William Wordsworth was born at Cockermouth in 1770 as the second of five children (Richard, William, Dorothy, John, and Christopher). He was educated at Hawkshead Grammar School from 1779 to 1787. Then he joined St. John’s College, Cambridge in 1787 where he studied till 1791. While he was in his college days (1790) he went on a summer walking tour through France and Switzerland with Robert Jones, where he witnessed the early phase of French Revolution. In France after his studies he became politically identified with the Revolution. His love affair with Annette Vallon gave birth to their child Caroline at Orleans.
By 1793 he published An Evening Walk and Descriptive Sketches. After his withdrawal from the French Revolution he reunited with Dorothy Wordsworth (his younger sister) and moved to Racedown, Dorset where he met Samuel Taylor Coleridge and Southey. At Racedown with Dorothy, William wrote The Borderers and early version of The Ruined Cottage. After this work they moved to Alfoxden to be near Coleridge. There he wrote Lyrical Ballads together with Coleridge which was published in Bristol, October, 1798. In the same year William started his work The Prelude which got completed in the year 1805 and was published in 1850.
In 1800, W. Wordsworth settled with D. Wordsworth at Dove Cottages. In this year Lyrical Ballads was enlarged and reissued with Preface. By 1802 he went to visit Annette Vallon and Caroline along with his sister. After a month he got married to Mary Hutchinson at Yorks and had five children. His work Poems in Two Volumes was published in 1807 (two years after his brother, John’s death). The Excursion and first collected edition of his shorter poems were published between 1814 and 1815. His works Yarrow Revisited volume and the enlarged Guide to the Lakes were published in 1835 and Poems, Chiefly of Early and Late Years were published in 1842. He died at the Rydant Mount in 1850.
Wordsworth is known as “the High Priest of Nature”. He proposed his views on poetry, its nature and functions and the qualification of a true poet in his Preface. His poetic definition is “Poetry is the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings recollected in tranquility.” Unlike Coleridge he is a pantheist. Wordsworth in his lifetime has met many of his equivalently popular contemporary authors. He met Sir Walter Scott (in 1803, in the Scottish tour), John Keats (at Haydon in 1817), Alfred L. Tennyson (in 1830, during his visit to Cambridge).