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Detail of Biography - William Wordsworth
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William Wordsworth
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Birth Date :
07/04/1770
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Biography - William Wordsworth
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William Wordsworth was born on April 7, 1770. He was the

second child of John and Ann Wordsworth of Cockermouth, a little town on northern side of the Lake District. John Wordsworth was young but well connected holding a responsible position. Ann Wordsworth was the daughter of William Cookson, a successful linen draper in Penrith.[br /]
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The house in which William was born is still the most imposing dwelling in the main street of Cockermouth. The place with its nine windows wide was quite a swagger house for such a town, as mentioned by some one, symbolizing the wealth and dominance of one man who himself, along with his family was to influence William throughout his life.[br /]
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At the age of three, Wordsworth and his sister Dorothy moved over to their grandparents at Penrith.[br /]
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As a child William was stubborn, moody and aggressive in nature. He was sensitive towards situations coming towards him. He was emotionally a well-protected child. Therefore he could not digest any indignity put upon him. Once while he was at his grandfather’s house at Penrith, there was some situation which put him under pressure because of some indignity put over his mind and wanted himself to be in isolation. He could not take the issue lightly and went on attic, with the intention of destroying himself with one of the foils lying there. Under this pressure he hold the foil in his hand with but could not damage himself as he was not mentally hard enough to do so. He could not perform so hard over himself.[br /]
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In another such case, while he was at his grandfather’s house of Penrith, was playing with his eldest brother Richard.[br /]
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They were whipping tops together in their large drawing room with walls decorated with colorful family pictures hung around. Normally, carpet was not laid down, other than occasions. William in a typical naughty mood said to his brother, "Dare you strike your whip through that old lady’s petticoat ?" Richard behaved elderly, "No, I won’t." William didn’t get the hidden message and spontaneously acted mischievously, ‘Then’ he said, ‘here goes’ and he struck his lash through her hooped petticoat. This, once again was a reason which was sufficient for him to be punished. Though these were childhood events, worthy to be forgotten with his age, could leave an impression over his mind which stayed with him forever as perverse and obstinate in defying chastisement.[br /]
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William shuttled between Cockermouth and Penrith and so received little formal education.At Penrith, William attended Ann Birkett’s school where Mary Hutchinson, his future wife was also a pupil. He received instructions at The Reverend Mr. Gilbank’s Grammar School at Cockermouth. About Hawkshead School, Wordsworth remarked about one of the ushers who taught Wordsworth – ‘More of Latin in a fortnight than I had learnt during two proceedings years at the school of Cockermouth’, Wordsworth’s memories of dame-school were positive, which he commented through a favorite poem, Shenstone’s The School Mystress, to his own teacher : "The old dame did not effect to make theologians or logicians; but she taught to read, and she practiced the memory, often, no doubt, by rote; but still the faculty was improved."[br /]
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Wordsworth’s father encouraged little William to earn portions of the works of the best English poets by heart, so that at an early age he could repeat large portions of Shakespeare, Milton and Spencer. It was very vital and useful for his life.[br /]
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In the poem The Sparrow’s Nest, Wordsworth described his sister Dorothy, admiring her and revealing the mutual affection, which was absolute good, he remembered from his Cockermouth years.[br /]
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The Blessing of my later years[br /]

Was with theme when a boy :[br /]

She gave me eyes, she gave me ears;[br /]

And humble cares, and delicate fears;[br /]

A heart, the fountain of sweet tears;[br /]

And love, and thought, and joy.[br /]

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Wordsworth’s mother Ann Wordsworth died in 1778 of pneumonia. His last glimpse of his mother was when she was reclining in her easy chair at her parent’s house. Mother’s death had an immediate and devastating effect on Wordsworth and this statement reveals all.[br /]
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In 1783, Wordsworth along with John Benson, William and Fletcher Raincock, Edward Biokett, Tom Usher, and Will Tyson went on an expedition to Yewdale Crags. Their regular ‘pastime of afternoons’ in summer, were so pleasant that one in particular, remained etched in Wordworth’s memory due to its tranquility and beauty remained etched in memory for ever and created wonderful poetry thereafter:[br /]
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But err the fall of night, [br /]

When in our pinnace we returned[br /]

Over the dusky lake, and to the beach [br /]

Of some small island steered our course, with one, [br /]

The minstrel of our troop, and left him there, [br /]

And rowed off gently, while he blew his flute. [br /]

Alone upon the rock, oh, then the calm [br /]

And dead still water lay upon my mind. [br /]

Even with a weight of pleasure, and the sky, [br /]

Never before so beautiful, sank down into my heart [br /]

And held me like a dream[br /]
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While exploring Hawkshead, Yewdale and other places, Wordsworth caught a glimpse of the place, which he made later on his own first real ‘abiding place’, Grasmere.[br /]
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Once Wordsworth wrote to one of his young admirer – "People in our rank of life are perpetually falling into one sad mistake, namely, that of supposing that human nature and the person they associate with are one and the same thing." But Wordsworth later realized that it was a sad mistake as one can see the richness and variety of his small world having inhabitant mostly ordinary people – shepherds, farm laborers, blacksmiths, saddlers, cobblers, carpenters, the quarrymen and more mysterious charcoal burners, shopkeepers and merchants, innkeepers and the windermere ferry-man – and according to Wordsworth, each of these people had an important function in a working community, who always seemed to him to possess a stability and worth against which the sophisticated world could be tested.[br /]
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Wordsworth’s later experiences in France and life at Grasmere set his mind unconsciously determining Lyrical Ballads and 1800 preface, to shape The Prelude and The Excursion. It had a remarkable influence on the next generation especially George Eliot and some other novelist who were his true literary heir’s in the Victorian Age.[br /]
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Wordsworth joined the Hawkshead Grammar School, where he studied till 1787. The school provided good background knowledge for classics. He later praised the humane way of teaching at school. The significance of any school lies, in the encouragement it offers to nurture a pupil’s own interest that throws open interesting possibilities. Wordsworth had two benefits in particular at Hawkshead. Firstly, it dispensed books to students. Wordsworth’s household always valued books and from what he called his father’s ‘golden store’. He read all Fielding’s works, Don Quixote, Gil Blas, Gulliver’s Travels and The Tale of the Tub, being much to his taste.[br /]
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He once mentioned that before he read Virgil he was strongly attached to Ovid, whom he read as a child at school. He had learned Metamorphosis by Ovid. Reading him was a passion for William as a child, but was not much impressed by Homer. He was never carried away by Homer’s descriptions as he never felt them picturesque. Classical literature always affected him in its unique way.[br /]
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When Wordsworth turned fourteen, he recalled, of having been so moved by the last radiance of the setting sun that he extemporized an address[br /]
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Fair scenes, a momentary trance[br /]

