ALTHOUGH it was inspired by the festivities of the Christmas season, Wordsworth’s poem ‘To the Rev. Dr. W__.’ was first published in April 1820 among the twenty-six miscellaneous poems collected in The River Duddon, A Series of Sonnets: Vaudracour and Julia: And Other Poems. To which is annexed a Topographical Description of the Country of the Lakes in the North of England (hereafter, The River Duddon). The poem comprises thirteen, six-line stanzas composed in rhyming iambic tetrameter, and reads, as its title suggests, as a epistle to the poet’s younger brother, the Rev. Dr. Christopher Wordsworth (then rector of St Mary’s, Lambeth). Discursive in tone, uniform in theme, and set amidst the fells and dales of the Lake District, ‘To the Rev. Dr. W__.’ resembles many of the other poems included in...

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