A poet’s sister or a sister poet?

A poet’s sister or a sister poet?

In Dorothy Wordsworth’s journals, you sense the extent to which she supported her brother’s writing. Some things she records become material for his poems. She also reads aloud to him, including his own compositions, and copies out his poems.But beyond...
Need some negus?

Need some negus?

A hot drink of port, sugar, lemon, and spice, named after a Colonel Francis Negus (d. 1732), who invented it.  In Dorothy Wordsworth’s journal, it seems to have been used medicinally, along with broth.  A delicious sounding toddy for a miserable winter...
A real craving of nature

A real craving of nature

Branwell Bronte, the sister-eclipsed son in a family of six, caused them and his father great heartache through alcoholism and opium addiction, dying young.  However, in a saner moment, he wrote to Wordsworth of another, healthier craving. ‘I read for the same...
Skobby

Skobby

Found in Dorothy Wordsworth, another word for ‘chaffinch’, though it seems obsolete.  Not that this should prevent our reviving it, it has a charming, affectionate sound.See the quote-mosaic review of this enchanting journal by a vibrant, life-loving...
Fretted

Fretted

This use of ‘fretted’ seems to mean worn or damaged by weather, and ‘teazed’ is an old spelling of ‘teased’, here apparently meaning pulled or damaged.I know what Dorothy means about the weeds… we have bad hair days, bad...
Clapping linen

Clapping linen

This seems to mean something like smoothing out and folding linen, though it would baffle people now.’Mary walked to Ambleside for letters, it was a wearisome walk for the snow lay deep upon the Roads & it was beginning to thaw.  I stayed at home &...
Pulling apples

Pulling apples

Wordsworth uses this term several times – apparently an obsolete term for picking or gathering apples.’We pulled apples after dinner, a large basket full.’  Sunday 12 October 1800See the quote-mosaic review of this enchanting journal by a vibrant,...
Flowering and marking

Flowering and marking

Dorothy Wordsworth refers to ‘flowering and marking’, meaning to embroider identification signs on linen.  I recently bought some wonderful, secondhand and fine quality bedlinen, with flowers and monograms beautifully embroidered along the top edge of what...
Syke (or sike)

Syke (or sike)

Scottish & N. English: Alternative spelling of ‘sike’ meaning a small stream or rill, typically one that flows through marshy ground and is often dry in summer. See the quote-mosaic review of this enchanting journal by a vibrant, life-loving woman....
Of tea and stars

Of tea and stars

A charming juxtaposition of homeliness and magnificence – people drinking tea but noticing a sky sprinkled with stars.’I found them at Tea.  There were a thousand stars in the Sky.’  Thursday 12 November 1801.See the quote-mosaic review of this...
The moon shone upon the water below

The moon shone upon the water below

I liked this expansive moon-scape and the detail of Wordworth keeping his curtains open to see it.’The moon shone upon the water below Silver-how, & above it hung, combining with Silver how on one side, a Bowl-shaped moon the curve downwards – the white...
The cow looked at me looking at the cow

The cow looked at me looking at the cow

Having done this a number of times, I smiled when I read Dorothy’s dilemma in passing the cow.  They have an unnerving way of staring you out, which may be nothing more than the vaguest bovine curiosity.  I have usually ended up doing a great meander to avoid...
Butterflies of all colours

Butterflies of all colours

Dorothy Wordsworth’s eye for details, and her care in noting them, are a wonder, allowing her to converse with people born centuries after her.  Feeling this easy affinity, I have to wonder if anything we say or write or think will resonate with people 200 years...

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