That far outran the habit of my mind[br /]
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He had wonderful ideas while he used to pass by his way to school between Hawkshead and Ambleside. Those moments were important in his poetical history when he grew. He could recollect from his consciousness the infinite variety of natural appearances, which remained unnoticed by the poets of any age or country, as far as he was acquainted with them and made a resolution to supply in some degree the deficiency[br /]
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Towards the end of his school days, Wordsworth was occupied by a long poem called The Vale of Esthwaite, which is an altogether more interesting prelude to his mature work. These fragmentary surviving manuscripts reveal Wordsworth sharing Keat’s conviction that a young poet ought to try a long poem as a test of Invention, ‘…the Polar star of Poetry’ and that he was struggling with the architectural problems inherent in any long work. These lines are a description of the mist rising above the lake and vale,[br /]
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[i]While in the west the robe of day[br /]

Fader, slowly fades from gold to gray,[br /]

The oak its boughs and foliage twines[br /]

Mark’d to the view in stronger lines[br /]

Appears with foliage marked to view,[br /]

In lines of stronger browner hue,[br /]

While every darkening leaf between[br /]

The sky distinct and clear is seen.[/i][br /]
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And also :[br /]
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[i]The ploughboy by his gingling wain[br /]

Whistles along the ringing lane[br /]

And, as he strikes with sportive lash[br /]

The leaves of thick o’er hanging ash,[br /]

Wavering they fall; while at the sound[br /]

The blinking bats flit round and round.[/i][br /]
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In The Vale of Esthwaite Wordsworth was able to draw inspiration from the ‘richest sources’ of all of his poetry; mainly, the strength of his attachment to a particular place and his craving for some localized home for his imaginative activity, and also, his conviction that his own feelings, his experience of friendship, loss, or desire, demanded exploration in poetry. Though there is nothing significant in The Vale of Esthwaite to match The Prelude, yet the prelude stands in its own right as one of the greatest and precise ‘key’ works of Wordsworth bringing a European Romanticism.[br /]
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The Prelude (1799), is a record of either an exceptional responsiveness or of an ordinary responsiveness exceptionally remembered. It undoubtedly moved readers by the powers with which it invokes childhood memories of sensory apprehension when we are most aware of the reach of our own mind, of our relation with the world beyond us. Wordsworth later hymned it as ‘high instincts;’[br /]
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[i]Those obstinate questionings[br /]

Of sense and outward things[br /]

Falling from us, Vanishings;[br /]

Blank misgivings of a Creature[br /]

Moving about in Worlds not realized[/i][br /]
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is a dramatical embodiment of a boy stealing a boat on Ullswater at night and experiences the frightening admonition of the mountain, which seems to chase him across the lake.[br /]
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William was an inborn poet for whom poetry came spontaneously. As a boy he used to dream and was an absent minded one who, lost in his ideas, used to create blunders as banging himself to a wall not able to differentiate it to be one. His mind was engrossed in the blueness of sky and green shades of leaves, and the messages that nature gives to humankind, through its being[br /]
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John Wordsworth, his father, lost his life after having spent a night in the open. He lost his way back from his duty and becoming seriously ill, died on December 30, 1783. Wordsworth had hardly been close to his father but still it was surely a profound shock. The Wordsworth children became homeless and had to pass into the care of their uncles. They became dependents. Now, all of the money of their daily living was administered by their guardians.[br /]
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The summer of 1787, brought some pleasant moments for Wordsworth. Firstly, Dorothy returned after nine years to appear to her brother William Wordsworth, as ‘a gift then first bestowed’ as they were separated when Dorothy was just a child, but now she was a young woman of 16. Secondly, Wordsworth entered St. John’s College, Cambridge, from where he received his B. A. degree in January 1791.[br /]
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Wordsworth’s life at Cambridge seemed to be eloquently unspecific. His recollections in The Prelude reveal that he was not able to focus on what Cambridge actually was. ‘I was not for that hour / nor for that Place’ – Cambridge life as a whole was a disappointment for Wordsworth. Probably it stemmed from the fact that the image he created of his own (the place that had fostered Spencer, Milton and Newton) inevitably eroded in the face of reality. However, Wordsworth was himself unspecific about what disappointed him in Cambridge. Twice, he mentioned his dislike of competitive examinations, as it gave rise to the ‘small jealousies and triumphs good or bad, passions…low and mean’ that damaged the contestants and only made for ‘Spurious fame and short lived praise. Wordsworth entered Cambridge, initially, to seek a future in the church or just possibly to study law but neither career seemed appealing to him. His elder brother Richard chose Law and nobody would like to follow in a brother’s footstep. Also the pastoral duties of church were not at all appealing to him. His guardians approval of both careers was enough to turn him off. Thus, he admitted that he was anxious about his future but at the same time celebrated his birthright as a ‘chosen son’ of Nature so enthusiastically, that these fears seemed trivial. He regretted the fact that[br /]
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[i]Rotted as by a charm, my life became[br /]

A floating island, an amphibious thing[br /]

