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SINCE the Chronological Table of the Poems was compiled, I have had access-through the kindness of the Poet's son-to the Grasmere Journals, written by Miss Wordsworth in the years 1800, 1801, and 1802. These journals have enabled me to fix with more minute accuracy the date of the composition of several of the Poems. The Chronological Table, however, having been printed beforehand could not be altered, -although the Poems themselves have been placed in their proper order, and I therefore make one or two corrections of the Table in this Prefatory Note, along with a few addenda.
1801. The specimens of Chaucer modernized (The Prioress Tale, Troilus and Cressida, and The Cuckoo and the Nightingale), which were not published till 1820 and 1842 respectively,―and which were therefore assigned to these years in the Chronological Table, in the absence of any more authentic information as to date—were written in the year 1801. The Prioress' Tale being finished on Dec. 5th, and The Cuckoo and the Nightingale on Dec. 8th of that year.
1802. The exact date of The Rainbow is March 26. The Redbreast chasing the Butterfly was written not in 1806, but on the 18t of April 1802. To a Butterfly, "I've watched you many an hour," &c., was written April 20, 1802.
1803. To the Sons of Burns. Aug. 18, 1803, was the day on which Wordsworth visited the grave of Burns; but this address to his Sons was written "long afterwards.”
1804. For Cookoo, read Cuckoo.
1816. The Translation of part of the First Book of the Eneid was first published in 1832, in the Cambridge "Philological Museum." 1832. Sonnet on the Gravestone in the cloisters of Worcester Cathedral, read "Miserrimus, and neither name nor date."
1838. Sonnet, Protest against the Ballot, "Forth rushed from Envy Sprung, and Self-Conceit."
Sonnet, a Plea for Authors, May 1838, "Failing impartial measure to dispense."
1842. The Eagle, and the Dove.
Within the last few days I have discovered the earliest fragment which Wordsworth wrote, but which he published anonymously, and never reproduced. In a MS. note to a copy of the first quarto edition of The Evening Walk, 1793, Wordsworth says: "This is the first of my published Poems, with the exception of a Sonnet written when I was a school-boy, and published in the 'European Magazine,' in June or July 1786, and signed Axiologus." Through the kindness of Mr Richard Garnett, of the British Museum, I have obtained a copy of this Sonnet. It would be impossible, however, to attribute it to Wordsworth, on any less authority than his own. His own wish was that it should perish; and it would be a mistake to reproduce it in this, or in any other edition of his works. It was published in 1787.
UNIVERSITY, ST ANDREWS, May, 1882.