Poet Profile: William Wordsworth (1770-1850)

Along with William Blake (1757-1827) and Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772-1834), Wordsworth is recognised as one of the greatest of the first-generation Romantic poets. As with the Romantic composers, the Romantic poets reacted against what they saw as the cold intellectualism of the Enlightenment: their work emphasised the emotional, the natural, the voice of the common people, the power of the imagination and the concept of the sublime.

Fair seed-time had my soul, and I grew up
Foster’d alike by beauty and by fear;
Much favour’d in my birthplace, and no less
In that beloved Vale to which, erelong,
I was transplanted.

– from ‘The Prelude’, 1850

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William Wordsworth’s ‘Daffodils’

A host of golden daffodils at the Bason Reserve just outside Whanganui.

Also known by its first line, ‘I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud’, Wordsworth’s most famous poem is one that never fails to come to mind at this time of year. I was a Spring baby, and my father told me when I was still very young that the first daffodils were blooming the day he came to see me in the hospital. There were also lots of daffodils in the ‘fairy glen’ at the bottom of our garden where I loved to play in the Spring (which one one occasion prompted my desperate mother, tired of being fobbed off by doctors who didn’t believe just how serious her daughter’s hayfever was, to bundle me, eyes swollen and streaming, into the car and deposit me in front of the family G.P. with a pointed “do you believe me now?”). Continue reading “William Wordsworth’s ‘Daffodils’”