Unsound, of spungy texture[/i][br /]
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However, his real education, which had emerged from his emotional and intellectual responses to experience through formal system, always remained ahead of him.[br /]
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Wordsworth’s long vacation in 1790 made possible his visit to the France, where the Revolution was rapidly becoming a matter of concern affecting the intellectuals of England. He returned to Cambridge to take his degree and after visiting London and Wales. He spent the early autumn of 1791 at Cambridge dabbling in extensive reading and other activities. Wordsworth was highly influenced by the writings of Jean–Jacques Rousseau and others, who united to give a strong intellectual foundation to the French Revolution. Wordsworth went back to France in November 1791 and stayed there for a year only to put himself into a dangerous situation. However the disillusionment from the Revolution and subsequent quest for an object of reaffirmation constituted Wordsworth later life and works. He sought now towards the intellectual awareness from the nature in Poetry and became devoted social cause as a poet. He made it explicit in his preface to lyrical Ballads. However, there was one romantic aspect of his period in France and that was his relationship with Annette Vallon, a young woman of Blois. A daughter, Anne Caroline was born out to Annette. During that time he returned to England. Wordsworth craved to go back to France safely to marry Annette, but war was declared between England and France, which lasted until 1815. The emotional impact of its aftermath affected Wordsworth’s life and Poetry.[br /]
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In 1793, Wordsworth finished and published his first major poems, Descriptive Sketches and An Evening Walk. They were typically meditative poems about nature. The Revolution had a terrible impact on Wordsworth and for several years, he was threatened with a despair passing from illusion through disillusion, ultimately towards balanced state of mind. William Godwin’s rationalism influenced Wordsworth and he found himself among kindred minded people from 1793 to 1795, in Godwin’s circle. The failure of Revolution left the circle in a panic mood.[br /]
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Wordsworth was able to establish a nice place to live after receiving a legacy from one of his friend, in form of £ 900 in 1795. Dorothy joined Wordsworth at his new home at Alfoxden, Somerset.[br /]
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Wordsworth came in contact with S. T. Coleridge and their close association was subsequently known as the Aunus Mirabilis of two poets. Wordsworth met Coleridge for the first time in 1798. Both were happy with the relationship. The most creative outcome of their association was the first edition of Lyrical Ballads published in 1798. Wordsworth’s contribution to the Lyrical Ballads was major, both in terms of volume and number of titles, which included many of his beautiful poems establishing Wordsworth as a successful poet.The central philosophical controversy of the Romantic era, the argument over pantheism was the dissimilarity between Coleridge and Wordsworth. They jointly created Lyrical Ballads. Wordsworth dominated the brief interlude of intense literary association and it is fallacious to assume that Wordsworth’s ideas were derived mostly from Coleridge. Though remaining away from systematizing philosopher and being empiricist, Wordsworth emerged out as an active extensive reader, whose ideas were the characteristic of his own mind and experience.[br /]
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During winter of 1798-99 William and Dorothy were in Germany. When back in England they settled in Dove cottage at Grasmere, Cumberland town near Wordsworth’s birthplace in the heart of lake district, Wordsworth’s favorite place. Wordsworth then got engaged here to Mary Hutchinson, whom he married in 1802.[br /]
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It is difficult to state the impact of his marriage and permanent settlement upon his life but Dorothy’s influence seemed very predominant. The pride position of hers in eyes of Wordsworth began eroding upon the advent of Mary in the Wordsworth household. However, devoted wife Mary was unable to wrest domestic powers from Dorothy. Wordsworth was demuniting and place that Dorothy held as her brother’s intellectual companion was in one way, hers no longer. Mary was a devoted wife, who brought stability to the home but could not exercise the powers, which Dorothy could.[br /]
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Wordsworth had four children. Eldest John was born on June 18, 1804; his darling daughter Dorothy, much known as Dora was born on August 16, 1804; son Thomas was born on June 16, 1806; and youngest of all Little Dora was a great mental support and motivation to her dear father. She added colors to his life. Her innocent face with a sweet and warm smile forced Wordsworth’s mind to see beautiful lilacs and daffodils singing a song of life with full pleasure and imaginary. Looking at her, poetry came out as naturally as leaf from a stem, water from clouds and light from sun.[br /]
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In 1802, Wordsworth visited France. The coronation of Napoleon as Emperor increased his disparity for France. Wordsworth was further affected when his brother, captain John went down with his ship, the ‘Abergavenny’ in February 1805, and his intensified emotional force were evident in his poems Ode to Duty and Character of the Happy Warrior written between 1804 and 1806. Wordsworth started assuming the position of religious orthodoxy. His later writings revealed emotional sympathies with the lower rural classes, not because he was a radial reformer but it was a characteristic of an agrarian conservative.[br /]
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The question, which obviously comes to mind is how much Wordsworth’s motion towards traditionalism and conservation affected the quality of his poetry. The critics are of the opinion that works before this was certainly better than the later one.[br /]
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The Prelude or Growth of a Poet’s Mind, the long autobiographical poem was first drafted during the years 1798 - 1805. Wordsworth instead of publishing the poem started revising it, which continued for the rest of his life trying to reflect his views which, changed after 1805. When The Prelude was published in 1850, after Wordsworth’s death, it appeared to be more conservative than that of the draft finished in 1805. In fact, he was not able to remove the traces of his position towards life and art during 1798. The poem actually conveys the indefinite growth and change in the mind of poet. In later life, Wordsworth had no place for such a style of poem and so publishing The Prelude during Wordsworth’s life would be, in one way, to destroy the poem itself. Wordsworth’s most successful composition and poems[br /]
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having essential Romantic assumption which mostly published before 1807. The work done after 1807 rested upon the assumption of permanence, infrequently revealing the dynamic shades of his earlier work.[br /]
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In 1808, Wordsworth moved to Allan Bank and in 1814, to Rydal Mount, where he spent rest of his life. Wordsworth’s later years seems to be a kind of long twilight, hearing no major incident and devoid of any of the stimulation of his early years. Wordsworth started taking active participation in Tory politics. In 1813, he was appointed Distributor of Stamps for Westmorland and in 1818, Justice of Peace. In 1820, Wordsworth visited Annette Vallon and their daughter Anne. Mary and Dorothy also accompanied Wordsworth during his visit. In 1828, Wordsworth and Coleridge visited the Rhine valley. In 1832, Dorothy was mysteriously stricken. Her next years were painful and she died in 1855. Coleridge died in 1834. He kept losing his loved ones one by one. But the biggest blow was yet to come.[br /]
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The greatest setback of his life fell upon him in 1847, when he lost his beloved daughter Dora. She meant ‘the world’ to him. With her death it was the end of everything good occurring to him, it was total darkness in his life; he could not feel the touch of air in the same way as earlier. He, the most sensitive nature poet – could not find nature to be creative and pleasure giving but destructive and unlovable at the time of loss of his daughter. It broke his heart. He sank into melancholy, distressing to those about him, from which he appeared to make no efforts to extricate himself. The bereavement and the growing isolation during last years of his life became at length utter loneliness. He knew that losing all his dear ones, he now was not to streach his existence. At the age of eighty Wordsworth died on April 23, 1850.[br /]
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Born in Cockermouth, England was the pioneer and central figure of the English poetry in the Romantic Era, his effort was a brief flowering of creative spirit midway between the collapse of 18th century authoritarianism and of the Victorian Era.[br /]
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His contribution to literature was threefold. Firstly formulated a new attitude towards nature. Secondly, he probed deeply into his own sensibility, and during his time poetry was central to human experience. In his own words it is nothing less than "the first and last of all human knowledge. It is as immortal as the heart of man." Once, De Quincy wrote of Wordsworth; "Up to 1820 the name of Wordsworth was trampled underfoot; from 1820 to 1830 it was militant; from 1830 to 1835 it has been triumphant." According to Byron and Shelly, he was simple and dull. Keats doubted what he called the egotistical sublime Hazlitt and Browning deplored him as The Lost Leader, who gave up his early radical faith. However, their allegations were counterbalanced by the enormous and lasting popularity of his poetry’s, which according to Mathew Arnold, is "an expression in an age of doubt of the transcendent in nature and the good in man."[br /]
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Thus, Wordsworth, who was able to create some of the greatest English poetry of his century undoubtedly, matched the creativity of John Milton, who stands next only to Shakespeare in the world of English Literature and Poetry.[br /]
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[b]1770[/b][br /]

