Wordsworth’s Last Stand

Poetic Beats

Welcome to this week’s Poetic Beats with Howard Bond and Davy D, recorded on the 7th of May 2018 on Red Kite Radio.

In 1844 a railway line, running from Kendal to Windermere in the Lake District, was proposed. Part of the line was intended to run into the heart of the Lakes, an area loved by the poet William Wordsworth. Wordsworth was outraged by the new proposal and used his privilege as Poet Laureate to protest to then Prime Minister, William Gladstone. Today’s poem, On The Projected Kendal and Windermere Railway, was written by Wordsworth as part of the correspondence to Gladstone and the media.

In this episode of Poetic Beats, Davy D reads and discusses the poem and some of the related issues around Wordsworth’s protest. If you have difficulty listening to the show a text version of the poem is included after the sound bar.

To hear this recording of Poetic Beats please press the arrow to the left of the sound bar below.



On the Projected Kendal and Windermere Railway


Is then no nook of English ground secure

From rash assault?  Schemes of retirement sown

In youth, and mid the busy world kept pure

As when their earliest flowers of hope were blown,

Must perish;—­how can they this blight endure?

And must he too the ruthless change bemoan

Who scorns a false utilitarian lure

Mid his paternal fields at random thrown?

Baffle the threat, bright Scene, from Orrest-head

Given to the pausing traveller’s rapturous glance:

Plead for thy peace, thou beautiful romance

Of nature; and, if human hearts be dead,

Speak, passing winds; ye torrents, with your strong

And constant voice, protest against the wrong.




How very interesting…and quite a controversial topic!
Oh my gosh, I laughed out loud at “at least he didn’t get run over by a train!”

Liked by 1 person

Fascinating post, Davy and interesting to learn about Wordsworth with his protest poetry! As you say, this history is very pertinent to isssues facing all rural areas nowadays. It is a matter of balancing all the interests.

Liked by 2 people

    You are right Annika, it is about balance. It was interesting to see that this was pertinent even 150 years ago. John Clare was another poet who was vocal on urbanisation. Many thanks for listening and taking time out to comment.

    Liked by 1 person

Oh, my! Quite interesting and Woodsworth did an outstanding job in addressing the issue in poetic form. Well done, Davy.

Liked by 1 person

    Thank you Eugenia and I appreciate you taking time out to listen and comment. Wordsworth was an interesting character and much deeper than some of the poetry he was recognised for.

    Liked by 1 person

Fascinating poem and one I need heard. Wordsworth in a ‘ protest march’, albeit a verbal one. He is not a happy poet, from the first line he sets out his extreme displeasure.
Just as well that he doesn’t see what has happened to England now.

I really enjoyed your reading Davy and the discussion.

Liked by 1 person

    Thank you for your comments and thoughts Miriam and glad you enjoyed the show. I agree Wordsworth would be up in arms if he was around today. I appreciate you taking time out to listen and comment and hope your weekend is going well.

    Liked by 1 person

I’ve read a little of Mr. Wordsworth’s work, but I didn’t know anything about him. So thank you for teaching me! 🙂 I always thought his name was perfect for a poet/writer! 🙂

This protest poem and it’s subject matter is so interesting to me! I think poems and stories can present important matters, and feelings, and can help to right wrongs and change society. Some people will only be educated and changed through words “on paper”…because for some reason they won’t hear the same words from someone’s mouth/face to face. So, I admire writers who have put heart and soul AND blood, sweat, and tears, into their writing, and have changed people and the world.

HA! We’re glad he didn’t get run over by a train, too! Good one, Howard! 😀

Thank you, Davy!!! 🙂
HUGS!!! 🙂
PS…I have always loved trains! I look forward to next week!

Liked by 1 person

    Thank you for your words and thoughts on this Carolyn. I think it is fantastic that we have poets and writers who can voice their protests in this way and it gives a lot of motivation for writing. As you say it helps to change the world and keep world issues in the mind of the reader. We are waiting to hear from Wordsworth’s solicitors LOL 🙂 and I appreciate you taking time out to listen and support Poetic Beats.

    Liked by 1 person

An interesting read, Davy, of material new to me. Wordsworth’s youthful ardour on political matters was not dimmed by age then. Fascinating to follow your story of his ‘nimbyism’ and to realise how much John Betjeman, one of his laureate successors, also took up the cudgels on social matters in a similar way.

Liked by 1 person

    Thanks Roland and yes Betjeman was a great lover of trains and his views on the changes in society, during his time, are worth reading. Maybe it is something about becoming Poet Laureate that gives them the platform to voice their opinions on such matters. Thank you for taking time to listen and comment on the show and your support is most appreciated.

    Liked by 1 person

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