Monday, 7 April 2008

Happy Birthday William Wordsworth

Today is the 238th birthday of William Wordsworth the great hill walker, the ground breaking Lakeland Poet and, as Poet-in-Residence will demonstrate, environmentalist. Wordsworth would spin in his grave if he knew of the traffic thundering through his beloved Lakeland nowadays or of that monstrous radioactive edifice sitting like a cancer on its western shoreline.
William Wordworth's grave is not in Westminster Abbbey or some other grand place but suitably and appropriately in Grasmere churchyard. The village itself is a quaint Lakeland village with two youth hostels and several pubs. From there, decently shod, mapped, compassed and waterproofed you may tramp the fells in many directions, rather as Wordsworth was apt to do.
The world famous Wainwright's Coast-to-Coast walk from St. Bee's Head to Robin Hood's Bay passes through Grasmere and many an ambitious walker has got no further. Blisters being the main reason given, although a glance at the walk profile in this area may suggest other reasons.
The following poem was first published in the 'Morning Post' on 16th October 1844.

On the Projected Kendal and Windermere Railway

Is then no nook of English ground secure
From rash assault? Schemes of retirement sown
In youth, and mid the busy world kept pure
As when their earliest flowers of hope were blown,
Must perish; how can they this blight endure?
And must he too the ruthless change bemoan
Who scorns a false utilitarian lure
Mid his paternal fields at random thrown?
Baffle the threat, bright the Scene, from Orrest-head
Given to the pausing traveller's rapturous glance:
Plead for thy peace, thou beautiful romance
Of nature; and, if human hearts be dead,
Speak, passing winds; ye torrents, with your strong
And constant voice, protest against the wrong.

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