William Wordsworth was born in Lake District in 1770. He spent his childhood in the countryside and drew inspiration from its landscape. Then he moved to France where he supported the cause of the Revolution. He fell in love with a French woman and they had a daughter. Since he had no money he went back to England. In 1797 he met the poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge and they became friends.
They put together their poems and the result was “Lyrical Ballads”, a collection of poems which was published in 1798. The adjective “Lirical” is related to individual emotions and experiences; in fact the poems deal with personal moods and feelings. The term “Ballads” reminds of a popular genre marked by a simple language.
In his poems Wordsworth deals with ordinary episodes and people and employs a simple language, while Coleridge’s poems are characterized by supernatural and magic elements.
The 1800 edition of “Lyrical Ballads” has Wordsworth’s famous preface, in which all his main ideas are described and explained:
-The poet as an ordinary man who, however, has more imagination than other men;
-Poetry as the “spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings” originating from “emotions recollected in tranquility”.
To Wordsworth nature is a:
-place where the poet can find relief from the stressful urban reality;
-source of inspiration and pleasure;
-life force in which God is present.
Wordsworth wrote some poems about children’s feelings. In his opinion “the child is the father of the man”, which means that our childhoods experiences have made us what we are. He believed in the pre-existence of the soul. As a consequence, he thought that children were closer to God than adults.