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No taller than the foxglove's spiky stem,
A long prospective to my mind appears,
may it please me, in life's latter scene, To think what now thou art, and long to me hast been.
'T was thou who woo'dst me first to look
When all too old become with bootless haste
has thrown A sober charm they did not always own — As winter hoar-frost makes minutest spray Of bush or hedgewood sparkle to the day, In magnitude and beauty, which, bereaved Of such investment, eye had ne'er perceived.
The change of good and evil to abide,
By nature's course, not distant; sad and reft
Thou ardent, liberal spirit! quickly feeling
REV. JOHN FOSTER. 1770-1843. Mr. Foster was a Baptist clergyman, and for a time was settled near Robert Hall, for whose talents he had the highest admiration. Foster's Essays, in a Series of Letters, published in 1805, were ranked among the most valuable productions of the day, and are regarded as “ models of vigorous thought and expression, uniting metaphysical nicety and acuteness with practical sagacity and common sense. His life and correspondence, recently published, let us into the arcana of his character, and afford a high intellectual and moral treat.
FROM THE ESSAY ON A MAN'S WRITING MEMOIRS
OF HIMSELF. If a reflective aged man were to find, at the bottom of an old chest, where it had lain forgotten fifty years, a record which
he had written of himself when he was young, simply and vividly describing his whole heart and pursuits, and reciting verbatim many passages of the language which he sincerely uttered, would he not read it with more wonder than almost
other writing could at his age inspire? He would half lose the assurance of his identity, under the impression of this immense dissimilarity. It would seem as if it must be the tale of the juvenile days of some ancestor, with whom he had no connection but that of name.
He would feel the young man thus introduced to him separated by so wide a distance of character as to render all congenial sociality impossible. At every sentence, he would be tempted to repeat, Foolish youth, I have no sympathy with your feelings; I can hold no converse with your understanding. Thus you see that in the course of a long life a man may be several moral persons, so various from one another, that if you could find a real individual that should nearly exemplify the character in one of these stages, and another that should exemplify it in the next, and so on to the last, and then bring these several persons together into one society, which would thus be a representation of the successive states of one man, they would feel themselves a most heterogeneous party, would oppose and probably despise one another, and soon after separate, not caring if they were never to meet again. If the dissimilarity in mind were as great as in person, there would, in both respects, be a most striking contrast — between the extremes, at least be tween the youth of seventeen and the sage of seventy. The one of these contrasts an old man might contemplate, if he had a true portrait for which he sat in the bloom of his life, and should hold it beside a mirror, in which he looks at his present countenance; and the other would be more powerfully felt, if he had such a genuine and detailed memoir as I have supposed. Might it not be worth while for a self-observant person, in early life, to preserve, for the inspection of the old man, if he should live so long, such a mental likeness of the young one ? If it be not drawn near the time, it can never be drawn with sufficient
WILLIAM WORDS WORTi. 1770-1850. After completing his studies at the University of Cambridge, Worder worth made a pedestrian tour through France, Switzerland and Italy. He spent some time in Paris, then returned to England, and made a journey on foot through the most picturesque regions of his own country. He selected a residence in Somersetshire, where he became intimately acquainted with Coleridge, with whom he made a visit to Germany, which was repeated by the two after an interval of thirty years. But his permanent residence — that from which he has so lately passed away was fixed at Rydal, under the shadow of the mountain of the same name, and by the side of one of the beautiful lakes of Westmoreland.
At the age of thirteen, he made his first attempt at poetry, which has been almost the sole business of his life. 6 Wordsworth was eminently the poet of the moral nature. To him, the most beautiful object in the world was a beautiful human soul. His favorite belief was the Divine adaptation of the universe to the growth and development of humanity. Hence, he watched the changing phases of nature, not only with the passion of a lover, but with the enthusiasm of a devotee. Everything to him was instinct with a spiritual life.
Nature was glorified by its connection with Man ; and Man was brought into a sublime ideal sphere by his relations with Nature.”
Happy in his domestic connections, affluent in his circumstances, residing amidst some of the most beautiful scenery of England, numbering among his friends many of the most eminent men of his times, and honored, at length, with the distinction of poet laureate, this poet of nature and humanity passed a long life of dignified tranquillity, in enjoyments most worthy of a rational soul.
LINES COMPOSED A FEW MILES ABOVE TINTERN AB
Five years have passed; five summers, with the length
Though absent long,