Dorothy Wordsworth

We saw a few daffodils…

Dorothy Wordsworth (December 25 1771January 25 1855) was an English diarist, travel-writer and catalyst in the writing of her brother William Wordsworth's poems. Her diaries were a direct source of some of Wordsworth's best-known lines.

SourcedEdit

DiariesEdit

Quotations are taken from Mary Moorman's edition of the Journals of Dorothy Wordsworth (Oxford University Press, 1971) ISBN 0192811037, which see for cross-references to corresponding lines by William Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor Coleridge

  • The sky spread over with one continuous cloud, whitened by the light of the moon, which, though her dim shape was seen, did not throw forth so strong a light as to chequer the earth with shadows. At once the clouds seemed to cleave asunder, and left her in the centre of a black-blue vault. She sailed along, followed by multitudes of stars, small, and bright, and sharp.
  • One only leaf upon the top of a tree - the sole remaining leaf - danced round and round like a rag blown by the wind.
    • March 7, 1798
    • This was turned into Coleridge's Christabel, lines 48-50:
      There is not wind enough to twirl
      The one red leaf, the last of its clan,
      That dances as often as dance it can.
  • We saw a raven very high above us. It called out, and the dome of the sky seemed to echo the sound. It called again and again as it flew onwards, and the mountains gave back the sound, seeming as if from their centre; a musical bell-like answering to the bird's hoarse voice.
  • She had got up behind the chaise and her cloak had been caught by the wheel and was jammed in and it hung there. She was crying after it. Poor thing. Mr. Graham took her into the chaise and the cloak was released from the wheel but the child's misery did not cease for her cloak was torn to rags; it had been a miserable cloak before, but she had no other and it was the greatest sorrow that could befal her. Her name was Alice Fell.
  • When we were in the woods beyond Gowbarrow park we saw a few daffodils close to the water side…At last under the boughs of the trees, we saw that there was a long belt of them [deleted: the end we did not see] along the shore, about the breadth of a country turnpike road. I never saw daffodils so beautiful they grew among the mossy stones about and about them; some rested their heads upon these stones as on a pillow for weariness and the rest tossed and reeled and danced and seemed as if they verily laughed with the wind that blew upon them over the lake, they looked so gay ever glancing ever changing.
  • My Brother William was married to Mary Hutchinson…At a little after 8 o'clock I saw them go down the avenue towards the Church. William had parted from me upstairs. [deleted: I gave him the wedding ring – with how deep a blessing! I took it from my forefinger where I had worn it the whole of the night before – he slipped it again onto my finger and blessed me fervently].

About Dorothy WordsworthEdit

  • She is a woman indeed! in mind I mean, and heart; for her person is such, that if you expected to see a pretty woman, you would think her rather ordinary; if you expected to see an ordinary woman, you would think her pretty! but her manners are simple, ardent, impressive. In every motion, her most innocent soul outbeams so brightly, that who saw would say,

    Guilt was a thing impossible in her.

    Her information various. Her eye watchful in minutest observation of nature; and her taste, a perfect electrometer. It bends, protrudes, and draws in, at subtlest beauties, and most recondite faults.
  • Her eyes were not soft, as Mrs. Wordsworth's, nor were they fierce or bold; but they were wild and startling, and hurried in their motion. Her manner was warm and even ardent; her sensibility seemed constitutionally deep; and some subtle fire of impassioned intellect apparently burned within her.
  • Miss Dorothy did best part o' pitting his potry togidder. He let it fa' and she cam efter and gethered it oop for him ye kna.
    • Local testimony recorded by Canon Rawnsley in Literary Associations of the English Lakes (Glasgow, 1894) vol. 2, p. 136.
  • The Blessing of my later years
    Was with me when a boy:
    She gave me eyes, she gave me ears;
    And humble cares, and delicate fears;
    A heart, the fountain of sweet tears;
    And love, and thought, and joy.
    • William Wordsworth, "The Sparrow's Nest", line 15.

External linksEdit

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Last modified on 31 August 2011, at 16:45