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THE Lyrical Ballads were first published, as we have seen, in the year 1798, and a second edition, with a supplementary volume, in 1800. The following letter, from Wordsworth to his friend Cottle, in reference to the first edition, was written during his residence at Sockburn. In the postscript he gives expression to what he had often felt. It is curious that, in Wordsworth's case, the early motive to publication should have been a "pecuniary" one.

"SOCKBURN, 27th July [Postmark 1799]. MY DEAR COTTLE,—I thank you for your draft, which I received on Friday evening. . . . I am not poor enough yet to make me think it right that I should take interest for a debt from a friend, paid eleven months after it is due. If I were in want, I should make no scruple in applying to you for twice that sum. I should be very glad to hear so good an account of the sale of the Lyrical Ballads, if I were not afraid that your wish to give pleasure, and your proneness to self-deception, had made you judge too favourably. I am told they have been reviewed in The Monthly Review, but I have not heard in what style. .. God bless you, my dear Cottle.-Believe me, your very affectionate friend, W. WORDSWORTH.

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My aversion from publication increases every day, so much so, that no motives whatever, nothing but pecuniary necessity, will, I think, ever prevail upon me to commit myself to the press again.

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Another letter, written long before Wordsworth and Southey became intimate, and during the days in which the former felt the pinch of poverty, and published his poems mainly as a means of obtaining a frugal livelihood,—may follow the above. It was also written at Sockburn in 1799.

"MY DEAR COTTLE,-... Southey's review I have seen. He knew that I published those poems for money and money alone. He knew that money was of importance to me. If he could not conscientiously have spoken differently of the volume, he ought to have declined the task of reviewing it.

The bulk of the poems he has described as destitute of merit. Am I recompensed for this by vague praises of my talents? I care little for the praise of any other professional critic, but as it may help me to pudding. .--Believe me, dear Cottle, your affectionate friend,

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Southey's appreciation of Wordsworth was afterwards so profound and enthusiastic, that the publication of this early letter is harmless to both men; and, being a true reflection of what Wordsworth called "moods of my own mind," it has a certain value of its own.

The new poems, included in the second edition of the Lyrical Ballads, were all by Wordsworth; but, from one of Coleridge's letters to Godwin, it is clear that Wordsworth


had asked Coleridge to contribute to the new edition. October 13, 1800, he wrote: "An attempt to finish a poem of mine for insertion in the second volume of the Lyrical Ballads has thrown me fearfully back in my bread-andbeef-occupations," &c.

This second edition, in two volumes, appeared at the close of the year 1800; the new volume containing the "Preface," in which Wordsworth's theory of poetry was explicitly unfolded. On its publication, the following letter was sent to Cottle. It is somewhat curious that he had not a copy of the second edition to send to the generous publisher of the first.

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"December 1800.

MY DEAR COTTLE,— Mrs Coleridge and her youngest child are now with us. Coleridge is at Keswick. . . . I wish much that I could have presented you with a copy of the Lyrical Ballads, but I foolishly did not stipulate with Longman for any copies for myself, so that I must depend upon his liberality, and must present the few copies which I shall have to a few persons who would be offended if they did not receive this mark of attention from me... I am, my dear Cottle, yours affectionately,


A month later Wordsworth wrote a letter to the Right Hon. Charles James Fox (to whom he had sent a copy of the Ballads), in which he explains what had led him to select the subjects of several of these ballads. The letter is a key to his theory of poetic work:


"GRASMERE, WESTMORELAND, January 14, 1801.

It is solely on account of two poems in

the second volume-the one entitled The Brothers, and the

other Michael-that I have been emboldened to take the liberty of offering them to you.

It appears to me that the most calamitous effect which has followed the measures which have lately been pursued in this country, is, a rapid decay of the domestic affections among the lower orders of society. This effect the present rulers of this country are not conscious of, or they disregard it. For many years past, the tendency of society, amongst almost all the nations of Europe, has been to produce it; but recently, by the spreading of manufactures through every part of the country, by the heavy tax upon postage, by workhouses, houses of industry, and the invention of soup-shops, &c., superadded to the increasing disproportion between the price of labour and that of the necessaries of life, the bonds of domestic feeling among the poor,—as far as the influence of these things has extended, have been weakened, and in innumerable instances entirely destroyed. The evil would be the less to be regretted, if these institutions were regarded only as palliatives to a disease; but the vanity and pride of their promoters are so subtly interwoven with them, that they are deemed great discoveries and blessings to humanity. In the meantime, parents are separated from their children, and children from their parents; the wife no longer prepares, with her own hands, a meal for her husband, the produce of his labour; there is little doing in his house in which his affections can be interested, and but little left in it that he can love.

In the two poems, The Brothers, and Michael, I have attempted to draw a picture of the domestic affections, as I know they exist among a class of men who are now almost confined to the north of England. They are small independent proprietors of land, here called statesmen '-men of respectable education, who daily labour on their own little properties. The domestic affections will always be

strong amongst men who live in a country not crowded with population, if these men are placed above poverty. But if they are proprietors of small estates, which have descended to them from their ancestors, the power, which these affections will acquire amongst such men, is inconceivable by those who have only had an opportunity of observing hired labourers, farmers, and the manufacturing poor. Their little tract of land serves as a kind of permanent rallying point for their domestic feelings, as a tablet upon which they are written, which makes them objects of memory in a thousand instances, when they would otherwise be forgotten. It is a fountain fitted to the nature of social man, from which supplies of affection, as pure as his heart was intended for, are daily drawn. This class of men is rapidly disappearing.

The most sacred of all property is the property of the poor. The two poems, which I have mentioned, were written with a view to show that men who do not wear fine clothes can feel deeply. 'Pectus enim est quod disertos facit, et vis mentis. Ideoque imperitis quoque, si modo sint aliquo affectu concitati, verba non desunt.' The poems are faithful copies from nature; and I hope whatever effect they may have upon you, you will at least be able to perceive that they may excite profitable sympathies in many kind and good hearts, and may in some small degree enlarge our feelings of reverence for our species, and our knowledge of human nature, by showing that our best qualities are possessed by men whom we are too apt to consider, not with reference to the points in which they resemble us, but to those in which they manifestly differ from us.. -I remain, &c., W. WORDSWORTH.'

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The following letter to Thomas Poole at Nether Stowey has a special interest, as bearing on Coleridge, and Wordsworth's efforts in his behalf :

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