Wordsworth born.[br /]
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[b]1779[/b][br /]

Entered Hawkshead Grammar School.[br /]
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[b]1787[/b][br /]

Entered St. John’s College, Cambridge.[br /]
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[b]1790[/b][br /]

Traveled to France and Switzerland.[br /]
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[b]1791[/b][br /]

Left Cambridge with a pass degree went to Orleans to study French.[br /]
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[b]1792[/b][br /]

Visited Paris and afterwards left France.[br /]
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[b]1793[/b][br /]

Wordsworth returned to London. Published An Evening Walk and Descriptive Sketches journeyed across Salisbury Plain to Tintern and Northwales.[br /]
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[b]1795[/b][br /]

Met Coleridge and William Godwin. Settled with Dorothy at Racedown Lodge Dorset.[br /]
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[b]1797[/b][br /]

Completed The Ruined Cottage. Visited by Coleridge at Racedown.[br /]
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[b]1798[/b][br /]

Publication of Lyrical Ballads.[br /]

Began The Prelude [br /]

Landed at Hamburg with Coleridge.[br /]
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[b]1799[/b][br /]

Settled with Dorothy at Dove cottage.[br /]
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[b]1800[/b][br /]

Second volume of Lyrical Ballard completed.[br /]
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[b]1802[/b][br /]

Wordsworth married Mary Hutchinson.[br /]
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[b]1803[/b][br /]

Journeyed to Scotland with Dorothy and Coleridge.[br /]
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[b]1807[/b][br /]

Poems in two volumes published.[br /]
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[b]1808[/b][br /]

Left Dove Cottage for Allan Bank.[br /]
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[b]1809[/b][br /]

On the Convention of Cintra published.[br /]
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[b]1810[/b][br /]

Quarreled with Coleridge.[br /]
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[b]1811[/b][br /]

Moved to the Rectory, Grasmere.[br /]
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[b]1812[/b][br /]

Reconciled to Coleridge.[br /]
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[b]1813[/b][br /]

Settled permanently at Rydal Mount. [br /]

Appointed distributor of stamp for Westmorland.[br /]
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[b]1814[/b][br /]

The Excursion published.[br /]
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[b]1815[/b][br /]

Published his collected Poems and The White Doe of Rylstone.[br /]
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[b]1817[/b][br /]

Met John Keats at Haydon’s house in London.[br /]
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[b]1818[/b][br /]

Published Pamphlets on Tory side of election.[br /]
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[b]1819[/b][br /]

Peter Bell and The Waggoner published.[br /]
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[b]1820[/b][br /]

Duddon Sonnets published.[br /]
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[b]1822[/b][br /]

Ecclesiastical Sketches and A description of the Scenery of the Lakes published.[br /]
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[b]1827[/b][br /]

Poetical Work published.[br /]
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[b]1828[/b][br /]

Continental tour with Coleridge.[br /]
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[b]1831[/b][br /]

Last meeting with Coleridge.[br /]
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[b]1834[/b][br /]

