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See the fact file below for more information on William Wordsworth or alternatively, you can download our comprehensive worksheet pack to utilise within the classroom or home environment.
- William Wordsworth was born on April 7, 1770, in Cockermouth, Cumberland, England. He was the second child of John Wordsworth and Ann Cookson. At the age 13, William and his four siblings became orphans. Despite their misfortune, he attended the Hawkshead Grammar School where he first fell in love with poetry. After a few years, he entered St. John’s College in Cambridge until he graduated in 1791.
- In 1790, amidst the French Revolution, Wordsworth visited France. He witnessed the power of poetry and ideals of politics. In addition, Wordsworth also visited Switzerland and Italy.
- While in France, Wordsworth became interested in the struggles and language of the common people. He also met and fell in love with Annette Vallon, with whom he had a daughter, Caroline, out of wedlock. By 1793, the two separated after the declaration of war between England and France. That same year, his earliest poetry was published in the collections, An Evening Walk and Descriptive Sketches.
- By 1802, Wordsworth returned to France with his sister Dorothy.
- He finally met his daughter, Caroline. Later that year, he married Mary Hutchinson, another French woman, with whom he had five children.
William Wordsworth’s Literary Career
- In 1795, he met poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge. They became friends and worked together to publish Lyrical Ballads (1798). Their collection of poetry included Coleridge’s Rime of the Ancient Mariner and Wordsworth’s Tintern Abbey.
- Wordsworth tried to use language that the common people would understand. He emphasized the existing social hierarchy of those times.
- After the publication of Lyrical Ballads, he started writing The Prelude. The Prelude is an autobiographical poem in blank verse that depicts one’s love for nature and spiritual life. It consisted of 14 books that were revised several times and published posthumously. Many believed that it gave birth to a new genre of poetry.
- In 1796, Wordsworth wrote his only play, The Borderers. The tragedy was set during King Henry III’s reign, when Scottish rovers were in conflict with England’s north.
- Wordsworth, Coleridge and Dorothy travelled to Germany in 1798. Despite homesickness, he was able to write The Lucy Poems. After a year, he went back to England with his sister. At the Lake District, Coleridge and Wordsworth met another poet, Robert Southey. They came to be known as the Lake Poets.
- By 1803, he wrote I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud and Ode: Intimations of Immortality, which were published in 1807, as part of his Poems in Two Volumes.
- Following the death of two of his young children in 1812, Wordsworth produced works that moved one’s emotions. The successive deaths of his colleagues, William Green (1823), Samuel Taylor Coleridge and Charles Lamb (1834), and James Hogg (1835), added to the deep melancholy of Wordsworth. The main themes of his works encompassed death, separation, and abandonment.
- In 1818, Wordsworth’s philosophical maturity began to emerge, as he became a supporter of the conservative Tories.
- By 1838, the University of Durham gave Wordsworth an honorary doctorate degree in Civil Law. After a year, the University of Oxford did the same.
- The sudden death of his daughter, Dora, in 1847, devastated him and he lost the will to write anymore.
Death and Legacy
- On April 23, 1850, William Wordsworth died of pleurisy at his home at Rydal Mount, Westmorland, England. He was buried at
St. Oswald’s Church, Grasmere.
- Several months after his death, his widow, Mary, published The Prelude, also known as Poem to Coleridge.
- In 1843, he became the only Poet Laureate to write no official verses.
- Some of his poems include Upon Westminster Bridge (1801), Miscellaneous Sonnets (1807), The Excursion (1814), Peter Bell (1819), The River Duddon (1820), Yarrow Revisited (1835), and The Recluse (1888).
William Wordsworth Worksheets
This bundle includes 11 ready-to-use William Wordsworth worksheets that are perfect for students to learn about William Wordsworth who was a leading Romantic poet at the end of the 18th century. His epic autobiographical poem, The Prelude, is considered one of the remarkable achievements of English Romanticism.
This download includes the following worksheets:
- William Wordsworth Facts
- Poet Laureate
- Fellow Romantics
- Literary Movements
- French Revolution
- Words Worth
- I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud
- The Prelude: Emotions
- Figure of Speech
- Poetry Card
- In Memory Of
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