And who could ever tell, if those volumes were written, of the subtle qualities of insight and sympathy which rendered him capable of friendship above most men,—which enabled him to reinstate its ideal, and made his presence a perpetual joy, and separation from him an ineffaceable sorrow?
"His mind is, as it were, coeval with the primary forms of things; his imagination holds immediately from nature, and ‘owes no allegiance’ but ‘to the elements.’ ....He sees all things in himself."—Hazlitt.
That portrait looking down so calmly from the wall is an original picture of the poet Wordsworth, drawn in crayon a few years before he died. He went up to London on purpose to sit for it, at the request of Moxon, his publisher, and his friends in England always considered it a perfect likeness of the poet. After the head was engraved, the artist’s family disposed of the drawing, and through the watchful kindness of my dear old friend, Mary Russell Mitford, the portrait came across the Atlantic to this house. Miss Mitford said America ought to have on view such a perfect representation of the great poet, and she used all her successful influence in my behalf. So there the picture hangs for anybody’s inspection at any hour of the day.
I once made a pilgrimage to the small market-town of Hawkshead, in the valley of Esthwaite, where Wordsworth went to school in his ninth year. The thoughtful boy was lodged in the house of Dame Anne Tyson in 1788; and I had the good fortune to meet a lady in the village street who conducted me at once to the room which the lad occupied while he was a scholar under the Rev. William Taylor, whom he loved and venerated so much. I went into the chamber which he afterwards described in The Prelude, where he
“Had lain awake on summer
nights to watch
The moon in splendor couched among the leaves
Of a tall ash, that near our cottage stood”;
and I visited many of the beautiful spots which tradition points out as the favorite haunts of his childhood.
It was true Lake-country weather when I knocked at Wordsworth’s cottage door, three years before he died, and found myself shaking hands with the poet at the threshold. His daughter Dora had been dead only a few months, and the sorrow that had so recently fallen upon the house was still dominant there. I thought there was something prophet-like in the tones of his voice, as well as in his whole appearance, and there was a noble tranquillity about him that almost awed one, at first, into silence. As the day was cold and wet, he proposed we should sit down together in the only room in the house where there was a fire, and he led the way to what seemed a common sitting or dining room. It was a plain apartment, the rafters visible, and no attempt at decoration