W. J. B. Owen and Jane Worthington Smyser (eds), The Prose Works of William Wordsworth, Vol. 3

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pg 340KENDAL AND WINDERMERE RAILWAY. __________________

Critical ApparatusNo. I.TO THE EDITOR OF THE MORNING POST.

33Sir—Some little time ago you did me the favour of inserting a 34sonnet expressive of the regret and indignation which, in common with 35others all over these Islands, I felt at the proposal of a railway to 36extend from Kendal to Low Wood, near the head of Windermere. Editor’s Note37The project was so offensive to a large majority of the proprietors 38through whose lands the line, after it came in view of the Lake, was to 39pass, that, for this reason, and the avowed one of the heavy expense 40without which the difficulties in the way could not be overcome, it has Editor’s NoteCritical Apparatus41been partially abandoned, and the terminus is now announced to be at Editor’s Note42a spot within a mile of Bowness. But as no guarantee can be given that 43the project will not hereafter be revived, and an attempt made to Critical Apparatus44carry the line forward through the vales of Ambleside and Grasmere, 45and as in one main particular the case remains essentially the same, 46allow me to address you upon certain points which merit more 47consideration than the favourers of the scheme have yet given them. 48The matter, though seemingly local, is really one in which all persons 49of taste must be interested, and, therefore, I hope to be excused if I 50venture to treat it at some length.

Editor’s NoteCritical Apparatus51I shall barely touch upon the statistics of the question, leaving these 52to the two adverse parties, who will lay their several statements before 53the Board of Trade, which may possibly be induced to refer the matter 54to the House of Commons; and, contemplating that possibility, I hope 55that the observations I have to make may not be altogether without 56influence upon the public, and upon individuals whose duty it may be to 57decide in their place whether the proposed measure shall be referred to 58a Committee of the House. Were the case before us an ordinary one, I 59should reject such an attempt as presumptuous and futile; but it is not 60only different from all others, but, in truth, peculiar.

Editor’s Note61In this district the manufactures are trifling; mines it has none, and Critical Apparatus62its quarries are either wrought out or superseded; the soil is light, 63and the cultivateable parts of the country are very limited; so that it pg 341Editor’s NoteCritical Apparatus64has little to send out, and little has it also to receive. Summer tour-65ists, (and the very word precludes the notion of a railway) it has 66in abundance; but the inhabitants are so few and their intercourse with 67other places so infrequent, that one daily coach, which could not be 68kept going but through its connection with the Post-office, suffices for 69three-fourths of the year along the line of country as far as Keswick. Editor’s Note70The staple of the district is, in fact, its beauty and its character of 71seclusion and retirement; and to these topics and to others connected 72with them my remarks shall be confined.

73The projectors have induced many to favour their schemes by 74declaring that one of their main objects is to place the beauties of the 75Lake district within easier reach of those who cannot afford to pay for Editor’s Note76ordinary conveyances. Look at the facts. Railways are completed, 77which, joined with others in rapid progress, will bring travellers who Critical Apparatus78prefer approaching by Ullswater to within four miles of that lake. Critical Apparatus79The Lancaster and Carlisle Railway will approach the town of Kendal, Critical Apparatus80about eight or nine miles from eminences that command the whole vale 81of Windermere. The Lakes are therefore at present of very easy 82access for all persons; but if they be not made still more so, the poor it 83is said, will be wronged. Before this be admitted let the question be 84fairly looked into, and its different bearings examined. No one can 85assert that, if this intended mode of approach be not effected, anything 86will be taken away that is actually possessed. The wrong, if any, must 87lie in the unwarrantable obstruction of an attainable benefit. First, then, 88let us consider the probable amount of that benefit.

