SENHORA SMALL FRY NOTES: PAGES 21-30
|Abbreviations- personal names:||Robert Southey hereafter "RS"; Mary Barker "MB"; William Wordsworth "WW"; Dorothy Wordsworth "DW"; Sara Hutchinson "SH"|
|Abbreviations- book titles:||
|Page & topic||Notes|
|21: RS away in July||RS to Edith Southey, from Bishop Auckland, 18 Jul 1812, + RS to J. Neville White, from Keswick, 29 Jul 1812, both in Warter.|
|21: DW comment||DW to Catherine Clarkson at Bury [St. Edmunds], from Grasmere 10 Aug 1812, in W Letters|
|21: Mrs Coleridge report||Letter from Keswick, 30 Oct 1812 [finished & posted Nov 14], in "Minnow Among Tritons: Mrs S.T. Coleridge's Letters to Thomas Poole, 1799-1834" Ed. Stephen Potter (1934): "Miss Barker & her servant have been here since mid-summer, in search of a house near us; she has succeeded in getting one close by us, where she is now settling herself"|
|21: Building of Greta Lodge||See page 40 notes on Greta Hall adverts; NB the phrase "erected four years ago" appears in both the Cumberland Pacquet and Carlisle Patriot versions of the July advertisememt.|
The unnamed building marked on the plan accompanying a Lease of Easement [Wordsworth Trust, Greta Hall deeds 20] dated 20 May 1797 (in which William Jackson of Greata Hall allows John Mayson of Portinscale to convey water from the river by a level underneath his property to Mayson's new mills on the site of the present pencil works, in exchange for a right of road over Mayson's property) appears to match quite precisely with the oddly skewed north-west corner of Greta Lodge, suggesting that at least part of that structure may be incorporated in the house.
I confess that I don't quite know what to make of reports in the letters of Samuel Taylor Coleridge in 1802 ["Collected Letters of Samuel Taylor Coleridge" Volume 2, edited by Earl L. Griggs, (1956/1966)] about the building of a "new house" at or adjacent to Greta Hall (notably letter to RS, 2 Sep 1802); the fact that Mr Jackson remained resident in the hall itself, and that no other neighbouring tenant is subsequently mentioned by any of the Coleridges suggests that this was not Greta Lodge.
Here is a rough version of the 1797 plan on a topographical base of the 1st edition Ordnance Survey 1:2,500 (rescaled).
|21: Sara Coleridge on Greta Hall||in "Memoir and Letters of Sara Coleridge", volume 1, edited by her daughter E. Coleridge (1873).|
|21: illustration||enlarged detail of an early 20th century postcard. A late-Victorian engraving of the view from slightly further north, with Greta Lodge partly hidden by the "Southey Hill Pencil Works" in the old carding mill buildings, can be seen on page 23 of George Bott "Keswick: the Story of a Lake District Town" (1994).|
|22: plan||topographical base, 1st edition Ordnance Survey 1:2,500 (rescaled). Details from Keswick tithe award map, c1840 (original in Carlisle Record Office, Crosthwaite tithe awards, ref. DRC 8/55). As shown on this version, the Greta Lodge plot, number 663 (then owned by Robert Gibson, who also owned the Hall and surrounding land; occupied by William Denton, with plot 664, the land sloping down to the river) does appear to include the yard north of Greta Hall.|
|22: Wordsworth's son dies||WW to Robert Southey, [2 Dec 1812], in W Letters.|
|22: Derwent Bank entertainment||RS to Colonel Peachey, from Keswick, 22 Jan 1813, in Curry:|
"The drawing room which had luckily in the Pocklington fashion a door at either end, and more luckily still a back stairs communication, made a better theatre than any of the alehouses or barns in the country could have supplied." ... "Romeo was the best bad actor I ever saw, that is he was the very worst" ...
|22: RS morning walks||RS to Wade Brown, from Keswick, 18 Mar 1813, in Curry:|
... "By an alteration and improvement in my course of life, I am become an early walker. Sara and Edith and Herbert start with me every morning that the weather will permit for an hour and half or two hours walk." ... +
RS to C.W.W. Wynn esq., from Keswick, 17 Jan 1813:
"we now go before breakfast for the sake of getting the first sunshine on the mountains, which, when the snow is on them, is more glorious than at any other season" [followed by a nice description of winter wildfowl].
