Book excerpts: The Lake District, An Anthology compiled by Norman Nicholson
The Lake District
An anthology compiled by Norman Nicholson. Penguin Books. 1977.
This delightful composition of prose, poetry and essays, some of them in the Cumbrian dialect, contains such nuggets as the ones reproduced below.
Gentleman in a hurry
It was customary, I am told, to dash by them (i.e. the Lakes) with an exclamation or two of `Oh, how fine,` etc, or as a gentleman said to Robin Partridge the day after we were upon Windermere, `Good god! How delightful! How charming! I could live here for ever! Row on, row on, row on…`
And after passing one hour of exclamations upon the Lakes, and half an hour at Ambleside, he flew off to take (I doubt not) an equally flying view of Derwentwater.
Joseph Budworth. A fortnight`s Ramble to the Lakes
Miss Bennet looks forward to the Lakes
`My dear dear aunt,` she rapturously cried, `what delight, what felicity! You give me fresh life and vigour! Adieu to disappointment and spleen. What are men to rocks and mountains? Oh what hours of transport we shall spend. And when we do return, it shall not be like other travellers, without being able to give one accurate idea if anything. We will know where we have gone. We will recollect what we have seen. Lakes, mountains and rivers shall not be jumbled together in our imaginations…let our first effusions be less insupportable than those of the generality of travellers.`
Jane Austen. Pride and Prejudice
Old Wudsworth o` Rydal
And here is the impression that Wordsworth made upon the yeaoman and peasants in the dale.
As for his poetry, it was aw reet eneuf but queer stuff, varra. And they were to look on his periodical fits of poetry-makings periodical fits of mania.
`Good morning John, what news have you this this morning?`
`Why, nowt varra partickler, only old Wudsworth`s brocken lowse ageean.`
HD Rawnsley. Literary Associations of the English Lakes.
Nathaniel Hawthorne Finds All in Excellent Taste
We climbed a high and pretty steep hill through a path shadowed with trees and shrubbery up to a tower, from the summit of which we had a wide view of mountain scenery and the greater part of Windermere. The lake is a lovely little pool mong the hills, long and narrow, and beautifully indented with tiny bays and headlands, and when we saw it, it was one long smile, with really brilliant sunshine. All the scenery we have yet met is in excellent taste and keeps itself within very proper bounds, never getting too wild and rugged to shock the sensitivities of cultivated people as American scenery is apt to do.
July 13, 1855.