William Wordsworth, Dorothy Wordsworth

The Letters of William and Dorothy Wordsworth, Vol. 6: The Later Years: Part III: 1835–1839 (Second Revised Edition)

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1291. W. W. to MARY FRANCES HOWLEY

  • Address: Mrs Howley.
  • MS. Lambeth Palace Library transcript.
  • Russell Noyes, 'Wordsworth and Sir George Beaumont's Family', TLS, 10 Aug. 1962 (—).

[In M. W.'s hand]

[early Feb. 1839]

My dear Mrs Howley,

On the other side of this sheet I have taken the liberty of having transcribed for your perusal and the Archbishop's, a Sonnet which I wrote a few months ago, and in which, for the sake of the subject, you will, I trust, have some interest; it perhaps explains itself sufficiently—but lest that shd not be so, it may as well be premised, that the tree1 was purchased of the proprietor by Sir G. Beaumont, to be left standing for the sake of its beauty. I should scarcely have had the courage to send you this effusion, but that it gives me an opportunity of enquiring after your own health and that of the Archbishop—and also concerning the dear Beaumonts, about whom we have heard nothing for a very long time. How is Sir George, and where? and pray tell us whether your little Grandaughter2 be with you, and how her Brothers and herself are going on.

We condole with you sincerely upon the death of Mr Rose3—he was a man of sweet dispositions, and a truly Christian character—by his friends he will be universally and deeply lamented, and his departure causes a gap in society that will not easily be made up.

pg 659The Archbishop has I hope taken some interest in the Bill for amending the law of Copy-right, which Sergeant Talfourd has again introduced to the House. Partly on my own account, but infinitely more for the general benefit of literature I am anxious that this bill should pass, and I have taken no little trouble about it; it will be opposed by the cold-hearted, and narrow-minded economists who abound in the house, and we have some fear, such is the general remissness, on what are called the open days, that the friends of the measure may not attend; allow me then to beg that if among your Acquaintance there be any inclined to support it, you would be so kind as to press upon them their being at their Post, early on the 27th, as the 2d reading of the bill stands first on the list for that day.

My family is generally well. I have however myself had lately an attack of Rheumatism, which disabled and annoyed me a good deal, but it is going off.

Believe me, my dr Madam, with respectful regards to yourself and the Archbishop, in which Mrs. W. unites,

  • faithfully your obliged         
  • [signed] Wm Wordsworth   

  • The Pine-tree upon the Summit of
  • Monte Mario
  • (Suggested at Rome.)

[The sonnet follows, as in PW iii. 212, except that in l. 4 read 'clouds' for 'hues' and in l. 5 'as seem'd' for 'in peace'.]

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Notes

Editor’s Note
2 Sir George Beaumont's daughter Constance.
Editor’s Note
3 Hugh James Rose had died at Florence on 22 Dec. 1838. He had been Archbishop Howley's chaplain.
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