Wordsworth died.[br /]
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Wordsworth fell in love with the daughter of a surgeon at Blois, Annette Vallon and this love affair is reflected in ‘Vaudracour and Julia’ probably published in 1820. After his return to England from his walking tour he published in 1793 two poems in heroic couplet, An Evening Walk and Descriptive sketches, both conventional attempt at the picturesque and the sublime. The same year, he also wrote a letter to the Bishop of Llandaff in support of the French Republic. England’s declaration of war against France had deep impact on him but the institution of the Terror marked the beginning of his disillusion with the French revolution and this depression is very well on display in his verse drama The Borderers, composed in 1796-97 but published in 1842. The legacy from his Friend Raisley Calvert, allowed Wordsworth to purpsue his vocation as a poet. When Dorothy reunited, both Wordsworth and Dorothy settled near Coleridge. The association of Coleridge and Wordsworth brought to the forefront intense catalytic creativity in both poets and the result was Lyrical Ballads (1798), which is considered as the landmark in the history of English Romanticism. In 1798-99 in Hoslar, Germany, Wordsworth wrote the enigmatic Lucy Poem. In year 1800, Wordsworth worked on The Recluse Book I (later known as The Excursion), The Brothers, Michael and many of the poems were included in the 1800 edition of the Lyrical Ballads. Its poetic diction of in the preface aroused much criticism. In 1802, Wordsworth composed Resolution and Independence and began his ode on Intimations of Immortality from Recollections of Early Childhood and both poems appeared in Poems in two Volumes.[br /]
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Later the death of Wordsworth’s brother inspired him for his several poems, which included Elegiac Stanzas suggested by a picture of Peelecastle. The early death of one of his child inspired his sonnet Surprised by the Joy.[br /]
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The death of his two children and deterioration of Coleridge’s health could not hinder Wordsworth’s productivity and his popularity gradually increased. The Excursion published in 1814, The White Doe of Rlystone and two volumes of Miscellaneous Poems in 1815 while Peter Bell and The Waggoner were published in 1819. Wordsworth bent now towards patriotism, the role of conservative public man, no more with the radical politics and idealism of his youth. Wordsworth’s later work was a bit topographical mostly inspired by nature and his love for outdoor travel.[br /]
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In 1843, Wordsworth succeeded Southey as a poet laureate The Prelude was published Posthumously in 1850.[br /]
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The chief purpose of his poems was to recreate "situations from common life" by depicting them in a selection of language commonly used by men," over which he cast "a certain coloring of the imagination". Thus, these conditions in the poems surpassed what they were in life revealing thereby ‘the primary laws of nature’. The humble and the rustic life "was Wordsworth’s material". The "elementary feelings co-existed in a state of greater simplicity" than in more sophisticated life and the language generally used with the recurring experience and feeling characteristic of the rustic life, had more quality of permanence and philosophy than the artificial language often used by the writer of verse. The poet’s material being instrumented, stimulates "the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings", which Wordsworth equated to "good poetry".[br /]
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Wordsworth was chiefly interested in the power of art to carry man beyond the revelation of nature like classical poets, and it became senseless to insist, that Wordsworth reduced man to the level of raw nature and mindlessness. "The human mind is capable of being excited without the application of gross and violent stimulants." He wrote in his preface, "and he must have a very faint perception of its beauty and dignity who does not know this, and who does not further know, that one being is elevated above another in proportion as he possesses this capability." The poet is obviously the most elated of men; like Priest or Prophet, he dawns unto the man that truth, which he cannot find for himself. The truth in every way is concerned with timelessness, the succession through experience of the phases of the self, without which the world would seem alien and meaningless.[br /]
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[i]My heart leaps up when I behold[br /]

A rainbow in the sky :[br /]

So was it when my life began;[br /]

So is it now I am a man;[br /]

So be it when I shall grow old,[br /]

Or let me die ![br /]

The child is father of the Man;[br /]

And I could wish my days to be[br /]

Bound each to each by natural piety.[/i][br /]
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In ‘The Solitary Reaper’ the speaker, who is the poet himself, transcends the limits of a given experience in time, carrying with him the reality of the moment when the young girl herself is no longer before him :[br /]
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[i]What’er the theme the Maiden sang[br /]

As if his song could have no ending :[br /]

I saw her singing at her work,[br /]

And o’er the sickle bending :-[br /]

I listened, motionless and still;[br /]

And, as I mounted up the hill[br /]

The music in my heart I bore[br /]

Long after it was heard no more.[/i][br /]
[br /]

‘I wondered lonely as a cloud’ is a poem about poetry itself. The first three stanzas appear to be concerned with the daffodils, but in the fourth stanza the speaker records his own ‘recollection in tranquillity’ to the point that ‘powerful feelings’ emerging from his spirit and the image of the daffodils actually sketched in the first three stanzas, is timelessly recreated :[br /]
[br /]


[i]For oft, when on my couch I lie[br /]

In vacant or in pensive mood,[br /]

They flash upon that inward eye[br /]

Which is the bliss of solitude;[br /]

And then my heart with pleasure fills,[br /]

And dances with the daffodils.[/i][br /]
[br /]

In the long poem Lines composed a Few Miles above Tintern Abbey Wordsworth summed up the theme of personal continuity.[br /]
[br /]


In the first 57 lines speaker recalls his earlier visit at Wage River and tries to revive his image of ‘these beauteous forms’.[br /]
[br /]


[i]But off, in lonely rooms, and mid the din[br /]

Of towns and cities, I have owed to them[br /]

In hours of weanness, sensations sweet,[br /]

Felt in the blood, and felt along the heart;[br /]

And passing even into my power mind,[br /]

With tranquil restoration :- feelings too[br /]

Of unremembered pleasure : such, perhaps[br /]

As have no slight or trivial influence[br /]

On that best portion of a good man’s life,[br /]

His little, nameless, unremembered, acts[br /]

Of kindness and love.[/i][br /]
[br /]

The further lines revealed poet recollecting the earlier phase of his being, extreme youth, a period in which spontaneous and unhabitated responses were bounded by the senses :[br /]
[br /]


[i]The forms nature [br /]

"Were then to me[br /]

An appetite :[br /]

a feeling and a love,"[br /]

unconditional by long and deep meditation.[/i][br /]
[br /]

[b]Lyrical Ballads[/b][br /]
[br /]


