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Dorothy and the Daffodils: Reading

Listen to Dr Jenn Ashworth reads Dorothy Wordsworth's journal entry where she describes seeing the daffodils on her walk with William.

In this step you can hear novelist and academic, Dr Jenn Ashworth read Dorothy Wordsworth’s journal entry for the 15 April 1802 aloud. While listening to this, you can follow Dorothy’s manuscript and read her handwriting.

Dorothy’s journal entry begins with a description of the weather, “It was a threatening misty morning—but mild.” William and Dorothy have decided to walk back home after having stayed with their friend, Mrs Clarkson, at her home, called Eusemere, on Ullswater. Catherine Clarkson was the wife of Thomas Clarkson who fought for the abolition of the slave trade. They had built their house on the Lakes because of Thomas’s health problems. The Wordsworths set off after dinner and Mrs Clarkson walks part of the way back with William and Dorothy.

On their walk back they see a ‘long bank’ of daffodils. These are a very common flower in Britain, bright yellow in colour, which bloom each spring. You may know the poem that William Wordsworth wrote about these flowers, and which we’ll hear in future steps, but Dorothy’s journal entry was written two years before William composed his poem.

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William Wordsworth: Poetry, People and Place

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FutureLearn - Learning For Life

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