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She lived unknown, and few could know
When Lucy ceased to be ;
But she is in her grave, and, oh,

The difference to me! But his didacticism and his reaction against grandiose and conventional language led him too often into the commonplace when using the ballad form and stanza. In The Last of the Flock (1798), a story of struggle with growing poverty, and The Reverie of Poor Susan, a dream in London of a youth passed among the scenes of nature, the pathos almost overcomes the tendency to bathos. In the Anecdote for Fathers (1798), and The Fountain A Conversation (1799), the higher element that idealises common life succumbs to the commonplace. Most of those poems dated 1799 were written at Goslar in Germany during a severe winter ; and into one or two of them there enters a longing for England as his home. He returned and finally settled at Grasmere in his beloved Lake district.

14. The first edition of the Lyrical Ballads was met with a storm of criticism and jeering; and when in 1800 he republished them with most of the poems already noticed added in a second volume, he began a prose defence of his poetic attitude in his famous Essay on Poetry. This, as the manifesto of the new poets and the creed of the coming literature, is epoch-making, and naturally forms the boundaryline between the period of preparation and the period of fulfilment, the eighteenth century and the nineteenth. Round it surged a sea of controversy for many years; but its teaching was destined to win; for it gathered up all that the best poets of the close of last century were striving after or were impelled by their new audience and atmosphere towards. He seems to feel that he is standing alone as the pioneer of poetic truth to nature, the first poet to protest against the artificialities that had separated eighteenth century poetry from reality. He is quite unconscious of the fact that he is only part of a movement, and by no means the leader of it; there is scarcely a poet of any note of the last quarter of last century, nay of the latter half of it, but reveals some anticipation of the new poetry. And Cowper, one of whose poems, his ballad of Alexander Selkirk, he criticises and discounts as untrue in language, approached very close to The Excursion in his Task; it was only the satiric element and his coming before the Revolution that kept him from occupying the same position in poetic evolution as Wordsworth. Still more does Blake fulfil all the conditions that Wordsworth contends. for as his own; he goes to lowly life and nature; he takes the simplest language of the people; he elevates the theme by giving it spiritual meaning; he is idealistic to mysticism like Wordsworth himself; he sees God in all things; he feels the human kinship of the universe around; he is pre-eminently a teacher; in short he anticipates in every respect the idea of a poet as given in the Essay. Wordsworth, indeed, was but the culmination of a movement that had its source, not in an individual poet, but in the new audience and in the new time. It was the critics he had to fight ; for criticism ever affiliates to the established rules, customs, and culture of a time; its only chance of having authority is to cling to what the vanishing age has used as the fundamental principles of of its art; its essence is to analyse new products, and to compare them with what seemed fixed standards; it is, therefore, rarely sympathetic, or imaginative, and almost never originative. There was enough of the old in Gray, Collins, Goldsmith, Chatterton, Burns, and Cowper, to satisfy it. Blake it ignored. Wordsworth deliberately

. rejected the cues and standards of the passing age, nd accepted everything that the coming time and the new audience demanded. Hence the long and fierce conflict.

15. The central doctrine of the Preface to the Lyrical Ballads is that the poet should use "a selection of the real language of men in a state of vivid sensation". And Wordsworth felt that this would separate his readers into scornful critics and devoted worshippers, the effect of every new method or gospel. They, who have been accustomed to the gaudiness and inane phraseology of many modern writers”, “ will look round for poetry and will be induced to inquire by what species of courtesy these attempts can be permitted to assume that title”. The principal object proposed in them was to “choose incidents and situations from common life", to put them in "language really used by men”, “to throw

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over them a certain colouring of imagination"; and to trace in them “the primary laws of our nature”, " Humble and rustic life was generally chosen, because in that condition the essential passions of the heart find a better soil”, are less under restraint and speak a plainer and more emphatic language"; there “the elementary feelings co-exist in a state of greater simplicity”, and the “manners of rural life germinate from those elementary feelings ", and "are more easily comprehended and more durable"; there too “the passions of men are incorporated with the beautiful and permanent forms of nature,” whilst the language is purer and more fundamental, simpler and less conventional,

more permanent”, and “far more philosophical”, that which is frequently substituted for it by poets". Nothing could state so well the qualities of the literature the coming audience had been familiar with through its long period of submergence, the Authorised Version of the Bible and Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress; nothing could describe so well the ideal of Cowper and Burns and Blake, or the achievement of the two latter ; nothing could sound so like a prophecy of the coming literature. The writer was only the mouthpiece of the new movement. In practice his very deliberateness and sense of his own purpose and theory often led him into such obtrusion of it as to make his poems prosaic in treatment and barren in diction; he forgot the "colouring of imagination", in the eagerness to pourtray common life, and the "selection”, in his eagerness to give the “language really used by men ; it was chiefly in his philosophical blank verse that his theory and his art amalgamated.