It was a collection of poems by Wordsworth and Coleridge. The first edition appeared in 1798, the second with new poems and a preface in 1801 and a third in 1802. The book was a landmark of English Romanticism and also the beginning of a new age. Coleridge’s contributions to the first edition were The Rime of the Ancient Mariner. The Foster Mother’s Tale. The Nightingale and The Dungeon. However the major contribution came from Wordsworth with ballads and narratives such as The Thorn, The Idiot Boy and Simon Lee, the old Hunts man and more personal poem’s such as Lines written in early spring and Lines written in few miles above Tintern Abbey. It contained a brief ‘Advertisement’ by Wordsworth, stating his theory of poetic diction and attacking the gaudy and ‘inane phraseology of many modern writers’, his views were more clear in his important preface to the second edition, and enlarged again in 1802. The poems had a distinctly provocative manifesto. They were written mainly with a view to ascertain how far the language of conversation in the middle and lower closes of society is adapted to the purpose of poetic pleasure. However their ‘low’ subjects as well as the language and the so-called banality were subjected to much ridicule. The second volume of the second edition had Wordsworth’s most distinctive works, including the so-called Lucy, Poems, The Old Cumberland Begger, and Micheal, a Pastoral; Contrary to the conventional sentiment, Wordsworth could be said to have entered more seriously into humble and childish passions than was common. Also he was the Pioneer in questioning the language used in Poetry.[br /]
[br /]

[b]The Prelude (Growth of a Poets Mind)[/b][br /]
[br /]


It’s an autobiographical poem in blank verse by Wordsworth, addressed to Coleridge. It was begun in 1798-99 and finished in 1805 before being published in 1850. Though a profound autobiography, the poem does not proceed chronologically, dealing with infancy, school days, Cambridge, his walking tour through the Alps, his political awakening in France and consequent horrors etc. His onerously meticulous revisions seem to run counter to his own idea of good poetry as ‘the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings’. But the word spontaneous meant voluntary overflow’.[br /]
[br /]


The Thrust of The Prelude is retrospective and not outward towards the world. Wordsworth aim is to draw his spiritual development in terms of relationship with nature. Nature became a living force for Wordsworth.[br /]
[br /]
[br /]

[b]Spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings[/b][br /]
[br /]

Strongest minds[br /]

Are often those of whom the noisy world[br /]

Hears least.[br /]

The Excursion 1814[br /]
[br /]


The good die first, [br /]

And they whose hearts are dry as summer dust[br /]

Burn to the socket.[br /]

The Excursion 1814[br /]
[br /]


The wiser mind [br /]

Mourns less for what age takes away [br /]

Than what it leaves behind.[br /]

The Fountain 1800[br /]
[br /]


I travelled among unknown men[br /]

In lands beyond the sea; [br /]

Nor, England ! did I know till then[br /]

What love I bore to thee.[br /]

I Travelled among Unknown Men 1807[br /]
[br /]


I wandered lonely as a cloud[br /]

That floats on high o’er vales and hills,[br /]

When all at once I saw a crowd,[br /]

A host, of golden daffodils.[br /]

I Wandered Lonely as a cloud[br /]
[br /]


For oft, when on my couch I lie[br /]

In vacant or in pensive mood,[br /]

They flash upon that inward eye[br /]

Which is the bliss of solitude.[br /]

I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud[br /]
[br /]


That best portion of a good man’s life,[br /]

His little, nameless, unremembered acts[br /]

Of kindness and of love.[br /]

Lines composed a few miles above Tintern Abbey 1798[br /]
[br /]


That blessed mood, [br /]

In which the burthen of the mystery,[br /]

In which the heavy and the weary weight[br /]

Of all this unintelligible world,[br /]

Is lightened.[br /]

Lines composed a few miles above Tintern Abbey 1798[br /]
[br /]


We are laid asleep [br /]

In body, and become a living soul :[br /]

While with an eye made quiet by the power[br /]

Of harmony, and the deep power of joy,[br /]

We see into the life of things. [br /]

Lines composed a few miles above Tintern Abbey 1798[br /]
[br /]


I have learned [br /]

To look on nature, not as in the hour[br /]

Of thoughtless youth; but hearing often-times[br /]

The still, sad music of humanity.[br /]

Lines composed a few miles above Tintern Abbey 1798[br /]
[br /]


Nature never did betray[br /]

The heart that loved her.[br /]

Lines composed a few miles above Tintern Abbey 1798[br /]
[br /]


Nor greetings where no kindness is, nor all[br /]

The dreary intercourse of daily life,[br /]

Shall e’er prevail against us, or disturb[br /]

Our cheerful faith, that all which we behold [br /]

Is full of blessings.[br /]

Lines composed a few miles above Tintern Abbey 1798[br /]
[br /]


A power is passing from the earth[br /]

To breathless Nature’s dark abyss;[br /]

But when the great and good depart, [br /]

What is it more than this – [br /]

That Man who is from God sent forth,[br /]

Doth yet again to God return ? –[br /]

Such ebb and flow must ever be,[br /]

Then wherefore should we mourn ?[br /]

Referring to Charles James Fox, the hero of the liberal Whigs, who died in 1806 [br /]

Lines on the Expected Dissolution of Mr. Fox 1807[br /]
[br /]


If this belief from heaven be sent,[br /]

If such be Nature’s holy plan,[br /]

Have I not reason to lament[br /]

What man has made of man ?[br /]

Lines written in Early Spring 1798[br /]
[br /]

The sweetest thing that ever grew[br /]

Beside a human door ![br /]

Lucy Gray 1800[br /]
[br /]


There neither is, nor can be, any essential difference between the language [br /]

of prose and metrical composition.[br /]

Lyrical Ballads, Preface 1800[br /]
[br /]


Poetry is the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings : it takes its origin [br /]

from emotion recollected in tranquillity. [br /]

Lyrics Ballads, Preface[br /]
[br /]


Ever great and original writer, in proportion as he is great and original, must [br /]

himself create the taste by which he is to relished.[br /]

Lyrical Ballads, Preface 1800[br /]
[br /]


There is a comfort in the strength of love;[br /]

'Twill make a thing endurable, which else,[br /]

would overset the brain, or break the heart.[br /]

Michael, 448, 1800[br /]
[br /]


Why art thou silent ! Is thy love a plant[br /]

