The Recluse, 1888

In early March 1798, Wordsworth sent a letter to an old friend, James Tobin, saying, “I have written 1300 lines of a poem which I hope to make of considerable utility; its title will be The Recluse or Views of Nature, Man, and Society.” Wordsworth and his friend Samuel Taylor Coleridge discussed this ambitious project for years. The Recluse as a whole was never completed, giving Wordsworth much frustration. Nonetheless, some parts were finished, including The Excursion (published 1814), which was meant to be part 2, and The Prelude (1850), which Wordsworth had described as an introductory poem. Other bits of the project remained in manuscript.


The Recluse of 1888 includes material left unpublished by Wordsworth: Part First, Book First—Home at Grasmere, reflects the poet’s joy at moving to Dove Cottage with his sister in 1799 and immortalizes his memory of looking at the Grasmere Vale as a boy, thinking it a lucky place to live and die.

Contributed by Petesi Feinga