Introduction: Poetry and Nature Protection

     

Poetry and poets also played an early role in nature preservation. William Wordsworth, one of the most famous romantic poets, became an environmental activist - perhaps the first in history. In his Guide to the Lake District, he provided rules for how houses should be built so as not to mar the natural beauty of the area - a step toward the planning and zoning of today.

When a railroad was proposed through the Lake District in 1844, he opposed it, writing letters of protest in newspapers, including two sonnnets.

Wordsworth's call for the Lake District to become a "national property" in 1835 was the equivalent in England of George Catlin's call in the mid-1830s in the United States for a "nation's park."

Ullswater was the inspiration for Wordsworth's poem The Prelude.



Joseph Wright of Derby, Ullswater, c. 1794-95, Wordsworth Museum