William Wordsworth was born on April 7th, 1770, in Cockermouth, Cumberland, England. Young William's parents, John and Ann, died during his boyhood. Raised amid the mountains of Cumberland alongside the River Derwent, Wordsworth grew up in a rustic society, and spent a great deal of his time playing outdoors, in what he would later remember as a pure communion with nature. In the early 1790s William lived for a time in France, then in the grip of the violent Revolution; Wordsworth's philosophical sympathies lay with the revolutionaries, but his loyalties lay with England, whose monarchy he was not prepared to see overthrown. While in France, Wordsworth had a long affair with Annette Vallon, with whom he had a daughter, Caroline. A later journey to France to meet Caroline, now a young girl, would inspire the great sonnet “It is a beauteous evening, calm and free.”The chaos and bloodshed of the Reign of Terror in Paris drove William to philosophy books; he was deeply troubled by the rationalism he found in the works of thinkers such as William Godwin, which clashed with his own softer, more emotional understanding of the world. In despair, he gave up his pursuit of moral questions. In the mid-1790s, however, Wordsworth's increasing sense of anguish forced him to formulate his own understanding of the world and of the human mind in more concrete terms. The theory he produced, and the poetics he invented to embody it, caused a revolution in English literature.
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Page 105 - I'll write poetical commandments, which Shall supersede beyond all doubt all those That went before ; in these I shall enrich My text with many things that no one knows, And carry precept to the highest pitch ; I'll call the work, " Longinus o'er a Bottle, Or, Every Poet his own Aristotle.
Page 212 - A long, long kiss, a kiss of youth, and love, And beauty, all concentrating like rays Into one focus, kindled from above; Such kisses as belong to early days, Where heart, and soul, and sense, in concert move, And the blood's lava, and the pulse a blaze, Each kiss a heart-quake — for a kiss's strength, I think, it must be reckon'd by its length.
Page 145 - Then rose from sea to sky the wild farewell, Then shriek'd the timid, and stood still the brave, Then some leap'd overboard with dreadful yell, As eager to anticipate their grave ; And the sea yawn'd around her like a hell, And down she suck'd with her the whirling wave, Like one who grapples with his enemy, And strives to strangle him before he die.
Page 3 - I want a hero: an uncommon want, When every year and month sends forth a new one. Till, after cloying the gazettes with cant, The age discovers he is not the true one...
Page 64 - From leaf to leaf ; tis sweet to view on high The rainbow, based on ocean, span the sky. 'Tis sweet to hear the watch-dog's honest bark Bay deep-mouth'd welcome as we draw near home ; 'Tis sweet to know there is an eye will mark Our coming, and look brighter when we come...
Page 163 - The other father had a weaklier child, Of a soft cheek, and aspect delicate ; But the boy bore up long, and with a mild And patient spirit held aloof his fate ; Little he said, and now and then he smiled, As if to win a part from off the weight He saw increasing on his father's heart. With the deep deadly thought that they must part.
Page 24 - Ovid's a rake, as half his verses show him, Anacreon's morals are a still worse sample, Catullus scarcely has a decent poem, I don't think Sappho's Ode a good example, Although Longinus tells us there is no hymn Where the sublime soars forth on wings more ample: But Virgil's songs are pure, except that horrid one Beginning with 'Formosum Pastor Corydon'.
Page 69 - Tis pity though, in this sublime world, that Pleasure's a sin, and sometimes sin's a pleasure ; Few mortals know what end they would be at, But whether glory, power, or love, or treasure, The path is through perplexing ways, and when The goal is gain'd, we die, you know— and then CXXXIV. What then ?— I do not know — no more do you—- And so good night.
Page 128 - And oh! if e'er I should forget, I swear But that's impossible, and cannot be Sooner shall this blue ocean melt to air, Sooner shall earth resolve itself to sea, Than I resign thine image, oh, my fair! Or think of anything, excepting thee; A mind diseased no remedy can physic...