Wordsworth back to Grasmere

A gift of poetry

by Nelly Cock-De Clercq

When my mother-in-law passed away, I found a tiny booklet in a drawer, 5/7 cm, covered with suede, illustrated with water colours and gold trimmed.
English poetry! 

Dedicated to her in 1912 with initials and “ love “ … A first admirer? Who knows…? She was 17 at that time. Anyhow, she kept it carefully during her long life.

I often took great pleasure in reading some of the beautiful poems inside.
And having it out lately, I thought, who might be interested later …

The name of the poet suddenly rang a bell: Wordsworth … 
We visited Dove Cottage with the NTAB touring the Lake District! 
I thought I’ll send it to the museum in Grasmere, at least it will not end up in a skip! 
Never expected such a response! 
This makes me happy! 

“Why William, on that old grey stone,
Thus for the length of half a day,
Why William, sit you thus alone,
And dream your time away?”

Dear Nelly,

I am so sorry for not writing sooner. I hope this delay has not caused you anxiety.

Your wonderful gift arrived safely, and we will take great pleasure in adding it to the collection. It is a book we don’t have until now, which given our extensive collection is a lovely surprise.

My colleague Victoria Mitchell, one of our Curatorial team, has written an article for our supporters’ newsletter, soon to be published. We will send you a copy when it is published.

I hope you can tell we are delighted by this gift! I am just so sorry I haven’t written to you sooner.

With every good wish,

Jeff Cowton Curator & Head of LearningWordsworth Grasmere (June 6, 2022)

‘The eye—it cannot choose but see;
We cannot bid the ear be still;
Our bodies feel, where’er they be,
Against or with our will.

‘Nor less I deem that there are Powers
Which of themselves our minds impress;
That we can feed this mind of ours
In a wise passiveness.’

Hi Nelly,

My name is Kaitlyn and I am from Southern California. I am currently working as an intern at the Wordsworth Trust for the summer and I wanted to write you to thank you for such a wonderful little book. This copy of ‘Winnowings’ is in incredible condition.

I was given the really wonderful job of cataloguing it, and it was my first cataloguing job ever! After the information I entered was double checked, the thoughtful Christmas gift is now safely catalogued in our archive. 

Thank you for passing along such an important item.

All the best,

Kaitlyn Kraack (July 6, 2022)


One response to “Wordsworth back to Grasmere”

  1. jan grauls says:

    Dear Nelly,

    What a wonderful idea to send this little treasure to where it really belongs. I fully understand the Wordsworth Grasmere Museum curator’s reaction.

    A very elegant gesture of yours.


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