An English Poet William, born at Cockermouth, Cumberland, April 7, 1770, died at Rydal Mount, Westmoreland, April 23, 1850. He graduated at Cambridge in 1791, where he mastered Italian and gained an extended acquaintance with the classics and English poets. At this period he says he had a growing belief in his own mission as a poet, and selected Chaucer, Spenser, Shakespeare, and Milton as his models. In 1790 he made a pedestrian tour through France, Switzerland, and the north of Italy, being in Franco when the revolutionary enthusiasm was at its height. After taking his degree he lodged for four months in London; went on a pedestrian excursion to North Wales; and in the autumn of 1791 began a second tour in France, where he sympathized with the revolution. He remained about a year in Orleans, Blois, and Paris, and returned to England just in time, as he afterward acknowledged, to save him from the guillotine. He settled in London, and published in 1793 two poems in the heroic couplet, "An Evening Walk, addressed to a Young Lady," and "Descriptive Sketches, taken during a Pedestrian Tour among the Alps," which attracted little notice. In his republican zeal, he proposed in an unpublished letter to the bishop of Llandaff to abolish the monarchy and the peerage.
He was indignant that England made war against France, and, after witnessing on the Isle of Wight the equipment of the fleets, strayed toward Wales, and begat "in the Spenserian stanza the poem of " Guilt and Sorrow," which did not appear entire till 1842 In 1795 he received a legacy of £900 from Raisley Calvert, a young friend whom he had attended for several months in his last illness. A further sum of £8,500 was paid to the family in 1802, to be divided among live children, as arrears due from the earl of Lonsdale, and Wordsworth now resolved to make poetry his sole business. In the autumn of 1795 he settled at Racedown in Somersetshire, with his sister Dorothy, his associate during the remainder of his life. There he began the tragedy of "The Borderers," which was published in 1842. In June, 1797, Coleridge visited him, and they became friends for life. Subsequently, to be near Coleridge, the Wordsworths removed to Alfoxden, Somersetshire. In November, 1797, the poets started on a pedestrian tour through the surrounding country, and began a joint composition. Coleridge suggested the theme of "The Ancient Mariner," to which his partner contributed one or two ideas.
But they soon discovered that the supernatural was the stronghold of the one, and the natural of the other; and they began to concentrate their powers upon separate poems. Their roving and contemplative habits laid them under suspicion, and the agent of the landlord at Alfoxden refused to let the house to Wordsworth any longer. This determined the two poets and Miss Wordsworth to make a trip to Germany, and to raise the requisite funds the volume entitled "Lyrical Ballads" was offered to Joseph Cottle of Bristol. He offered 30 guineas for Wordsworth's portion; made a separate bargain with Coleridge for " The Ancient Mariner," the first piece in the collection; printed 500 copies (1798); and soon after sold the larger part of the impression at a loss to a London publisher, and presented the copyright, as of no value, to Wordsworth. The volume was an experiment upon the public taste as to how far the humblest subjects and language " really used by men " should be deemed fit for poetry; and it was universally neglected, ridiculed, or condemned.
Meantime Wordsworth sailed from Yarmouth, had interviews with Klopstock at Hamburg, remained several months at Goslar, returned to England in the spring of 1799, and soon after took up his residence with his sister at Grasmere, in Westmoreland. In 1800 appeared a second edition of the "Lyrical Ballads," in two volumes, with the addition of many new pieces, and with an exposition in prose of the principles on which as a poet he professed to write. They were reprinted in 1802 and 1805, and became popular with a large class. In 1802 Wordsworth married Miss Mary Hutchinson of Penrith, whom he had known from childhood, and on whom he wrote the lines, "She was a phantom of delight." In 1803, on a tour through Scotland, in company with his sister and Coleridge, he made the acquaintance of Sir Walter Scott and Sir George Beaumont. His sister's journal of this tour, edited by Principal Shairp, was first made public in 1874. In 1807 he published two new volumes of "Poems," the sale of which was almost stopped by the contempt and ridicule of Jeffrey in the " Edinburgh Review." In 1809 Wordsworth published an essay on the convention of Cintra, which he strongly condemned; and from that time he became a conservative.
He removed in 1808 to Allan Bank, and in 1813 to Rydal Mount, in sight of Lake Windermere, his residence for the remainder of his life, the grounds and gardens of which were skilfully embellished under his direction. In 1813 also he was appointed distributor of stamps in the county of Westmoreland, an office which afforded him over £500 a year. It had long been his aim to compose a vast philosophical poem, as an introduction to which he completed in 1805 " The Prelude," first published posthumously in 1850, containing a record of the cultivation and progress of his own powers. The main poem, entitled "The Recluse," was to consist of three parts; but only the second part, entitled "The Excursion" (1814), was ever published. In 1815 appeared "The White Doe of Ryestone," a romantic narrative poem, to which he assigned the highest place among his productions; in 1819 the seriocomic tales of " Peter Bell " and " The Wagoner," both of which had been written many years before, and were severely attacked; and in 1822 a collection of sonnets and poems under the title of "Memorials of a Tour on the Continent," soon followed by his series of ecclesiastical sonnets.
