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Wordsworth's Tomb, Grasmere Church-Yard

Wordsworth's Tomb, Grasmere Church-Yard

Photographer: Ogle, Thomas

Medium: Photographic print

Date: 1864

Shelfmark: 1347.f.21

Item number: 183

Length: 8.5

Width: 9

Scale: Centimetres

Genre: Photograph

View by Thomas Ogle of Wordsworth's grave at St. Oswald's Church in Grasmere, 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. Wordsworth (1770-1850) lived for most of his life in the Lake District. He was born at Cockermouth in Cumbria and was sent to school in Hawkshead. After a decade of study and travel, he returned to the village of Grasmere in 1799, living first at Dove Cottage, later at Allan Bank and The Old Rectory. In 1813 he moved with his family to Rydal Mount, between Grasmere and Ambleside, where he lived until his death. His work drew inspiration from the natural beauty and history of the Lakeland landscape. His fellow poets Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772-1834) and Robert Southey (1774-1843) also made the Lake District their home at the beginning of the 19th century. This photograph accompanies Wordsworth's ode ‘Intimations of Immortality from Recollections of Early Childhood’(1803-6), from which the following stanzas are taken:

“Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting:
The soul that rises with us, our life’s star,
Hath had elsewhere its setting,
And cometh from afar;
Not in entire forgetfulness,
And not in utter nakedness,
But trailing clouds of glory do we come
From God, who is our home:

Heaven lies about us in our infancy!

Shades of the prison-house begin to close

Upon the growing boy,

But he beholds the light, and whence it flows,

He sees it in his joy;

The youth, who daily farther from the east

Must travel, still is Nature's priest,

And by the vision splendid

Is on his way attended;

At length the man perceives it die away,

And fade into the light of common day.

Though nothing can bring back the hour
Of splendour in the grass, of glory in the flower;
We will grieve not, rather find
Strength in what remains behind,
In the primal sympathy
Which having been must ever be,
In the soothing thoughts that spring
Out of human suffering,
In the faith that looks through death,
In years that bring the philosophic mind.”

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