The Poet of Nature

William Wordsworth is widely considered one of the most influential English romantic poets. In the preface of his book, Lyrical Ballads, published in 1798, Wordsworth declared that poetry should contain language really used by men. This idea, and many of his others, challenged the old eighteenth-cuntury idea of formal poetry and, therefore, he changed the course of modern poetry (Wordsworth, William DISCovering).
Wordsworth was born in Cockermouth, England, to John, a prominent aristocrat, and Anne Wordsworth, but with his mother\'s death in 1778, William and his family began to drift apart. William was sent to boarding school in Hawkeshead, and his sister, Dorothy, was sent to live with cousins in Halifax. It was in the rural surroundings of Hawkeshead that William learned his appreciation for nature and the outdoors. Unfortunately, once again, the peacefulness of his life was disturbed by his father\'s death in 1783. William was sent from relative to relative, all of whom thought of him only as a burden. It has been pointed out by biographers that Wordsworth\'s unhappy early life contrasts with the idealized portrait of childhood that he presents in his writings (Wordsworth, William DISCovering).
Wordsworth went to college at St. John\'s College in Cambridge and later wrote that the highlight of those years was his walking tour of France and Switzerland taken with his friend, Robert Jones (Watson 1421). He graduated in 1791 when the French revolution was in its third year, but, even though he had showed no prior interest, he quickly supported the Revolution\'s goals. After Wordsworth was forced to flee France he became involved with the studies of philosopher William Godwin; Godwin became one of the most inveterate influences on Wordsworth\'s thought ("Wordsworth, William" Compton\'s). In 1793 Wordsworth published his first two volumes of poetry, Descriptive Sketches and An Evening Walk. Written in the traditional manner, the books were not accepted well publicly, but, after the death of a relative Wordsworth became the benefactor of a small inheritance which enabled him to concentrate on writing ("Wordsworth, William" Compton\'s).
Feeling that he needed a change of scenery to devote more time to his poetry, William moved in with his sister in Racetown. Dorothy\'s devotion to her brother was a tremendous contribution to his success; she encouraged his writing and looked after their daily life (Wordsworth, William DISCovering). The single most influential person in William\'s apprenticeship, though, was Samuel Taylor Coleridge. Critics view their friendship as one of the most remarkable in English literature (Watson 1422). It was when Wordsworth moved to Nether Stowey to be near Coleridge that he began a period of remarkable creativity. Together they published Lyrical Ballads, an anonymously published collection of poems written, for the most part, by Wordsworth, including the illustrious preface. Using the principles that he set in the Preface, Wordsworth focused his poetry on subjects of "humble and rustic life" (Wordsworth, William Compton\'s).
In 1802 Wordsworth married Mary Hutchinson and Sir George Beaumont. Beaumont expedited the publication of The Poems in 1807. In this book of poems William, once again, demonstrated his fantastic ability to create natural or pastoral settings and to add mysticism to ordinary events. Familiar with human psychology, he pointed out the influence of the childhood memories on adult outlooks, this is seen best in the famous quote, "The child is father of the man (Watson 1423)."
Wordsworth continued to write during his later years, but his career is generally viewed as a decline after 1810 (Watson 1423). In 1814 he wrote The Excursion and The Poems, in 1815, came the three narrative poems: "The White Doe of Rylstone," "Peter Bell," and "The Waggoner." Yarrow Revisited and Other Poems, written in 1835, and The Sonnets of William Wordsworth, written in 1838, were both accepted well publicly and Wordsworth\'s sonnets were compared with those of Shakespeare and Milton (Wordsworth, William DISCovering). He was given honorary degrees from the University of Durham and Oxford University, and in 1843, he became poet laureate. He retired to Rydal in 1848 and died in 1850. Today he is considered the most beloved and influential poet of the Romantic era (Watson 1424).
William Wordsworth was simple, true to nature, and descriptive. He is often referred to as the "poet of nature" (Wordsworth, William Compton\'s). There are two