William Wordsworth (April 7, 1770 – April 23, 1850), who along with Samuel Taylor Coleridge, helped to launch the Romantic Age in English literature with their joint publication Lyrical Ballads. Born in Cockermouth, in Cumbria, Wordsworth’s father, John, was a lawyer and frequently away from home. But in 1778, his wife Ann died suddenly and the family was split in two. The decision was made for all four boys to stay with their father, while six-year-old Dorothy, Wordsworth’s only sister, was dispatched to a more feminine environment — initially Yorkshire, to live with cousins, but later shifted “like a parcel” from one home to another. To complete the misery, five years later the children were orphaned when their father also died. As a young man Wordsworth developed a love of nature, a theme reflected in many of his poems. In 1795, he received a legacy from a close relative and he and his sister Dorothy went to live near the poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge, who was an admirer of Wordsworth’s work. The two poets collaborated on Lyrical Ballads, published in 1798 a collection of poems, mostly by Wordsworth but with Coleridge contributing The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, which is generally taken to mark the beginning of the Romantic movement in English poetry. In 1799, Wordsworth settled at Dove Cottage in Grasmere in the Lake District where his most famous poem, I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud was written in 1804. In 1813, he moved from Grasmere to nearby Ambelside. Later, in 1843, he was appointed as Poet Laureate, a position he held until his death from pleurisy. He was buried in Grasmere churchyard. This is one of a cluster of streets named after famous poets.
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