Editor’s Note89Elaborate gardens, with topiary works, were in high request, even 90among our remote ancestors, but the relish for choice and picturesque Editor’s NoteCritical Apparatus91natural scenery (a poor and mean word which requires an apology, but 92will be generally understood), is quite of recent origin. Our earlier Editor’s Note93travellers—Ray, the naturalist, one of the first men of his age—Bishop Critical Apparatus94Burnet, and others who had crossed the Alps, or lived some time 95in Switzerland, are silent upon the sublimity and beauty of those Critical Apparatus96regions; and Burnet even uses these words, speaking of the Grisons—97"When they have made up estates elsewhere they are glad to leave 98Italy and the best parts of Germany, and to come and live among those 99mountains of which the very sight is enough to fill a man with horror." Editor’s Note100The accomplished Evelyn, giving an account of his journey from Italy 101through the Alps, dilates upon the terrible, the melancholy, and 102the uncomfortable; but, till he comes to the fruitful country in the pg 342Editor’s Note103neighbourhood of Geneva, not a syllable of delight or praise. In the Critical Apparatus104Sacra Telluris Theoria of the other Burnet there is a passage—omitted, 105however, in his own English translation of the work—in which he 106gives utterance to his sensations, when, from a particular spot he 107beheld a tract of the Alps rising before him on the one hand, and on the 108other the Mediterranean Sea spread beneath him. Nothing can be 109worthier of the magnificent appearances he describes than his language. Editor’s NoteCritical Apparatus110In a noble strain also does the Poet Gray address, in a Latin Ode, the Critical Apparatus111Religio loci at the Grande Chartruise. But before his time, with the 112exception of the passage from Thomas Burnet just alluded to, there is 113not, I believe, a single English traveller whose published writings Critical Apparatus114would disprove the assertion, that, where precipitous rocks and 115mountains are mentioned at all, they are spoken of as objects of dislike Editor’s Note116and fear, and not of admiration. Even Gray himself, describing, in his 117Journal, the steeps at the entrance of Borrowdale, expresses his 118terror in the language of Dante:—"Let us not speak of them, but look Editor’s Note119and pass on." In my youth, I lived some time in the vale of Keswick, 120under the roof of a shrewd and sensible woman, who more than once 121exclaimed in my hearing, "Bless me! folk are always talking about 122prospects: when I was young there was never sic a thing neamed." Editor’s Note123In fact, our ancestors, as every where appears, in choosing the site of 124their houses, looked only at shelter and convenience, especially of 125water, and often would place a barn or any other out-house directly 126in front of their habitations, however beautiful the landscape which Editor’s Note127their windows might otherwise have commanded. The first house that 128was built in the Lake district for the sake of the beauty of the country 129was the work of a Mr. English, who had travelled in Italy, and chose 130for his site, some eighty years ago, the great island of Windermere; 131but it was sold before his building was finished, and he showed how 132little he was capable of appreciating the character of the situation by 133setting up a length of high garden-wall, as exclusive as it was ugly, 134almost close to the house. The nuisance was swept away when the 135late Mr. Curwen became the owner of this favoured spot. Mr. English 136was followed by Mr. Pocklington, a native of Nottinghamshire, who 137played strange pranks by his buildings and plantations upon Vicar's 138Island, in Derwentwater, which his admiration, such as it was, of the 139country, and probably a wish to be a leader in a new fashion, had 140tempted him to purchase. But what has all this to do with the subject? Editor’s Note141—Why, to show that a vivid perception of romantic scenery is pg 343142neither inherent in mankind, nor a necessary consequence of even a 143comprehensive education. It is benignly ordained that green fields, 144clear blue skies, running streams of pure water, rich groves and woods, 145orchards, and all the ordinary varieties of rural nature, should find an 146easy way to the affections of all men, and more or less so from early 147childhood till the senses are impaired by old age and the sources of 148mere earthly enjoyment have in a great measure failed. But a taste 149beyond this, however desirable it may be that every one should possess 150it, is not to be implanted at once; it must be gradually developed both Editor’s Note151in nations and individuals. Rocks and mountains, torrents and wide 152spread waters, and all those features of nature which go to the com 153position of such scenes as this part of England is distinguished for, 154cannot, in their finer relations to the human mind, be comprehended, 155or even very imperfectly conceived, without processes of culture or 156opportunities of observation in some degree habitual. In the eye of Critical Apparatus157thousands and tens of thousands, a rich meadow, with fat cattle 158grazing upon it, or the sight of what they would call a heavy crop of 159corn, is worth all that the Alps and Pyrenees in their utmost grandeur 160and beauty could show to them; and, notwithstanding the grateful 161influence, as we have observed, of ordinary nature and the productions 162of the fields, it is noticeable what trifling conventional prepossessions 163will, in common minds, not only preclude pleasure from the sight of Editor’s Note164natural beauty, but will even turn it into an object of disgust. "If I had 165to do with this garden," said a respectable person, one of my neigh 166bours, "I would sweep away all the black and dirty stuff from that wall." 167The wall was backed by a bank of earth, and was exquisitely decorated 168with ivy, flowers, moss, and ferns, such as grow of themselves in like 169places; but the mere notion of fitness associated with a trim garden 170wall prevented, in this instance, all sense of the spontaneous bounty 171and delicate care of nature. In the midst of a small pleasure-ground, 172immediately below my house, rises a detached rock, equally remarkable 173for the beauty of its form, the ancient oaks that grow out of it, and the 174flowers and shrubs which adorn it. "What a nice place would this be," 175said a Manchester tradesman, pointing to the rock, "if that ugly lump 176were but out of the way." Men as little advanced in the pleasure which Critical Apparatus177such objects give to others are so far from being rare, that they may be Critical Apparatus178said fairly to represent a large majority of mankind. This is a fact, 179and none but the deceiver and the willingly deceived can be offended 180by its being stated. But as a more susceptible taste is undoubtedly a 181great acquisition, and has been spreading among us for some years, the pg 344182question is, what means are most likely to be beneficial in extending Critical Apparatus183its operation? Surely that good is not to be obtained by transferring at 184once uneducated persons in large bodies to particular spots, where the 185combinations of natural objects are such as would afford the greatest 186pleasure to those who have been in the habit of observing and studying 187the peculiar character of such scenes, and how they differ one from Critical Apparatus188another. Instead of tempting artisans and labourers, and the humbler 189classes of shopkeepers, to ramble to a distance, let us rather look with 190lively sympathy upon persons in that condition, when, upon a holiday, Critical Apparatus191or on the Sunday, after having attended divine worship, they make 192little excursions with their wives and children among neighbouring 193fields, whither the whole of each family might stroll, or be conveyed at 194much less cost than would be required to take a single individual of the 195number to the shores of Windermere by the cheapest conveyance. 196It is in some such way as this only, that persons who must labour daily 197with their hands for bread in large towns, or are subject to confinement 198through the week, can be trained to a profitable intercourse with 199nature where she is the most distinguished by the majesty and Critical Apparatus200sublimity of her forms.