His whole income from his literary labors had not in 1819 amounted to £140. But his reputation rose rapidly from 1830 to 1840; in 1839 the degree of D. C. L. was conferred on him by the university of Oxford; in 1842 he was permitted to resign his office to his second son, and received a pension of £300; and in 1843 he succeeded Southey as poet laureate. He published a collected edition of his poems in 1842, arranging them in a newr order according to subjects. His complete prose works, including "An Apology for the French Revolution," various letters and speeches on education, two essays on epitaphs, and much other heretofore unpublished matter, including several poems, have been edited by the Rev. A. 13. Grosart (3 vols. 8vo, London, 1876). - His only daughter, Dora, married in 1841 Edward Quillinan, author of several poetical works, " The Conspirators, a Romance," and a partial translation of Camoens's "Lusiad." She published "Journal of a few Months' Residence in Portugal, and Glimpses of the South of Spain" (2 vols. 8vo, 1847), and died July 3, 1847.
Christopher, an English clergyman, youngest brother of the preceding, born at Cockermouth, Cumberland, June 9, 1774, died at Buxted, Sussex, Feb. 2, 1846. He graduated at Trinity college, Cambridge, in 1796, and was elected a fellow. His " Six Letters to Granville Sharp, Esq., respecting his Remarks on the Use of the Definite Article in the Greek Text of the New Testament " (1802), procured him the office of chaplain to the archbishop of Canterbury. He received several preferments, was master of Trinity college, Cambridge, from 1820 to 1841, and afterward resided at his rectory of Buxted. He published an "Ecclesiastical Biography" (6 vols. 8vo, 1809); "Sermons on Various Occasions" (1814); "Who wrote Eikon Basilikd?" (1824); " King Charles I. the author of Eikon Basilikč, further proved" (1828); and "Christian Institutes" (4 vols. 8vo, 1837), designed for students in the university and candidates for holy orders.
Christopher, an English prelate, son of the preceding, born in 1807. He graduated at Cambridge in 1830, became a fellow, travelled in Greece in 1832'3, and published "Athens and Attica" (1836). In 1836 he was appointed public orator of the university of Cambridge and head master of Harrow school, retaining the latter office till 1844, when he was made a canon of Westminster. He became vicar of Stanford-in-the-Vale, Berkshire, in 1850, and bishop of Lincoln in 1869. His works include " Ancient Writings copied from the Walls of the City of Pompeii" (1837); "Greece, Pictorial, Descriptive, and Historical" (1839); "The Correspondence of Richard Bentley" (2 vols., 1842); "Theophilus Anglicanus, or Instruction for the young Student concerning the Church, and our own Branch of it" (1843; 9th ed., 1865; abridged and published under the title of "Elements of Instruction concerning the Church," etc, 1849); " Diary in France, mainly on Topics concerning Education and the Church" (1845); "Letters to M. Gondon on the Destructive Character of the Church of Rome" (1847; with a "Sequel," 1848); "On the Canon of the Scriptures" (1848); " Lectures on the Apocalypse " (1849); " Babylon, or the Question examined, Is the Church of Rome the Babylon of the Apocalypse?" (1850); " Memoirs of William Wordsworth, Poet Laureate" (2 vols., 1851); "St. Hippolytus and the Church of Rome in the earlier part of the Third Century" (1853); "Remarks on M. Bunsen's Work on St. Hippolytus " (1855); "The New Testament in the Original Greek, with Introductions and copious English Notes" (4 parts, 1856-'60); "The Holy Year" (1862); "Journal of a Tour in Italy" (2 vols., 1863); "Union with Rome" (1867); and " The Holy Bible, with Notes and Introductions" (6 vols., 1864-70); besides an edition of Theocritus (1844), and many volumes of sermons and lectures, of which the most celebrated appeared under the titles "Discourses on Public Education" (1844), "The Interpretation of the Old and New Testament" (1861), and "The Church of Ireland: her History and Claims" (1866).
Charles, brother of the preceding, born at Bocking, Essex, in 1806. He graduated in 1830 at Oxford, where he became a tutor, and was second master of Winchester college from 1835 to 1845, and first warden of Trinity college, Perthshire, from 1846 to 1854. In 1852 he was chosen bishop of the united sees of St. Andrews, Dunkeld, and Dunblane, Scotland, and in 1853 received from Oxford the degree of D. C. L. He is one of the New Testament company for the revision of the English version of the Bible. He has published Groecoe Grammaticce Rudimenta (London, 1839), which has passed through 16 editions; "Communionin Prayer" (1843); "History of the College of St, Mary, Winton" (1848); "A United Church of England, Scotland, and Ireland Advocated " (1861); " On Shakspeare's Knowledge and Use of the Bible" (1864); and a " Letter to the Right Hon. W. E. Gladstone, on Religious Liberty".