Wordswort[h]

On this day, exactly 200 years ago, William Wordsworth, who was a proto-Extinction Rebel, according to his descendant Kitty in the June issue of Tatler – it came out yesterday, i.e. in April – set off on a Continental tour with his wife Mary and this battered old suitcase. His sister Dorothy was already in London getting her teeth fixed for the trip. Of course the suitcase wasn’t battered in those days – it was brand new – and the poet was obviously proud of it because he wrote his name and the date inside the lid – or at least he attempted to … what he actually wrote before he ran out of space was ‘W. Wordswort 1820’, before adding the ‘’H’ above as an afterthought straddling the ‘O’ and the ‘R’. Many claims have been staked for Wordsworth, especially in this month of his 250th birthday, to be regarded as England’s greatest poet after Shakespeare, but is it not slightly odd that he couldn’t actually spell his own name?

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