By F. B. Pinion
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Extra resources for A Wordsworth Companion: Survey and Assessment
205), but the 'sob long and tremulous' of the original cannot be foregone; it appears in a draft version, and finally, with a closer approximation 'to Gray, in the 'tremulous sob of the complaining owl' at the end of the poem. Literary allusiveness had become traditional in eighteenthcentury poetry; in a neo-classical age, the adaptation of fine phrases from Greek and Latin authors was a commonplace. Gray's 'Elegy' abounds in them, and, as they are resonant with universal feelings, a scholarly reader will find enrichment in their overtones.
They were moderates, impressed by seventeenth-century English republican writers, including Milton, Harrington, and Algernon Sidney, the influence of whom on Wordsworth was soon to become apparent. He could have studied and discussed them in Paris, where their works were readily available in translation. He retained his faith in 'equity and reason', believing that 'the virtue of one paramount mind' would quell 'outrage and bloody power'. Yet his visionary night-fears had been traumatic; he realized that the fate of France depended on what faction got control of the capital, and dread of politically excited mob rage and violence troubled his imagination for life.
Personification is rife: 'Echo dallies with the various France, Annette, and Descriptive Poetry 39 din' and the poet loves to view 'obsequious Grace the winding swan pursue'. An introductory passage illustrates this characteristic freely (and the fashionable affectation of melancholy) in conjunction with other tendencies and points of interest: Return Delights! with whom my road begun, When life rear'd laughing up her morning sun; When Transport kiss'd away my april tear, 'Rocking as in a dream the tedious year'; When link'd with thoughtless Mirth I cours'd the plain, And hope itself was all I knew of pain.