In recollection of this, William long afterwards wrote the following Address to the sons of the ill-fated poet:—

Ye now are panting up life's hill, 'Tis twilight time of good and ill, And more than common strength and skill Must ye display, If ye would give the better will Its lawful sway.

Strong-bodied if ye be to bear Intemperance with less harm, beware, But if your Father's wit ye share, Then, then indeed, Ye Sons of Burns, for watchful care There will be need.

For honest men delight will take To shew you favour for his sake, Will flatter you, and Fool and Rake Your steps pursue, And of your Father's name will make A snare for you.

Let no mean hope your souls enslave, Be independent, generous, brave; Your Father such example gave, And such revere, But be admonished by his grave, And think and fear. {11}

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Friday, August 19th.—Open country for a considerable way. Passed through the village of Thornhill, built by the Duke of Queensberry; the 'brother-houses' so small that they might have been built to stamp a character of insolent pride on his own huge mansion of Drumlanrigg, which is full in view on the opposite side of the Nith. This mansion is indeed very large; but to us it appeared like a gathering together of little things. The roof is broken into a hundred pieces, cupolas, etc., in the shape of casters, conjuror's balls, cups, and the like. The situation would be noble if the woods had been left standing; but they have been cut down not long ago, and the hills above and below the house are quite bare. About a mile and a half from Drumlanrigg is a turnpike gate at the top of a hill. We left our car with the man, and turned aside into a field where we looked down upon the Nith, which runs far below in a deep and rocky channel; the banks woody; the view pleasant down the river towards Thornhill, an open country—corn fields, pastures, and scattered trees. Returned to the turnpike house, a cold spot upon a common, black cattle feeding close to the door. Our road led us down the hill to the side of the Nith, and we travelled along its banks for some miles. Here were clay cottages perhaps every half or quarter of a mile. The bed of the stream rough with rocks; banks irregular, now woody, now bare; here a patch of broom, there of corn, then of pasturage; and hills green or heathy above. We were to have given our horse meal and water at a public-house in one of the hamlets we passed through, but missed the house, for, as is common in Scotland, it was without a sign-board. Travelled on, still beside the Nith, till we came to a turnpike house, which stood rather high on the hill-side, and from the door we looked a long way up and down the river. The air coldish, the wind strong.

We asked the turnpike man to let us have some meal and water. He had no meal, but luckily we had part of a feed of corn brought from Keswick, and he procured some hay at a neighbouring house. In the meantime I went into the house, where was an old man with a grey plaid over his shoulders, reading a newspaper. On the shelf lay a volume of the Scotch Encyclopaedia, a History of England, and some other books. The old man was a caller by the way. The man of the house came back, and we began to talk. He was very intelligent; had travelled all over England, Scotland, and Ireland as a gentleman's servant, and now lived alone in that lonesome place. He said he was tired of his bargain, for he feared he should lose by it. And he had indeed a troublesome office, for coal-carts without number were passing by, and the drivers seemed to do their utmost to cheat him. There is always something peculiar in the house of a man living alone. This was but half-furnished, yet nothing seemed wanting for his comfort, though a female who had travelled half as far would have needed fifty other things. He had no other meat or drink in the house but oat bread and cheese—the cheese was made with the addition of seeds—and some skimmed milk. He gave us of his bread and cheese, and milk, which proved to be sour.

We had yet ten or eleven miles to travel, and no food with us. William lay under the wind in a corn-field below the house, being not well enough to partake of the milk and bread. Coleridge gave our host a pamphlet, 'The Crisis of the Sugar Colonies;' he was well acquainted with Burns's poems. There was a politeness and a manly freedom in this man's manners which pleased me very much. He told us that he had served a gentleman, a captain in the army—he did not know who he was, for none of his relations had ever come to see him, but he used to receive many letters—that he had lived near Dumfries till they would let him stay no longer, he made such havoc with the game; his whole delight from morning till night, and the long year through, was in field sports; he would be on his feet the worst days in winter, and wade through snow up to the middle after his game. If he had company he was in tortures till they were gone; he would then throw off his coat and put on an old jacket not worth half-a-crown. He drank his bottle of wine every day, and two if he had better sport than usual. Ladies sometimes came to stay with his wife, and he often carried them out in an Irish jaunting-car, and if they vexed him he would choose the dirtiest roads possible, and spoil their clothes by jumping in and out of the car, and treading upon them. 'But for all that'—and so he ended all—'he was a good fellow, and a clever fellow, and he liked him well.' He would have ten or a dozen hares in the larder at once, he half maintained his family with game, and he himself was very fond of eating of the spoil—unusual with true heart-and-soul sportsmen.

The man gave us an account of his farm where he had lived, which was so cheap and pleasant that we thought we should have liked to have had it ourselves. Soon after leaving the turnpike house we turned up a hill to the right, the road for a little way very steep, bare hills, with sheep.

After ascending a little while we heard the murmur of a stream far below us, and saw it flowing downwards on our left, towards the Nith, and before us, between steep green hills, coming along a winding valley. The simplicity of the prospect impressed us very much. There was a single cottage by the brook side; the dell was not heathy, but it was impossible not to think of Peter Bell's Highland Girl.

