Selected by Dan Clendenin

William Wordsworth (1770–1850)

My Heart Leaps Up

My heart leaps up when I behold A rainbow in the sky:
So was it when my life began;
So is it now I am a man;
So be it when I shall grow old, Or let me die!
The Child is father of the Man;
And I could wish my days to be
Bound each to each by natural piety.

William Wordsworth, the greatest of the Romantic poets, gloried in nature, but here he reflects upon the inspiration of urban London as he experienced it from Westminster Bridge. Wordsworth was born at Cockermouth, Cumberland, the son of an attorney. He was educated at Hawkshead grammar school and at St. John’s College, Cambridge. Both his parents died by the time he was thirteen and he was brought up by relatives. He spent some time in France shortly after the French Revolution whose cause he espoused and in 1797 moved to Somerset with his favourite sister, Dorothy, where he developed a close association with Coleridge. Generally considered the greatest of the Romantic poets, Wordsworth’s most creative poetry is his early work with its main themes of the English countryside and the revolutionary spirit of the age. Of his later work, The Prelude, published posthumously, is the most significant. He became Poet Laureate in 1843. From http://www.englishverse.com/poets/wordsworth_william.

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