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Monday, 4 April 2016

Brother and Sister

Anyone who has a nodding acquaintance with English poetry is likely to be able to recite a few lines of William Wordsworth's famous poem,  I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud. The entry in his sister, Dorothy's, Lakeland Journal for 15th April 1802, the day that they saw the daffodils together, is less well known, although William himself gave her credit for being an inspiration to him when he said of her in old age that "She gave me eyes; she gave me ears."

As it's daffodil time, I've just re-read what Dorothy wrote. It's so evocative, I'd like to share it with you:

"When we were in the woods beyond Gowbarrow Park, we saw a few daffodils close to the water-side. We fancied that the lake had floated the seeds ashore, and that the little colony had so sprung up. But as we went along there were more and yet more, and at last, under the boughs of the trees, we saw that there was a long belt of them along the shore, about the breadth of a country turnpike road. I never saw daffodils so beautiful. They grew among the mossy stones and about them; some resting 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 . This wind blew directly over the lake to them. there was here and there a little knot, and a few stragglers a few yards higher up; but they were so few as not to disturb the simplicity, unity, and life of that one busy highway."