Editor’s Note201For further illustration of the subject, turn to what we know of a 202man of extraordinary genius, who was bred to hard labour in agricul-203tural employments, Burns, the poet. When he had become distinguished 204by the publication of a volume of verses, and was enabled to travel by 205the profit his poems brought him, he made a tour, in the course of 206which, as his companion, Dr. Adair, tells us, he visited scenes inferior 207to none in Scotland in beauty, sublimity, and romantic interest; and 208the Doctor having noticed, with other companions, that he seemed 209little moved upon one occasion by the sight of such a scene, says—"I 210doubt if he had much taste for the picturesque." The personal testimony, 211however, upon this point is conflicting; but when Dr. Currie refers to 212certain local poems as decisive proofs that Burns' fellow-traveller 213was mistaken, the biographer is surely unfortunate. How vague and 214tame are the poet's expressions in those few local poems, compared 215with his language when he is describing objects with which his Editor’s Note216position in life allowed him to be familiar! It appears, both from what pg 345217his works contain, and from what is not to be found in them, that, Critical Apparatus218sensitive as they abundantly prove his mind to have been in its inter 219course with common rural images, and with the general powers of 220nature exhibited in storm and in stillness, in light or darkness, and 221in the various aspects of the seasons, he was little affected by the sight 222of one spot in preference to another, unless where it derived an interest Editor’s Note223from history, tradition, or local associations. He lived many years in 224Nithsdale, where he was in daily sight of Skiddaw, yet he never Critical Apparatus225crossed the Solway for a better acquaintance with that mountain; 226and I am persuaded that, if he had been induced to ramble among our 227Lakes, by that time sufficiently celebrated, he would have seldom been 228more excited than by some ordinary Scottish stream or hill with a 229tradition attached to it, or which had been the scene of a favourite Critical Apparatus230ballad or love song. If all this be truly said of such a man, and the like 231cannot be denied of the eminent individuals before named, who to 232great natural talents added the accomplishments of scholarship or 233science, then what ground is there for maintaining that the poor are 234treated with disrespect, or wrong done to them or any class of visi 235tants, if we be reluctant to introduce a railway into this country for the 236sake of lessening, by eight or nine miles only, the fatigue or expense of Critical Apparatus237their journey to Windermere?—And wherever any one among the 238labouring classes has made even an approach to the sensibility which Editor’s Note239drew a lamentation from Burns when he had uprooted a daisy with his 240plough, and caused him to turn the "weeder-clips aside" from the 241thistle, and spare "the symbol dear" of his country, then surely such a 242one, could he afford by any means to travel as far as Kendal, would not Critical Apparatus243grudge a two hours' walk across the skirts of the beautiful country 244that he was desirous of visiting.

245The wide-spread waters of these regions are in their nature peace-246ful; so are the steep mountains and the rocky glens; nor can they be 247profitably enjoyed but by a mind disposed to peace. Go to a panto-248mime, a farce, or a puppet-show, if you want noisy pleasure—the 249crowd of spectators who partake your enjoyment will, by their 250presence and acclamations, enhance it; but may those who have given 251proof that they prefer other gratifications continue to be safe from the 252molestation of cheap trains pouring out their hundreds at a time along pg 346Critical Apparatus253the margin of Windermere; nor let any one be liable to the charge of 254being selfishly disregardful of the poor, and their innocent and salutary 255enjoyments, if he does not congratulate himself upon the especial 256benefit which would thus be conferred on such a concourse.

  • Editor’s Note257"O, Nature, a' thy shows an' forms,
  • 258To feeling pensive hearts hae charms!"
259So exclaimed the Ayrshire ploughman, speaking of ordinary rural 260nature under the varying influences of the seasons, and the sentiment Critical Apparatus261has found an echo in the bosoms of thousands in as humble a condition 262as he himself was when he gave vent to it. But then they were feeling, 263pensive hearts; men who would be among the first to lament the 264facility with which they had approached this region, by a sacrifice of so 265much of its quiet and beauty, as, from the intrusion of a railway, 266would be inseparable. What can, in truth, be more absurd, than that 267either rich or poor should be spared the trouble of travelling by the 268high roads over so short a space, according to their respective means, 269if the unavoidable consequence must be a great disturbance of the 270retirement, and in many places a destruction of the beauty of the 271country, which the parties are come in search of? Would not this be 272pretty much like the child's cutting up his drum to learn where the 273sound came from?

274Having, I trust, given sufficient reason for the belief that the 275imperfectly educated classes are not likely to draw much good from Editor’s Note276rare visits to the Lakes performed in this way, and surely on their Editor’s Note277own account it is not desirable that the visits should be frequent, let 278us glance at the mischief which such facilities would certainly produce. 279The directors of railway companies are always ready to devise or 280encourage entertainments for tempting the humbler classes to leave 281their homes. Accordingly, for the profit of the shareholders and that 282of the lower class of innkeepers, we should have wrestling matches, 283horse and boat races without number, and pot-houses and beer-shops 284would keep pace with these excitements and recreations, most of 285which might too easily be had elsewhere. The injury which would thus 286be done to morals, both among this influx of strangers and the lower 287class of inhabitants, is obvious; and, supposing such extraordinary 288temptations not to be held out, there cannot be a doubt that the 289Sabbath day in the towns of Bowness and Ambleside, and other parts 290of the district, would be subject to much additional desecration.

