de Quincey's Works (Volume 3); Literary Reminiscences from the Autobiography of an English Opium-Eater

 
9781154401585: de Quincey's Works (Volume 3); Literary Reminiscences from the Autobiography of an English Opium-Eater
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This historic book may have numerous typos, missing text or index. Purchasers can download a free scanned copy of the original book (without typos) from the publisher. 1873. Not illustrated. Excerpt: ... CHAPTER XI. WILLIAM WORDSWORTH. William Wokdswobth was born at Cockermouth, a small town of Cumberland, seated on the river Cocker. His father was a lawyer, and acted as an agent for that Lord Lonsdale, who is not unfrequently described by those who still remember him, as 'the bad Lord Lonsdale.' In what was he bad? Chiefly, I believe, in this--that, being a man of great local power, founded on his rank, on his official station of Lord Lieutenant over two counties, and on a very large estate, he used his power in a most oppressive way. I have heard it said that he was mad; and, at any rate, he was inordinately capricious--capricious even to eccentricity. But perhaps his madness was nothing more than the intemperance of a haughty and a headstrong will, encouraged by the consciousness of power, and tempted to abuses of it by the abject servility which poverty and dependence presented in one direction, embittering the contrast of that defiance which inevitably faced him in another throughout a land of freedom, and amongst spirits as haughty as his own. Ho was a true feudal chieftain; and, in the very approaches to his mansion, in the style of his equipage, or whatever else was likely to meet the public eye, he delighted to express his disdain of modern refinements, and the haughty carelessness of his magnificence. The coach in which he used to visit Penrith, the nearest town to his principal house of Lowther, was old and neglected: his horses fine, but untrimmed; and such was the impression diffused about him by his gloomy temper and his habits of oppression, that the streets were silent as he traversed them, and an awe sate upon many faces, (so at least, I have heard a Penrith contemporary of the old despot declare,) pretty much like that which may be supposed to ...

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