seem, that he might receive that honor which he had truly conquered for himself by the unflinching bravery of a literary life of half a century, unparalleled for the scorn with which its labors were received, and the victorious acknowledgment which at last crowned them.
Surviving nearly all his contemporaries, he had, if ever any man had, a foretaste of immortality, enjoying in a sort his own posthumous renown, for the hardy slowness of its growth gave a safe pledge of its durability, He died on the 23d of April, 1850, the anniversary of the death of Shakespeare
We have thus briefly sketched the life of Wordsworth
, —a life uneventful even for a man of letters; a life like that of an oak, of quiet self-development, throwing out stronger roots toward the side whence the prevailing storm-blasts blow, and of tougher fibre in proportion to the rocky nature of the soil in which it grows.
The life and growth of his mind, and the influences which shaped it, are to be looked for, even more than is the case with most poets, in his works, for he deliberately recorded them there.
Of his personal characteristics little is related.
He was somewhat above the middle height, but, according to De Quincey
, of indifferent figure, the shoulders being narrow and drooping.
His finest feature was the eye, which was gray and full of spiritual light.
says: ‘I never beheld eyes that looked so inspired, so supernatural.
They were like fires, half burning, half smouldering, with a sort of acrid fixture of regard.
One might imagine Ezekiel
or Isaiah to have had such eyes.’
tells us that he had no sense of smell, and Haydon
that he had none of form.
The best likeness of him, in De Quincey
's judgment, is the portrait of Milton
prefixed to Richardson
's notes on Paradise Lost
He was active in his habits, composing in the open air,