Basho, one of my favorite poets, ever…
I was in the Lake District last week for a symposium on ‘Wordsworth and Basho: Walking Poets’. A group of us were there to meet and discuss what we might make for a forthcoming exhibition at Dove Cottage, Grasmere, home to the Wordsworths from 1799 to 1808, now a museum and home of the Wordsworth Trust.
Curator Jeff Cawton shared his enthusiasm for ‘The Prelude’ and its various manuscripts. Most are written in the hand either of Mary, the poet’s wife, or Dorothy, his sister, with amendments by William; apparently he found writing physically painful, so composed in his mind while out walking, dictating the results when he came home.
The pages above show a draft of Book 10, with William’s revisions on the left hand page:
… As a light
And pliant harebell, swinging in the breeze
On some grey rock, its birth-place, so had I
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