|22: "The Doctor" at Miss B's||RS "The Doctor &c." (several volumes, 1834-; also 1-volume edition 1848) chapter VII A.I. "A family party at a next door neighbours". Due to the need for anonymity, no real names of participants in the evening's entertainment are given; all but one- the nephew, who is probably Hartley Coleridge, but just possibly his brother Derwent- can be identified with a bit of effort. Like B.C. dates (but not, now I come to think of it, like A.M. times) chapters before the real initial chapter of The Doctor are numbered downwards, and identified A.I.|
|22: Bhow Begum = MB etc.||in "The Correspondence of Robert Southey with Caroline Bowles" edited by Edward Dowden, 1881
C.B. to RS, from Buckland, 2 Jun 1835:|
..."I cannot make out the Bhow Begum? Is it Miss Hutchinson? I looked at my own black bag, and laughed." ...
RS to C.B., from Keswick, 22 Jun 1835:
"Miss Barker, who then lived in the next house, was the Bhow Begum. That whole chapter is from the life, and the Book grew out of that night's conversation, exactly as there related. But to go farther back with its history. There is a story of Dr. D.D. of D., and of his horse Nobs, which has, I believe, been made into a Hawker's Book. Coleridge used to tell it, and the humour lay in making it as long-winded as possible;- it suited, however, my long-windedness better than his, and I was frequently called upon for it by those who enjoyed it, and sometimes I volunteered it, when Coleridge protested against its being told. As you may suppose, it was never twice told alike, except as to names, and the leading features. With something of Tristram Shandy, something of Rabelais, and more of Montaigne, and a little of old Burton, the predominant characteristic is still my own."
[John Wood Warter quotes this letter in his introduction to the 1848 1-volume edition of "The Doctor &c.", but tactfully refers to the lady only as "Miss B."]
|23: "The Doctor" dedication||RS "The Doctor &c.", chapter VI A.I. "Showing that an author may more easily be kept awake by his own imaginations than put to sleep by them himself, whatever may be their effect upon his readers" + chapter IV A.I. "A conversation at the breakfast table" + chapter III A.I. "The utility of pockets. A compliment properly received" + chapter II A.I. "Concerning dedications, printers' types, and Imperial ink". [for the record, chapter V A.I. is about dreams and the tricky handling of the poets' flying horse, Pegasus, while chapter I A.I. is about the importance of prefaces, which are then further explained in the Ante-Preface, before the Preface is finally reached]|
|23: Miss Fletcher proposal||SH to Mrs Hutchinson, Hindwell, Radnor [1 Aug 1813, postmark Kendal], in Coburn.|
Note that the autumn term would normally start around 1 August, according to newspaper advertisements for other schools.
Further information on the early days of the Ambleside girls' school can be found in John M. Carnie "At Lakeland's Heart" (2002) page 243. Unfortunately, some of it contradicts what appears in this book, and no source notes are provided. According to Anthony Rose in "Exploring Ambleside" (undated, c1973) the girls' school was in what by then was "the group of three dwellings on the left at the bottom of Sweden Bridge Lane".
|23: french footnote||This can be seen in many of the letters used in the research for this book, and for the sake of period flavour, or something, I have tended to follow the same practice in the text|
|23: Miss Fletcher September no-show||DW to SH at Stockton on Tees [11 Sep 1813], in W Letters.|
|23: MB visits Rydale Mount||DW to Catherine Clarkson at Bury St Edmunds, from Rydal [c14 Sep 1813], in W Letters (includes description of the house; note that throughout this book I have chosen the early spelling "Rydale" rather than the later "Rydal").|
|23: Miss Fletcher October no-show||Mary Wordsworth to SH at Stockton on Tees, 4 Oct 1813, in W Letters +|
Mary Wordsworth to SH at Stockton on Tees, [c10 Oct 1813], in "The Letters of Mary Wordsworth, 1800-1855" edited by Mary E. Burton (1958):
..."We have given up the thought of Miss Fletcher- but Miss B. would wish to persuade us that she will come yet."
|23-24: RS to be Poet Laureate||RS to Edith May Southey, from Streatham, 20 Sep 1813, in Warter:|
..."As I know you read the newspaper for the sake of seeing whether Bonaparte has been killed, how the King is, and whether there are any new murders, you may, probably, have seen there that your father is to be Poet Laureate. Son Lunus" ... [etc.] "his crown on. The laurels should be gathered from the grove on that mountain where the Nine Sisters take care of my winged horse; and it is not proper that I should wear any others." ... "Say to your Aunt Coleridge that I long to sneeze and snap my toes at home once more; and tell the Senhora that poor I am getting sleepy, for it is half-past nine o'clock." ...
