In 1801, Wordsworth congratulated a reader of Lyrical Ballads for identifying the pathos of the poems as ‘the pathos of humanity’ and not ‘jacobinal pathos’; only ‘bad poets and misguided men’, he wrote, would yoke their verse to a political cause. By the first years of the 19th century his retreat from radicalism was well under way, but perhaps the radicalism was never unqualified. And perhaps it never completely died. The elderly Wordsworth can still surprise us, as he certainly surprised the Chartist Thomas Cooper when, fresh from Stafford jail, Cooper showed up unannounced at Rydal Mount in 1846. Wordsworth welcomed Cooper in and applauded the aims, though not the methods, of the Chartist movement (‘I have no respect for Whigs, but I have a great deal of the Chartist in me,’ he said on another occasion). Cooper left ‘with a more intense feeling of having been in the presence of a good and great intelligence, than I had ever felt in any other moments of my life’.