**** ROTATE **** **** ROTATE **** **** ROTATE **** **** ROTATE ****

Find this Story

Print, a form you can hold

Wireless download to your Amazon Kindle

Look for a summary or analysis of this Story.

Enjoy this? Share it!


William Wordsworth
by [?]

And so in a dozen or more poems, we see Dorothy reflected. She was the steel on which he tried his flint. Everything he wrote was read to her, then she read it alone, balancing the sentences in the delicate scales of her womanly judgment. “Heart of my heart, is this well done?” When she said, “This will do,” it was no matter who said otherwise.

Back of the house on the rising hillside is the little garden. Hewn out of the solid rock is “Dorothy’s seat.” There I rested while Mrs. Dixon discoursed of poet lore, and told me of how, many times, Coleridge and Dorothy had sat in the same seat and watched the stars.

Then I drank from “the well,” which is more properly a spring; the stones that curb it were placed in their present position by the hand that wrote “The Prelude.” Above the garden is the orchard, where the green linnet still sings, for the birds never grow old.

There, too, are the circling swallows; and in a snug little alcove of the cottage you can read “The Butterfly” from a first edition; and then you can go sit in the orchard, white with blossoms, and see the butterflies that suggested the poem. And if your eye is good you can discover down by the lakeside the daffodils, and listen the while to the cuckoo call.

Then in the orchard you can see not only “the daisy,” but many of them, and, if you wish, Mrs. Dixon will let you dig a bunch of the daisies to take back to America; and if you do, I hope that yours will prosper as have mine, and that Wordsworth’s flowers, like Wordsworth’s verse, will gladden your heart when the blue sky of your life threatens to be o’ercast with gray.

Here Southey came, and “Thalaber” was read aloud in this little garden. Here, too, came Clarkson, the man with a fine feminine carelessness, as Dorothy said. Charles Lloyd sat here and discoursed with William Calvert. Sir George Beaumont forgot his title and rapped often at the quaint, hinged door. An artist was Beaumont, but his best picture they say is not equal to the lines that Wordsworth wrote about it. Sir George was not only a gentleman according to law, but one in heart, for he was a friend, kind, gentle and generous. With such a friend Wordsworth was rich indeed. But perhaps the friends we have are only our other selves, and we get what we deserve.

We must not forget the kindly face of Humphry Davy, whose gracious playfulness was ever a charm to the Wordsworths. The safety-lamp was then only an unspoken word, and perhaps few foresaw the sweetness and light that these two men would yet give to earth.

Walter Scott and his wife came to Dove Cottage in Eighteen Hundred Five. He did not bring his title, for it, like Humphry Davy’s, was as yet unpacked down in London town. They slept in the little cubby-hole of a room in the upper southwest corner. One can imagine Dorothy taking Sir Walter’s shaving-water up to him in the morning; and the savory smell of breakfast as Mistress Mary poured the tea, while England’s future laureate served the toast and eggs: Mr. Scott eating everything in sight and talking a torrent the while about art and philosophy as he passed his cup back, to the consternation of the hostess, whose frugal ways were not used to such ravages of appetite. Of course she did not know that a combined novelist and rhymster ate twice as much as a simple poet.

Afterwards Mrs. Scott tucked up her dress, putting on one of Dorothy’s aprons, and helped do the dishes.

Then Coleridge came over and they all climbed to the summit of Helm Crag. Shy little De Quincey had read some of Wordsworth’s poems, and knew from their flavor that the man who penned them was a noble soul. He came to Grasmere to call on him: he walked past Dove Cottage twice, but his heart failed him and he went away unannounced. Later, he returned and found the occupants as simple folks as himself.