[The letter also refers to the story of the Three Bears, which was to be featured in "The Doctor".]
Another RS letter, to Edith Southey (his wife) , from Streatham, 16 Sep 1813, in Curry, says ... "Tell the Senhora that I will not forget to see Miss Linwood's pictures- and tell her without loss of time to make a paper book, and begin immediately to put therein things for the Book of Books." [Curry's footnote states that "Mary Linwood (1755-1845) imitated pictures in worsted embroidery. Her exhibitions were widely attended."; I presume the Book of Books is "The Doctor"]
|24: RS meets Byron||RS to Edith Southey, 28 Sep 1813, from London, in Curry:|
... "I saw a man whom in voice, manner and countenance I liked very much more than either his character or his writings had given me reason to expect."...
|24: RS letter to MB||RS to MB, from Streatham, 8 Oct 1813, in Warter:|
"Two ladies arrived" ... [etc.] "ome-sickness"... "I shall look for Lord William on Sunday, and endeavour to hurry this appointment by a simple notification that I certainly do not intend to wait for it." ... "They ought to know that in accepting the office, I am conferring a favour rather than receiving one." ..."Of the many things which remain to be done in London, one is to wait upon Smith, and have the bust finished, and another to send off the hamper from Burges's, which shall be done as soon as I get the one thing needful for doing it: and you will not find fault with me, Senhora, if I put in a pot of caviare, in expectation that you and I, who have tips to our tongues, shall like it." ... "Senhora, I am really too lazy and too Simorgish to write anything but such mere gossip as this. 'It is poor I;' and I wish it were bed-time, and that the days were gone, and the nights too, which must pass before I take my seat comfortably in the mail-coach, and pack myself up for forty hours; for I want some garlick-pie" ... [etc.] "Mrs. Coleridge's nose, and to sit by my own fire-side, and to sleep in my own bed, and to resume my own way of life, and to say Aballaboozolanganoribo in the right place, and in the right tone of feeling, and (when I am called upon) to sing the 'Bloody Gardener' with my usual obligingness." ...
... "I took Coleridge to Madame de Stael on Monday, and left him there in the full spring-tide of his discourse." ... "Shall you not delight in seeing Madame de Stael on her way to Scotland? She is a real lioness." ...
"And now, Senhora, good night." .. "As soon as you have had your tea, take your pen, ink, and paper, and write me a letter, and tell me all the news of home; and if you send it to the post that night, i.e., Monday, direct it to 28. Queen Anne Street. N.B. you may as well add London, which was forgotten in the direction of the last letter."
[Either RS or his editor has made a serious mistake with the A-word, methinks. Try "Aballiboozobanganorribo". By the way, the Simorg, or Simurgh, was a wise but rather tetchy bird in Persian mythology, mentioned in Southey's poem "Thalaba the Destroyer" (1801) and his "Common-Place Book" series 2 (1849)]
|24: RS meets Littleton & father-in-law||RS to Edith S., from Streatham, 16 Oct 1813, + RS to Edith S., from Queen Anne Street, 28 Oct 1813, both in Curry. [Littleton's father-in-law was the Marquess of Wellesley]|
|24: RS return to Keswick||RS letter from Keswick, 16 Nov 1813, in Warter, states that he reached home "on Sunday afternoon, after a twelve weeks' absence."|
|24: Basil Montagu arrival||Mary Wordsworth to Sarah Hutchinson at Stockton on Tees, [c10 Oct 1813], in "The Letters of Mary Wordsworth, 1800-1855" edited by Mary E. Burton, (1958):|
... "Young Basil Montagu is a constant dish with us every evening." ...
