We turn aside up to Rydal Mount, the last of the four homes of Wordsworth in these dales, and the most beloved one.  Hither he came, driven forth by domestic sorrow from the old Grasmere Rectory, in the year 1813.  Here he lived till, as his favourite cuckoo-clock struck the hour of noon, upon an April day in 1850—day famous as both the birth-day and death-day of Shakespeare, April 23—with the words upon his lips, “Going to Dora,” he died.  Yes, “Going to Dora,” after three years’ separation; “to Dora” the six years’ bride, who had entered rest in the year 1847; “Dora” whose death deems to have frozen up the very fountain of his song. (p. 125)

Here, too, a hopeless invalid for the last twenty years of her life, Dorothy Wordsworth in her garden chair murmured snatches of her brother’s song, till death gave her back, as we trust, full companionship with the beloved, on 25th January, 1855, she being then in her eighty-third year.  And here,

            “With an old age serene and bright,
            And lovely as a Lapland night,”

did Mary Wordsworth, the poet’s wife, linger on in peaceful resignation and content, even though blind for the last three years of her life, until the 17th January, 1859, when her life of calm devotion and unselfish love quietly came to an end. (pp. 125-126)

The house has undergone great alterations, in outside building as in internal decoration.  But it is still inhabited by one whose pious thought and kindness keep up the traditions of the place.  Sir George Beaumont’s pictures of the “White Doe of Rylstone” and the “Thorn” are gone, and the cuckoo-clock is no more, but the ancestral “aumry” brought from Yorkshire, with the initials of early Wordsworths carved upon it, is found within.  Out of doors the tall ash tree for the thrush to sing in, the laburnums for the osier cage of the doves, may still be found, and the dark pines still keep sentinel at the gate, though, alas! the “Three Sisters” at Under Mount fell in the November gale of 1893; the lawn is still “a carpet all alive with shadows flung from trees”; the terrace walk Miss Fenwick knew, leads to the little moss-lined shed that may still harbour “a well-contented wren,” and just beyond it one passes through the garden gate to the well, beloved by “the water-drinking bard.” (p. 126)

We may in fancy easily meet the tan-faced Dorothy coming home swinging her lantern, from over Pelter Bridge, with her brother after dark.  We may hear the poet after breakfast booming out his lines in what the old gardener used to call “Master’s study,” which was the garden, “For ya kna he studied a deal out o’ doors and the laadies put it down for ’im, when he coomed iside.”  We may see him stoop to gather a yellow poppy or a bit of his favourite Herb-Robert from the garden wall.  We may hear the crash of a plate, which Mrs. Wordsworth has ordered to be broken outside his study door, to bring him to his dinner, “for ya kna, Wadsworth was a careful man, varra, and he could nat abide the brekking o’ his chiney, and nowt else would sarra to stir ’im, when he was deep i study.” (pp. 126-127)

But if I wanted to see Wordsworth at his best, I should go with him and Dora to a cottage, to visit some sufferer, it might be even to pray, and take the last communion with poor Hartley Coleridge, dying at the Nab.  Then I should see the same soft light come into his “mild and magnificent eyes,” that used to come after long walking in the dales, and over hills breathed on by the west wind full of the salt of the sea, and that mouth so like to Milton’s would relax its sternness, and the look of abstraction, that sometimes lent a heaviness to his face, would pass away.  It is impossible to say where one had better go if one would meet the poet hard at work upon his poems.  Hardly a knoll, or crag, a “feature-some” tree or flower, a rill or waterfall in all the circle of the two vales of Rydal and Grasmere, but during his fifty years was noted by this man, who, as the peasants say, “kenned aw that was stirrin’”; but if I had to choose I would go along by the shepherd’s path under Nab Scar to the “Old Corruption Road” [Dr. Arnold, in joke, gave the names of “Old Corruption Road,” “Bit by Bit Reform,” and “Radical Reform,” to the three roads from Rydal to Grasmere] to Town End; thence perhaps to the Swan, and Easdale, or else round the lake by Red Bank and Loughrigg Terrace, and so home along the southern side of Rydal Water and the Foot Bridge.  Hardly a step in that walk but rings with Wordsworth’s music; and there Wordsworth is never alone.  Through wind and rain, through sunshine and under stars, Dorothy the devoted, Dorothy the accurate observer of all the subtleties of nature, Dorothy whose wild-flashing eyes saw everything that could touch the heart, Dorothy the poetess, dumb by choice rather than want of power, walks with him. (pp. 127-128) 

(Literary Associations of the English Lakes, Vol. II)