English poet William Wordsworth was still a student at Cambridge
when he developed a passion for the Alps while reading texts by Rousseau. In
1790, he left for Switzerland with a friend and began his long exploration journey
from Geneva. He discovered the majestic
alpine scenery and was moved by the sight of the grandiose landscapes before
him. Captured by the beauty of this mountainous country, he traveled the length
and breadth of Switzerland.
Upon return to England, Wordsworth was filled with the power of the Alps, to which he dedicated one of his most beautiful poems, Prelude. He described the souvenirs, still fresh in his mind, of his ascents to the unspoiled mountain peaks. The poet also described his sensations and feelings when they crossed the Alps: for we still had hopes that pointed to the clouds.
Wordsworth later returned to Switzerland with his wife and his sister. They traveled to the most beautiful sites such as Grindelwald and Meiringen in the Bernese Oberland. The poet was stirred by the beauty of a waterfall in Lauterbrunnen, to which he devoted a few stanzas. Upon return to Lausanne, he completed the 38 poems inspired by his days of discovery and exploration. Wordsworth was a precursor to the wave of Romantics who traveled to the Alps to sing the praises of the mountain landscapes. His work introduced the country to many of the English who then came to settle in Switzerland.