Saturday, April 7, 2012

Wordsworth, Great Britain's Poet Laureate

William Wordsworth
It is the birthday of English Romantic poet William Wordsworth (1770), Poet Laureate of Great Britain (1843-1850) and author of The Prelude, a 14-book, semi-autobiographical poem he worked on throughout his lifetime. It was written as a letter to his friend and fellow poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge, and deals with the development of the poet's mind over time. It was to be the first part of an even larger epic poem he intended to write with Coleridge that was envisioned as a work to surpass John Milton's Paradise Lost. That three-part poem Wordsworth and Coleridge planned to call The Recluse was never completed. A second part, called The Excursion, was finished, however. The Prelude is considered Wordsworth's best work. It never had a title while Wordsworth was working on it. His widow, Mary, gave it the title when she published it a few months after his death. In 1798, with advice from Wordsworth's sister Dorothy, he and Coleridge published Lyrical Ballads together. It contains Wordsworth's Tintern Abbey and Coleridge's The Rime of the Ancient Mariner. Four editions of the book were published, the last one in 1800.

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