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The White Doe of Rylstone

This summer marks the 200th anniversary of the appearance in print of William Wordsworth’s The White Doe of Rylstone; or, The Fate of the Nortons. Wordsworth wrote this long narrative poem during the winter of 1807-1808, inspired by a visit to Bolton Abbey in Yorkshire which he and his sister made the previous summer. The poem is a mix of tragic legend and history set in the time of a Catholic uprising during the reign of Elizabeth I.

white doeSoon after completing the poem, Wordsworth tried to find a publisher, but the project languished for several years until Wordsworth revised the text. The poem has never been the most popular of Wordsworth’s texts, which perhaps explains the features of BYU’s first edition copy: it remains in its original paper boards with publisher’s advertisements still inserted, 200 years after its publication!

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