By W. K. Thomas
Wordsworth depicted Newton, as Roubiliac could have performed in his statue of him, as voyaging, in ecstasy, via God's sensorium. within the Prelude passage from which the name A brain For Ever Voyaging is derived, and in a variety of others portraying Newton and technology, Wordsworth turns out to have written for 2 audiences, most of the people and a way smaller, deepest viewers, whereas trying to bring up the minds of either to God. Like Pope ahead of him, Wordsworth accomplished "What oft was once wrought, yet ne'er so good exprest."
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Extra resources for A Mind For Ever Voyaging: Wordsworth at Work Portraying Newton and Science
Let us recall the circumstances, as Haydon himself recorded them. 52 The host had gathered together Wordsworth, Lamb, Keats, and Monkhouse and had set them down to feast in front of the colossal canvas of his which was still in the process of being finished, Christ's Triumphant Entry into Jerusalem. Into that painting he had inserted portraits (clothed in the dress of their own day) of Newton, Voltaire, and Wordsworth. As Lamb "got delightfully merry," he chided Wordsworth for calling Voltaire dull.
32 Since the writers whose poems and poetical passages made up the corpus of praise to Newton all dealt, more or less, with the same kind of content, it is not surprising that they often made use of the same motifs and imagery. As Marjorie Hope Nicolson implies, when "the 'cosmic voyage' of the seventeenth century settled into the 'excursion' of the eighteenth century," 33 it was only natural to depict Newton, in either his own material person, his soul, or his mind, as travelling through the heavens.
1 9 Newton had made achievements no one else in Europe (or any other part of the world) had ever attained: he had discovered the properties of light, he had determined the causes of the tides, and he had revealed the most fundamental law in the entire universe—the function of gravity. In and through him England was pre-eminent throughout the world in the realm of natural philosophy. Nor did his personal achievements end here: his temperament and private virtues were such that he too, like his friend Wren, was the good man, a devout Christian and model citizen.