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[211] by opening to them the sources of an inalterable well-being; to make them free, in a sense higher than political, by showing them that these sources are within them, and that no contrivance of man can permanently emancipate narrow natures and depraved minds. His politics were always those of a poet, circling in the larger orbit of causes and principles, careless of the transitory oscillation of events.

The change in his point of view (if change there was) certainly was complete soon after his return from France, and was perhaps due in part to the influence of Burke.

While he [Burke] forewarns, denounces, launches forth,
Against all systems built on abstract rights,
Keen ridicule; the majesty proclaims
Of institutes and laws hallowed by time;
Declares the vital power of social ties
Endeared by custom; and with high disdain,
Exploding upstart theory, insists
Upon the allegiance to which men are born.
. . . . . .Could a youth, and one
In ancient story versed, whose breast hath heaved
Under the weight of classic eloquence,
Sit, see, and hear, unthankful, uninspired?

Prelude, Book VII. 1

He had seen the French for a dozen years eagerly busy in tearing up whatever had roots in the past, replacing the venerable trunks of tradition and orderly growth with liberty-poles, then striving vainly to piece together the fibres they had broken, and to reproduce artificially that sense of permanence and continuity which is the main safeguard of vigorous selfconscious-ness in a nation. He became a Tory through intellectual conviction, retaining, I suspect, to the last, a certain

1 Written before 1805, and referring to a still earlier date. ‘Wordsworth went in powder, and with cocked hat under his arm, to the Marchioness of Stafford's rout.’ (Southey to Miss Barker, May, 1806.)

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