Wordsworth was born at Cockermouth, a town that is actually outside the Lake District. His father, who was a lawyer, died when Wordsworth 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 undistinguished 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. 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. Even yet, however, he thought of becoming a Girondin, or moderate Republican, but his allowance from home was stopped, and he returned to England. with his sister Dorothy (henceforward his long-life companion), he settled in a little cottage in Dorset; then, having met Coleridge, they moved to Alfoxden, a house in Somersetshire, to live near him. It was there that the two poets took the Series of Walks the fruit of which was to be the Lyrical Ballads.
After a visit to Germany in 1789-99, the Wordsworths Settled in the Lake District, which was to be their home for the future. In turn, They occupied Dove Cottage, in TOWN END, GRASMERE (1799), ALLAN BANK (1808), GRASMERE PARSONAGE (1811), and lastly, the well-known residence of RYDAL MOUNT, which was Wordsworth’s home from 1813 till death. Shortly before he had moved to Rydal Mount, he received the sinecure of Distributor of stamps for Westmorland and was put out of reach of poverty. The remainder of his life was a model of domesticity. He was carefully tended by his Wife and Sister, who, with a zeal that was noteworthy, though it was injudicious, treasured every scrap of his poverty that they could lay their hands on. His great passion was for traveling. He explored most of the accessible parts of the continent and visited Scotland Several times. On the last occasion (1831) he and his daughter renewed their acquaintance with Scott at Abbotsford and saw the great novelist when he was fast crumbling into mental ruin.
Wordsworth’s poetry, which at first had been received with derision or indifference, was now winning its way, and recognition was general. In 1839, the Crown awarded him a pension of £300 a year; and on the death of Southey in 1843, he became Poet Laureate. Long before this time, he had discarded his early ideals and become the upholder of Conservatism. Throughout his life, however, he never wavered in his faith in himself and his immortality as a poet. He lived to see his own belief in his powers triumphantly justified. It is seldom indeed that such gigantic egoism is so amply and so justly repaid.
Will be continued…..
Published by Ayisha Shabana…..