This Lake Country cottage is where William Wordsworth lived with his family “crammed edge full” from 1799-1808, and where he wrote some of his most beloved poems.
In 1799, William and his sister, Dorothy, moved into a two-story limestone building, which had started its life as an inn and pub called the “Dove and Olive Bough” in the 17th century. Here, the intellectual siblings wrote, created a beautiful garden with “the work of our own hands,” and enjoyed a country life “of plain living, but high thinking.” In 1802, William’s bride, Mary, and her sister, moved in, and the family soon included three young children.
During this time, Dorothy would write her famous Grasmere Journal, detailing the family’s daily life. In one well known passage, she described discovering the daffodils that her brother would later immortalize in print.
The wind was furious… the Lake was rough… When we were in the woods beyond Gowbarrow Park we saw a few daffodils close to the water side, we fancied that the lake had floated the seeds ashore & that the little colony had so sprung up – But as we went along there were more & yet more & at last under the boughs of the trees, we saw that there was a long belt of them along the shore, about the breadth of a country turnpike road. I never saw daffodils so beautiful. They grew among the mossy stones about & about them, some rested their heads upon these stones as on a pillow for weariness & the rest tossed & reeled & danced & seemed as if they verily laughed with the wind that blew upon them over the Lake, they looked so gay ever glancing ever changing.
During their years at the cottage, William wrote many legendary poems, including Ode to Duty, Ode: Intimations of Immortality, My Heart Leaps Up, and I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud.
The expanding family eventually outgrew Dove Cottage, and they left in 1808. Today, the cottage is operated by the Wordsworth Trust. Next door is a museum devoted to the poet and his family.
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