Posted by: Jodi | August 8, 2010

Quickly Quotable #20 – William Wordsworth

“Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting. Not in entire forgetfulness, and not in utter nakedness, but trailing clouds of glory do we come.”

“Not Chaos, not the darkest pit of lowest Erebus, nor aught of blinder vacancy, scooped out by help of dreams – can breed such fear and awe as fall upon us often when we look into our Minds, into the Mind of Man.”

“That though the radiance which was once so bright be now forever taken from my sight. Though nothing can bring back the hour of splendor in the grass, glory in the flower. We will grieve not, rather find strength in what remains behind.”

William Wordsworth was one of the great Romantic poets of 19th-century England. His poems celebrated the glories of nature and the human spirit while using the simple language of the “common man” — a radical idea for the time. Wordsworth studied at Cambridge University and then traveled in France during the Revolution, an experience which affected deeply his own political leanings. On his return to England he met Samuel Taylor Coleridge, and in 1798 they published the collection Lyrical Ballads. It included both Coleridge’s “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner” and Wordsworth’s “Tintern Abbey,” a rumination on man and nature inspired by the “steep and lofty cliffs” and “pastoral farms” around the stone ruins of the ancient church. Critics hooted at Wordsworth’s poems and his politics early in his career, but in later years he became accepted as a key voice in the Romantic movement. His other works include Poems in Two Volumes (1807) and The Excursion (1814). He was poet laureate of England from 1843 until his death in 1850. His autobiographical epic, “The Prelude,” was published by his wife after his death.

Wordsworth’s younger sister and close confidante Dorothy (1771-1855) was also an accomplished writer; he praised her lavishly in “Tintern Abbey”… While traveling in France, Wordsworth fathered a daughter, Caroline (b. 1792) with a woman named Annette Vallon; they were never married. In 1802 Wordsworth married a childhood friend, Mary Hutchinson… The title of the 1961 movie Splendor in the Grass (starring Natalie Wood and Warren Beatty) was taken from a line in Wordsworth’s ode “Intimations of Immortality,” which reads: “Though nothing can bring back the hour / Of splendour in the grass, of glory in the flower.”

Quotes courtesy of  Famous Poets and Poems.com

Biography courtesy of Answers.com

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Responses

  1. Wonderful quotes, love the English romantic poets and you even mention my fave poem of all time Samuel Taylor Coleridge who is buried here, in Highgate, at St. Michael’s Church.

    • Glad to do it!

  2. Hey Jo ~

    Wordsworth = a wonderful word smith. Love the first quote.

    We knew who we were before we arrived and fell into a deep slumber. : )

    BTW: You have his name right in a few places, but in the title, and a few other spots, it’s missing the “s.”

    • Thanks for pointing that out – I fixed it!

  3. Good post, Jodi. That first quote is quite lofty, but very colorful.

    • I had heard the first one for years and was so glad to find who it belonged to!

  4. Powerful sayings. I especially love the last one.

  5. Like Agatha, love the English romantic poets (I’m kind of obsessed with John Keats) and these were wonderful quotes Jodi! Thank you for sharing them and have a great Sunday 🙂

    • I am learning to love the English Romantics – never spent quality with them before now, am glad to have the chance to. Just for you I’ll do John Keats next Sunday!

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