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their characteristic power. A tone of sentiment which is halfdemocratic and half-Christian, and which will not tolerate any monopolies of good, is present in all his greater poems, and, indeed it breaks from his lips almost unconsciously at every turn. For him, poetry, wisdom, heroism, are the common property of mankind : all the deeper experiences of life are those that belong to everyone; and even pleasure is spread through the earth in stray gifts, to be claimed by whoever shall find.'3 In his treatment of the question of education Wordsworth sometimes reminds us of Rousseau's attack upon art and science, so firmly is he convinced that the substantial things are within the reach of everyone, and that all we get by wider culture scarcely compensates for that unsettling of the natural balance of mind which culture often brings with it. Even his æsthetic theory, to which we have already referred, that the poetry is only a selection of the language of real life,' and is inferior to that language at its best, springs from the same root. He is so determined to correct the error of those

Who, while they most ambitiously set forth
Extrinsic differences, the outward marks
Whereby society has parted man

From man, neglect the universal heart, that he will scarcely admit the existence of any differences which affect the spiritual life at all, if it be not a difference in favour of those who lead the simplest life. Mr. Hutton, in his criticism upon Wordsworth, has spoken of his spiritual frugality'in making the most of every simple occasion, and refraining from any waste of the sources of emotion; but the secret of this frugality is Wordsworth's belief that there is little difference between small and great occasions, and that, if we cannot find the greatest meanings in the most familiar experiences, we will find them nowhere.

Long have I loved what I behold-
The night that calms, the day that cheers;
The common growth of mother-earth
Suffices me—her tears and mirth,
Her humblest mirth and tears.
These given, what more need I desire
To stir, to soothe, to elevate,
What nobler marvels than the mind
May in life's daily prospect find,

May find, or there create ? 3. The deepest source of this love of simple things is that faith in man, in each man, and all men, which was also the animating principle of Rousseau. But even Rousseau was not a pure individualist, but based the greatness of the individual on the fact that the raison commune speaks within him, and that he can be made into an organ of the volonté générale. And Wordsworth, who had, as was to be expected, a much deeper apprehension of this truth, tells us in

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it shows itself in the set bent of his mind to exalt that which the world has generally despised or neglected. When he declared in one of his earliest poems that

He who feels contempt for any living thing,

Hath faculties which he hath never used, he was expressing a thought which is never far from his mind, and which frequently shows itself in his selection of subjects. The world of polite literature was scandalised in his own day—and it can scarcely be said to have ceased yet to be scandalised—by his choice of pedlars and waggoners, peasants and beggars, for the heroes and protagonists of his verse; but to Wordsworth such a choice was almost inevitable. As Mr. Morley says that Rousseau would not have been Rousseau “if he had felt it shameful or derogatory' to marry a kitchen wench;

we may fairly assert that Wordsworth would not have been Wordsworth, if he had not thought a leech-gatherer a better hero than a king. His constant tendency to assert the sanctity, the essential nobility and poetic beauty of modes of life, feelings, and interests, to which superficial associations and sometimes even associations that are not quite superficial—of degradation and meanness are usually attached, is seen in poems like Peter Bell,' The Idiot Boy,' Goody Blake and Harry Gill,' &c. Even one who is a most orthodox believer in the Wordsworthian creed, and who has tried to follow it in purging his mind of all artificial associations, may feel his faith falter at some of these performances. Yet we need not

suppose that they were the result of any conscious determination in Wordsworth to write up to a particular theory. He tells us, indeed, in one of his prefaces, that humble and rustic life was generally chosen' for the subject of his verse, because in that condition the essential passions of the heart find a better soil in which they can attain their maturity, are less under restraint, and speak a plainer and more emphatic language; because in that condition of life our elementary feelings exist in a state of greater simplicity, and consequently may be more accurately contemplated and more forcibly communicated; because the manners of rural life germinate from those elementary feelings, and from the necessary character of rural occupations are more easily comprehended and more durable; and, lastly, because in that condition the passions of men are incorporated with the beautiful and permanent forms of nature. But this theory came afterwards as the vindication of a practice, which had flowed in the first instance from the natural tendencies of his mind. We may regret the exaggeration, the human too much,' which, in cases like those above mentioned, repels many from Wordsworth, or prevents them from duly estimating his genius; but it must be clear to every careful reader that it would be impossible to separate this element from his poems without taking away at the same time that which gives them

their characteristic power. A tone of sentiment which is halfdemocratic and half-Christian, and which will not tolerate any monopolies of good, is present in all his greater poems, and, indeed it breaks from his lips almost unconsciously at every turn. For him, poetry, wisdom, heroism, are the common property of mankind : all the deeper experiences of life are those that belong to everyone; and even pleasure is spread through the earth in stray gifts, to be claimed by whoever shall find.' In his treatment of the question of education Wordsworth sometimes reminds us of Rousseau's attack upon art and science, so firmly is he convinced that the substantial things are within the reach of everyone, and that all we get by wider culture scarcely compensates for that unsettling of the natural balance of mind which culture often brings with it. Even his æsthetic theory, to which we have already referred, that the poetry is only a selection of the

language of real life,' and is inferior to that language at its best, springs from the same root. He is so determined to correct the error of those