16. He has heard the "outcry against the triviality and meanness” of some of the contemporary verse-writers. But he claims that each poem of his is distinguished from theirs by having “a worthy purpose”; for good poetry though "the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings ", must be produced by one who " has thought long and deeply", and has a noble character. And further, in feeling "gives importance to the action and situation", and not the reverse, as in “the popular poetry of the day"evidently the poetry of the Dellacruscan school. He

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protests against the "application of gross and violent stimulants" to the human mind, "frantic novels, sickly and stupid German tragedies, and deluges of idle and extravagant stories in verse”, and thinks that the "thirst after outrageous stimulation has arisen from the great national events which are daily taking place, and the increasing accumulation of men in cities, where the uniformity of their occupations produces a craving for extraordinary incident, which the rapid communication of intelligence hourly gratifies". Here Wordsworth has well-nigh struck on the essential source of all the new movements in literature, not merely those which he condemns, but those which he claims to represent—the disturbance of established habits of the population by the industrial current, causing as it did the migration to cities and the upheaval of the submerged classes with their ideas, tastes, and demands. The eagerness for "outrageous stimulation ", the yearning for simpler themes and language were both from the same source. Wordsworth stood by the tastes that had their roots in far back national life, and fought against those that came from the requirements of a passionate city life. It was the industrial revolution that caused the re-emergence of the one set, and the appearance of the other.,

17. It was really the renaissance of old national feeling and art in the resurrection of the middle classes, that made him reject “what is usually called poetic diction ", the product of the severance of literature from the nation by Queen Anne culture, and of the eighteenth century spirit that flowed from it. He deliberately struggles against this artificiality of expression and rejects all "personifications of abstract ideas”, wherever they are a mechanical device of style” and not "prompted by passion”. He tries to keep his reader “in the company of flesh and blood", and "endeavours to look steadily at his subject”, to avoid "falsehood of description ", disproportionate treatment, and hackneyed language, however well it may sound, in short trusts an essential of all good poetry, "good sense”. Truth in all things is what he aims at, even though he should be charged with “prosaisms”.

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18. And here again he strikes upon a principle that was not understood by him in its full sense, and is not yet appreciated; it is that the language of good poetry, "except with reference to the metre, in no respect differs from good prose”, that "the most interesting parts of the best poems will be found to be strictly the language of prose, when prose is well written”. He illustrates by the analysis of a sonnct of Gray's, and insists that the true antithesis is not poetry and prose, but poetry and “matter of fact or science". “ There neither is nor can be any essential difference between the language of prose and metrical composition". “Selection”, “made with true taste and feeling”, is all he can point out as differentiating the two. But a little thought might have shown him that selection can be as active in writing good prose as in writing good poetry. His fundamental distinction is metre: “the co-presence of something regular, something to which the mind has been accustomed in various moods and in a less excited state, cannot but have preat efficacy in tempering and restraining the passion by an intertexture of ordinary feeling"; "more pathetic situations and sentiments, that is, those which have a greater proportion of pain connected with them, may be endured in metrical composition, especially in rhyme, than in

prose ”; we are reluctant to reperuse “the distressful parts of Clarissa Harlowe"; "while Shakespeare's writings, in the most pathetic scenes, never act upon us as pathetic beyond the bounds of pleasure”; this, he holds, is due to the metrical arrangement. It would be easy to find a more substantial reason in the superficial insight and sentimentalism of Richardson and in the deep thought that inspires and inheres in Shakespeare's most tragic passages, making the mind of the reader think as well as feel. The chief discovery he made was that the greatest imaginative prose and the greatest poetry have no essential difference; hence it was that, in his noblest and most philosophical moods, he resorted, like Shakespeare and Milton before him, to very varied blank verse ; and hence it is that the most impassioned pieces of prose in our century have a rhythm that reminds of blank verse, but carefully avoids its monotony. The time is not far distant when the larger harmonies of the best prose will be as much enjoyed by

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