November 23 1814: Reading Wordsworth

November 23d. —This week I finished Wordsworth’s poem. It has afforded me less intense pleasure on the whole, perhaps, than I had expected, but it will be a source of frequent gratification. The wisdom and high moral character of the work are beyond anything of the same kind with which I am acquainted, and the spirit of the poetry flags much less frequently than might be expected. There are passages which run heavily, tales which are prolix, and reasonings which are spun out, but in general the narratives are exquisitely tender. That of the courtier parson, who retains in solitude the feelings of high society, whose vigor of mind is unconquerable, and who, even after the death of his wife, appears able for a short time to bear up against desolation and wretchedness, by the powers of his native temperament, is most delightful. Among the discussions, that on Manufactories, in the eighth book, is admirably managed, and forms, in due subordination to the incomparable fourth book, one of the chief excellences of the poem. Wordsworth has succeeded better in light and elegant painting in this poem than in any other. His Hanoverian and Jacobite are very sweet pictures.

 — Crabb Robinson wrote in his diary for November 23, 2014.



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