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‘Home at Grasmere’: reading

Professor Keith Hanley reads an extract describing the Wordsworths' journey on foot to their new home in Grasmere.
Home at Grasmere.
Bleak season was it, turbulent and bleak, when hitherward we journeyed, and on foot through bursts of sunshine and through flying snows paced the long vales. How long they were, and yet how fast that length of way was left behind Wensley’s long veil and Sedbergh’s naked heights. The frosty wind, as if to make amends for its keen breath, was aiding to our course, and drove us onward like two ships at sea. Stern was the face of nature. We rejoiced in that stern countenance, for our souls had there a feeling of their strength. The naked trees, the icy brooks as on we passed appeared to question us. Whence come ye? To what end? They seemed to say. What would ye?
Said the shire. Wild wanderers whither through my dark domain. The sunbeam said, be happy. They were moved. All things were moved. They round us as we went, we in the midst of them.
Thrice hath the winter moon been filled with light since that dear day when Grasmere, our dear vale, received us. Bright and solemn was the sky that faced us with a passionate welcoming and led us to our threshold, to a home within a home, what was to be, and soon, our love within a love. Then darkness came, composing darkness, with its quiet load of full contentment, in a little shed disturbed, uneasy in itself as seemed, and wondering at its new inhabitants. It loves us now. This vale so beautiful begins to love us.

These extracts are from Wordsworth’s unpublished poem ‘Home at Grasmere’ lines 218-236 and 256-269. The poem describes Wordsworth’s joy at finding a true home at last as well as his anxieties about being able to become the great poet he sought to be.

In this passage, Wordsworth describes their journey to their new home on foot.

Why do you think they chose to travel in this way?

As you listen think about the kinds of images he uses to describe himself and Dorothy battling against the elements and the way in which Nature is described almost as if it is human (personification).

What does this add to the description?

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William Wordsworth: Poetry, People and Place

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