As the days are finally getting slightly warmer, the daylight hours increasing each day and the spring equinox approaching on March 20th, a sense of change is truly in the air. Dorothy Wordsworth recognises the hope, anticipation and happiness associated with the changing of this important season and by reflecting on her poetry we can too.
BY Hannah Donlan: Literature Columnist
The promise of spring each year brings with it the hope of new life, new flowers and new beginnings. Perhaps this year the changing of the seasons feels more important and highly anticipated than any before.
After a third national lockdown over the seemingly never-ending cold winter months, we’re hoping and longing for spring to provide some relief and long-awaited sunshine and recovery. The beauty and significance of the beginning of this season is well documented by the Wordsworth siblings during their walks and adventures around their beloved Lake District. Their romantic poetry writings and can give us a sense of appreciation and wonder for the season ahead.
Often overlooked due to her world famous brother, Dorothy Wordsworth is a powerful figure in English literature, serving as a great inspiration for William Wordsworth’s writing and poems. Her journals provide a fascinating insight into the siblings lives. She often writes about the joyful sights, sounds and smells of her local surroundings, the natural world and the happiness and inspiration spring brings for her and her brother’s writings.
Throughout the Covid-19 pandemic we all have found a new appreciation for our natural surroundings as we are encouraged to exercise and socialise outside and explore our local area. Due to the never-ending changing landscape of the pandemic, nature and our natural surroundings have provided comfort and stability. This concept is reflected in Dorothy Wordsworth poetry. In her poem, Thoughts on My Sick-bed! She writes about the powerful memories of spring time. These memories allow her to escape her illness and allow for moments of pure comfort and happiness. The seventh stanza of the poem Dorothy reflects on the joyful times she can remember:
“Yet never in those careless days
When Springtime in rock, field, or bower
Was but a fountain of earthly hope
A promise of fruits & the splendid flower.”
These lines highlight how the natural world will inevitably bloom and blossom once again. Spring accommodates “careless days” and the lure of the natural world becomes even more enthralling as it surges into full colour and life.
Dorothy really symbolises how strongly she feels about the healing nature the season in the line, “Was but a fountain of earthly hope,” the warmer days have a truly profound effect upon Wordsworth as she believes the blooming of the natural world in spring brings with it a new-found love of life and the assurance that brighter and warmer days are upon us.
Dorothy Wordsworth’s outlook on the new season is everything we are longing for this springtime. By reflecting on her poetry, a real sense of optimism and determination can be found as we look forward to the changing of the seasons.
Memories of spring bring solace to Wordsworth even at her darkest time. Wordsworth is insistent that spring is the season of opportunity and truly anything can happen in these carefree months where the world seems to become more vibrant after the desolate winter. After a year of three national lockdowns, varying restrictions, and confusing rhetoric, let’s hope this spring provides the same colour, vibrancy and healing as it did for Dorothy Wordsworth.
MACKAYAN: reflecting on lake poet.Tweet