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Is this Edition of the Poems of William Wordsworth there will be found now
the first time within the compass of a single volume of convenient size and Edest price-every piece of original verse which we know to have been published 115 the poet himself, or of which he can be shown to have authorised the posthumous
The OXFORD WORDSWORTA comprises (1) the Minor or Miscellaneous Poems, re2.nted from the standard edition of 1849-50,—the last issued during the lifetime ba: mder the direct authority of the poet; (2) a reprint of the original text of the
Poems of 1793, viz. An Evening Walki, and Descriptive Sketches ; (3) a Suppleinto giring, so far as it has been possible to ascertain, every piece published by
dworth on any other occasion whatsoever, but omitted by him from the final eftim of 1849–50; (4) The Prelude?, or Growth of a Poet's Mind; an Autobiogra*5* -rl Poem; (5) The Excursion (text of ed. 1849–50); (6) all the Author's Notes of edi. 1899-50, together with many notes found in various early editions, but subseVatly omitted; 17) sundry Prefaces, Postscripts, &c., given at the end of Vol. V. 1899-50; (8) a Chronological Table of the Life of Wordsworth, and (9) some few 1 llaneous Notes by the Editor, who is also accountable for (10) the Chronological bezia prefixed to the individual poems.
Great pains have been taken to ensure a high degree of accuracy in the text of ti Edition. The poet's use of capital letters-a sure index to his intentions of stress -as been carefully and, it is hoped, in every instance reproduced; but it seemed i to preserve with scrupulous exactness certain oddities and inconsistencies of paling-a matter to which Wordsworth, unlike his brother-poet, Walter Savage Lylor, appears never to have given serious attention. The editor has throughout impared the punctuation of the standard text of 1849–50 with that of the Aldine Bordsworth, issued in 18922. In most instances of divergence between them he has Uwed the recent authority; but in a few cases a regard-it may be, a superstitious szard-for the metrical design of the poet has compelled him to revert (not without
1-ziring) to the pointing of the standard text. Be this as it may, we must always ar in mind the fact that Wordsworth's system of punctuation was no mere logical ? intellectual organ, but rather-in the words of the Aldine Editor-"an elaborate
. Published, shortly after the poet's death, in 1850. · Edited by Edward Dowden, LL.D., &c., &c., Professor of Oratory and English Literature in the Taierity of Dublin
and ingenious instrument, intended at once to guide the reader to the meaning a to serve a metrical purpose."
In three places where a misprint in the text of 1849 50, while not absolute demonstrable, was yet in the highest degree probable, the Editor has substituted reading of one or more of the earlier editions, taking care to add in a footnote t precise authority attaching to the adopted reading. On behalf of the change thus troduced into line 3 of Misc. Son., II. xxiv: “a lamp sullenly (vice suddenly) glaring it will probably suffice to refer the reader to the numerous passages cited in t footnote on page 266; bidding him add thereto, from Ecclcs. Sonnets, II. xv. line 1 "Ambition .... is no sullen fire;” and also, from Inscriptions, X., lines 27, 28: sullen weeds forbidden To resume its native light.” In defence of “choral (rice cora fountains” (p. 217) it may be observed, first: that Wordsworth was not a writer nonsense-verses ; secondly: that he had a rooted aversion to slipshod grammar, an in particular, to the very solecism exemplified in the phrase (of text 1849-50), fountains," i.e. to the adjectival misuse of a substantive pur et simple. We may fe confident that the poet-critic who found fault with W. Rowan Hamilton's phras. weariness of that gold sphere, and remonstrated with R. P. Gillies for having writter where the lake gleams beneath the autumn sun; who vehemently advocated the emplo: ment of vernal and autumnal as being both "unexceptionable words,” and declare it to be a matter of regret that Miss Seward's bantling, nybernal, was not in moi familiar use ;-we may, surely, feel quite satisfied that this severe precisian would neve have condescended to the vile phrase, corol fountains; all the more because, in th words, fountains coralline, he had a phrase ready to his hand which (had it but bee possible on the score of sense) was undeniably "unexceptionable,” as well from th metrist's as from the grammarian's point of view. It should be added that th Aldine Editor led the way in adopting both readings-sullenly and choral-into hi text. The third instance above referred to (see page 498) calls for no particular com ment in this place.