Of such weak fibre that the treacherous air[br /]

Of absence withers what was once so fair ?[br /]

Miscellaneous Sonnets, III 1807[br /]
[br /]


My heart leaps up when I behold[br /]

A rainbow in the sky;[br /]

So was it when my life began; [br /]

So is it now I am a man;[br /]

So be it when I shall grow old, [br /]

Or let me die ![br /]

The Child is Father of the Man;[br /]

And I could wish my days to be [br /]

Bound each to each by natural piety.[br /]

My Heart Leaps Up 1807[br /]
[br /]


There was a time when meadow, grove, and stream, [br /]

The earth, and every common sight,[br /]

To me did seem[br /]

Apparelled in celestial light,[br /]

The glory and the freshness of a dream.[br /]

Ode. Intimations of Immortality, I 1807[br /]
[br /]


Whither is fled the visionary gleam ?[br /]

Where is it now, the glory and the dream ?[br /]
[br /]




Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting :[br /]

The Soul that rises with us, our lift’s Star,[br /]

Hath had elsewhere its setting,[br /]

And cometh from afar;[br /]

Not in entire forgetfulness,[br /]

And not in utter nakedness,[br /]

But trailing clouds of glory do we come[br /]

From God, who is our home :[br /]

Heaven lies about us in our infancy ![br /]

Shades of the prison-house begin to close [br /]

Upon the growing boy.[br /]

Ode. Intimations of Immortality, IV 1807[br /]
[br /]


Earth fills her lap with pleasures of her own :[br /]

Yearnings she hath in her own natural kind.[br /]

Ode. Intimations of Immoratality, VI 1807[br /]
[br /]


Provoke[br /]

The years to bring the inevitable yoke.[br /]

Ode. Intimations of Immortality, VIII[br /]
[br /]


Hence in a season of clam weather[br /]

Though inland far we be,[br /]

Our souls have sight of that immortal sea[br /]

Which brought us hither…[br /]

Ode. Intimations of Immortality, IX 1807[br /]
[br /]


Though nothing can bring back the hour[br /]

Of splendour in the grass, of glory in the flower;[br /]

We will grieve not, rather find[br /]

Strength in what remains behind…[br /]

Ode. Intimations of Immortality, IX 1807[br /]
[br /]


Another race hath been, and other palms are won.[br /]

Thanks to the human heart by which we live, [br /]

Thanks to its tenderness, its joys and fears,[br /]

To me the meanest flower that blows can give[br /]

Thoughts that do often lie too deep for tears.[br /]

Ode. Intimations of Immortality, IX 1807[br /]
[br /]


Those obstinate questionings [br /]

Of sense and outward things,[br /]

Fallings from us, vanishings;[br /]

Blank misgivings of a Creature[br /]

Moving about in worlds not realised,[br /]

High instincts before which our mortal nature[br /]

Did tremble like a guilty thing surprised.[br /]

Ode. Intimations of Immortality, IX 1807[br /]
[br /]

The clouds that gather round the setting sun[br /]

Do take a sober coloring from an eye[br /]

That hath kept watch o’er man’s mortality.[br /]

Ode. Intimations of Immortality, XI 1807[br /]
[br /]


Me this unchartered freedom tires;[br /]

I feel the weight of chance-desires :[br /]

My hopes no more must change their name,[br /]

I long for a repose that ever is the same.[br /]

Ode to Duty 1807[br /]
[br /]


O Nightingale, thou surely art [br /]

A creature of a ‘fiery heart’.[br /]

O Nightingale 1798[br /]
[br /]


Fair seed-time had my soul, and I grew up [br /]

Fostered alike by beauty and by fear.[br /]

The Prelude, I 1850[br /]
[br /]


When the deed was done [br /]

I heard among the solitary hills[br /]

Low breathings coming after me, and sounds[br /]

Of undistinguishable motion, steps[br /]

Almost as silent as the turf they trod.[br /]

The Prelude, I[br /]
[br /]


The grim shape [br /]

Towered up between me and the stars, and still,[br /]

For so it seemed, with purpose of its own[br /]

And measured motion like a living thing,[br /]

Strode after me.[br /]

The Prelude I[br /]
[br /]


I was taught to feel, perhaps too much,[br /]

The self-sufficing power of Solitude.[br /]

The Prelude, II[br /]
[br /]


We were brothers all [br /]

In honour, as in one community,[br /]

Scholars and gentlemen.[br /]

The Prelude, IX 1850[br /]
[br /]


Bliss was it in that dawn to be alive, [br /]

But to be young was very heaven ![br /]

Referring to the French Revolution The Prelude, XI 1850[br /]
[br /]


That which sets[br /]

… The budding rose above the rose full blown.[br /]

Referring to the French Revolution The Prelude, XI 1850[br /]
[br /]


Not in Utopia, - subterranean fields, -[br /]

Or some secreted island, Heaven knows where ![br /]

But in the very world, which is the world[br /]

Of all of us, - the place where, in the end,[br /]

We find our happiness, or not at all ![br /]

Referring to the French Revolution The Prelude, XI 1850[br /]
[br /]


There is [br /]

One great society alone on earth : [br /]

The noble living and the noble dead.[br /]

The Prelude, XI 1850[br /]
[br /]


The pious bird with the scarlet breast, [br /]

Our little English robin.[br /]

The Redbreast chasing the Butterfly[br /]
[br /]


Still glides the Stream, and shall for ever glide;[br /]

The Form remains, the Function never dies.[br /]

The River Duddon, ‘After-Thought’[br /]
[br /]


The good old rule[br /]

Sufficeth them, the simple plan,[br /]

That they should take, who have the power,[br /]

And they should keep who can.[br /]

Rob Roy’s Grave[br /]
[br /]


A youth to whom was given[br /]

So much of earth-so much of heaven, [br /]

And such impetuous blood.[br /]

Ruth 1800[br /]
[br /]


She dwelt among the untrodden ways[br /]

Beside the springs of Dove,[br /]