|24: Basil Montagu background||Mary Moorman "William Wordsworth: A Biography. The Later Years 1803-1850" (1965) + Basil Montagu snr's notebook on young Basil's condition, Wordsworth Trust manuscript A/Montagu, B/26 (former ref. 526).|
|24: Basil Montagu in December||Basil's weekly letters (each Sunday) to his parents, copied into the notebook as above ( A/Montagu, B/26, folio 55r onward). Note that these appear to be out of order in the book: apparently 12 Dec 1813, 28 Nov (or earlier), 19 Dec, 5 Dec, 25 Dec, 1 Jan 1814.|
|25: Xmas & education at Keswick||Mrs Coleridge letter to Thomas Poole, Feb 1814, in "Minnow Among Tritons"|
|25: Basil Montagu's Xmas||25 Dec letter in the notebook as above (diet details in the 28 Nov-ish letter).|
|25: Basil Montagu falls ill||Note from Basil Montagu snr. in the notebook, after young Basil's 1 Jan 1814 letter +|
Mrs Coleridge letter to Thomas Poole, Feb 1814, in "Minnow Among Tritons"
|25: Basil's hatred of Dorothy||Summary by Basil Montagu snr. in early part of the notebook|
|25: DW's nursing days over||Hunter Davies in "William Wordsworth: A Biography" (1980) quotes DW in Oct 1813: "Our domestic occupations are now comparatively few. Willy goes to school- and there is no likelihood of more children to nurse". Davies goes on to indicate other symptoms of DW's seeming isolation in the Rydale Mount household.|
|25: illness to Feb + DW's stay with MB||WW to Basil Montagu [snr] in London, from Rydale Mount, 20 Jan  + DW to Richard Wordsworth in London, from Keswick, 23 Jan 1814, both in W Letters, +|
Mrs Coleridge letter to Thomas Poole, Feb 1814, in "Minnow Among Tritons"
|25: Greta Hall problems||Mrs Coleridge letter to Thomas Poole, Feb 1814, in "Minnow Among Tritons" +|
RS to John King, from Keswick, 23 May 1814, in Curry- at this late date, Sara Coleridge's foot problem is leading to major complications and serious concern
|26: MB / Frickers argument + MB's isolation||DW to Catherine Clarkson at Bury St Edmunds, 24 Apr , in W Letters|
|26: Basil writes to parents||The latter part of Basil Montagu snr's notebook (Wordsworth Trust MS A/Montagu, B/26, as above) is slightly strange. Young Basil's letter of 1 January 1814 is followed by a brief summary of his care at Greta Hall, then an introduction to "the following letters" sent by young Basil to his parents (probably, Mr Montagu thinks, after some prompting from his carers) and received 19 March. After a heading "Letter to me", several blank pages of the notebook follow- then suddenly, a transcript of the end of a letter starts at the top of a page.|
|26: Basil's recovery||DW to Catherine Clarkson at Bury St Edmunds, 24 Apr , in W Letters. NB, though DW claims that Basil had been living "Scot Free" at Greta Lodge, she herself seemingly had not- Mark L. Reed in "Wordsworth: The Chronology of the Middle Years 1800-1815" (1975) notes a payment of £50 from the Wordsworth account to Miss Barker in Mary Wordsworth's financial records (probably on 2 February), and a further £14 authorised about 25 April for payment on 25 May.|
|26: Basil's claims about MB||More of the rather fragmentary material at the end of Basil Montagu snr's notebook details this, and also mentions a libellous letter sent by young Basil to Sir Samuel Romilly, which the recipient forwarded to Mr Montagu, who received it on 20 June. Again, though he refers to "the following letter", he does not provide a transcript, so the actual substance and subjects of the letter are not known.|
|26: DW's hopes for Keswick peace||DW to Catherine Clarkson at Bury St Edmunds, 24 Apr , in W Letters|
|26: Caroline Vallon engagement + Baudouin visit||Juliet Barker "Wordsworth: A Life" (2000) +|
DW to Catherine Clarkson, 9 Oct 1814, in W letters, + RS to Edith S., from Paris, 17 May 1817, in Curry.
