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Poem by Wordsworth, Suggested by the Proposed Kendal and Windermere Railway

Wordsworth was an early conservationist,
passionate about protecting the rural beauty of the Lake District.
He was outraged when he heard of plans to extend the railway from
Kendal to Windermere.Hoping his recent appointment as Poet Laureate
would carry some weight, he wrote in protest to the Prime Minister,
William Gladstone, on 15 October 1844. "We are in this
neighbourhood all in consternation", he complained, "that is, every
man of taste and feeling, at the stir which is made for carrying a
branch Railway from Kendal to the head of Windermere… When the
subject comes before you officially, as I suppose it will, pray
give it more attention than its apparent appearance might call
for…"Wordsworth backed up his plea by enclosing a poem:"Is there
no nook of English ground secure from rash assault?And is 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 his old delights disown 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!"The poem was published the next day in
the 'Morning Post'.Find out more about Wordsworth's Lake District
in our Literary Landscapes virtual exhibition.