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Mr. Wordsworth and the Westmoreland Election.
The Examiner  No. 549  (5 July 1818)  427.
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No. 549. SUNDAY, JULY 5, 1818.


In this contest between sycophancy and independence, a number of election squibs are of course put forth by both parties. A certain Poet is said to have taken part in the literary drudgery of the patronage side of the question, and, in the division of labour, with a view to that of the spoil—to have taken upon him to find out and expose the bad grammar of his rude and less classical opponents. By the by by’er Mr. Wordsworth (to drop the incognito) at one time considered the rustic and the classical in language as the same thing, and preferred the uninformed idioms of his native county to the poetical diction of Pope's Homer. His antagonists retorted on our lyrical hypercritic, that what they wanted was not grammatical niceties, but the diminution of taxes, which they did not think a dependent on a lordly boroughmonger would labour hard to promote. This was the common sense of the question, at which no doubt the poetical distributor of stamps would sneer in his sardonic way. But they might have answered him in his own way, and not left him one gibe “to mock his own grinning?” In Mr. W's Letter to Mr. Gray, of Edinburgh (the dullest and most contemptible prose-composition in the language) is the following passage:—

"Whom did the poet intend should be though of as occupying that grave over which, after modestly setting forth the moral discernment, and warm affections of its “poor inhabitant,” it is supposed to be inscribed that

“Thoughtless follies laid him low,
And stained his name.”

Who but himself—himself anticipating the too probable termination of his own course?”—P. 27.

Who but Mr. Wordsworth, a person triumphing over the slips of the pen in an electioneering placard, would have put to the press such a sentence as this? We leave it to his friend Mr. Coleridge to extricate him from this grammatical scrape, unless Mr. Coleridge, since the publication of the first number of the Encyclopedia Metropolitana, has conceived as unaccountable aversion to his favourite study of grammar as he has (from a similar failure) to the principles of jacobinism. Or if Mr. C. should decline to interfere, perhaps Dr. Stoddart (who corrects the press for Mr. Coleridge, making double nonsense of what he writes) may undertake the same friendly office for Mr. Wordsworth, and translate the above passage into legitimate English. Since the stoppage of his Correspondence with the Duke of Levis, the professional gentleman has a great deal of disposable controversial and “excellent senseless” matter lying on his hands.