William Wordsworth, Dorothy Wordsworth

The Letters of William and Dorothy Wordsworth, Vol. 5: The Later Years: Part II: 1829–1834 (Second Revised Edition)

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pg 686806. W. W. to EDWARD MOXON

  • Address: Mr Moxon, Bookseller, Dover Street.
  • Postmark: 17 Jan. [18]34. Stamp: Oxford St.
  • MS. Henry E. Huntington Library.
  • K (—). LY ii. 692.

[In M. W.'s hand]

[January 14th, 1834]1

My dear Sir,

The valuable Parcel is arrived; we are charmed with the design and execution of the illustrations, and with the taste of the whole work2 which and its companion the Italy will shine as Brother Stars, tho' not twin-born, in the hemisphere of Literature for many centuries. I have read also some part of Mr Milnes's Book, the Dedication3 of which is for its length one [of]4 the most admirable Specimens of that class of composition to be found in the whole compass of English Literature. Of the Poems also I can say, tho' I have yet read but a few of them, that they add another to the proofs that much poetical Genius is stirring among the youth of this Country. In the work of Alan Cunningham5 to which you refer he has trifled with his own good name in Authorship. He is a man of distinguished talents, both as a Poet and a Biographer and ought to be more careful than he has been in the work you criticize, were it only for considerations of pecuniary gain. I do not know who could take the liberty to tell him this, but I am sure it would be a friendly act.

Many thanks for the truly friendly invitation which Mrs M. and you have sent us: it would delight me to renew my acquaintance with her, a desire which I feel still more strongly, both since she became yr Wife, and since I read Mr Lamb's discriminating verses6 pg 687which I had not seen till the copy of the Athenaeum you kindly sent, reached me. C. Lamb's verses are always delightful, as is every thing he writes, for he both feels and thinks. Will he excuse me for observing that the couplet,

  •                                    like a signet signed
  •                   By a strong hand seemed burnt

appears to me incorrect in the expression, as a signet [is]1 a seal and not the impress of a seal; we do not burn by a seal, but by a branding iron.

It grieved us all to the heart to hear of dear Miss Lamb's illness. Miss Southey is to be married to-morrow. Our daughter is with her, or she would have sent her thanks for the plates you have been so good as to add to the little collection she formerly received from you. But I may say that she is very sensible of your kindness.

I feel so many difficulties in the way of publishing the Poems you allude to, as I do of profitting by yr hospitable invitation, that I know not what to say upon either subject more than that it would please me and mine much to meet your wishes in both cases.

My eyes continue to improve, but I cannot say that they can yet stand all seasons and all Works. My Sister continues better, and we all unite in sincere regards and best wishes to you and yr wife.

  • I remain my dr Sir       
  • sincerely yr friend    
  • [signed] Wm Wordsworth

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Notes

Editor’s Note
1 Date added in another hand, probably by reference to Edith Southey's wedding on the 15th. C. W. jnr. may have taken this letter with him when he left Rydal Mount for Cambridge.
Editor’s Note
2 The new edition of Samuel Rogers's Poems. See next letter.
Editor’s Note
3 Richard Monckton Milnes, Memorials of a Tour in some Parts of Greece, 1834 (see L. 714 above), was dedicated to Henry Hallam in memory of his son Arthur, 'whom I loved with the truth of early friendship … we, the contemporaries of your dear son … are deprived, not only of a beloved friend, of a delightful companion, but of a most wise and influential counsellor in all the serious concerns of existence, of an incomparable critic in all our literary efforts, and of the example of one who was as much before us in everything else, as he is now in the way of life'.
Editor’s Note
4 Word dropped out.
Editor’s Note
5 Written Alingham.
Editor’s Note
6To a Friend on his Marriage (Works, ed. Lucas, v. 75) appeared in the Athenæum of 7 Dec. 1833. See also Lamb, iii. 386–7.
Editor’s Note
1 Word dropped out.
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