Page:Notes and Queries - Series 11 - Volume 11.djvu/93

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iis.xi.jA>-.30,i9i5.] NOTES AND QUERIES.


the scampering tourists who " do " a cathedral in the time they might suitably enough devote to lunch ?

Unfortunately, Laon has its great citadel abutting, so dangerously now, on Notre Dame, charming as the prospect was in peaceful days. The little city has a delight of another kind. To English entomologists, who, if they would see " swallow-tails " at large, must convey themselves to "Five- Miles-from-Aiiywhere," and thence nego- tiate the morass and matted undergrowth of Wieken Fen, it may seem mere luxury, yet so it is, that at Laon the stroller-at- ease along the paths outside the fortress may see them playing about in the sunshine, flashing forth radiance and grace against the sombre threats of those high - built ramparts. What a view, too, the mere landscape lover can find from the southern- most of these promenades right across the plains of France to great forests far away ! Yet, to gratify the insane ambition of a clique, all this is only a part of the beauty and joy which lie in daily jeopardy.

G. E. H.


THE influence of Wordsworth on Shelley has been noted frequently by students of English literature. Several critics includ- ing H. S. Salt in the ' Shelley Primer ' (Shelley Society Papers), Dowden in his ' Life,' L. Winstanley in ' Shelley as a Nature Poet,' and W. J. Alexander in his edition of Shelley's poems (Athenaeum Press Series), have pointed out common lines and phrases, images employed by both, and pas- sages that show a marked parity of mood or idea.* The following passages, although no note is made of them in any edition, seem to show parallels in thought or expression close enough for remark.

A comparison of Wordsworth's ' To a Cuckoo ' (written in 1804) and Shelley's ' To a Skylark ' reveals an influence of diction as well as spirit, f Compare the manner of

  • For general treatment see L. Winstanley in

" Englische Studien," vol. xxxiv. pp. 25-7, and .note. Instances referred to above include ' Hymn to Intellectual Beauty,' 50-51, 73 ff., com- pared with ' Ode on Intimations of Immortality,' 43-6 ; ' Adonais,' 480-81, with ibid., st. v. ; ' Alastor,' 543 ff., and ' Prometheus Unbound,' II. 1 and 2, with Prelude,' xiv. 40 ff.

t H. S. Salt (p. 50) says that Shelley's ' To a Skylark ' should be read with Wordsworth's poem by the same title. The two poems seem to be similar only in subject.

address and the tone of language and feeling in

O blithe new-comer, I have heard,

I hear thee and rejoice. O cuckoo ! Shall I call thee Bird

Or but a wandering voice ? 1 ff.

and Hail to thee, blithe spirit !

Bird thou never wert, 1 ff .

joy whose race is just 15

Like an unbodied

begun .... Also

No bird, but an invisible thing, 16

And thou wert still a hope, a love ;

Still longed for, never seen. . . . 20-21


Thou art unseen, but yet I hear thy shrill delight.


The resemblances are obvious. But there are other parallels in the two poems. Both poets allude to the voice of the bird, though in different relations. Each links thoughts of the unseen singer with thoughts of spring. Wordsworth calls the cuckoo " darling of the Spring," and Shelley says that the music of the lark surpasses " sound of vernal showers." Moreover, the ideas of receiving inspiration are much alike. Shelley in such lines as

Teach us, Sprite or Bird,

What sweet thoughts are thine : and

Teach me half the gladness That thy brain must know,

carried the idea much further than Words- worth ; but the original conception of the bird as teacher belongs to the older poet.

Another similarity appears in the thought of the two passages following line 1206, bk. iv., of * The Excursion,' and line 76 of ' Mont Blanc. ' Here both poets not only express the idea that the wilderness can peak, but also declare that only those with " understanding hearts " can interpret rightly the teaching of nature.

. .Pierce the gloom of her majestic woods ; Where living things and things inanimate Do speak, ....

With inarticulate language ---- For the man Who, in this spirit, communes with the Forms Of Nature, who with understanding heart Both knows and loves such objects as excite No morbid passions ---- Needs must feel The joy of that pure principle of love ....

The wilderness has a mysterious tongue Which teaches awful doubt or faith so mild, So solemn, so serene, that man may be, But for such faith, with nature reconciled ; Thou hast a voice, great Mountain, to repeal Large codes of fraud and woe ; not understood By all, but which the wise, and great, and good Interpret, or make felt, or deeply feel.