|27: Mrs Wordsworth's problem||Letter to DW and SH at Hindwell, [29 Sep 1814], in "The Letters of Mary Wordsworth, 1800-1855" edited by Mary E. Burton (1958)|
|27: DW's "estrangement"||As pointed out by Hunter Davies (op. cit.), and clearly evident when studying 1813-14 in Reed's "Chronology of the Middle Years"|
|27: MB's autumn plans + Jere||Mrs Wordsworth's letter to DW and SH at Hindwell, [29 Sep 1814], as above.|
|27: deaf Miss Fletcher||Mrs Wordsworth's letter to DW at Hindwell, [29 Oct 1814], in Burton (1958)|
|27: Byron's "Pond Poets" letter||Reed's "Chronology of the Middle Years" attempts to untangle the sequence of events. Though the Wordsworths had met Hogg on their Scottish tour, in late August, he did not report Byron's letter until he visited Cumbria on his own holiday about a fortnight later- he was at Rydale Mount by the time the Wordsworths returned on 9 September. RS wrote to "The Courier" in 1824 "no such epistle was ever shown to Mr Wordsworth or to me", and the sub-title of Mary's poem "on hearing of his phrase Pond Poets" also suggests that Hogg merely relayed the content of the letter without showing it (though of course she could have heard indirectly, from Southey).|
|27: alliterative response||to be discussed on page 50|
|27: open slanging match||on the other hand, biographies and correspondence of both WW and RS indicate that they were willing to express their feelings to friends|
|27: rough storyboard|| There have, to my knowledge, been four previous analyses of "Lines...":|
Reed: Mark L. Reed naturally attempts to fit the lengthy process of preparing the poem into "Wordsworth: The Chronology of the Middle Years 1800-1815" (1975). NB: Reed had sight of an unpublished essay by Robert G. Kirkpatrick "Lines Addressed to a Noble Lord: Wordsworth's and Mary Barker's Retort to 'Satanic' Criticism"- still unpublished today, as far as I can tell.
Ketcham: introduction to a reading text of the poem in the Cornell volume of William Wordsworth "Shorter Poems, 1807-1820", edited by Carl Ketcham (1989)
Parille: Ken Parille "All the Rage", essay in "Papers on Language and Literature" volume 37 pages 255-278 (2001), dealing with the poem as the most public statement of Wordsworth's hostility to Byron
JWordsworth: Jonathan Wordsworth, introduction to the Woodstock facsimile of the original printed edition, as Mary Barker & William Wordsworth "Lines Addressed to a Noble Lord" (2001)
All approach the poem from a Wordsworth perspective, without detailed consideration of Mary Barker's possible motivation. They also tend to downplay the satirical "Notes", but then I could be accused of doing the same, as these have little to contribute from a biographical point of view.
|28: origin of Lines||See page 56 notes for details of the manuscripts.|
The sub-title of the poem suggests that it was originally written as a direct response to the September news from Hogg, probably while the topic was still fresh. As we know from Mrs Coleridge's Feb 1814 letter, mentioned above, that Mary wrote poetry but seemed to want to keep the fact fairly secret, the likeliest explanation for the genesis of the poem is that it was written by Mary alone, initially for a Greta Hall audience. This would also explain cheeky phrases such as "reverence thy betters", which would work much better on an audience of friends than on Lord Byron himself.
|28: original structure of Lines||When definite WW contributions to the Monkhouse MS version of "Lines...", and the final stanza which WW claimed MB had "added" (WW to SH at Hindwell, Saturday [probably 10 Dec 1814], in W letters) are removed, what remains is:|
Stanza I (8 lines); stanza II (10 lines); stanza III (16 lines); stanzas IV-IX (each 10 lines); stanza XI (10 lines); possibly the first 3 lines of stanza XII; most of lines 3 & 4 (plus apparently the second half of line 2) of stanza XV; the first 6 lines of staza XVI (known from WW's letter to have been moved from near the beginning of MB's original version).
All stanzas written solely by WW have 14 lines, as does MB's "added" final stanza. Adding MB's 6 lines from stanza XVI to the 8 of stanza I gives another 14, hence my suggestion that stanza I may originally have had 14 lines. Adding the 3 stray lines from stanza XV (plus one more to rhyme with line 2) to the end of stanza XI would make an original final stanza of 14 lines.
That of course leaves the tricky first 3 lines of stanza XII; but quite simply, they cannot be fitted anywhere in MB's "original" work, even if the word "climb" is assumed to be WW's. The evidence of the 6 early lines moved into stanza XVI suggests that MB would have objected strongly to the complete removal of several lines, so rather than assume that the stanza XII lines represent the remains of an MB stanza almost completely rewritten by WW, the likelier possibilities are that
a) WW wrote them, and meant in his [c10 Dec] letter that his contribution started with the stanza containing "old Helvellyn's brow sublime", or
b) MB and WW worked together on the opening of the stanza, then separately thought about ways to end the poem, with MB ultimately not able to use this work in her 14-line "added" stanza.
