[1783] - Wordsworth’s father dies

Wordsworth’s father worked as the legal agent for Sir James Lowther. In 1778 Wordsworth’s mother died of pneumonia; five years later, in 1783, his father died also. These events had a devastating impact on the Wordsworth siblings. For the next nine years William was separated from his sister, Dorothy: she was sent to live with relatives in Halifax, whilst William was enrolled at Hawkshead Grammar School in Furness. Wordsworth was 13 years old when his father died. He recalls the events in Book XI of The Prelude (1805):

Ere I to school returned
That dreary time, ere I had been ten days
A dweller in my father’s house, he died,
And I and my two brothers, orphans then,
Followed his body to the grave. The event,
With all the sorrow which it brought, appeared
A chastisement; and when I called to mind
That day so lately past, when from the crag
I looked in such anxiety of hope,
With trite reflections of morality,
Yet in the deepest passion, I bowed low
To God who thus corrected my desires.
(Gill, Major Works, p. 568)

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