A Wordsworth Companion: Survey and Assessment by F. B. Pinion

By F. B. Pinion

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His friend William Mathews, recently of Pembroke College and now unhappy as a teacher, had suggested they take to the roads for a living; he replied that, were he without relatives to whom he was accountable (many years passed before his debts to them were cleared), he would prefer Mathews' recommendation to his own position or to 'vegetating on a paltry curacy'. He was doomed to be 32 A Wordsworth Companion an idler all his life, he wrote in November, having realized that, with little knowledge of Latin and 'scarce anything of Greek', he lacked the linguistic discipline for 'a course of Oriental literature'.

His greatest friend was Beaupuy, and they walked frequently along the Loire, or through forest tracts, where Wordsworth sometimes forgot the present in imaginative re-creation of scenes in Ariosto or Tasso or Spenser. So strong was his love of tradition that, whatever his sympathies with the Revolution, the sight of a sacked convent grieved him, nor could Beaupuy's stories of past wrongs and vice destroy the 'chivalrous delight' with which he viewed local chateaux. The sight of hunger brought him back to reality, and he believed that the new 'benignant spirit' was unconquerable; he saw frequent evidence of it in young patriots as France, Annette, and Descriptive Poetry 35 they bade farewell to loved ones before posting to the frontier.

There can be little doubt that in 1789, probably at Christmas, he met his brother Richard, who had been transferred to the city; he certainly met john, who, after two or three transatlantic voyages, was now waiting to serve on a new merchantman, the Earl of A bergavenny of the East India Company, under the captaincy of his cousin john, uncle Richard's second son. Years later, in conversation with the poet Samuel Rogers, Wordsworth recalled how he bought William Bowles's Fourteen Sonnets soon after publication in 1789, and annoyed john by stopping to finish reading them in a 28 A Wordsworth Companion niche of London Bridge.

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