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The Journals of Dorothy Wordsworth

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I like to hear what Wordsworth ate:

suet, chops, potatoes – he was

never well but trod the miles

dejected while his sister baked


pies, bread, raisin cakes;

William walked in sleet and rain, from

violets and the mossy stone where

Coleridge lay, his bowels in knots.


Dorothy’s were wretched too:

flour, ham, beef, lard – how

Wordsworth wrote The Rainbow or The

Singing Bird with bowels that bad


I’ll never understand – I want the

romance of it, though:

pockets crammed with

mutton as they trudged for Letters or composed


The Leech-Gatherer or held a

melancholy talk beneath the wall.

Words, sheep, stones. Stars:

they named the largest Jupiter


no matter where it hung, and looked on

glow-worms, daisies, celandine; on ordinary

distances; as heroes come to cut them free

with swords of English light.

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