Who, while they most ambitiously set forth
Extrinsic differences, the outward marks
Whereby society has parted man

From man, neglect the universal heart, that he will scarcely admit the existence of any differences which affect the spiritual life at all, if it be not a difference in favour of those who lead the simplest life. Mr. Hutton, in his criticism upon Wordsworth, has spoken of his spiritual frugality' in making the most of every simple occasion, and refraining from any waste of the sources of emotion; but the secret of this frugality is Wordsworth's belief that there is little difference between small and great occasions, and that, if we cannot find the greatest meanings in the most familiar experiences, we will find them nowhere.

Long have I loved what I behold-
The night that calms, the day that cheers;
The common growth of mother-earth
Suffices me-her tears and mirth,
Her humblest mirth and tears.
These given, what more need I desire
To stir, to soothe, to elevate,
What nobler marvels than the mind
May in life's daily prospect find,

May find, or there create ? 3. The deepest source of this love of simple things is that faith in man, in each man, and all men, which was also the animating principle of Rousseau. But even Rousseau was not a pure individualist, but based the greatness of the individual on the fact that the raison commune speaks within him, and that he can be made into an organ of the volonté générale. And Wordsworth, who had, as was to be expected, a much deeper apprehension of this truth, tells us in the Prelude' that he found the explanation of the immediate failure of the French Revolution in the fact that the Revolutionists forgot the unity of humanity and the continuity of its development. In the first enthusiasm of his youthful Republicanism, he had hoped to see

The man to come parted as by a gulf

From him who had been.
But his disappointment taught him to

Trust the elevation which had made him one
With the great family that still survives
To illuminate the abyss of ages past,

Sage, warrior, prophet, hero.
And to believe that there is

One great society alone on earth,

The noble living and the noble dead. And the effect of this belief in what Comte would have called the solidarity of man, was shown in Wordsworth's intense sympathy with the national struggles of Spain and Germany against Napoleon. Yet, on the whole, we have to admit that this idea did not carry him very far. He apprehended it, but it did not posse88 him as he was possessed by the ideas we have already mentioned. He is not the poet of the unity and the progress of humanity; perhaps the poet whom that idea shall inspire has yet to arise. What Wordsworth, like Rousseau, loves to speak of is rather the power and dignity of the individual man, and how he can attain to · freedom in himself' under all circumstances. The Prelude,' in which Wordsworth gives an account of his own spiritual development, is one of the numerous echoes of the Confessions' of Rousseau ; but it is an echo in which the morbid and unhealthy self-analysis of the Confessions' has all but disappeared, and in which the interest of the reader is claimed on grounds which are all but independent of the mere individual. Wordsworth seeks to exhibit to us, not so much his own personal career, as

in which, amid the difficulties of the time, a human soul might find peace and inward freedom. He rejects any claim to exceptional privilege, and takes his stand upon the rights of simple humanity.

There's not a man
That lives, who hath not known his godlike hours
And feels not what an empire we inherit,

As natural beings in the strength of nature ! He bids us find a confirmation of our spiritual destiny even in the childish appetite for wonder.

Our childhood sits,
Our simple childhood sits upon a throne,

That hath more power than all the elements.
And the highest effect of natural grandeur of the glories of the Alps,

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Our destiny, our being's heart and home,
Is with infinitude, and only there ;
With hope it is, hope that can never die,
Effort, and expectation, and desire,

And something ever more about to be ! Lastly, out of this sense of the spiritual greatness, the ‘godhead' of human nature, springs what we might call, in philosophical terms, the optimism of Wordsworth-his assertion that good is stronger than evil, and even that the latter is but a means of the development of the former. "The godhead which is ours,' he says, 'can never utterly be shamed or stilled,' and

The immortal spirit, with godlike power,
Informs, creates, and thaws the deepest sleep
That time can lay upon

her. Wordsworth's optimism, if it may be so called, has no fear of sorrow or of evil. He can stand in the shadow of death and pain, ruin and failure, with a sympathy that is almost painful in its quiet intensity; yet the sense of something far more deeply interfused’ which makes our noisy years seem moments in the being of the eternal silence;' the faith in the omnipotence of love and man's unconquerable mind,' is never destroyed or even weakened in him. The contemplation of evil and pain always ends with him, by an inevitable recoil, in an inspired expression of his faith in the good which transmutes and transfigures it, as clouds are changed into manifestations of the sunlight they strive to hide. It is this spiritual recoil against the pressure of evil that draws from Wordsworth some of the loftiest and purest notes which his music ever reached,4 notes in which the minor tones of sorrow are made the means of expressing a deeper joy :

Sighing, I turned away; but ere
Night fell I heard, or seemed to hear,
Music that sorrow comes not near-

A ritual hymn,
Chanted in love that casts out fear
By Seraphim.

EDWARD CAIRD.

* Cf. v. 138, 216; vi. 37, 118, &c.

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