William Wordsworth, the Romantic poet, was born 250 years ago today on 7 April 1770. His poetry is some of the most quoted in the world; and along with Samuel Taylor Coleridge he launched the Romantic Age.
His mother died when he was eight and he was separated from his nearest sibling, his sister Dorothy, who was sent off to live with female relatives. When they were reunited in their late teens they formed an obsessively close attachment especially on her side which remained throughout his life. Initially she kept house for him, transcribed his poems and he described her as ‘the sister of my soul’ who ‘made me a poet.’ He fathered one child with a French woman, but later married his childhood sweetheart Mary which sent his sister into a hysterical fugue. She accompanied them on their honeymoon and stayed throughout his married life as he and Mary produced five children. By 40 Dorothy had become insane although she lived to 84, just after William died.
William Wordsworth had a pro-active Sun Venus in Aries in his entertaining and creative 5th house square a bleak Pluto opposition Saturn in Cancer. He would have had a dark side, suffering from depression; but he balanced it with a lighter, more hopeful facet to his character from his Sun Venus trine Jupiter. His creative Neptune on his midheaven was in an inspired trine to Uranus and also trine Pluto for an Earth Grand Trine, a pointer to his inspiration from nature. ‘I wandered lonely as a cloud – a host of golden daffodils.’
He had a Yod of Jupiter sextile Mars in Aquarius inconjunct Saturn, which would present him with challenges, since it demanded a good deal in terms of maturity and discipline.
His third house of siblings did have an intense Pluto and unconventional Mars in Aquarius there. Dorothy, 21 December 1771, was a Sun Mars in Sagittarius which was conjunct his Jupiter for a mutually supportive connection. With her Gemini Moon in opposition in his 8th house, so she would feel deeply attached to him. Her Saturn opposed his Mars so there would be aggravations – not the least for his poor wife, who regrettably doesn’t have a birth date.
Dorothy possibly had a Mutable Neptune in Virgo on the point of a T Square to Moon opposition Mars which might explain some of her nervousness and instability.
Their relationship chart had a power-struggling Mars Pluto and a power-couple Jupiter Pluto conjunction; with an unsettled composite Saturn square Uranus; and a wide affectionate Sun Venus. It was not remotely an easy relationship for a 24/7 lifestyle, or menage a trois as it turned out.
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 be but 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.