It was the perfect place to set up for the day. I watched the sun come up at 6.30 and settled down to an inspiring morning's work! This is where Dorothy and Wordsworth came across their famous daffodils at Ullswater.
Here's an extract from the diary of Dorothy Wordsworth:
April 15th, Thursday (1802)
'We got over into a field to avoid some cows - people working. A few primroses by the roadside - woodsorrel flower, the anemone, scentless violets, strawberries (!), and that starry yellow flower which Mrs C. (Clarkson) calls pile wort. When we were in the woods beyond Gowbarrow Parkwe saw a few daffodils close to the water-side. We fancied that the lake had floated the seeds ashore, and that the little colony had sprung up. But as we went along there were more and more; and at last, under the boughs of the trees, we saw that there was a long belt of them along the shore, 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 on 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 over the lake; they looked so gay, ever glancing, ever changing. This wind blew directly over the lake to them. There was here and there a little knot, and a few stragglers a few yards higher up, but they were so few as not to disturb the simplicity, unity, and life of that one busy highway.'
(Home at Grasmere, edited by Colette Clark. p.192)
And here is the poem from William Wordsworth:
I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o'er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.
Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the milky way,
They stretched in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.
The waves beside them danced; but they
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:
A poet could not but be gay,
In such a jocund company:
I gazed—and gazed—but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:
For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.
A fellow Cumbrian, Matthew Connolly, has written a fantastic novel which has Luke Greenhead as its main character, the prodigal son of a Grasmere shepherd, who comes back to Cumbria after a failed life in London. He stumbles across the daffodils at the same time as William and Dorothy Wordsworth, and finds himself enchanted not only with the daffodils, but with Dorothy Wordsworth herself. Dances with Daffodils can be purchased from Amazon.
Daffodils at 6.30am!