William Wordsworth was born on 7 April 1770 in Cockermouth, Cumberland. Having spent much of his childhood surrounded by the surreal landscapes of the Lake District, Wordsworth grew up with an affinity to nature and this trait found its way into his poetry. Wordsworth, along with his friend Samuel Taylor Coleridge, is credited with leading the way for the Romantic Age of Poetry with their collaborative publication of the Lyrical Ballads in 1798.
Wordsworth lost his mother when he was eight years old and his father five years later. Wordsworth’s younger sister, Dorothy, was a poet and a diarist. The siblings shared a close bond with each other throughout their life.
Come forth into the light of things, let nature be your teacher.
Wordsworth is believed to have made his first attempts at verse when he attended Hawkshead Grammar School. Wordsworth published his first poem (a sonnet) in 1787 in The European Magazine, and that same year he started at St. John’s College in Cambridge, graduating in 1791. Before his final semester, he went on a walking tour of Europe during which came in contact with the French Revolution. It was during this time, and his subsequent stay in France, that he became interested in the concerns of the “common man”. These experiences moulded his political views as well as his creative expressions and his views were often reflected in his works.
How does the Meadow flower its bloom unfold? Because the lovely little flower is free down to its root, and in that freedom bold.
Wordsworth published his first collections of poems, An Evening Walk and Descriptive Sketches, in 1793. But his most famous work, the semiautobiographical The Prelude (1850), is often termed as “the crowning achievement of English romanticism” and is thought to have heralded a new genre of poetry. Wordsworth worked on the poem, which was then titled “Poem to Coleridge”, throughout his life, revising it several times, but the actual publication happened posthumously. William Wordsworth died from an aggravated case of pleurisy on at Rydal Mount on 23 April 1850 at the age of 70. His wife Mary published the “Poem to Coleridge” as The Prelude three months later. The poem almost passed unnoticed at the time, but has since come to be recognized as a masterpiece.