Friday Filosophy v.02.17.2023
Friday Filosophy v.02.17.2023 offers quotes and words of wisdom from the English Romantic poet William Wordsworth.
William Wordsworth (7 April 1770 – 23 April 1850) was an English Romantic poet who, with Samuel Taylor Coleridge, helped to launch the Romantic Age in English literature with their joint publication Lyrical Ballads (1798). Wordsworth’s magnum opus is generally considered to be The Prelude, a semi-autobiographical poem of his early years that he revised and expanded a number of times. It was posthumously titled and published by his wife in the year of his death, before which it was known as “the poem to Coleridge”. Wordsworth was Poet Laureate from 1843 until his death from pleurisy on 23 April 1850.
Wordsworth was taught to read by his mother and attended, first, a tiny school of low quality in Cockermouth, then a school in Penrith for the children of upper-class families, where he was taught by Ann Birkett, who insisted on instilling in her students traditions that included pursuing both scholarly and local activities, especially the festivals around Easter, May Day and Shrove Tuesday. Wordsworth was taught both the Bible and the Spectator, but little else. It was at the school in Penrith that he met the Hutchinson’s, including Mary, who later became his wife.
After the death of Wordsworth’s mother, in 1778, his father sent him to Hawkshead Grammar School in Lancashire (now in Cumbria) and sent Dorothy to live with relatives in Yorkshire. She and William did not meet again for nine years.
Wordsworth made his debut as a writer in 1787 when he published a sonnet in The European Magazine. That same year he began attending St John’s College, Cambridge. He received his BA degree in 1791. He returned to Hawkshead for the first two summers of his time at Cambridge, and often spent later holidays on walking tours, visiting places famous for the beauty of their landscape. In 1790 he went on a walking tour of Europe, during which he toured the Alps extensively, and visited nearby areas of France, Switzerland, and Italy. Some modern critics suggest that there was a decline in his work beginning around the mid-1810s, perhaps because most of the concerns that characterized his early poems (loss, death, endurance, separation, and abandonment) had been resolved in his writings and his life. By 1820, he was enjoying considerable success accompanying a reversal in the contemporary critical opinion of his earlier works.
Wordsworth’s youthful political radicalism, unlike Coleridge’s, never led him to rebel against his religious upbringing. He remarked in 1812 that he was willing to shed his blood for the established Church of England, reflected in his Ecclesiastical Sketches of 1822. This religious conservatism also colors The Excursion (1814), a long poem that became extremely popular during the nineteenth century. It features three central characters: the Wanderer; the Solitary, who has experienced the hopes and miseries of the French Revolution; and the Pastor, who dominates the last third of the poem.
Such kind of conversational tone persists all through the poetic journey of the poet, that positions him as a man in the society who speaks to the purpose of communion with the very common mass of the society. Again; “Preface to Lyrical Ballads” is the evidence where the poet expresses why he is writing and what he is writing and what purpose it will serve to humanity.
Wordsworth remained a formidable presence in his later years. In 1837, the Scottish poet and playwright Joanna Baillie reflected on her long acquaintance with Wordsworth. “He looks like a man that one must not speak to unless one has some sensible thing to say. However, he does occasionally converse cheerfully & well; and when one knows how benevolent & excellent he is, it disposes one to be very pleased with him.” William Wordsworth died at home at Rydal Mount from an aggravated case of pleurisy on 23 April 1850, and was buried at St Oswald’s Church, Grasmere. His widow, Mary, published his lengthy autobiographical “Poem to Coleridge” as The Prelude several months after his death. Though it failed to interest people at the time, it has since come to be widely recognized as his masterpiece.
- Wisdom is oftentimes nearer when we stoop than when we soar.
- Nature never did betray the heart that loved her.
- To begin, begin.
- Poetry is the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings: it takes its origin from emotion recollected in tranquility.
- Life is divided into three terms – that which was, which is, and which will be. Let us learn from the past to profit by the present, and from the present, to live better in the future.
- To me the meanest flower that blows can give thoughts that do often lie too deep for tears.
- Come forth into the light of things, let nature be your teacher.
- Faith is a passionate intuition.
- For I have learned to look on nature, not as in the hour of thoughtless youth, but hearing oftentimes the still, sad music of humanity.
- When from our better selves we have too long been parted by the hurrying world, and droop. Sick of its business, of its pleasures tired, how gracious, how benign is solitude.
- How does the Meadow flower its bloom unfold? Because the lovely little flower is free down to its root, and in that freedom bold.
- Suffering is permanent, obscure and dark, And shares the nature of infinity.
- 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.
- I listened, motionless and still; And, as I mounted up the hill, The music in my heart I bore, Long after it was heard no more
- The mind that is wise mourns less for what age takes away; than what it leaves behind.
The Time is Now