Dorothy Wordsworth's Journals

Dorothy Wordsworth, a writer and poet, left behind a multitude of journals with lengthy descriptions of daily weather and activities. Below are a smattering of entries to give you inspiration & language for your own weather observations.

24th.—Went to the hill-top. Sat a considerable time overlooking the country towards the sea. The air blew pleasantly round us. The landscape mildly interesting. The Welsh hills capped by a huge range of tumultuous white clouds. The sea, spotted with white, of a bluish grey in general, and streaked with darker lines. The near shores clear; scattered farm houses, half-concealed by green mossy orchards, fresh straw lying at the doors; hay-stacks in the fields. Brown fallows, the springing wheat, like a shade of green over the brown earth, and the choice meadow plots, full of sheep and lambs, of a soft and vivid green; a few[Pg 11] wreaths of blue smoke, spreading along the ground; the oaks and beeches in the hedges retaining their yellow leaves; the distant prospect on the land side, islanded with sunshine; the sea, like a basin full to the margin; the dark fresh-ploughed fields; the turnips of a lively rough green. Returned through the wood.

21st.—We drank tea at Coleridge’s. A quiet shower of snow was in the air during more than half our walk. At our return the sky partially shaded with clouds. The horned moon was set. Startled two night birds from the great elm tree.

Thursday.—A very hot morning. W. and I walked up to Mr. Simpson’s. W. and old Mr. S. went to fish in Wytheburn water. I dined with John and lay under the trees. The afternoon changed from clear to cloudy, and to clear again. John and I walked up to the waterfall, and to Mr. Simpson’s, and with Miss Simpson. Met the fishers. W. caught a pike weighing 4¾ lbs. There was a gloom almost terrible over Grasmere water and vale. A few drops fell but not much rain. No Coleridge, whom we fully expected.

Sunday Morning, 3rd.— … A heavenly warm evening, with scattered clouds upon the hills. There was a vernal greenness upon the grass, from the rains of the morning and afternoon. Peas for dinner.

Wednesday.—William went up into the orchard and finished the poem. I went and sate with W. and walked backwards and forwards in the orchard till dinner time. He read me his poem. I read to him, and my Beloved slept. A sweet evening as it had been a sweet day, and I walked quietly along the side of Rydale lake with quiet thoughts—the hills and the lake were still—the owls had not begun to hoot, and the little birds had given over singing. I looked before me and saw a red light upon Silver How as if coming out of the vale below,

There was a light of most strange birth, A light that came out of the earth, And spread along the dark hill-side.

Thus I was going on when I saw the shape of my Beloved in the road at a little distance. We turned back to see the light but it was fading—almost gone. The owls hooted when we sate on the wall at the foot of White Moss; the sky broke more and more, and we saw the moon now and then. John Gill passed us with his cart; we sate on. When we came in sight of our own dear Grasmere, the vale looked fair and quiet in the moonshine, the Church was there and all the cottages. There were huge slow-travelling clouds in the sky, that threw large masses of shade upon some of the mountains. We walked backwards and forwards, between home and Olliff’s, till I was tired. William kindled, and began to write the poem. We carried cloaks into the orchard, and sate a while there. I left him, and he nearly finished the poem. I was tired to death, and went to bed before[Pg 102] him. He came down to me, and read the poem to me in bed. A sailor begged here to-day, going to Glasgow. He spoke cheerfully in a sweet tone.

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