The Lake Poets And The Romantic Era

CULTURE | October 18, 2019

House of the English poet William Wordsworth (1770-1850), Cockermouth, Lake District, England, United Kingdom. Source: (gettyimages.com)

Three poets had something in common who met and joined up together. Because of their comradery and combined works, they were called the Lake Poets.

William Wordsworth

Born in 1770, William Wordsworth was an English poet, born in Great Britain, and was best known for his romantic poems during the Romantic Era.

His father, John Wordsworth was a great influence on him by encouraging him in the area of poetry. He developed a passion for the beauty of nature which he was surrounded by in the area where he lived as a child. Wordsworth had three brothers and one sister. His sister, Dorothy was born on Christmas Day in 1771. They were very close and remained friends until death. Their mother passed away in 1778 when he was only eight years old and their father passed away in 1783 when he was 13 years old. After their deaths, the children were separated with his sister being placed with relatives and him being sent to a school in Hawkshead, which is a village in the Lake District of England. The two of them were separated for nine years.

William Wordsworth. Source: (www.thefamouspeople.com)

Wordsworth attended St. John’s College in Cambridge in 1787, where he wrote his first sonnet in The European Magazine. Just before he finished his education there, he decided to go on a walking tour of Europe which provided fresh material to his poetry writing. He also had been influenced by the French Revolution while on this tour.

While living in France, he met and fell in love with Annette Vallon. They had a daughter together named Caroline but they never married. Even though he did not see her, he still supported her. Later, he married Mary Hutchinson, a friend of his during his childhood. Together they had five children although three of them died prematurely.

Some of his literary works include: Lyrical Ballads (1798) with Samuel Taylor Coleridge; An Evening Walk And Descriptive Sketches poetry collections; Excursion; The Borderers which was a play; and The Prelude which he had not given a title to before his death but afterward his wife added a title and had it published. The Recluse was a work he had started but never finished. He died in 1850 of pleurisy.

Samuel Taylor Coleridge. Source: (Smithsonian Magazine)

Samuel Taylor Coleridge

William Wordsworth met Samuel Coleridge, who was also a poet, in 1795, and they became good friends. They collaborated on one of his most important works, Lyrical Ballads which was produced in 1798. Samuel Taylor Coleridge was born in Devonshire. He was the youngest son of the vicar of Ottery St. Mary. Coleridge was sent to Christ’s Hospital School after his father’s death, but he also attended Jesus College and Cambridge. Cambridge is where Coleridge met another poet named Robert Southey. The three of them, Wordsworth, Coleridge, and Southey became known as the Lake Poets.  

The Royal Society of Literature. Source: (Royal Society of Literature)

Some of Coleridge’s works include a periodical called The Watchman, Lyrical Ballads of course, which was the joint venture with William Wordsworth that also included Rime of the Ancient Mariner, and a political magazine called The Friend.

Later on, he developed neuralgia and rheumatic pain that caused him to become addicted to opium. He had gotten to the point where he was on the verge of suicide but found a shelter in Highgate where he stayed with Dr. James Gillman. In 1834, he died there, but before that, he had been elected as a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature in 1824. 

Robert Southey. Source: (The Conversation)

Robert Southey

Robert Southey was one of the poets who took to the battlefield to write about Waterloo when the battle was over. He was born in Bristol in 1774, and for most of his childhood, he had to live with his aunt, who was very domineering, or at boarding schools. He was expelled from public school for his first prose writing because he offended school officials for his satirical writing against corporal punishment. His father went bankrupt and possibly committed suicide so Southey was quite an emotional wreck from it all.

In 1795, he married Edith Fricker and they stayed together until her death in 1837. They were married for over 40 years. Southey had met Coleridge around the same time he met his future wife. Coleridge had been persuaded marry Southey’s wife’s sister who he really did not even love. This later caused some problems.

Some of his works include Joan of Arc (1796), Madoc”(1805), Thalaba the Destroyer (1805), and A Vision of Judgement (1821). He passed away in 1843 and was buried in the churchyard of the church where he worshipped for forty years. William Wordsworth wrote his epitaph.

Tags: The Lake Poets | The Romantic Era

Like it? Share with your friends!

Share On Facebook

Penny Chavers


Penny, besides writing, loves to spend her time with family and friends. In her spare time, she also enjoys playing the piano, board games, and taking online classes on topics that interest her.