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graves as lying in the churchyard, in order to prove

that they were living:

"Their graves are green, they may be seen,'

The little maid replied,

Twelve steps or more from my mother's door,

And they are side by side.

And often after sunset, sir,
When it is light and fair,
I take my little porringer,

And eat my supper there.
My stockings there I often knit,
My kerchief there I hem;

And there upon their graves I sit

I sit, and sing to them." "

The other argument was developed in the sublime "Ode upon the Intimations of Immortality," &c. Man in his infancy stood nearest (so much was matter of fact) to the unseen world of the Infinite. What voices he heard most frequently, murmuring through the cells of his infantine brain, were echoes of the great realities which, as a new-born infant, he had just quitted. Hanging upon his mother's breast, he heard dim prolongations of a music which belonged to a life ever more and more receding into a distance buried in clouds and vapors. Man's orient, in which lie the fountains of the dawn, must be sought for in that Eden of infancy which first received him as a traveller emerging from a world now daily becoming more distant. And it is a great argument of the divine splendor investing man's natural home, that the heavenly lights which burned in his morning grow fainter and fainter as he "travels further from the East."

The little Carnarvonshire child in "We are Seven,' who is represented as repelling the idea of death under an absolute inability to receive it, had completed her eighth year. But this might be an ambitious exaggeration, such as aspiring female children are generally disposed to practise. It is more probable that she might be in the currency of her eighth year. Naturally we must not exact from Wordsworth any pedantic rigor of accuracy in such a case; but assuredly we have a right to presume that his principle, if tenable at all, must apply to all children below the age of five. However, I will say four. In that case the following anecdote seems to impeach the philosophic truth of this doctrine. I give the memorandum as it was drawn up by myself at the time :

My second child, but eldest daughter, little M———, is between two and three weeks less than two years old; and from the day of her birth she has been uniformly attended by Barbara Lewthwaite. We are now in the first days of June; but, about three weeks since, consequently in the earlier half of May, some one of our neighbors gave to M a little bird. I am no great ornithologist. "Perhaps only a tenthrate one," says some too flattering reader. O dear, no, nothing near it; I fear, no more than a five hundred and tenth rater. Consequently, I cannot ornithologically describe or classify the bird. But I believe that it belonged to the family of fincheseither a goldfinch, bullfinch, or at least something ending in inch. The present was less splendid than at first it seemed. For the bird was wounded; though

not in a way that made the wound apparent; and too sensibly as the evening wore away it drooped. None of us knew what medical treatment to suggest; and all that occurred was to place it with free access to bird-seed and water. At length sunset arrived, which was the signal for M- -'s departure to bed. She came, therefore, as usual to me, threw her arms round my neck, and went through her ordinary routine of prayers; namely, first, the Lord's Prayer, and, finally, the four following lines (a Roman Catholic. bequest to the children of Northern England) :


"Holy* Jesus, meek and mild,

Look on me, a little child;

Pity my simplicity;

Grant that I may come to thee."

M- as she was moving off to bed, whispered to me that I was to "mend" the bird with "yoddonum." Having always seen me taking laudanum, and for the purpose (as she was told) of growing better in health, reasonably it struck her that the little bird would improve under the same regimen. For her satisfaction, I placed a little diluted laudanum near to the bird; and she then departed to bed, though with uneasy looks reverting to her sick little pet. Occupied with some point of study, it happened that I sat up through the whole night; and


*“ Holy Jesus : - This was a very judicious correction introduced by Wordsworth. Originally the traditional line had stood, "Gentle Jesus, meek and mild." But Wordsworth, offended by the idle iteration of one idea in the words, gentle, meek, mild, corrected the text into Holy.


long before seven o'clock in the morning she had summoned Barbara to dress her, and soon I heard the impatient little foot descending the stairs to my study. I had such a Jesuitical bulletin ready, by way of a report upon the bird's health, as might not seem absolutely despairing, though not too dangerously sanguine. And, as the morning was one of heavenly splendor, I proposed that we should improve the bird's chances by taking it out-of-doors into the little orchard at the foot of Fairfield loftiest Grasmere mountain. Thither moved at once Barbara Lewthwaite, little M-, myself, and the poor languishing bird. By that time in May, in any far southern county, perhaps the birds would be ceasing to sing; but not so with us dilatory people in Westmoreland. Suddenly, as we all stood around the little perch on which the bird rested, one thrilling song, louder than the rest, arose from a neighboring hedge. Immediately the bird's eye, previously dull, kindled into momentary fire; the bird rose on its perch, struggled for an instant, seemed to be expanding its wings, made one aspiring movement upwards, in doing so fell back, and in another moment was dead. Too certainly and apparently all these transitions symbolically interpreted themselves, and to all of us alike; the proof of which was man, woman, and child spontaneously shed tears; a weakness, perhaps, but more natural under the regular processional evolution of the scenical stages, than when simply read as a narrative; for too evident it was, to one and all of us, without needing to communicate by words, what vision had revealed itself


to all alike

to the child under two years old, not less than to the adults; too evident it was, that, on this magnificent May morning, there had been exhibited, as on the stage of a theatre - there had passed before the eyes of us all-passed, and was finished the everlasting mystery of death! It seemed to me that little M— by her sudden burst of tears, must have read this saddest of truths-must have felt that the bird's fate was sealed - not less clearly than Barbara or myself.

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PREFATORY NOTE. - By accident, a considerable part of the Confessions (all, in short, except the Dreams) had originally been written hastily; and, from various causes, had never received any strict revision, or, virtually, so much as an ordinary verbal correction. But a great deal more was wanted than this. The main narrative should naturally have moved through a succession of secondary incidents; and, with leisure for recalling these, it might have been greatly inspirited. Wanting all opportunity for such advantages, this narrative had been needlessly impoverished. And thus it had happened that not so properly correction and retrenchment were called for, as integration of what had been left imperfect, or amplification of what, from the first, had been insufficiently expanded. * * I had relied upon a crowning grace, which I had reserved for the final pages of this volume, in a succession of some twenty or twenty-five dreams and noon-day visions, which had arisen, under the latter stages of opium influence. These have disappeared: some under circumstances which allow me a reasonable prospect of recovering them; some unaccountably; and some dishonorably. Five or six, I believe, were

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