painfully dull, and some of his lighter effusions, as he would have called them, are almost ludicrously wanting in grace of movement.
We cannot expect in a modern poet the thrush-like improvisation, the impulsively bewitching cadences, that charm us in our Elizabethan drama and whose last warble died with Herrick
; but Shelley
, and Browning
have shown that the simple pathos of their music was not irrecoverable, even if the artless poignancy of their phrase be gone beyond recall.
We feel this lack in Wordsworth
all the more keenly if we compare such verses as
Like an army defeated
The snow hath retreated
And now doth fare ill
On the top of the bare hill,
's exquisite Ueber allen Gipfeln ist Ruh
, in which the lines (as if shaken down by a momentary breeze of emotion) drop lingeringly one after another like blossoms upon turf.
‘The Evening Walk’ and ‘Descriptive Sketches’ show plainly the prevailing influence of Goldsmith
, both in the turn of thought and the mechanism of the verse.
They lack altogether the temperance of tone and judgment in selection which have made the ‘Traveller’ and the ‘Deserted Village,’ perhaps, the most truly classical poems in the language.
They bear here and there, however, the unmistakable stamp of the maturer Wordsworth
, not only in a certain blunt realism, but in the intensity and truth of picturesque epithet.
Of this realism, from which Wordsworth
never wholly freed himself, the following verses may suffice as a specimen.
After describing the fate of a chamois-hunter killed by falling from a crag, his fancy goes back to the bereaved wife and son:—
Haply that child in fearful doubt may gaze,
Passing his father's bones in future days,