What Wordsworth Had to Say

I am reading The Prelude: Newly Edited from the Manuscripts and Fully Illustrated in Color

And cannot help but compare Wordsworth to Walt Whitman. Both lived at the same time, and both wrote in blank verse. Both lived through violent social events – for Wordsworth, the French Revolution – and for Whitman, the American Civil War.

But Wordsworth was a deeper person, and had deeper things to say. He knew he had great things to do – but had a hard time finding out what they were.

To clarify his thoughts, he wrote a long poem – as a gift to his friend Thackery. At the time it was common for men to develop close, intimate relationship to other men. Abraham Lincoln prefered to sleep with other men, and Civil War Generals wrote other men love letters.

Wordsworth wrote this poem for his friend, that was only published after his death. At the time, successful poets were important people, and even made some money!

Poets helped other people understand their world – and other people appreciated their help.


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