William Wordsworth Biography
The great English poet ‘William Wordsworth’ was born on 7th April 1770 to parents John Wordsworth and Ann Cookson in Wordsworth house in Northwest England, Lake District. His father was a legal representative of James Lowther, 1st Earl of Lonsdale and lived in a mansion in a small town through connections.
He was closest to his sister Dorothy Wordsworth who was also born in the same year and they were baptized together. Although rarely present, his father introduced him to the world of poetry, teaching him the writing of Shakespeare, Milton and Spenser.
In 1778 he was sent to Hawkshead Grammar School in Lancashire after his mother’s death. He met his future wife Mary in this school. He published a sonnet in the European magazine in 1787 and in the same year he went to St. John’s College, Cambridge and received a B.A degree in 1791.
In November 1791, he visited Revolutionary France and fell in love with Annette Vallon, a French woman. Lack of money and the tension brewing up between Britain and France forced him to come back to England alone.
The war thus prevented his meeting with Annette and their daughter. He wrote the sonnet ‘It is a beauteous evening, calm and free’ recalling his walk with the nine year old Caroline and his affection for her is visible in this sonnet. In 1793 his first poetry with the collections ‘An Evening Walk’ and ‘Descriptive Sketches’ was published.
He met Samuel Taylor Coleridge and the two poets together wrote Lyrical Ballads (1798). One of his most famous poems ‘Tintern Abbey’ was published along with Coleridge’s ‘Rime of the Ancient Mariner’. From 1795 to 1797, he wrote his only play ‘The Borderers’. Wordsworth, along with Sister Dorothy and friend Coleridge travelled to Germany in 1798.
His homesickness haunted him but not even the harsh winter of 1798-99 could stop him from writing. He began working of an autobiographical piece titled ‘The Prelude’. He also started an autobiographical poem which he called ‘Poem to Coleridge’. He next wrote ‘The Lucy Poems’ and moved back to England with Dorothy.
The three poets Robert Southey, William Wordsworth and Coleridge came to be known as the ‘Lake poets’. In 1802 he received the money that the Earl of Lonsdale owned his father and thus enabled him to marry. He arranged matters with Annette and married Mary Hutchinson, his childhood friend. In 1087, he published ‘Poems in Two Volumes’.
In 1813, he received an appointment as Distributor of stamps for Westmorland with a sufficient income and he settled with his family in Rydal Mount, Ambleside. Inspite of the uncompleted first and third part of the ‘Recluse’, he published ‘The Excursion’, the second part.
In 1838, he was honored with Doctor of Civil Law Degree in 1838 from Durham University and Oxford University in the next year. With the death of his daughter in 1847, his poetry stopped. He accepted the honour of becoming the Poet Laureate after the death of Robert Southey in 1843. He died on 23rd April 1850 through pleurisy. His lengthy autobiographical ‘poem to Coleridge’ was published as ‘The Prelude’ after his death by his widow Mary.