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1 It was at Allan Bank that Coleridge dictated ‘The Friend,’ and Wordsworth contributed to it two essays, one in answer to a letter of Mathetes2 (Professor Wilson), and the other on Epitaphs, republished in the Notes to ‘The Excursion.’ Here also he wrote his ‘Description of the Scenery of the Lakes.’ Perhaps a truer explanation of the comparative silence of Wordsworth's Muse during these years is to be found in the intense interest which he took in current events, whose variety, picturesqueness, and historical significance were enough to absorb all the energies of his imagination.

In the spring of 1811 Wordsworth removed to the Parsonage at Grasmere. Here he remained two years, and here he had his second intimate experience of sorrow in the loss of two of his children, Catharine and Thomas, one of whom died 4th June, and the other 1st December, 1812.3 Early in 1813 he bought Rydal Mount, and, having removed thither, changed his abode no more during the rest of his life. In March of this year he was appointed Distributor of Stamps for the county of Westmoreland, an office whose receipts rendered him independent, and whose business he was able to do by deputy, thus leaving him ample leisure for nobler duties. De Quincey speaks of this appointment as an instance of the remarkable good luck which waited

1 ‘ [231] pamphlet will fail of producing any general effect, because the sentences are long and involved; and his friend De Quincey, who corrected the press, has rendered them more obscure by an unusual system of punctuation.’ (Southey to Scott, 30th July, 1809.) The tract is, as Southey hints, heavy.

2 The first essay in the third volume of the second edition.

3 Wordsworth's children were,—

John, born 18th June, 1803; still living; a clergyman.

Dorothy, born 16th August, 1804; died 9th July, 1847.

Thomas, born 16th June, 1806; died 1st December, 1812.

Catharine, born 6th September, 1808; died 4th June, 1812.

William, born 12th May, 1810; succeeded his father as Stamp-Distributor.

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