However, there is also a small problem with stanza I. WW mentions in the [c10 Dec] letter that his friend John Wilson (the ebullient Scottish writer better known to later generations as "Christopher North", another to whom, as Reed notes, Hogg had mentioned Byron's comments) thought he had written stanza I as it then existed- and he neither confirms nor denies the accuracy of this suggestion; in explaining the move of 6 lines to stanza XVI he also refers to them coming from the opening "as first composed". The fact that this stanza has only 8 lines suggests that it was not written by WW, as does the personification of Remorse as "she", which is continued in stanza II (but changed to "he" in the final printed version of stanza I, probably due to WW's later revision). The "as first composed" remark, does, however, suggest that he tried to improve some words.
Finally, a note on stanza III. A block of 6 lines (9-14) in this unusually long stanza refers to Francis Jeffrey- without them, the stanza is left with a neat 10 lines, and the poem is left with a focus on Byron.
|28: DW & SH trip to Hindwell||Reed|
|28: Criticism of "Excursion"||Reed: the poem had been published in mid-August, but the first part of Hazlitt's review appeared very swiftly, as he had borrowed one of the first copies off the press from Charles Lamb. The remaining two instalments of his essay appeared in September and October [see Elsie Smith "An estimate of William Wordsworth By His Contemporaries, 1793-1822" (1932) for details and substantial quotations from the review, which was basically favourable except for the trivial detail that Hazlitt could not cope with with the fundamental rurality of the work].|
|28: MB visits WW||Mrs Wordsworth's letter to DW at Hindwell, 22 Oct , in Burton (1958) as above, indicated that she had spoken with MB a little while earlier; probably at least a week. The copy of WW's "From the Dark Chambers...." in MB's album [for details of which, see page 56 introductory note to "Lines..."] is dated "Rydale Mt., Oct 1814". WW's own introduction to the published version of "From the Dark Chambers..." explains more about its origin.|
|28: Jeffrey tip-off & MB response||Although the issue of the Edinburgh Review containing Francis Jeffrey's notorious review of "The Excursion" was dated November 1814, it has been established that it actually appeared on 6 December [Reed]. As mentioned above, it seems quite likely that the reason for the unusual length of stanza 3 of "Lines..." is because the six lines about Jeffrey were lateish additions to an original 10-line stanza. The Notes to the printed version of the poem refer only to these few lines, hence my suspicion that they were introduced solely as an excuse to write the Notes.|
If the dating of WW's [c10 Dec] letter is correct (it was definitely a Saturday, and other details make the precise date very likely) then there simply would not have been time for all the work on the poem and the correspondence with Hindwell since 6 Dec, so if a decision had been taken to attack Jeffrey, it was not the result of reading the published Edinburgh Review. RS and WW both had friends in Scottish literary circles, so it would not be surprising if rumours were passed on- but WW makes no mention of hearing about Jeffrey's piece until 22 December [W Letters]. They may have been no actual "tip-off", just a discussion at Keswick on the likelihood of Jeffrey striving to outdo other reviewers in condemning "The Excursion".
The lack of references to "Lines..." in earlier correspondence between Rydale and Hindwell suggests that WW was not actively involved with it until November.
|28: WW's first active involvement with Lines||see note on "original structure" above.|
|28: MB's problem with WW's work||Why would a woman praised for her frankness, sincerity and generosity suddenly start behaving like a "cunning jade", hiding the extent of WW's work on "Lines..." and adding a stanza after his ending? This question goes to the heart of the whole "Lines..." project; MB did not need WW's contribution to publish her poem, and she certainly didn't need to risk losing the Wordsworths' friendship for her own amusement. Given that the publication of "Lines..." was certainly an attempt to help her friends, the awkward involvement of WW makes most sense as an attempt to help him in the specific circumstances of late 1814- facing great hostility to his art, without his greatest spiritual aid, DW.|
But the anonymous poem was supposed to be essentially her work; the Monkhouse draft is signed "M. Barker" and even the published version retains "by one of the small fry...".
