Resolution and Independence

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William Wordsworth (1770—1850) poet

Thomas Chatterton (1752—1770) poet

Dorothy Wordsworth (1771—1855) writer

Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772—1834) poet, critic, and philosopher


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A poem by Wordsworth, written 1802, published 1807, sometimes known as ‘The Leech Gatherer’.

The poet describes his own elation as he walks over the moors on a fine spring morning after a storm, and his sudden descent into apprehension and dejection, as he ponders the fate of earlier poets, such as Chatterton. At this stage he comes upon the aged leech gatherer, whom he questions about his way of life; the old man responds with cheerful dignity, and the poet resolves to remember him as an admonishment. The poem's mixture of elevated language and sentiment with prosaic detail is peculiarly Wordsworthian. Wordsworth's own comments on his use of imagery in the poem and ‘the conferring, the abstracting, and the modifying powers of the Imagination’ in his 1815Preface are of great interest.

Subjects: Literature.

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