William Wordsworth Biography

William Wordsworth Biography

William Wordsworth (7 April 1770 – 23 April 1850) was an English Romantic poet who changed the course of English Poetry in league with Samuel Taylor Coleridge.  Their joint effort Lyrical Ballads are a seminal work, heralding a new age in poetry.  He adored nature and composed many poems on it.   Wordsworth produced a style of poetry which was poetically persuasive and based on his own experience of nature.

Born: April 7, 1770, Cockermouth, United Kingdom
Died: April 23, 1850, Cumberland, United Kingdom
Nationality: English
Siblings: Dorothy Wordsworth, Christopher Wordsworth
Education: Hawkshead Grammar School, University of Cambridge, St John's College, Cambridge

Early Life

 The second of five children born to John Wordsworth and Ann Cookson, William Wordsworth was born on 7 April 1770 in Wordsworth House in England. Hs father was a legal representative of James Lowther, 1st Earl of Lonsdale and, through his connections, lived in a large mansion in the small town. His mother died in 1778 and his father sent him to Hawkshead Grammar School in Lancashire.  Wordsworth made his debut as a writer in 1787 when he published a sonnet in The European Magazine. That same year he began attending St John’s College, Cambridge.


In 1790 William Wordsworth undertook a walking tour of Europe, including an extensive tour of the Alps, France, Switzerland and Italy.  In 1791 William Wordsworth received his BA degree.  His earliest collection of poetry, An Evening Walk and Descriptive Sketches was published in 1793.  After his return to England, he wrote Letter to the Bishop of Llandaff, a pamphlet that gave support to the French Revolution.

In 1795, William Wordsworth met his contemporary, Samuel Taylor Coleridge and this friendship proved fruitful, producing the Lyrical Ballads in 1798, a majorly important work in the English Romantic movement.

 The Borderers (1796), was William Wordsworth’s only play, a tragedy in verse based in the reign of King Henry III of England.

The winter of 1798-1799 William spent in Germany with his Sister and wrote several poems including the ‘Lucy’ poems.

In 1799, William Wordsworth along with his sister Dorothy, who was quite an influence to him and his writing moved to Grasmere in the Lake District and set up house.  Three years later he married Mary Hutchinson and had five children.  This period marked the creative output of William, mainly two great poems, The Recluse and The Prelude, his Magnum Opus, which was published posthumously.

In 1807, William Wordsworth published Poems in Two Volumes, which included the poem Ode to Duty.  The Excursion (1814) was followed by White Doe of Rylstone (1815), Miscellaneous Poems (1815) and The Waggoner (1819).


  • William Wordsworth received an honorary Doctorate of Civil Law from Durham University in 1838.
  • In 1839 he received the same honor from Oxford University.
  • In 1842 William Wordsworth received a civil list pension from the Government.
  • In 1843 William Wordsworth became Poet Laureate.

William Wordsworth died of pleurisy on 23rd April 1850.


“The best portion of a good man's life: his little, nameless unremembered acts of kindness and love.”
― William Wordsworth, Lyrical Ballads

“Wisdom is oft-times nearer when we stoop
Than when we soar.”
― William Wordsworth, The Excursion 1814

“Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart.”
― William Wordsworth

“Poetry is the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings: it takes its origin from emotion recollected in tranquility.”
― William Wordsworth, Lyrical Ballads

“Nature never did betray
The heart that loved her.”
― William Wordsworth

“Rest and be thankful.”
― William Wordsworth

“Come grow old with me. The best is yet to be.”
― William Wordsworth

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