Editor’s NoteCritical Apparatus291Whatever comes of the scheme which we have endeavoured to pg 347292discountenance, the charge against its opponents of being selfishly 293regardless of the poor, ought to cease. The cry has been raised and kept 294up by three classes of persons—they who wish to bring into discredit Editor’s Note295all such as stand in the way of their gains or gambling speculations; 296they who are dazzled by the application of physical science to the 297useful arts, and indiscriminately applaud what they call the spirit of 298the age as manifested in this way; and, lastly, those persons who are 299ever ready to step forward in what appears to them to be the cause of 300the poor, but not always with becoming attention to particulars. I am 301well aware that upon the first class what has been said will be of no Critical Apparatus302avail, but upon the two latter some impression will, I trust, be made.

303To conclude. The railway power, we know well, will not admit of 304being materially counteracted by sentiment; and who would wish it 305where large towns are connected, and the interests of trade and Critical Apparatus306agriculture are substantially promoted, by such mode of intercom Editor’s Note307munication? But be it remembered, that this case is, as has been said 308before, a peculiar one, and that the staple of the country is its beauty 309and its character of retirement. Let then the beauty be undisfigured and 310the retirement unviolated, unless there be reason for believing that 311rights and interests of a higher kind and more apparent than those pg 348312which have been urged in behalf of the projected intrusion will 313compensate the sacrifice. Thanking you for the judicious observations 314that have appeared in your paper upon the subject of railways, I remain, 315Sir, your obliged,

316Wm. Wordsworth.

317Rydal Mount, Dec. 9, 1844.

Editor’s NoteCritical Apparatus318Note.—To the instances named in this letter of the indifference 319even of men of genius to the sublime forms of nature in mountainous 320districts, the author of the interesting Essays, in the Morning Post, 321entitled Table Talk has justly added Goldsmith, and I give the passage 322in his own words.

323"The simple and gentle-hearted Goldsmith, who had an exquisite 324sense of rural beauty in the familiar forms of hill and dale, and 325meadows with their hawthorn-scented hedges, does not seem to have 326dreamt of any such thing as beauty in the Swiss Alps, though he 327traversed them on foot, and had therefore the best opportunities of 328observing them. In his poem "The Traveller," he describes the Swiss 329as loving their mountain homes, not by reason of the romantic beauty 330of the situation, but in spite of the miserable character of the soil, and 331the stormy horrors of their mountain steeps—

  • 332                        "Turn we to survey
  • 333         Where rougher climes a nobler race display,
  • 334         Where the bleak Swiss their stormy mansion tread,
  • 335         And force a churlish soil for scanty bread.
  • 336         No produce here the barren hills afford,
  • 337         But man and steel, the soldier and his sword:
  • 338         No vernal blooms their torpid rocks array,
  • 339         But winter lingering chills the lap of May;
  • 340         No Zephyr fondly sues the mountain's breast,
  • 341         But meteors glare and stormy glooms invest.
  • 342         Yet still, even here, content can spread a charm,
  • 343         Redress the clime, and all its rage disarm."

344In the same Essay, (December 18th, 1844,) are many observations 345judiciously bearing upon the true character of this and similar projects.

