On This Day in 1815: William Wordsworth and a Sonnet for a Season

By Anna Mercer

Benjamin Robert Haydon, “Wordsworth on Helvellyn”, (1842) – oil on canvas, National Portrait Gallery, London

This is part of a new series of On This Day posts edited by Anna Mercer. If you’re interested in contributing to the series, please contact her on anna.mercer@york.ac.uk. We are currently looking for contributions about literary/historical events in 1816.

September’s post is contributed by Katherine Fender, who is a PhD student at the University of Oxford.

Benjamin Robert Haydon, “Wordsworth on Helvellyn”, (1842) – oil on canvas, National Portrait Gallery, London

…I have never been so moved as I was on reading your exquisite sonnets…I must say that I have felt melancholy ever since receiving your sonnets, as if I was elevated so exceedingly, with such a drunken humming in my brain, that my nature took refuge in quiet humbleness and gratitude to God.

– Benjamin Robert Haydon in a letter to William Wordsworth, 29th December 1815

On 12th September 1815, in a letter to painter Benjamin Robert Haydon – who he had befriended on his visit to London in May-June 1815 – Wordsworth declared that:

I have not forgotten your Request to have a few verses of my Composition in my own handwriting, and the first short piece that I compose, if it be not totally destitute of merit, …read more

Source:: http://www.bars.ac.uk/blog/?p=887