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Friday, March 9, 2018

Poet William Wordsworth

by Donna Hatch

William Wordsworth was a poet whose life spanned the Georgian, Regency, and Victorian Eras. He and his beloved wife, Mary, and three children lived in Rydal Mount during much of his years as a poet. The Lake District where he made his home inspired many of his poems.

I was fortunate enough to visit Rydal Mount during a trip to England in June of 2017. Thought Wordsworth never owned this home, he rented it for many years. The home itself is lovely and beautifully furnished, but it was the gardens that really captured my attention. The Wordsworths loved gardening and created a lush, vibrant retreat in their four acre property, which William designed. He also designed the gardens for many of his friends and neighbors.

One garden is named "Dora's Field" which they gave to their only daughter. After her death at the early age of 43, William and Mary planted daffodils in the field to commemorate her life. The offspring of those bulbs survive today. In the spring, Dora's Field is filled with golden, cheerful daffodils.  Unfortunately, daffodils have a short blooming season and they were done by the time I visited.

One of my mother's favorite poems, which she taught me when I was child, is one of his.
I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud, By William Wordsworth

I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o'er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.
Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the milky way,
They stretched in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.
The waves beside them danced; but they
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:
A poet could not but be gay,
In such a jocund company:
I gazed—and gazed—but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:
For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.

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