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'We are Seven,' 'Goody Blake and Harry Gill,' · The Schoolboy,' The Thorn,' 'Simon Lee,' and • The Last of the Flock’-poems which on their first appearance in the ‘Lyrical Ballads,' and for

many long year after, were greeted with contempt and ridicule, but which at length, not without renewed protest and some reasonable misgivings, have won their way into the charmed circle of English literature. Unlike Coleridge, he did not spring almost at one bound from turgid rhetoric and backneyed sentiment into the first rank of English poets, but with “gradual steps and slow” he rose to the height of his great argument. It was not till he left Alfoxden in July, 1798, that he sounded a full note in the immortal “Lines written near Tintern Abbey. Unlike Coleridge, he was not tempted to turn aside from the path of poetry and seek refuge in the fastnesses of metaphysics, but served the Muse dutifully and faithfully to his life's end. It is idle to 'place' poets, as if they were wranglers in the schools, but as the century passes to its close, the power of Wordsworth is a constant, if not an increasing quantity. For not only does he teach us, but he consoles and encourages us “more than all the sages can.”

But to return to the Quantocks. The wonderful year was drawing to a close—the year of close companionship between Wordsworth and Dorothy and Coleridge, “three people but one soul,” as Coleridge rejoiced to believe,-the year which brought forth the ‘Lyrical Ballads, and marks the new birth of English poetry. But “ 'Scripture saith an ending to all fine things must be," and



when July, 1798, came round, Mrs. St. Albyn would not allow her tenant to renew the lease of Alfoxden. Poole did all he could ; approached the great lady in deferential language, assuring her that Mr. Wordsworth was a perfectly respectable young gentleman, and pointing out by way of proof that his uncle, Dr. Cookson, was a Canon of Windsor. But it was all in vain. The country gentry had taken fright, and though the spy who was sent down by the Government to take notes of the conversation of these dangerous conspirators, Wordsworth and Coleridge, had returned emptyhanded, still one fact remained. Among the many guests to the cottage had come--unbidden, I believe-one John Thelwall, a republican and atheistic lecturer, who had been tried and acquitted of high treason; and not only had he stayed at the cottage, but he had spent at least one day under the beeches of Alfoxden. The country gentry did not like it. If these young men were not conspirators, they were pestilent innovators, base fellows who were a source of danger and discredit to the countryside, and the sooner they were turned adrift the better. Hence it came to pass that Alfoxden was tenantless of the Muses, and that Coleridge must pace the grassy upland paths of his once beloved Quantocks alone. Three months later the friends quitted England for Germany, where other interests awoke for Coleridge, and a new life began.

One more word about the Quantocks and I have done. There is a wide-spread belief among the bill folk of those parts that on the summit of Dowseborough and along the ridge on still and sunny days

66 And

there is a sound of music. I have heard an old man of eighty-seven say that once when he was a boy, yeth (i. e. heath) gathering, he crouched down and heard the music-heard it twice; and that his father, who at first had mocked, heard it too. what was it, John?” I asked. as 'Twas the Déans, sir,” he said, in a hushed mysterious voice. It would seem that about the year 800 a Danish troop, under King Ubba, was cut off from the main body of the invading army which lay across the river, and that ever since, from time to time, the faint note of the clarions of dead Danish warriors sounding their last retreat may be heard on the wind-swept ridge and in the fern-clad coombs. And we, too, if we visit either in person or in imagination those early haunts of these masters of song—if we crouch down, if we stoop, if we bend the spiritual ear, shall we not catch some faint echoes of that splendid inspiration which proceeded from the interchange of thought and fancy and passion between “three people and one soul”?





[Read December 14th, 1898.]

The Hippolytus of Euripides is the origival which Racine has followed in his Phèdre, and from which he has taken not passages only, but whole scenes. It must undoubtedly be of interest, to those less intimately acquainted with the literature of antiquity, to see what use the French poet has made of the antique drama, and to study the relation existing between it and his Phèdre.

“ Theseus was the son of Aethra and Neptune, and King of the Athenians, and having married Hippolyta, one of the Amazons, he begat Hippolytus, who excelled in beauty and chastity. On the death of Hippolyta Theseus married Phaedra, a Cretan, daughter of Minos, King of Crete, and Pasiphaë. Theseus, in consequence of having slain Pallas, one of his kinsmen, goes into banishment with his wife at Troezene, where Hippolytus was being brought up by Pittheüs. Phaedra on seeing the youth was desperately enamoured, not that she was incontinent, but the passion was instilled into her by Venus, who was determined to destroy Hippolytus on account of his chastity, and in this manner developed her plans. Phaedra at first concealed her VOL. XX.


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