A maid whom there were none to praise [br /]

And very few to love…[br /]

She Dwelt Among the Untrodden Ways 1800[br /]
[br /]


A slumber did my spirit seal;[br /]

I had no human fears; [br /]

She seemed a thing that could not feel[br /]

The touch of earthly years.[br /]
[br /]


No motion has she now, no force;[br /]

She neither hears nor sees;[br /]

Rolled round in earth’s diurnal course,[br /]

With rocks, and stones, and trees.[br /]

A Slumber did my Spirit seal[br /]
[br /]


Behond her, single in the field, [br /]

Yon solitary Highland lass ![br /]

The Solitary Reaper[br /]
[br /]


Another year ! – another deadly blow ![br /]

Another mighty empire overthrown ![br /]

And we are left, or shall be left, alone.[br /]

Napoleon defeated Prussia at the Battles of Jena Anerstä dt, 14 Oct 1806 [br /]

Sonnets, ‘Another year !’, 1806[br /]
[br /]


Earth has not anything to show more fair :[br /]

Dull would he be of soul who could pass by [br /]

A sight so touching in its majesty :[br /]

The City now doth, like a garment, wear[br /]

The beauty of the morning; silent, bare,[br /]

Ships, towers, domes, theatres, and temples lie[br /]

Open unto the fields, and to the sky; [br /]

All bright and glittering in the smokeless air.[br /]

Sonnets, ‘Composed upon Westminster Bridge’[br /]
[br /]


Dear God ! the very houses seem asleep; [br /]

And all that mighty heart is lying still ![br /]

Sonnets, ‘Composed upon Westminster Bridge.’[br /]

We must be free or die, who speak the tongue [br /]

That Shakespeare spake; the faith and morals hold[br /]

Which Milton held.[br /]

Sonnets, ‘It is not to be thought of’[br /]
[br /]


Milton ! thou shouldst be living at this hour : [br /]

England hath need of thee; she is a fen [br /]

Of stagnant waters : altar, sword, and pen,[br /]

Fireside, the heroic wealth of hall and bower,[br /]

Have forfeited their ancient English dower [br /]

Of inward happiness.[br /]

Sonnets, ‘Milton ! thou shouldst’, 1807[br /]


Thy soul was like a star, and dwelt apart.[br /]

Sonnets, ‘Milton ! thou shouldst’, 1802[br /]
[br /]


Plain living and high thinking are no more.[br /]

Sonnets, ‘O friend ! I know not’, 1802[br /]
[br /]

And was the safeguard of the west.[br /]

Sonnets, ‘Once did she hold’[br /]
[br /]


Venice, the eldest Child of Liberty.[br /]

She was a maiden City, bright and free.[br /]

Venice, a republic since the Middle Ages, was conquered by Napoleonin [br /]

1797 and absorbed into his Kingdom of Italy in 1805 Sonnets, ‘Once did she hold’[br /]
[br /]


When she took unto herself a mate,[br /]

She must espouse the everlasting sea.[br /]

Sonnets, ‘Once did she hold’.[br /]
[br /]


Men are we, and must grieve when even the shade [br /]

Of that which once was great is passed away. [br /]

Sonnets, ‘Once did she hold’[br /]
[br /]


Thou hast great allies; [br /]

hy friends are exultations, agonies,[br /]

And love, and man’s unconquerable mind.[br /]

Sonnets, ‘Toussaint, the most unhappy man’[br /]
[br /]


Two voices are there; one is of the sea,[br /]

One of the mountains; each a might voice :[br /]

In both from age to age thou didst rejoice,[br /]

They were thy chosen music, Liberty ![br /]

Sonnets, ‘Two voices are there’[br /]
[br /]


The world is too much with us; late and soon,[br /]

Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers :[br /]

Little we see in Nature that is ours.[br /]

Sonnets, ‘The world is too much with us’, 1807[br /]
[br /]


I’d rather be [br /]

A Pagan suckled in a creed outworn; [br /]

So might I, standing on this pleasant lea,[br /]

Have glimeses that would make me less forlorn; [br /]

Have sight of Proteus rising from the sea;[br /]

Or hear Old Triton blow his wreathed horn.[br /]

Sonnets, ‘The world is too much with us’[br /]
[br /]


Strange fits of passion have I known :[br /]

And I will dare to tell, [br /]

But in the lover’s ear alone, [br /]

What once to me befell.[br /]

Strange Fits of Passion[br /]
[br /]


Come forth into the light of things,[br /]

Let Nature be your Teacher.[br /]

The Tables Turned[br /]
[br /]


One impulse from a vernal wood[br /]

May teach you more of man,[br /]

Of moral evil and of good, [br /]

Than all the sages can. [br /]

The Tables Turned[br /]
[br /]


Three years she grew in sun and shower,[br /]

Then Nature said, ‘A lovelier flower[br /]

On earth was never sown;[br /]

This child I to myself will take; [br /]

She shall be mine, and I will make [br /]

A Lady of my own.’[br /]

Three Years she Grew, 1800[br /]
[br /]


’Tis said that some have died for love.[br /]

’Tis Said that some have Died[br /]
[br /]


Sweet childish days, that were as long [br /]

As twenty days are now.[br /]

To a Butterfly, l’ve Watched you now[br /]
[br /]


Small service is true service, while it lasts.[br /]

To a Child, Written in her Album[br /]

Ethereal minstrel ! pilgrim of the sky ![br /]

Dost thou despise the earth where cares abound ?[br /]

To a Skylark[br /]
[br /]


Thrice welcome, darling of the spring ![br /]

Even yet thou art to me[br /]

No bird, but an invisible thing, [br /]

A voice, a mystery.[br /]

To the Cuckoo[br /]
[br /]


Thou unassuming common-place[br /]

Of Nature.[br /]

To the Daisy[br /]
[br /]


Pleasures newly found are sweet[br /]

When they lie about our feet.[br /]

To the Small Celandine [br /]
[br /]
[br /]

Comments - William Wordsworth