MB's "added" stanza at the end is interesting because, while evidently intended as a conclusion, it echoes WW's work in stanza XII (to the point where the first four lines of stanza XII could be substituted for the first four lines of this); also because WW is concerned that it is an invitation for Lord Byron to pay a personal visit to the Lakes. Although he too invites his Lordship to "Come", his detailed description of an idealised rural life is intended to make the visit purely spiritual; the authors seem to have agreed that the ending needed to be framed as an invitation, and worked on their own interpretations of that idea. If WW had contributed various minor improvements plus a 14-line concluding stanza, MB might well have been quite happy- that would make him feel involved while still leaving it possible to claim that the poem as a whole was not the work of any of the "Lake Poets". But MB could not, on receiving nearly 5 stanzas, turn round to the man whose confidence she was trying to boost, and tell him his work was not wanted.
|28: WW's problem with MB's work||And why, in a contribution of 14-line stanzas, did WW apparently make his last stanza 16 lines?|
WW states in his [c10 Dec] letter that he would rather have discarded the six lines "transplanted" into stanza XVI, hence my suggestion that the extra lines were an attempt to persuade MB to relinquish at least 2 (for a 14-line stanza) or even all 6 (for a 10-line stanza). He may have had a similar idea with his two extra lines at the end of stanza VIII, and the most likely reason is that he had found it impossible at his first attempt to persuade MB to abandon significant sections of her poem.
|29: MB's cunning plan||It is clear from the [c10 Dec] letter and DW's letter to SH at Hindwell, 18 Feb , that DW and SH were not asked specifically to try and help MB cut down WW's contribution to the poem, but the fact that SH evidently contacted WW for help indicates that she had been told he had some part in the work. Wordsworth is probably quite correct in describing the sending to Hindwell of the draft with both endings as "cunning", although even he probably does not quite understand what is going on. The fact that (as reported in the [c10 Dec] letter) John Wilson, on being shown this draft, or one fairly similar, managed to spot WW's major contribution, "the description of the rural feast", suggests that Mary was right to make at least a token attempt to reduce the scale of his input, and may indeed have swayed WW in his grudging acceptance of her cunning (see next note).|
|29: c10 Dec letter||see comments above. Phrases like "Except also six verses or eight" and the confusion over the "couplet" indicate that WW does not have a copy of the poem before him as he is writing the letter, and that he remembers his own contributions much more clearly than MB's work. In the [c10 Dec] letter, WW makes it clear that he has used Mr Wilson to test the possibility that he or RS will be suspected of having contributed to the poem- an idea he would prefer Lord Byron not to flatter himself by considering.|
|29: Jeffrey's review||As mentioned earlier, the first indication that WW is aware of Jeffrey's review of "The Excursion" is a letter of 22 Dec 1814, in W Letters. He states on more than one occasion (e.g. letter to Catherine Clarkson, [Jan 1815] , also in W Letters) that he does not read Jeffrey's reviews himself. James Hogg had written to RS on 15 Dec about the "crushing review" [quoted by Elsie Smith in "An Estimate"... as above], observing from conversation with Jeffrey, "what was my pleasure to find that he had only got to the seventeenth division"- i.e. Jeffrey was so keen to get his review out quickly that he had not bothered to read all of the poem in detail.|
|29: Stanza X of "Lines..."||Omitted from the Monkhouse draft, this whole stanza goes far beyond the rest of the poem in its praise of the Lake Poets, while directly attacking "little critics of the day". The fact that this stanza has 14 lines and uses at least two notions also found in Wordsworth's theoretical writing- the "glitter" of fashionable poetry and the idea itself of fashion in poetry- makes it tempting to think that the author could be WW, but would he be so egotistic? It makes more sense as an attempt by MB to boost her friend's ego at a particularly depressing moment (and to boost her contribution to the finished work, in place of the abandoned "added" stanza). I have taken "what foes, or friends may say" as a reference to Hazlitt in particular, and other previously "friendly" critics- but of course the stanza could be a very late addition, written after WW's bruising by the "friendly" hand of Charles Lamb (or at least, Lamb's editor at the "Quarterly Review"- see WW preface & essay note below).|
|29: copies of Dorothy's poems||A cluster of three poems by Dorothy follows "Lines..." in the Barker Album at the Bodleian Library, these were presumably copied with Dorothy's permission after her return from Hindwell.|
|29: WW preface and essay||A letter from WW to RS, written some time in January 1814, clearly indicates his depression following Lamb's letter: "As to the Excursion I have ceased to have any interest about it, since I read Lamb's Letter, let this benighted age continue to love its own darkness". Stephen Gill, in "William Wordsworth: A Life" (1989) dates the composition of the Preface and supplementary essay for the new "Collected Poems" to January also.|
Elsie Smith's "An estimate of William Wordsworth By His Contemporaries, 1793-1822" (1932) shows that Charles Lamb actually wrote two letters to WW around the end of 1814 about his essay for the Quarterly Review, one just before it was published, and one just after. He had written the piece at Southey's request (according to a letter by DW, 27 Feb 1815, in W Letters) for the October 1814 issue of the Quarterly- hastily getting his copy of the poem back from William Hazlitt- but mysteriously, the magazine was not published until the end of December (i.e. sufficiently late for the editor to have had a chance to see Jeffrey's review before going to print), and when it appeared, Lamb scarcely recognised his own work. Lamb's second letter, probably received by WW in the first week of January, was a direct apology for the "spurious" essay, which had not merely had material removed but "every warm expression is changed for a nasty old one" (or as DW put it in her 27 Feb letter, editor Gifford's "own flat phrases").