Notes Settings

Notes

Critical Apparatus
31 No. I. P, K, L: not in M.
Editor’s Note
37. offensive to a large majority of the proprietors] On 15 October 1844 Wordsworth wrote that in the Windermere neighbourhood 'every man of taste and feeling' opposed the proposed railway (L.Y., p. 1232); similarly, on 15 November he wrote that 'the Country, through which it is to pass … is almost to a man against it' (a letter first published by John E. Wells in Modern Language Quarterly, vi (1945), 37).
Critical Apparatus
41 announced to be P2, K, L: fixed M, P.
Editor’s Note
41–2. the terminus … Bowness] When Wordsworth wrote his letter of protest to Gladstone, 15 Oct. 1844 (L.Y., p. 1232), he spoke of 'the head of Windermere'as being the terminus of the railway. But by 16 November he was writing to Sir Charles William Pasley that 'The managers of the obnoxious Kendal and Windermere Railway have determined to change the terminus, which is now designed to come no further than within a mile of Bowness' (Some Letters of the Wordsworth Family, ed. L. N. Broughton (Ithaca, N.Y., 1942), p. 87).
Editor’s Note
42–5. But as no guarantee … the same] Edith C. Batho (The Later Wordsworth (Cambridge, 1933), p. 205) and John E. Wells (Modern Language Quarterly, vi (1945), 37 and 42) maintain that Wordsworth's opposition to the Kendal and Windermere Railway was based solely on his fear that the railway might some time be extended north of Bowness. It is true, of course, that the decision of the company to terminate near Bowness was not necessarily final, and in 1845 plans for extending the line were, in fact, revived (see L.Y., p. 1241, Christopher Wordsworth, Memoirs of William Wordsworth (London, 1851), i. 456, and Moorman, ii. 564–5). But it cannot be said that Wordsworth 'did not object to the fixing of the terminus at the Bowness end of Windermere' (Batho, p. 205, and quoted approvingly by Wells, fn. 14, p. 42). Even in this passage ('in one main particular the case remains essentially the same') Wordsworth is plainly opposed to the railway's coming near Bowness, and in 288–90, 423–6, and 439–55 he refers explicitly to the bad effects of a railway upon Bowness and its immediate neighbourhood. Finally, his letter to R. P. Graves (see above, p. 333) was written after the terminus had been fixed for a point near Bowness, and was concerned with rallying the Bowness and Kendal landowners to resist the railway.
Critical Apparatus
44 of Ambleside P, K, L: of the [sic] Ambleside M.
Critical Apparatus
51 question, leaving M, P2, K, L: question, (See the appendix) leaving P.
Editor’s Note
51–8. Railway Bills were regularly submitted first to the railway department of the Board of Trade; with the Board's recommendations for acceptance, postponement, or rejection, the Bills then went to a Committee of the House, before final Parliamentary action (Henry G. Lewin, Early British Railways (London, 1925), pp. 160, 164). According to The Kendal Mercury (quoted in The Whitehaven Herald, 19 Oct. 1844), Colonel Henry Lowther was one of the two county members undertaking to see the Kendal and Windermere Railway Bill through the House of Commons, while Lord Brougham was doing the same in the House of Lords.
Editor’s Note
61–88. In recommending the incorporation of a railway company the Board of Trade almost invariably cited the advantages to the mining industry or manufactures of a particular district. The Board also considered questions of competing lines within a district. See Reports of the Railway Department of the Board of Trade, Sess. 1845 (London, 1845). In these two paragraphs, therefore, Wordsworth is presenting arguments which, as Crabb Robinson saw (C.R., p. 586), would probably be the only effective ones in persuading the Board to reject the proposal.
Critical Apparatus
62 wrought P2, K, L: worn M, P.
Critical Apparatus
64–6 Summer … but P2, K, L: not in M, P.
Editor’s Note
64–5. tourists … a railway ] In 1800 Wordsworth was one of the first to use the word 'Tourists' ('The Brothers', P.W. ii. 1); cf. O.E.D. Since the word tour is defined as a 'turning round' or a 'circuitous journey', it is understandable why to Wordsworth in 1844 'the very word' would preclude 'the notion of a railway'. But oddly enough it was as recently as 30 September 1844 that he had recommended to Edward Moxon the publication of a Railway Guide: 'Is there in existence a Railway Guide, to answer the purpose of Paterson's Book of Coach Travel? if not, I think it might answer for you to publish one…. It ought to express by small drawings the object signified, a Church, a Castle, a Gentleman's Seat, a conspicuous hill, brook or river, or any other prominent object, marking its distance from the line' (L.Y., p. 1226).
Editor’s Note
70–1. The staple … retirement] Cf. Railway, 308–9 and Wordsworth's letter to Gladstone, 15 Oct. 1844 (L.Y., p. 1232): 'In fact, the project if carried into effect will destroy the staple of the Country which is its beauty.'
Editor’s Note
76–81. Railways … Windermere] In 1846 the Lancaster and Carlisle Railway (incorporated in June 1844) opened its line from Lancaster to Oxenholme, and thence to Carlisle via Penrith. (The distance from Penrith to Ullswater is five miles.) Other railways 'completed' or 'in rapid progress' in the Lake District were four railways which together soon offered a coastal route to the north: the Maryport and Carlisle, the Whitehaven and Furness Junction, the Furness Railway; running inland from the coast, the Cockermouth and Workington Railway was soon extended to Keswick. See Ernest F. Carter, An Historical Geography of the Railways of the British Isles (London, 1959), pp. 75–105.
Critical Apparatus
78 four P2, K, L: three M, P.
Critical Apparatus
79 approach P2, K, L: pass M, P.
Critical Apparatus
80 eight or nine P2, K, L: six or seven M, P.
Editor’s Note
