A Blupete Biography Page

Conclusions, Part 12 to the Life & Works of
William Wordsworth

Paul Johnson:
"Wordsworth was not a bookish man. Wordsworth's library was pitifully small; he read the mountains and lakes and his fellow Westmorlanders and Cumbrians. He was absurdly self-centered, vain, narrow in many ways, a little grasping in others, but he was from first to last a local patriot. He nailed his colors to the mast of freedom and independence. He saw the yeoman-farmers of the dales - called, significantly enough, "statesmen" - as essentially free even if they observed a proper respect for grand local families like the Lowthers and deferred to these families' views on national issues. His feeling for the dalesmen made him identify with the Swiss: that was why Bonaparte's enslavement of the Swiss finally turned Wordsworth against revolutionary republicanism and the aggressive, conquering spirit that went with it."99
Whatever one might have to say about Wordsworth's poetry or his politics, one thing is plain: all those who were in close communion with Wordsworth -- his neighbors, friends and family -- had the highest respect and deepest affection for him. Even his contemporaries gave him due praise. Hazlitt: "His style is vernacular: he delivers household truths. He sees nothing loftier than human hopes, nothing deeper than the human heart. ... [Wordsworth believed in] the healing power of plants and herbs and 'skyey influences,' this is the sole triumph of his art. ... his poetry is founded on setting up an opposition ... between the natural and the artificial..." And, "The current of his feelings is deep, but narrow; the range of his understanding is lofty and aspiring rather than discursive. The force, the originality, the absolute truth and identity, with which he feels some things, makes him indifferent to so many others. The simplicity and enthusiasm of his feelings, with respect to nature, render him bigoted and intolerant in his judgments of men and things."100

Wordsworth's poems will live on no matter the observations, then and now: he rather thought they would. Relatively early in his career he was to write Lady Beaumount about the destiny of his poems. They would, Wordsworth's poems, long after his death, console the afflicted and add sunshine to the lives of those who were to take the time to read them. They would "teach the young and the gracious of every age to see, to think, and feel ..."101


A featured sketch in a book


The English Romantics


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