William Wordsworth (17701850) was an English Romantic poet, most famous for his anthology Lyrical Ballads (which he published with Samuel Taylor Coleridge in 1798 and which Wordsworth later revised with a lengthy preface). He also wrote a 14-volume poem entitled The Prelude which is his autobiography. Like most Romantics, he supported The French Revolution, but he became notably more conservative as he aged.
He and Coleridge were very close, up until Coleridge's continuing angst over Wordsworth's popularity drove a wedge between them. Coleridge's drug abuse may have also been a mitigating factor in the strain that their relationship went through. They lost contact for several years, but eventually made up; however, they were never really on good terms ever again.
Wordsworth's work is pretty much standard for any college-level English literature course.
You may have also heard of poems like ''Lines Composed a Few Miles above Tintern Abbey, on Revisiting the Banks of the Wye during a Tour, July 13, 1798'' or "Tintern Abbey" for short.
Wordsworth's poems provide examples of:
- Author Avatar:
- In "Resolution and Independence," the protagonist may or may not be a representation of a young Wordsworth.
- He pointedly averts this in "The Thorn," where he makes sure the reader knows that he isn't the narrator.
- Children Are Innocent: Especially in "We Are Seven," but this is pretty standard for a Romantic Era poet.
- Gaia's Vengeance:
- Subtly done in several of his poems, especially "Tintern Abbey," which details how nature has taken back the destitute abbey.
- In "The Thorn," when the villagers try to dig up what may or may not be a dead baby, the earth shakes and prevents them from going any closer.
- How the Mighty Have Fallen: "On the Extinction of the Venetian Republic".
- Humans Are Bastards: In "The Thorn"
- Mother Nature: Like most Romantics, he personified nature in this way.
- Nature Lover: Like most romantics
- Overly Long Title: The aforementioned "Tintern Abbey." Its full title is "Lines Composed a Few Miles above Tintern Abbey, on Revisiting the Banks of the Wye during a Tour, July 13, 1798."
- Take That!: Some mild ones to Coleridge, especially in "Resolution and Independence." Notable in that they generally weren't done because he hated the guy, but because he was distraught that Coleridge's life was gradually spiralling out of control due to the latter's drug abuse and depression.
- Unable to Cry: "Ode: Intimations of Immortality"
- Woman Scorned: Martha Ray in "The Thorn," although she's far less psycho about it than most of these characters tend to be.
For further study into the life and works of William Wordsworth, see this free online course "William Wordsworth: Poetry, People and Place" from Lancaster University: https://www.futurelearn.com/courses/william-wordsworth