Three Poems by William Wordsworth

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Three Poems by William Wordsworth Wordsworth was born in Cockermouth, England, to John, a prominent aristocrat, and Anne Wordsworth. With his mother's death in 1778, William and his family began to drift apart. William was sent to boarding school in Hawkeshead, and his sister, Dorothy, was sent to live with cousins in Halifax. It was in the rural surroundings of Hawkeshead that William learned his appreciation for nature and the outdoors. Unfortunately, the peacefulness of his life was disturbed by his father's death in 1783. William was sent from relative to relative, all of whom thought of him only as a burden. It has been pointed out by biographers that Wordsworth's unhappy early life contrasts with the idealized portrait of childhood that he presents in his writings (DISCovering). Wordsworth went to college at St. John's College in Cambridge and later wrote that the highlight of those years was his walking tour of France and Switzerland taken with his friend, Robert Jones (Grolier). He graduated in 1791 when the French revolution was in its third year, but although he had showed no prior interest, he quickly supported the Revolution's goals. After Wordsworth was forced to flee France he became involved with the studies of philosopher William Godwin; Godwin became one of the most inveterate influences on Wordsworth's thought (Compton's). In 1793, Wordsworth published his first two volumes of poetry, Descriptive Sketches and An Evening Walk. Written in the traditional manner, the books were not accepted well publicly, but, after the death of a relative Wordsworth became the benefactor of a small inheritance which enabled him to concentrate on writing (Compton's). Feeling that he needed a change of scenery to devote more time to his poetry, William moved in with his sister in Racetown. Dorothy's devotion to her brother was a tremendous contribution to his success; she encouraged his writing and looked after their daily life (Wordsworth, William DISCovering). The single most influential person in William's apprenticeship, though, was Samuel Taylor Coleridge. Critics view their friendship as one of the most remarkable in English literature (Matlak 86). It was when Wordsworth moved to Nether Stowey to be near Coleridge that he began a period of remarkable creativity. Together they published Lyrical Ballads, an anonymously published collection of poems written, for the most part, by Wordsworth, including the illustrious preface.
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