We now felt indeed that we were in Scotland; there was a natural peculiarity in this place. In the scenes of the Nith it had not been the same as England, but yet not simple, naked Scotland. The road led us down the hill, and now there was no room in the vale but for the river and the road; we had sometimes the stream to the right, sometimes to the left. The hills were pastoral, but we did not see many sheep; green smooth turf on the left, no ferns. On the right the heath-plant grew in abundance, of the most exquisite colour; it covered a whole hillside, or it was in streams and patches. We travelled along the vale without appearing to ascend for some miles; all the reaches were beautiful, in exquisite proportion, the hills seeming very high from being so near to us. It might have seemed a valley which nature had kept to herself for pensive thoughts and tender feelings, but that we were reminded at every turning of the road of something beyond by the coal-carts which were travelling towards us. Though these carts broke in upon the tranquillity of the glen, they added much to the picturesque effect of the different views, which indeed wanted nothing, though perfectly bare, houseless, and treeless.

After some time our road took us upwards towards the end of the valley. Now the steeps were heathy all around. Just as we began to climb the hill we saw three boys who came down the cleft of a brow on our left; one carried a fishing-rod, and the hats of all were braided with honeysuckles; they ran after one another as wanton as the wind. I cannot express what a character of beauty those few honeysuckles in the hats of the three boys gave to the place: what bower could they have come from? We walked up the hill, met two well-dressed travellers, the woman barefoot. Our little lads before they had gone far were joined by some half-dozen of their companions, all without shoes and stockings. They told us they lived at Wanlockhead, the village above, pointing to the top of the hill; they went to school and learned Latin, Virgil, and some of them Greek, Homer, but when Coleridge began to inquire further, off they ran, poor things! I suppose afraid of being examined.

When, after a steep ascent, we had reached the top of the hill, we saw a village about half a mile before us on the side of another hill, which rose up above the spot where we were, after a descent, a sort of valley or hollow. Nothing grew upon this ground, or the hills above or below, but heather, yet round about the village—which consisted of a great number of huts, all alike, and all thatched, with a few larger slated houses among them, and a single modern-built one of a considerable size—were a hundred patches of cultivated ground, potatoes, oats, hay, and grass. We were struck with the sight of haycocks fastened down with aprons, sheets, pieces of sacking—as we supposed, to prevent the wind from blowing them away. We afterwards found that this practice was very general in Scotland. Every cottage seemed to have its little plot of ground, fenced by a ridge of earth; this plot contained two or three different divisions, kail, potatoes, oats, hay; the houses all standing in lines, or never far apart; the cultivated ground was all together also, and made a very strange appearance with its many greens among the dark brown hills, neither tree nor shrub growing; yet the grass and the potatoes looked greener than elsewhere, owing to the bareness of the neighbouring hills; it was indeed a wild and singular spot—to use a woman's illustration, like a collection of patchwork, made of pieces as they might have chanced to have been cut by the mantua-maker, only just smoothed to fit each other, the different sorts of produce being in such a multitude of plots, and those so small and of such irregular shapes. Add to the strangeness of the village itself, that we had been climbing upwards, though gently, for many miles, and for the last mile and a half up a steep ascent, and did not know of any village till we saw the boys who had come out to play. The air was very cold, and one could not help thinking what it must be in winter, when those hills, now 'red brown,' should have their three months' covering of snow.

The village, as we guessed, is inhabited by miners; the mines belong to the Duke of Queensberry. The road to the village, down which the lads scampered away, was straight forward. I must mention that we met, just after we had parted from them, another little fellow, about six years old, carrying a bundle over his shoulder; he seemed poor and half starved, and was scratching his fingers, which were covered with the itch. He was a miner's son, and lived at Wanlockhead; did not go to school, but this was probably on account of his youth. I mention him because he seemed to be a proof that there was poverty and wretchedness among these people, though we saw no other symptom of it; and afterwards we met scores of the inhabitants of this same village. Our road turned to the right, and we saw, at the distance of less than a mile, a tall upright building of grey stone, with several men standing upon the roof, as if they were looking out over battlements. It stood beyond the village, upon higher ground, as if presiding over it,—a kind of enchanter's castle, which it might have been, a place where Don Quixote would have gloried in. When we drew nearer we saw, coming out of the side of the building, a large machine or lever, in appearance like a great forge-hammer, as we supposed for raising water out of the mines. It heaved upwards once in half a minute with a slow motion, and seemed to rest to take breath at the bottom, its motion being accompanied with a sound between a groan and 'jike.' There would have been something in this object very striking in any place, as it was impossible not to invest the machine with some faculty of intellect; it seemed to have made the first step from brute matter to life and purpose, showing its progress by great power. William made a remark to this effect, and Coleridge observed that it was like a giant with one idea. At all events, the object produced a striking effect in that place, where everything was in unison with it—particularly the building itself, which was turret-shaped, and with the figures upon it resembled much one of the fortresses in the wooden cuts of Bunyan's 'Holy War.'

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