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[2174] still more romantic. The fresh and lovely Rydal Mount seems merely the retirement of a gentleman, rather than the haunt of a poet. He showed his benignity of disposition in several little things, especially in his attentions to a young boy we had with us. This boy had left the circus, exhibiting its feats of horsemanship, in Ambleside, ‘for that day only,’ at his own desire to see Wordsworth; and I feared he would be dissatisfied, as I know I should have been at his age, if, when called to see a poet, I had found no Apollo flaming with youthful glory, laurel-crowned, and lyre in hand; but, instead, a reverend old man clothed in black, and walking with cautious step along the level garden-path. However, he was not disappointed; and Wordsworth, in his turn, seemed to feel and prize a congenial nature in this child.

Taking us into the house, he showed us the picture of his sister, repeating with much expression some lines of hers, and those so famous of his about her, beginning ‘Five years,’ &c.; also, his own picture, by Inman, of whom he spoke with esteem. I had asked to see a picture in that room, which has been described in one of the finest of his later poems. A hundred times had I wished to see this picture, yet when seen was not disappointed by it. The light was unfavorable, but it had a light of its own,—

whose mild gleam
     Of beauty never ceases to enrich
The common light.

Mr. Wordsworth is fond of the hollyhock; a partiality scarcely deserved by the flower, but which marks


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