William Wordsworth (
7 April 1770 – 23 April 1850
) was one of the greatRomantic poets of 19th-century England. His poems celebrated the glories of natureand the human spirit while using the simple language of the "common man" -- a radicalidea for the time. Wordsworth studied at Cambridge University and then traveled inFrance during the Revolution, an experience which affected deeply his own politicalleanings. On his return to England he met
Samuel Taylor Coleridge
, and in 1798 theypublished the collection
. It included both Coleridge's "The Rime of theAncient Mariner" and Wordsworth's "Tintern Abbey’’, a rumination on man and natureinspired by the "steep and lofty cliffs" and "pastoral farms" around the stone ruins of theancient church. Critics hooted at Wordworth's poems and his politics early in his career,but in later years he became accepted as a key voice in the Romantic movement. Hisother works include
Poems in Two Volumes
of England from 1843 until his death in 1850. His autobiographicalepic, "The Prelude," was published by his wife after his death.
Wordsworth's younger sister and close confidante Dorothy (1771-1855) was also anaccomplished writer; he praised her lavishly in "Tintern Abbey". While traveling inFrance, Wordsworth fathered a daughter, Caroline (b. 1792) with a woman namedAnnette Vallon, they were never married. In 1802 Wordsworth married a childhoodfriend, Mary Hutchinson. The title of the 1961 movie
Splendor in the Grass
(starringNatalie Wood and Warren Beatty) was taken from a line in Wordsworth's ode"Intimations of Immortality," which reads: "Though nothing can bring back the hour ofsplendour in the grass, of glory in the flower."