89–90. Elaborate gardens … ancestors] Cf. U.T. 1118…31, Guide, 1655–9. For Wordsworth's interest in gardening, and the history of gardening, see Guide, 1685 ff., E.Y., pp. 622–8; M.Y. i. 3, 8, 93–4, 112–20, 129–31, 505–6; Grosart, iii. 468.
Critical Apparatus
91 poor and mean M, P, P3, K, L: mean & poor P2.
Editor’s Note
91–2. scenery … generally understood] Wordsworth's 'apology' shows perhaps the influence of a note in Coleridge's Biographia Literaria (ii. 81) attacking the current misuse, including Wordsworth's, of the word scene. In S.V., U.T., and the Guide, Wordsworth had freely used the word scenery, and to an even greater extent the word scene. Some examples of his early use of scenery are S.V. 6, 193, 204, 658; U.T. 14, 36, 632, 1144, 1579; Guide, 131, 453, 531, 1062, 1692, 2325, 2505, 2638. The word even appears in the title of the third and fourth editions of the Guide, A Description of the Scenery of the Lakes, but we also recall that in these two editions he occasionally went to some pains to substitute for the word scenery some other word or phrase (see Guide, textual nn. 1816, 2036, 2477, 2666).
Editor’s Note
93–9. John Ray, Observations Topographical, Moral Physiological; Made in a Journey Through Part of the Low-Countries, Germany, Italy, and France (London, 1673); writes of Switzerland, pp. 96–106, 388–9, 411–36; bound in with this volume is Ray's catalogue of plants in Cambridgeshire. Wordsworth's copy of Ray is listed in the Rydal Mount Catalogue (lot 150).
Gilbert Burnet, Bishop of Salisbury, Travels through France, Italy, Germany, and Switzerland (London, 1750). Concentrating upon the trades, manners, forms of government, etc., in the countries through which he travelled, Burnet, like Evelyn (cf. n. immediately below), praised the plots of ground upon the banks of Lake Geneva—'for they look as if they had been laid by Art' (p. 13). Wordsworth's quotation from Burnet omits the reason that the Grisons returned to their native land. Burnet recorded the fact that many of the Grisons were by profession bankers, accumulating great wealth in neighbouring countries—particularly in Lombardy; he then went on to say: 'And the Liberty of the Country is such, that the Natives, when they have made up Estates elsewhere, are glad to leave even Italy and the best parts of Germany, and to come and live among those Mountains, of which the very Sight is enough to fill a Man with Horror' (p. 96). Elsewhere (p. 89), it appears that the Liberty which drew the Grisons home was an absence of taxes and all other impositions. Wordsworth's copy of Burnet (Rydal Mount Catalogue, lot 94) is an edition of 1762.
Critical Apparatus
94 Burnet P, K, L: Burnett M.
Critical Apparatus
96 Burnet P, K, L: Burnett M.
Editor’s Note
100–3. The Diary of John Evelyn, ed. E. S. de Beer (Oxford, 1955), ii. 506–15. Evelyn's terrifying and exciting account of his crossing the Simplon Pass (pp. 509–14) would, of course, have interested Wordsworth (see Railway, 526–69 and nn.). Of the approach to Geneva, Evelyn wrote: 'The next morning we return'd our Guide, & tooke fresh Mules &another to conduct us to the Lake of Geneva, passing through as pleasant a Country, as that which before we had traveld [the Simplon], was melancholy &troublesome, &a strange &suddaine change it seem'd' (p. 515).
Editor’s Note
103–9. Thomas Burnet, Telluris Theoria Sacra (London, 1681), i. 89–91. Wordsworth had attached this long descriptive passage as a note to Exc. III. 112 (P.W. v. 420–1). He there introduced the passage by remarking that he had read it some time after he had composed his own paragraph (Exc. III. 101–12); this would, therefore, date his reading of Burnet's Latin some time after 1806 (see P.W. v. 418). But it is interesting to recall that one of Coleridge's projects listed in the Gutch notebook (1795–6) was 'Burnet's de montibus in English Blank Verse' (C.N.B. i. 174). In Burnet's English translation, The Theory of the Earth (London, 1684), Book I, Chapter xi, translates Book I, Chapter ix ('De Montibus'), but, as Wordsworth says, this particular passage is there omitted.
Critical Apparatus
104. Burnet Edd. (cf. 112): Burnett M, P, K, L.
Critical Apparatus
110–11 In a noble … Chartruise P, K, L: not in M.
Editor’s Note
110–11. 'Oh Tu, severi Religio loci', The Works of Thomas Gray … to which are added, Memoirs of his Life and Writings. By W. Mason, 4th edn. (London, 1807), i. 227.
Critical Apparatus
111–13 before his time … a single P, K, L: with the exception of this author, the poet Gray, if I am not mistaken, was the first M.
Critical Apparatus
114 disprove the P, K, L: belie an M.
Editor’s Note
116–19. Even Gray … pass on] Gray's description is quoted in our n. to U.T. 1633–41. The line from Dante which Wordsworth translates is from the Inferno (III. 51).
Editor’s Note
119–22. In my youth … neamed] Writing from Windy Brow near Keswick in 1794, Dorothy Wordsworth described 'the family under whose roof' she and William were then lodging. She observed that these 'honest cleanly sensible people … prefer their cottage at Windy Brow to any of the showy edifices in the neighbourhood' (E.Y., p. 115). With the remark quoted in the text cf. Wordsworth's manuscript note written in a copy of Railway (Kendal imprint), now in the Cornell Library: 'A Relative of mine, about 30 years older than myself, being congratulated on the great advantage she must have had in being brought up in the romantic County of Cumberland, said dont think about it, when I was young there were no Lakes & Mountains. W. W.' (Healey, item 133).
Editor’s Note
123–7. In fact … commanded] Cf. U.T. 1130–47.
Editor’s Note
127–40. For descriptions of the work done by English, Curwen, and Pocklington see S.V. 153–67, Guide, 1724–80 and n.
Editor’s Note
141–200. Cf. Wordsworth's conversation on 21 November 1844, as recalled by Lady Richardson (Grosart, iii. 448–9):

