WILLIAM WORDSWORTH (1770 – 1850)

William Wordsworth was born at Cockermouth, a town which is actually outside the Lake District, but well within hail of it. His father, who was a lawyer, died when William was thirteen years old. The elder Wordsworth left very little money, and that was mainly in the form of a claim on Lord Lonsdale, who refused outright to pay his debt, so that William had to depend on the generosity of two uncles, who paid for his schooling at Hawkshead, near Lake Windermere. Subsequently, Wordsworth went to Cambridge, entering St John’s college in 1787.His work at the university was quite distinguished, and having graduated in 1791 he left with no fixed career in view. After spending a few months in London he crossed over to France(1791), and stayed at Orleans and Blois for nearly a year. An enthusiasm for the Revolution was aroused in him; he himself was chronicled the mood in one of his happiest passages : “Bliss was it in that dawn to be alive,/But to be young was very heaven !” He returned to Paris in 1792, just after the September massacres, and the sights and stories that greeted him there shook his faith in the dominant political doctrine. At the university he composed some poetry, which appeared as “An Evening Walk”(1793) and “Descriptive Sketches”(1793). The first fruits of his genius were seen in the “Lyrical Ballads” (1798). Wordsworth had the larger share in the book. Some of his poems in it, such as “The Thorn”, and “The Idiot Boy” are condemned as being trivial and childish in style; a few such as “Simon Lee”, “Expostulation” and “Reply”, are more adequate in their expression; and the concluding piece “Tintern Abbey” is one of the triumphs of his genius.”The Prelude“,
which was composed in 1805, but not published until 1850, after Wordsworth’s death, is
the record of his development as a poet.

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