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Wordsworth: the man behind the words


William Wordsworth's poem "Daffodils" was published 200 years ago today.

It was one of over 300 written by the poet during his 80-year life, much of which was spent in Cumbria.

William Wordsworth Credit: The National Trust

William Wordsworth, claimed by some to be one of the most influential poets of the Romantic era, was born in Cockermouth on 7 April 1770.

It was during these years that he discovered his love of nature, a theme which permeates much of his writing.

Historians say he spent his childhood roaming the outdoors, playing and reading in his garden and by the banks of the River Derwent.

The garden at Wordsworth House, where Wordsworth played while growing up Credit: ITV Border

After studying at Cambridge University, Wordsworth spent time moving around the country with his with his sister Dorothy.

In 1795, the pair moved to Dorset . However, two years later they moved to Somerset, where Wordsworth spent time with Samuel Taylor Coleridge.

Coleridge contributed to and helped shape Wordsworth's work, and the two are often credited with kick starting the Romantic movement in English poetry.

In 1799, Wordsworth and Dorothy moved to Dove Cottage in Grasmere. It was here that Wordsworth wrote his most famous piece, 'Daffodils', in 1804 (although it would be 1815 before the revised version we know today was published).

Credit: PA

"I wandered lonely as a cloud That floats on high o'er vales and hills..."

– William Wordsworth, 'Daffodils'

Three years later, he married Mary Hutchison and in 1813, they moved to Ambleside, where he would become Poet Laureate.

Ambleside would be his home until his death from Pleurisy on 23 April 1850.