EST. 2009

September 24, 2021

These Poetic Lakes

POPULARIZED BY THE ENGLISH POET William Wordsworth and the rest of the group that has come to be known as the Lake Poets, the Lake District is a region in North West England famed for its beautiful lakes, forests, and fells. The district is Wordsworth’s hometown, which he returned to later in life, and in which he wrote some of his most notable poems.

In the Lakes, Wordsworth saw the aesthetics of nature as being but one of its many admirable features. While he wrote about nature's beauty with enthusiasm, he also contemplated its relation to the human experience, pondering such topics as mortality and the loss of childhood innocence through “meadow, grove, and stream…” along with other natural representations.

The poetry that drew visitors to the Lakes, ironically became, in Wordsworth’s opinion, the very same thing that destroyed what made it special. In spite of this, he penned a travellers’ guidebook to the region, heralded for its relationship to Romantic literature, as well as its influence on 19th-century geography.

“The Guide is multi-faceted. It is a guide, but it is also a prose-poem about light, shapes, and textures, about movement and stillness ... It is a paean to a way of life, but also a lament for the inevitability of its passing” described Wordsworth’s biographer Stephen Gill.

Learning about the guide after my own visit to the Lakes makes me wish I had read it beforehand. But alas, what better excuse is there for simply paying another visit!

I loved: morning runs and evening walks by the banks of Bowness-on-Windermere, driving a boat at Ullswater, and swimming at Buttermere.

Lake District, Cumbria.