They [critics of his sonnet 'On the Projected Kendal and Windermere Railway'] actually accuse me of desiring to interfere with the innocent enjoyments of the poor, by preventing this district becoming accessible to them by a railway. Now I deny that it is to that class that this kind of scenery is either the most improving or the most attractive. For the very poor the great God of Nature has mercifully spread out His Bible everywhere; the common sunshine, green fields, the blue sky, the shining river, are everywhere to be met with in this country; and it is only an individual here and there among the uneducated classes who feels very deeply the poetry of lakes and mountains; and such persons would rather wander about where they like, than rush through the country in a railway. It is not, therefore, the poor, as a class, that would benefit morally or mentally by a railway conveyance; while to the educated classes, to whom such scenes as these give enjoyment of the purest kind, the effect would be almost entirely destroyed.

Editor’s Note
151–6. Rocks … habitual] Cf. Subl. and Beaut. 1–33, 288–344.
Critical Apparatus
157 thousands, a P2, K, L: thousands (and happy for them that it is so) a M, P.
Editor’s Note
164–71. If I … nature] Cf. I.F. n. to 'Poor Robin' (P.W. iv. 438): 'Strangely do the tastes of men differ according to their employment and habits of life. "What a nice well [a misprint for 'wall'?] would that be," said a labouring man to me one day, "if all that rubbish was cleared off." The "rubbish" was some of the most beautiful mosses and lichens and ferns and other wild growths that could possibly be seen. Defend us from the tyranny of trimness and neatness showing itself in this way!'
Critical Apparatus
177 they P, K, L: the [sic] M.
Critical Apparatus
178–80 This is … being [here ? del. or smeared P2] stated. P2, K, L: not in M, P.
Critical Apparatus
183 Surely that P2, K, L: And I have no hesitation in saying that, the M, P.
Critical Apparatus
188 Instead P, K, L: Instead, therefore, M.
Critical Apparatus
191 divine worship P, K, L: their parish church M.
Critical Apparatus
200/1 But it will be said that the least susceptible of the uneducated might be advanced towards the point which we acknowledge it is desirable that all, were it possible, should attain by still greater facilities afforded for procuring each a look at lakes, mountains, &c.; and therefore let each man take what he is capable of receiving. Undoubtedly, if there be no sufficient OBJECTION, [applying M] applicable to themselves or others, we should concur with those who speak in this strain. I wish, however, to guard them from overrating, greatly as they do in this instance, the amount of the benefit. M, P: om. P2, K, L.
Editor’s Note
201–13. For further … unfortunate] The Works of Robert Burns; with An Account of His Life [by Dr. Currie] (Liverpool, 1800):

By the new edition of his poems, Burns acquired a sum of money, that enabled him … to gratify a desire he had long entertained, of visiting those parts of his native country most attractive by their beauty or their grandeur [i. 162]…. he undertook another journey towards the middle of this month [August 1787], in company with Mr. M. Adair, now Dr. Adair, of Harrowgate, of which this gentleman has favoured us with the following account [i. 168–9]…. "During a residence of about ten days at Harvieston, we made excursions to visit various parts of the surrounding scenery, inferior to none in Scotland, in beauty, sublimity, and romantic interest…. I am surprised that none of these scenes should have called forth an exertion of Burns's muse. But I doubt if he had much taste for the picturesque" [i. 170–1].

