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Grasmere, From Red Bank, Helm Crag And Dunmail Raise In The Distance

Grasmere, From Red Bank, Helm Crag And Dunmail Raise In The Distance

Photographer: Ogle, Thomas

Medium: Photographic print

Date: 1864

Shelfmark: 1347.f.21

Item number: 67

Length: 8.5

Width: 9

Scale: Centimetres

Genre: Photograph

View by Thomas Ogle of Grasmere in the Lake District, illustrating 'Our English Lakes, Mountains, And Waterfalls, as seen by William Wordsworth' (1864). The book juxtaposes photographs of the Lake District with poems by the English Romantic poet. Grasmere is situated in a valley surrounded by fells in Cumbria. This view looks northwards out over the lake towards the pass of Dunmail Raise. Wordsworth (1770-1850) lived in the village of Grasmere at the northern end of the lake from 1799 to 1813, and was greatly influence by the beauty of the local landscape. His contemporaries Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772-1834), Robert Southey (1774-1843) and Thomas de Quincey (1785-1859) also made the Lake District their home at the beginning of the 19th century. Wordsworth observed the changing moods of the lake by day and night and it is the setting for his poem 'When to the Attractions of the Busy World', from 'Elegiac Stanzas In Memory of My Brother John Wordsworth' (1805), which this photograph accompanies. In the excerpt below, Grasmere inspires a mood of melancholy reverie in the poet as he thinks of his brother John, a sailor who perished in a shipwreck:

“...And there I sit at evening, when the steep
Of Silver-How, and Grasmere’s placid lake
And one green island, gleam beneath the stems
Of the dark firs, a visionary scene!
And, while I gaze upon the spectacle
Of clouded splendour, on this dream-like sight
Of solemn loveliness, I think on thee,
My Brother, and on all which thou hast lost.
Nor seldom, if I rightly guess, while thou,
Muttering the verses which I muttered first
Among the mountains, through the midnight watch
Art pacing to and fro the vessel’s deck
In some far region, here, while o’er my head,
At every impulse of the moving breeze,
The fir-grove murmurs with a sea-like sound,
Alone I tread this path; - for aught I know,
Timing my steps to thine; and, with a store
Of undistinguishable sympathies,
Mingling most earnest wishes for the day
When we, and others whom we love, shall meet
A second time in Grasmere’s happy vale.”

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