Life and History of William Wordsworth
In 1800, the Lyrical Ballads was reworked. This time giving Wordsworth the chance to expound his theories of what makes good poetry.
Two years later, William and his siblings finally received their money owed by the Earl of Lowther. Because of this, William had enough to ask Mary Hutchinson, a childhood friend, to marry him. The two were married at a quiet ceremony. They then lived with Dorothy at the cottage, where Mary bore her first of five children, John, for one year.
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Coleridge's healthy began deteriorating in 1804 as did his friendship with Wordsworth. Napoleon's rise to power in France also stopped Wordsworth's views on liberalism. He then identified himself as a conservative.
In 1805, Wordsworth's autobiographical work was completed. However, due to his brother John's death, he decided to not publish the works until the whole of The Recluse was finished.
William Wordsworth's two-volume set containing 113 poems was published in 1807. The volumes again received poor reviews. Due to this and Coleridge's need for articles in his new magazine, he decided to not publish several long poems and began working more-so on prose. However, Coleridge's opium addiction worsened and put a stop to his literary endeavor and his friendship with Wordsworth.
William's life was shattered in 1812. The fourth child, Catherine, died at the age of three due to convulsions. And later the same year, in December, his third child, Thomas, died of pneumonia. Mary and Dorothy both came close to dying from grief.
Some years later, Wordsworth wrote a touching sonnet entitled Surprised by Joy on Catherine's death.
The following year, Wordsworth began suffering financially. He begged and pleaded for a job as the Distributor of Stamps for Westmorland, which had an income of £200 per year.
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In 1814, Wordsworth moved to Rydal Mount, Ambleside where he would spend the rest of his life. The same year he published The Exursion as the second of the three-part The Recluse. He never completed the first or third parts.
By 1820, critics began withdrawing their earlier opinions on Wordsworth's works.
Wordsworth began spending more time with his family the following years. In 1822, the re-release of William's travel guide to the Lakes was published, which was previously printed anonymously. The work became immensely popular.
After returning from a jaunt in 1829, William found his home stricken with influenza. Sara Hutchinson, Mary's sister, who had been staying with them, died. Dorothy on the other hand fully recovered physically, but not mentally. For the rest of her life she was ill-tempered and incoherent.
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In 1835, Wordsworth gave Annette and Caroline the money they needed for support. And in 1842, the government awarded him with a civil list pension amounting to £300 per year.
William finally finished his The Prelude in 1839. It was to be sealed away and only published after his death.
By 1840, Robert Southey began deteriorating. Southey died in 1843, having Wordsworth take the place as Poet Laureate. He initially refused due to his age, 73, but eventually agreed as a favor to Sir Robert Peel, who had gotten him the government pension years before.
William's daughter Dora died from tuberculosis in 1847. However, both John and Willy, who he gave his stamp distribution to, both married and had children giving Wordsworth direct descendants today.
William Wordsworth died in Rydal Mount on April 23, 1850 of pleurisy, an infection of the lung cavity. He was buried at St Oswald's Church in Grasmere.
Mary published his Poem to Coleridge months after his death. Although it failed to arouse interest in 1850, it has since become recognized as a masterpiece.Back to William Wordsworth biography
Poems by William Wordsworth
- Anecdote For Fathers
- By the Sea
- The Green Linnet
- I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud (also known as "The Daffodils")
- London, 1802
- Ode to Duty
- To the Cuckoo
- To the Daisy
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