|29-30: improving stanza I of Lines||This work by WW is mentioned in DW's letter to SH at Hindwell, 18 Feb . As the printed version of this stanza contains only 3 new lines, Dorothy's indication of WW's effort and frustration is very plausible. Her statement "the poem is corrected" leads the way to my suggestion about revision on the printer's proofs.|
|30: confusion of DW and SH||At first reading of DW's 18 Feb letter, one tends to assume that MB has committed another faux pas by attempting quite openly to belittle WW's description of the "rural feast". However, at least part of DW's discussion of this subject is referring back to their conversation on the poem when together at Hindwell, and it is quite possible that they are simply continuing the earlier discussion by letter, not reacting to any new problem.|
|30: printing of Lines||The printer's name is the only one given on the published booklet, but an unpublished letter from John Monkhouse at Stow to Thomas Monkhouse, 4 Apr 1815 (quoted in Reed) indicates the role of Longmans. RS's relationship with Poples (as revealed in numerous of his letters- though sadly none sems to reveal Pople's first name) goes back years, and includes the setting-up of Mrs Lovell's son as an apprentice there.|
|30: Byron praises RS||Quoted in E.C. Mayne "Life of Lady Byron" (1929) p135: "near perfection as poetry can be- which considering how I dislike that school I wonder at". RS's response appears in a letter to C.W.W. Wynn Esq., from Keswick, 15 Dec 1814, in Warter: ... "Lord Byron's commendations are repeated to me from all quarters. I regard them precisely as I did his condemnation of 'Madoc'; the one opinion just serves to show the worthlessness of the other; for if one of these poems be bad, it is quite impossible that the other can be good."|
|30: Education||WW describes Sara Coleridge's education in a letter to the Coleridges' old neighbour and great friend Thomas Poole at Nether Stowey, from Rydal Mount, 13 March 1815, in W Letters; RS does similar in a letter to John P. Estlin, from Keswick, 17 Mar 1815, in Curry. DW describes the improvements at Miss Fletcher's school, and Dora Wordsworth's progress, in a letter to SH at Hindwell, on 16 March, in W Letters.|
|30: The Wedding||DW's 16 Mar letter to SH describes MB's preparations for the wedding trip, and the problem she is causing- but that was also mentioned months earlier, in a letter from Mrs Wordsworth to DW at Hindwell, 22 Oct : "she does not mean to take your hint about France. No doubt she will attribute what you may have said, to your great generosity in being willing to give up the pleasure of her company."|
|30: Napoleon||Letter from Mrs Coleridge at Greta Hall to Thomas Poole, 28 Mar 1815, in "Minnow Among Tritons" as above, "Miss Hutchinson and Miss Barker would have been there; they meant to go in May."|
|30: Distribution of Lines||Unpublished letter from John Monkhouse at Stow to Thomas Monkhouse, 4 Apr 1815 (quoted in Reed)|
|30-31: DW visit to Keswick + news + advice||DW to SH at Hindwell, 8 Apr , in W Letters.|
Although I have yet to find any reference to a school run by Mr Gritton- except for a Sunday School he helped to establish some years later according to George Bott in "Keswick: the Story of a Lake District Town" (1994)- there was a girls' school at Keswick run by Mrs and Miss Gritton, advertised in the Cumberland Pacquet, 22 Mar 1814, page 1.