Although I’d been to theLake Districtseveral times before, for some reason I’d never visited Dove Cottage, the home for eight years of the region’s most famous son, the poet William Wordsworth. It was a damp gray morning in fall when I arrived in the small village of Grasmere, and doubtless because of the weather, there were few other people around. Having spent time in the adjoiningWordsworth Museum, looking at its unique collection of manuscripts and letters, I wandered over to the cottage itself. A modest white building, set behind a low stone wall and overshadowed by trees, it is where Wordsworth lived happily with his wife, Mary, and sister, Dorothy, from 1799 until 1808, a period during which he wrote many of his most celebrated poems. Inside, the cottage has been left much as it was just over 200 years ago, with the original furniture and many of the family’s possessions. The rooms are small and, on the first floor, very dark.