As Wordsworth says, Dr. Currie rejects this opinion, and maintaining that Burns 'was in general feelingly alive to the beautiful or sublime in scenery' (i. 175), cites as evidence his poem 'On a Young Lady …' (i. 176). This poem (entitled 'Banks of Devon' in The Poetical Works of Robert Burns, ed. J. L. Robertson (London, 1910), p. 340) is the only poem to which Dr. Currie refers in order to substantiate his own view of Burns. The first edition of Dr. Currie's Life, which we have here quoted, is in the Rydal Mount Catalogue (lot 480).
Editor’s Note
216–23. It appears … associations] Cf. I.F. n. to ' "There!" said a Stripling' (P.W. iv. 408).
Critical Apparatus
218–19 they abundantly … and with P2, K, L: his mind was to M, P.
Editor’s Note
223–5. He lived … that mountain] Cf. 'At the Grave of Burns' (P.W. iii. 66): 'Huge Criffel's hoary top ascends / By Skiddaw seen,— / Neighbours we were, and loving friends / We might have been'; and also Wordsworth's n. to 'Thoughts Suggested the Day Following' (P.W. iii. 440–1).
Critical Apparatus
225 crossed P, K, L: was tempted to cross M.
Critical Apparatus
230–7 If [the above P2] all this … Windermere? P3, K, L: If this, then, be truly said of such a man, what ground is there for maintaining that wrong is done to a Blackburn or Manchester operative if we be unwilling to accommodate him with a railway to lessen the fatigue or expense of his journey to Windermere for the space of six or seven miles. M, P.
Critical Apparatus
237–8 wherever … classes has P3, K, L: wheresoever any one among that class of persons [(and we trust the number is not small) P2] has M, P.
Editor’s Note
239–41. Burns … symbol dear] 'To a Mountain Daisy' and 'Answer to Verses Addressed to the Poet by the Guidwife of Wauchope-House' ('The rough bur-thistle, spreading wide / Amang the bearded bear, / I turn'd the weeder-clips aside, / An' spar'd the symbol dear'), Poetical Works, ed. J. L. Robertson (London, 1910), pp. 113 and 192.
Critical Apparatus
243 a two hours' P2, K, L: an hour-and-a-half's M, P.
Critical Apparatus
253 margin P, K, L: shores M.
Editor’s Note
257–8. Burns, 'To William Simpson', Poetical Works (London, 1910), p. 171.
Critical Apparatus
261 found P, K, L: formed M.
Editor’s Note
276–7. surely … frequent] Presumably, Wordsworth thinks that frequent visits could be the result only of unemployment.
Editor’s Note
277–90. let us … desecration] In a letter to Crabb Robinson, 16 Feb. 1845 (C.R., pp. 591–3) Barron Field vigorously attacked the 'Railway Letters and Sonnets', and this passage in particular; Harriet Martineau (C.R., p. 621) also thought that Wordsworth misjudged the relative morality of town and country.
Critical Apparatus
291 Whatever P2, K, L: And, passing from this district to look at the bearings of the argument upon the world at large [And, passing to the remoter bearings of the subject M], may it not be asked, without incurring censure from the truly enlightened, whether, in the laudable tendency recently and widely manifested to deal more justly with the poor, and to provide for their recreation more carefully and extensively than has hitherto been done, there be not some risk of running into the opposite extreme? Without due care, sound principle may branch out into sickly sensibility. The constitution of society must be examined with reflection. As long as inequalities of private property shall exist, there must be privileges in recreations and amusements. All cannot be equally enjoyed by all. [Written on the margin of P and then del.: enjoyments cannot be equally partaken of by all; but then pleasures are much more equally] Does it not indicate infirmity of mind even to desire [describe M] it? Pleasures are much more equally balanced than a superficial observer would suppose. What may be wanting in one direction is, through the care of Providence, more than supplied in another. Of the well-meaning zealots (the word must not be taken in an offensive sense), against whose opinions and practice I am arguing, there may be some perhaps who, in passing through the great squares of London, sigh over the exclusion of people in general, and of the poor in particular, from the groves and gardens which the owners of the neighbouring houses keep under lock and key. Leave the aristocracy in unenvied possession of such privacies. Be assured that upon the whole the extremely rich are neither better nor wiser, nor healthier, nor happier, than those who stand far below them in the social scale. So far as we may, let us erect and equalise, but beware of short-sighted humanity, lest by attempting more than is possible, or even desirable, we should prove our own infirmity of judgment and frustrate the acquisition of good which might otherwise be obtained. But whatever M, P.
Editor’s Note
291, textual n. The penultimate complete sentence may be compared with E.S. 709–13. Printed in The Morning Post, the paragraph was later omitted by Wordsworth, 'as leading the Reader from the main point' (L.Y., p. 1242). Like some of the other revisions, the deletion suggests an endeavour to conciliate the opposition; cf. textual nn. to 157, 230–7, 366.
Editor’s Note
295. gambling speculations] In his letters, as well as here and in 384–5, 497 below, Wordsworth condemned the reckless speculation in railway shares and predicted heavy financial losses for the investors. See L.Y., pp. 1245, 1262; Some Letters of the Wordsworth Family, ed. L. N. Broughton (Ithaca, N.Y., 1942), p. 87; C.R., p. 583. The consequences of the 'Railway Mania' of 1845 were as grave as Wordsworth had predicted (see Ernest F. Carter, An Historical Geography of the Railways of the British Isles (London, 1959), pp. 91–3, 112–13, 201, 210, 215).
Critical Apparatus
302 impression M, P2, K, L: impressions P.
Critical Apparatus
302/3 Written in the margin of P is: Then follows in a new paragraph what is on the written sheet. No 'written sheet' for this section has survived. Also written and del. on the bottom of the page is: But I must beg pardon of the Reader for this digression. Whatever comes of the scheme which [cf. 291].
Critical Apparatus
306–7 intercommunication P, K, L: communication M.
Editor’s Note
307–9. that this case … a peculiar one, and that the staple of the country … retirement] Cf. Railway, 58–60, 70–1, and n. to 70–1.
Critical Apparatus
318–45 P2, K, L: not in M, P.
Editor’s Note
318–45. See textual n. The author of Table Talk (Morning Post, 18 Dec. 1844, p. 5) devoted almost his entire essay to fervent praise of Wordsworth's first Railway letter. He had read with 'delight' the 'noble argument' presented in this 'beautiful and touching letter'. In introducing his own example of Goldsmith as another poet indifferent to Alpine scenery, he wrote:

It is indeed a very curious and noticeable circumstance, though unobserved upon, so far as I know, until Mr. Wordsworth's letter of the other day, that the appreciation of beauty and loveliness in the wild sublime scenery of nature is but a modern delight among us, and was not known even to cultivated men, and to the poets of a century ago. Of this fact he offers some striking instances. May I venture to add another, and, as it seems to me, rather an important one. The simple and gentle-hearted Goldsmith, [etc.,]

as in Wordsworth's text, except for minor differences in punctuation, the omission of a preposition ('poem of', 328), and the substitution of 'the' ('of the situation', 330) for the author's 'their'.

In the paragraph immediately following, the author of Table Talk introduces another reason for excluding a railway from the Lake District:

Not one word does [Goldsmith] say of the exquisite beauties of Alpine scenery, which are now the delight of perhaps two or three out of every hundred of the crowds of English who make the Swiss tour…. And that so many of us at the present day have escaped from this insensibility to the more secluded and awful forms of natural beauty we in a great measure owe to Wordsworth and his writings. Bearing this in mind, and giving him the honour which is his due, the public ought, on his account alone, to spare the land he loves so well from that violent intrusion against which he protests.

Later in his essay the author once again voices his opinion that Wordsworth, 'the noblest poet of our time', ought not to be made to suffer personally the 'intrusion' of a railway. It may be that Wordsworth foresaw that such special pleading for private interests would have an effect upon the Board of Trade diametrically opposite to what was hoped for. At any rate, it should be noted that in 596–608 below he took pains to rule out his own private interests as the basis for his objection.
The lines quoted from The Traveller are 165–76 (Goldsmith, Complete Poetical Works, ed. Austin Dobson (London, 1911), pp. 10–11).
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