It was precisely this which gives to the blank-verse of Landor
the severe dignity and reserved force which alone among later poets recall the tune of Milton
, and to which Wordsworth
's blank-verse (though the passion be profounder) is always essentially that of Cowper
They were alike also in their love of outward nature and of simple things.
The main difference between them is one of scenery rather than of sentiment, between the life-long familiar of the mountains and the dweller on the plain.
It cannot be denied that in Wordsworth
the very highest powers of the poetic mind were associated with a certain tendency to the diffuse and commonplace.
It is in the understanding (always prosaic) that the great golden veins of his imagination are imbedded.1
He wrote too much to write always well; for it is not a great Xerxes-army of words, but a compact Greek
ten thousand, that march safely down to posterity.
He set tasks to his divine faculty, which is much the same as trying to make Jove's eagle do the service of a clucking hen. Throughout ‘The Prelude’ and ‘The Excursion’ he seems striving to bind the wizard Imagination with the sand-ropes of dry disquisition, and to have forgotten the potent spell-word which would make the particles cohere.
There is an arenaceous quality in the style which makes progress wearisome.
Yet with what splendors as of mountain-sunsets are we rewarded!
what golden rounds of verse do we not see stretching