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THIS edition aims at such a presentation of Wordsworth's Poetical Works as Wordsworth himself would have approved. It gives :-(1) Wordsworth's latest text; (2) in Wordsworth's own arrangement; (3) all Wordsworth's printed notes; (4) the notes dictated by Wordsworth to Miss Fenwick-here signed “I. F."; (4) notes by the present Editor, dealing with (a) the dates of composition and publication of each poem, (b) the occasion, where that can be ascertained, (c) and recording a large selection from the various readings of editions prior to 184950; (5) a chronological table; (6) an Appendix of Poems by Wordsworth not included in his last edition; (7) a reprint of the two poems of 1793, "An Evening Walk" and "Descriptive Sketches" as originally published; (8) a bibliography; (9) a brief memoir.


I. Text.-The text is that of 1849-50. know," Wordsworth wrote to Dyce in 1830, what importance I attach to following strictly he last copy of the text of an author.' Taken S a whole, the last text is, I believe, not nly the authoritative but the best text of Wordsworth's poems. rtainly such (e.g., hsia "), have been

Misprints, which are Blandusia" for "Bansilently corrected.



the very few instances where a misprint, though not certain, seems probable (e.g., coral" for "choral" in "To on her First Ascent to the Summit of Helvellyn," and "sullenly" for "suddenly" in the sonnet "Even as a dragon's eye," etc.) the word is printed as in some edition other than that of 1849-50, and the fact is recorded in a footnote. The proofs of the text have been compared with ed. 1849-50, not by myself but by my very careful coadjutor the Rev. A. R. Shilleto, and under his superintendence the lines have been numbered for convenience of reference. The punctuation of ed. 1849-50 has been followed, but occasional errors which obscure the sense have been silently corrected. Much might easily be done to render Wordsworth's punctua tion more logical; but his system of punctuation was gradually formed, and is an elaborate and ingenious instrument intended at once to guide the reader to the meaning and to serve a metrical purpose. From a logical point of view Wordsworth over-punctuates, and sometimes punctuates ill; but he used the marks of punctuation not merely for a logical purpose, but also with a feeling for metrical effect. In 1842 he wrote to John Peace: Your Descant amused me, but I must protest against your system, which would discard punctuation to the extent you propose. It would, I think, destroy the harmony of blank verse when skilfully written What would become of the pauses at the third syllable followed by an and, or any such word without the rest which a comma, when con sistent with the sense, calls upon the reader t make, and which being made, he starts wit the weak syllable that follows, as from t

beginning of a verse? I am sure Milton would have supported me in this opinion." It is right therefore to preserve Wordsworth's system of logical and metrical notation, as far as it is "consistent with the sense. But a superstitious regard for every comma in the edition of 1849-50 is unreasonable. Wordsworth's

clerk in the Distribution of Stamps office, Mr. Carter, and again, Mr. Carter's young clerk saw the edition of 1842 through the press, and I presume the later editions also. Wordsworth's eyes were weak and he considered himself less capable than Mr. Carter of detecting errors. While preserving therefore in ninety-nine cases out of a hundred the punctuation of ed. 1849-50, I have in the hundredth case gladly accepted the suggestions of Mr. Shilleto, such as to delete a comma between a noun and a verb, or the comma which unnaturally isolates a conjunction. Wordsworth's settled scheme of punctuation remains undisturbed; and that he had such a scheme is certain. In the case of the pamphlet on the "Convention of Cintra he entrusted the preparation of the MS. for the press to De Quincey; "the subject of punctuation in prose," he wrote (to T. Poole, May 31st, 1809), "was one to which I had never attended, and had, of course, settled no scheme of it in my own mind." It is implied in these words that he had attended to the subject of punctuation. in verse; and in the years subsequent to 1809 his scheme became much more fully elaborated.

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II. Arrangement.-There can be no doubt as to Wordsworth's wishes respecting the arrangement of his poems. He lived a long life, and superintended many collected editions of his Poetical Works. Heattached great importance to

his own arrangement; much of his mind during a long series of years went into that arrangement. It would be doing violence to his intentions to adopt any other order for the poems than that devised thoughtfully and deliberately by himself. He did not-as he wrote in 1845— "attach to the Poems any explanation of the grounds of their arrangement," because he had always been of opinion that poetry should stand upon its own merits." But he believed that the grounds were sure and sufficient. In the Preface to "The Excursion," having compared that poem and "The Prelude " to the body of a Gothic church and its ante-chapel, Wordsworth goes on: "Continuing this allusion, he [the author] may be permitted to add, that his minor pieces, which have been long before the public, when they shall be properly arranged, will be found by the attentive reader to have such connection with the main work as may give them claim to be likened to the little cells, oratories, and sepulchral recesses, ordinarily included in those edifices." A glance at the table of contents of the Poetical Works shows that the image of a cathedral is not unapt; the poems begin with childhood and youth; they close with old age and death. My heart leaps up" is an inscription at the threshold. The "Ode, Intimations of Immortality from Recollections of early Childhood" completes the work as though with a skyward-pointing spire.

In 1815 Wordsworth first adopted the psychological classification "Poems of the Affections," "Poems of the Fancy," Poems of the Imagination," "Poems of Sentiment and Reflection.” It may not have been a happy classification, but much of Wordsworth's mind went into it, and it

forms a portion of the history of literature, connected with the discussion in Coleridge's writings concerning the respective functions and provinces of Imagination and of Fancy. Whether the classification be happy or not, it should be borne in mind, first, that the psychological groups form only part of a larger design, and secondly, that the order of the poems within each group is Wordsworth's order, and that it was carefully considered with a view to artistic effect. It is obvious, for example, that "Beggars" and Gipsies" are placed side by side because, so to speak, they belong to each other; that in like manner the two classical poems, each embodying a great moral truth, "Laodamia" and "Dion" belong to each other; and so again with the three poems of London street-life— Poor Susan,' The Power of Music," and "Star-gazers." Of" Beggars," indeed, the text was altered, as Wordsworth told Barron Field, partly that it might harmonize better with the poem appended to it which was "composed many years after." In the "Apology," which closes the "Yarrow Revisited" series, Wordsworth writes


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"No more the end is sudden and abrupt,
Abrupt as without preconceived design
Was the beginning; yet the several Lays
Have moved in order, to each other bound
By a continuous and acknowledged tie
Though unapparent-like those Shapes distinct
That yet survive ensculptured on the walls
Of palaces, or temples, 'mid the wreck
Of famed Persepolis; each following each,
As might beseein a stately embassy,

In set array.

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It is true of other groups beside Yarrow Revisited" that the poems move in order, bound

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