a proper copyright law. He showed me, too, some curious books, in which he takes great delight, and with which he has filled his modest house, the bedchambers, staircases, and all. But his interest in all things seems much diminished, and I left him with sad feelings. . . . . May 9.—. . . . We were expected at Wordsworth's, and were most heartily welcomed, with real frank kindness, as old friends. It was nearly their dinner-time, . . . . and we took the meal with them. It was simple as possible, . . . . and the servants took our places when we left them, and dined directly after us. Afterwards we walked an hour . . . . on the terrace, and through the little grounds, while Mr. Wordsworth explained the scenery about us, and repeated passages of his poetry relating to it. Mrs. Wordsworth asked me to talk to him about finishing the Excursion, or the Recluse; saying, that she could not bear to have him occupied constantly in writing sonnets and other trifles, while this great work lay by him untouched, but that she had ceased to urge him on the subject, because she had done it so much in vain. I asked him about it, therefore. He said that the Introduction, which is a sort of autobiography, is completed. This I knew, for he read me large portions of it twenty years ago. The rest is divided into three parts, the first of which is partly written in fragments, which Mr. Wordsworth says would be useless and unintelligible in other hands than his own; the second is the Excursion; and the third is untouched. On my asking him why he does not finish it, he turned to me very decidedly, and said, ‘Why did not Gray finish the long poem he began on a similar subject? Because he found he had undertaken something beyond his powers to accomplish. And that is my case.’ We controverted his position, of course, but I am not certain the event will not prove that he has acted upon his belief. At any rate, I have no hope it will ever be completed, though after his death the world will no doubt have much more than it now possesses. We remained two or three hours with him in this sort of talk, and recollections of our meetings, . . . . and then took a cheerful leave of him and Mrs. Wordsworth, feeling that we left true friends behind us, even if we never see them again.After passing a day or two at the Dales', near Manchester, where they were most kindly invited by Mr.Greg and Mrs. W. R. Greg, whose acquaintance they had made in Rome, Mr.Ticknor and Mrs. Ticknor went on to Oxford.
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