On Thursday 15th April 1802, Dorothy Wordsworth wrote in her journal:
‘… 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. This wind blew directly over the lake to them. There was here & there a little knot & a few stragglers a few yards higher up but they were so few as not to disturb the simplicity & unity & life of that one busy highway…”’
Two years later, her brother wrote: “I wandered lonely as a cloud …”, his wife, Mary, contributing what Wordsworth later said were the best two lines in the poem : “They flash upon that inward eye / Which is the bliss of solitude”. This group collaboration for such an iconic poem always makes me think of how many other unseen contributors there must be to great works of art.
If you need a little inspiration, why not come to Sykehouse Cottage in March and search for wild Wordsworthian daffodils? Wild daffodils are simpler and shorter than the tall, fancy ruffle cultivars we see in gardens. They like to grow on damp ground under trees. Dorothy and William Wordsworth found theirs at Ullswater but wild daffodils are more common in the South Lakes. Probably the best place to see them from Sykehouse Cottage is on the banks of the Duddon. A short drive and a lovely walk to find your own secret “host of golden daffodils”.
For further information about the Wordsworths and their time in the Lakes, including Dorothy’s journals, you should really visit Dove Cottage. It’s open every day with a host of things to do and is just a 40 minute drive from Sykehouse cottage through beautiful countryside. Follow this link to Dove Cottage.
If you would read another post about Wordsworth : The Westmorland Girl : click here.