Christmas Day this year marked 250 years since the birth of Dorothy Wordsworth, the sister of William.
A fine poet, author and diarist herself, her talent and her reputation are being recognised increasingly now, critical scholars appreciating that she had a strong literary voice of her own.
She was William’s inseparable companion, after they had been forced to live apart from one another in childhood after the death of their father. Once re-united, they remained living together even after the marriage of William to Mary Hutchinson and Dorothy outlived her brother by five years; she died at Rydal in 1855.
William acknowledged Dorothy in his own work, perhaps most famously in Lines Written a Few Miles above Tintern Abbey:
Of this fair river; thou my dearest Friend,
My dear, dear Friend; and in thy voice I catch
The language of my former heart, and read
My former pleasures in the shooting lights
Of thy wild eyes …
My dear, dear Sister!
Our friend Muriel Strachan, who has studied the Wordsworths, and the children of William and Mary, says that Dorothy loved the children as if they were her own. Delightful details about Dorothy’s relationship with her nephews and nieces are described by Muriel in this reading which we commissioned to be filmed specially to mark the special anniversary.
Are you sitting comfortably….?