Journal

The view from Stormhouse in the words of Dorothy Wordsworth

“….for the sight itself was too fair to be remembered”

Stormhouse occupies the same spot where Dorothy and her brother William sat for a while and took in the view during the summer of 1803 whilst traveling through the Scottish Highlands with mutual friend Samuel Taylor Coleridge. The 663-mile round trip was in part a literary pilgrimage to places associated with Scottish figures significant to Romanticists such as Robert Burns, William Wallace and Rob Roy.

“…. we beheld one of the most delightful prospects that, even when we dream of fairer worlds than this, it is possible for us to conceive in our hearts.”

Her depictions of the Scottish landscape were partly reflective of her own personal tastes and the then fashionable aesthetics of the picturesque and sublime, setting it apart from similar accounts of the same era by being slightly less pretentious and more down to earth.

“…. yet the sky was clear, and the sea, from the reflection of the sky, of an ethereal or sapphire blue, which was intermingled in many places, and mostly by gentle gradations, with beds of bright dazzling sunshine;”

Her journal was also unique in that it was written from a female perspective, and could be said to offer an honest, clear view of the lives of ordinary people. She must have been a hardy 31-year-old woman as the conditions on their travels would have been extremely challenging on a two-wheeled one-horse open carriage, especially over long distances, and rough terrain.

“….: green islands lay on the calm water, islands far greener, for so it seemed, than the grass of other places; and from their excessive beauty, their unearthly softness, and the great distance of many of them, they made us think of the islands of the blessed in the Vision of Mirza – a resemblance more striking from the long tract of mist which rested on the top of the steeps of Morvern”

It is said she wrote her memoir for family and friends, and her writings were not published during her lifetime. Considered her “Masterpiece”, it was only later in 1874 that her travel memoir “Recollections of a Tour made in Scotland A.D. 1803” was published.

Journal entries