Earth has not anything to show more fair:
Dull would he be of soul who could pass by
A sight so touching in its majesty . . .
-- Composed Upon Westminster Bridge,
September 3, 1802
William Wordsworth (1770-1850) was born in Cockermouth, Cumberland. In 1798 he published the Lyrical Ballads with Coleridge, settling shortly after in Dove Cottage, Grasmere with his sister, Dorothy. He died at Rydal Mount in 1850, shortly before the posthumous publication of that landmark of English Romanticism, The Prelude.
Seamus Heaney was born in County Derry in Northern Ireland. Death of a Naturalist, his first collection of poems, appeared in 1966 and since then he has published poetry, criticism and translations - including Beowulf (1999) - which have established him as one of the leading poets now at work. In 1995 he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature. District and Circle (2006) was awarded the T. S. Eliot Prize in 2006. Stepping Stones, a book of interviews conducted by Dennis O'Driscoll, appeared in 2008. In 2009 he received the David Cohen Prize for Literature.
Samuel Coleridge penned “Kubla Khan” after waking up from an opium-induced dream in which he experienced and imagined the realities of the great Mongol ruler’s capital city. Coleridge began writing what he remembered of his dream immediately upon waking from it, and intended to write two to three hundred lines. However, Coleridge was interrupted soon after and, his memory of the dream dimming, was ultimately unable to complete the poem.
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