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Honister Crag, Looking West

Honister Crag, Looking West

Photographer: Ogle, Thomas

Medium: Photographic print

Date: 1864

Shelfmark: 1347.f.21

Item number: 128

Length: 8.5

Width: 9

Scale: Centimetres

Genre: Photograph

View taken by Thomas Ogle of Honister Crag in Cumbria, 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. Honister Crag rises high above the Honister Pass in the Borrowdale area of the Lake District. The pass is situated in what was formerly an area of slate quarries, where men laboured in hard and dangerous conditions, carrying the stone down on sleds from the crags. Wordsworth (1770-1850) was inspired by the sublime beauty of the landscape, and wrote in his travel book ‘Guide to the Lakes’ (published in five editions between 1810 and 1835): “…the descent upon the Vale of Buttermere…is very striking…to one entering by the head of the Vale, under Honister Crag”. The photograph illustrates his poem ‘The Brothers’ (1800), which tells the tragic story of a mariner who on returning home finds that his younger brother, a shepherd, has fallen to his death from a precipice:

“... - On that tall pike
(It is the loneliest place of all these hills)
There were two springs which bubbled side by side,
As if they had been made that they might be
Companions for each other: ten years back,
Close to those brother fountains, the huge crag
Was rent with lightening, one is dead and gone,
The other, left behind, is flowing still.

...

You see yon precipice; - it almost looks
Like some vast building made of many crags;
And in the midst is one particular rock
That rises like a column from the vale
…ere noon
They found him at the foot of that same rock –
Dead, and with mangled limbs. The third day after
I buried him, poor youth, and there he lies!”

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