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This article is taken from PN Review 25, Volume 8 Number 5, May - June 1982.

Poems and Place Jeremy Hooker

IN his anthology Poems and Places, Geoffrey Grigson juxtaposes Wordsworth's 'To the River Duddon: After-thought' with part of Matthew Arnold's 'The Youth of Nature', an elegy for Wordsworth, and includes too the closing lines of Lionel Johnson's 'Laleham: Matthew Arnold's Grave'.

Lionel Johnson was recalling Wordsworth when in 'Laleham' he wrote: 'Still those waters glide'. The waters are 'the broad, gray Thames' but the line recalls 'Still glides the Stream' from Wordsworth's 'To the River Duddon: After-thought'. Johnson is, therefore, implying a strong tribute to Arnold within a context of explicit homage, since he certainly knew what Wordsworth meant to Arnold, and may have remembered that Arnold on a former elegiac occasion had alluded to the same Wordsworth poem. The stream of Arnold is one, Johnson implies, with the stream of Wordsworth.


Arnold had written, in 'The Youth of Nature':
 So it is, so it will be for aye.
 Nature is fresh as of old,
 Is lovely;a mortal is dead.


Wordsworth in his noble sonnet had written:


Still glides the Stream, and shall for ever glide;
The Form remains, the Function never dies;
While we, the brave, the mighty, and the wise,
We Men, who in our morn of youth defied
The elements, must vanish;-be it so!


Arnold in mourning Wordsworth is justly lamenting the incapacity of his own age to rear 'a sacred ...


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