107. Bum-bum-bum bum-bum…

22.7. 2006

Wie der Dichter William Wordsworth von den Bauern seines Wohnorts gesehen wurde, hat ein Zeitgenosse notiert – in der Sprache der Bauern, die ihn beobachten, wie er „mumbling“ (murmelnd) bzw. wie sie sagen, „bumming“ (offenbar soviel wie: „bum bum vor sich hinmurmelnd“) spazierengeht. Miss Dorothy Wordsworth, die Schwester des Dichters, lief ihm nach und pickte die Worte auf, wie sie fielen, und brachte sie zu Papier. Vielleicht half sie ihm auch das eine oder andere zu dichten:

He was not popular. That is, he was shy and retired, and did not mix freely with the people. He didn’t frequent public houses, unlike Hartley Coleridge. Canon Rawnsley’s interviewees invariably think of Hartley as a preferable character, a friendly man, a great drinker and a philosopher – a being superior to a poet. Wordsworth’s hobby, says one witness, was poetry. „It was a queer thing, but it would like eneuf cause him to be desolate; and I’se often thowt that his brain was that fu‘ of sic stuff, that he was forced to be always at it whether or no, wet or fair, mumbling to hissel‘ along t’roads.“

This mumbling, this „continually murmuring his undersong,“ as Canon Rawnsley puts it in his politer register, features in the peasants‘ vocabulary as „bumming“. Here is Wordsworth on the grass walk at Rydal Mount: „. . . he would set his heäd a bit forrad, and put his hands behint his back. And then he would start bumming, and it was bum, bum, bum, bum, stop; then bum, bum, bum reet down till t’other end, and then he’d set down and git a bit o’paper out and write a bit; and then he git up, and bum, bum, bum, and goa on bumming for long enough right down and back agean. I suppose, ya kna, the bumming helped him out a bit.“

Another witness: „Mr Wordsworth went bumming and booing about, and she, Miss Dorothy, kept close behint him, and she picked up the bits as he let ‚em fall, and tak ‚em down, and put ‚em on paper for him. And you med be very well sure as how she didn’t understand nor make sense out of ‚em.“ Dorothy, known to all these neighbours as a clever women who perhaps wrote some of Wordsworth’s poems for him, but certainly helped him out with them, is seen both in her latter days as an invalid, and off her head, and earlier as a fellow walker with her brother. / James Fenton, Guardian 22.7.

Wordsworth in L&Poe: 2001 Mrz (Osterglocken (Golden daffodils) / Largely through the mediation of Coleridge); Jul; 2002 Apr (William Blake); Sep (Wordsworth was in town); 2004 Mrz #62. Massen-Simultanlesung; Apr #55. Nächtliches Abenteuer eines werdenden Dichters; Aug #49. Prelude zu Freud; 2005 Feb #68. ANNE WINTERS is a nature poet; Mai #44. Wenn Amerikaner Sonette schreiben; Mai #100. Fußnotenpflicht für Lyrik; 2006 Mrz #119. Was wir zuerst gelesen

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