On his momentous walking tour of the Swiss Alps in 1790, Wordsworth encountered in its dramatic landscape an awesome, harrowing beauty, the most extreme expression of that power and majesty in nature that had been his close and companionable form since childhood. As book VI of The Prelude declares, he was profoundly inspired by ‘unapproachable forests’, ‘majestic floods’ and ‘solitudes sublime’; in short he was transported wholly and exultantly into the colossal realm of nature’s ‘awful power’.
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