William Wordsworth, The White Doe of Rylstone

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In July of 1807, Wordsworth and his sister Dorothy visited Bolton Abbey on a trip to Yorkshire. By October of that year, he was brushing up on Bolton Abbey’s local history, devouring Thomas Whitaker’s

History and Antiquities of the Deanery of Craven

and rereading an old ballad on “The Rising in the North” from Thomas Percy’s

Reliques of Ancient EnglishPoetry

. By December 1807, Dorothy could report that Wordsworth had composed “above 500 lines of a new poem” (


1: 179). In many ways the last of Wordsworth’s lyrical ballads,

The White Doe of Rylstone

was, as Dorothy observed, “very different from any other poem that my Brother has written” (


1: 187).

No one—including Wordsworth himself—has ever known exactly what to make of this difference. Though diverging from

1892 words

Citation: Risinger, Jacob. "The White Doe of Rylstone". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 28 April 2012 [https://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=8142, accessed 23 June 2024.]

8142 The White Doe of Rylstone 3 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

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