Cataract of Lodore

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Cataract of Lodore is located in Cumbria
Cataract of Lodore
Lodore Falls shown within Cumbria
(grid reference NY265188)

"The Cataract of Lodore" is a poem written in 1820 by the English poet Robert Southey[1] which describes the Lodore Falls on the Watendlath Beck just above Derwent Water in Cumbria, England. The poem is a masterpiece of onomatopoeia, employing some of the most clever and evocative language ever used to describe a natural feature. When seen in its entire form, the body of the poem does look like a waterfall.

The Powell Expedition named a canyon on the Green River in the U.S. state of Colorado the Canyon of Lodore after this poem.[2]

Publication history[edit]

Lodore Falls

One of Southey's most popular poems, "The Cataract of Lodore," made an early appearance in Joanna Baillie's 1823 anthology, Poems, Chiefly Manuscript, and from Living Authors. On its inclusion, Baillie wrote Southey, "Your Cataract of Lodore has pleased & amused me exceedingly... We shall have the younger part of my readers running about with portions of it in their mouths and shaking their heads to the measure, for these six months to come."[3]

Lodore Falls[edit]

The Lodore Falls, a must-see for Victorian tourists staying at Keswick, are formed by the beck from Watendlath Tarn cascading over huge boulders for a distance of some 100 feet. The main drop of the falls is about 28 metres, or 90 feet. Although the falls are spectacular after periods of heavy rain, they dry to a trickle in periods of prolonged dry weather.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Hillard, George Stillman (1861). Third Class Reader. Swan, Brewer & Tileston. pp. 84–87. 
  2. ^ U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Canyon of Lodore
  3. ^ Baillie, Joanna (2010). Thomas McLean, ed. Further Letters of Joanna Baillie. Madison, NJ: Fairleigh Dickinson Univ Press. p. 88. ISBN 978-0-8386-4149-1. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 54°33′33″N 3°08′17″W / 54.55907°N 3.13808°W / 54.55907; -3.13808