Dorothy’s observations (August 1800) of the route which we would be taking.
(Exerts from The Grasmere and Alfoxden Journals )
Saturday 22nd August [23rd]
A very fine morning. Wm was composing all morning – I shelled peas, gathered beans, & worked in the garden till ½ past 12 then walked with William in the wood. The gleams of sunshine & the stirring trees & gleaming bright chearful lake, most delightful…
Tuesday 25th August [26th]
We walked in the evening to Ambleside, Wm not quite well. I bought sacking for the mattress. A very fine solemn evening. The wind blew very free from the islands at Rydale – we went on the other side of Rydale, & sate a long time looking at the mountains which were all black at Grasmere & very bright in Rydale – Grasmere exceedingly dark & Rydale of a light yellow green.
Friday evening [29th]
We walked to Rydale to inquire for letters. We walked over the hill by the Firgrove. I sate upon a rock & observed a flight of swallows gathering together high above my head they flew towards Rydale. We walked through the wood over the stepping stones- The lake of Rydale very beautiful, partly still. John & I left Wm to compose an Inscription- that about the path. We had a fine walk by the gloomy lake. There was a curious yellow reflection in the water as of corn fields – there was no light in the clouds from which it appeared to come.
Sunday 29th August [31st]
…….. A great deal of corn is cut in the vale, & the whole prospect though not tinged with a general autumnal yellow, yet softened down into a mellowness of colouring which seems to impart softness to the forms of hills & mountains….
……..Memories of a bewildered six year old child leaving her childhood home for the final time. As she set out for Halifax, to live with her Aunt Threlkeld, following the death of her mother in 1778.
Looking forward to travelling the paths that she and her beloved brother William walked together once they were reunited as adults.
The Sister by John Conlon
The “shooting lights” of her “wild eyes,”
uncovered his memories,
provoked his dreams,
condemned her as his eternal Muse.
A prisoner of uncompromised devotion
cast out of the steely bones of a child,
banished at six,
hurled from the garden womb
that was joyous life,
save memories of him,
to be reborn,
conjoined for life,
married in heart and soul.
She gave him “eyes and ears”
to unmask his fantasies,
unleash his words,
garnish grim nature with nature’s grandeur,
set him to stride the fell,
unlocking it’s secrets
for every man.