Monday, March 17, 2008

Daffodils, strange language, conscience

The discussion on daffodils and Wordsworth's poem on the subject, which followed Lucy's montage in her blog http://www.boxelder.blogspot.com/, sets me thinking. I had forgotten until this morning that the source of the poem is to be found in the diary of William's remarkable sister Dorothy. Her entry for April 15 1802 reads:
"...We saw a few daffodils close to the waterside, about the breadth of a country turnpike road. I never saw daffodils so beautiful they grew among the mossy stones about and about them, some rested their heads upon these stones as on a pillow for weariness and the rest tossed and reeled and danced and seemed as if they verily laughed with the wind that blew upon them. They looked so gay ever glancing ever changing."The poem was not written until 1804. William we are told, in this context, would often make Dorothy read out a passage from her journal to revive his memory. For merit and freshness Dorothy's words may seem, in our less polished age, to have the edge over her brother's.

The ink from the roller ball pen on one page of my note book was not dry when I closed the book . An interesting script appears on the opposite page. What does it say, in what language, belonging to what beings, in what remote corner of the universe?

Someone shouts across the road at a parking meter attendant, who is busy noting car numbers: How do you sleep at night?" Horlicks," says the meter man. Disarmed by his sense of humour, the hostile note dissappears. "Something a bit strong in it, I expect," laughs his antagonist.

2 comments:

Lucy said...

Thanks, friend, for the link.

It's true about Dorothy, and her lack of grandiosity; somethimes it's funny - along the lines of 'William was talking to an old man collecting leeches, I kept telling him to hurry up and come home for dinner...' and suchlike!

Plutarch said...

I didn't know the story about the leech-gatherer. It's nice to know that Dorothy was not always totally in awe of her brother.