In the extract from Chaucer's Troilus and Cresida, contributed by Wordswort to the volume projected by Thomas Powell in 1849 line 118, as it appears in the or. ginal issue of that volume (1841), runs precisely as it runs in Chancer's original, an as it now runs in the OXFORD WORDSWORTH:
“With a soft voice, he of his Lady dear"
When, however, in the following year, this extract, along with the poet's othe adaptations from Chaucer, was being reprinted for publication amongst his Collecte Poems, the compositor perpetrated the ludicrous and (one would have thought) quit palpable blunder of foisting in the word 'night' (evidently caught from the expres sion ‘night by night,' which occurs four lines below), between the words 'soft'arr "voice.' From that day to this, the line has run, in every edition of the Poems :
“With a soft night voice, he of his Lady dear"
an arrangement which obviously yields neither good metre nor common sense. Keems strange that neither Wordsworth himself, nor his clerk and proof-reader Mr. John Carter, should, while revising the several editions of the Poems that appeare between 1842 and 1859, have detected so manifest an error of the press. But we mas
rriaps suppose that their attention on these occasions was wholly given to Wordstruth's original compositions, and that the text of the adaptations from Chaucer, ating been settled once for all, was simply left to take care of itself. Professor Daden, in a paper read to the Wordsworth Society in May, 1882, was the first to stest the possibly intrusive character of 'night;' he has, however, retained that and in the text of the Aldine Edition (1892). The Editor of the OXFORD WORDS78TH, finding himself unable to conceive the possibility of any difference of opinion e to the true character and origin of 'night' in the line under notice, has summarily acored it from the text, without note, comment or apology of any kind whatsoever.
In a very few instances-possibly not more than half-a-dozen in all-where a image either of striking beauty or otherwise interesting had been rejected from ée text of ed. 1849-50, the Editor has ventured to restore the cancelled lines to their reginal position, placing them within brackets, to indicate that they form no part of te standard text, and adding in a footnote the precise amount of authority which bey derive from the numerous earlier editions. The second stanza of Louisa has bug replaced after this fashion; so, too, have the opening stanza of Dion, and a silaza (originally the sixth) of the Ode to Duty. Thus restored, the passages in questa are sure to catch the eye of the reader; whereas, had they been relegated to the *Potes and Illustrations” at the end of the volume, they would necessarily have pd the notice of that numerous class who read poetry readily enough, but turn via instant aversion from anything in the shape of a Note.
The Minor Poems are here presented in the order in which they stand in B 1346-50. The notion of that order or arrangement was, as is well known, first aceited by Wordsworth in 1812, and, after three years of sedulous elaboration, ** finally perfected and embodied by him in the Collective Edition of 1815. To despite much ridicule and hostile criticism, the poet adhered with unwaveris fath throughout the rest of his life. On this question of arrangement, the Iide is fain to confess, his affections are most humble; he has no ambition to e a goodlier scheme than Wordsworth's. Accordingly, those who purchase the UT PORD WORDSWORTI must needs content themselves with the works of the poet brzinged according to an antiquated scheme of his own devising. As to the adtages alleged by some to accompany a chronological arrangement of the poems, * sill be time enough to discuss them when the materials for the construction * -uch an arrangement are in our hands. At present, our knowledge of the de cology? of the poems is very far from complete; and, accordingly, every Recipt to set the poems in their true chronological order must of necessity be legeis tentative and conjectural.
In compiling the Chronological Life-Table, the Editor has, of course, freely availed belf of the two great Sources for the Biography
of Wordsworth, viz. the Memoirs poet, published in 1851 by his nephew Christopher, late Bishop of Lincoln, and Life in three volumes by Professor Knight of St. Andrews, published in 1889.
La this matter of chronology, be it observed, the poet himself is little better than a blind guide.
cerer be attempts to assign dates to his several compositions, he frequently errs, and not seldom Flicts himself. Nevertheless, in many instances, Wordsworth's testimony is all we at present ate to go upon; and, wberever the date he gives is not discredited by evidence from another **3. It has been thought best to adopt it in this Elition, as at least provisionally correct
131 The Pilgrim's Dream; or, the Star and the
The Widow on Windermere Side
The Poet and the Caged Turtledove
Loving and Liking. Irregular Verses, ad- A Wren's Nest..
143 Companion to the foregoing
The Redbreast. Suggested in a Westmore- Rural Illusions
The Kitten and Falling Leaves.
143 Address to my Infant Daughter, Dora, on
being reminded that she was a Month
THE WAGGONER.- Canto I..
It was an April morning: fresh and clear.. 146
There is an Eminence,-of these our hills 148
A narrow Girdle of rough stones and crags 148
When, to the attractions of the busy world 150 To the Cuckoo..
Forth from a jutting ridge, around whose kx Night-piece
Astie was a Phantom of Delight .
O Nightingale! thou surely art
A Flower Garden, at Coleorton Hall, Leices- three years she grew in sun and shower
154 sumber did my spirit seal..
A whirl-blast from behind the hill..
154 Wandered lonely as a cloud.
The Waterfall and the Eglantine
155 de Reverie of Poor Susan...
The Oak and the Broom. A Pastoral. 155
157 Written in March, while resting on the
158 Bridge at the foot of Brother's Water..
159 Lyre! though such power do in thy magic
160 Sequel to the Foregoing, composed many
The Seren Sisters; or, the Solitude of
Who fancied what a pretty sight
The Redbreast chasing the Butterfly
162 Resolution and Independence
Song for the Spinning Wheel. Founded The Thorn....
upon a Belief prevalent among the Hart-leap Well.-Part I.
Pastoral Vales of Westmoreland
Hint from the Mountains for certain Poli- Song at the Feast of Brougham Castle, upon
163 the Restoration of Lord Clifford, the
On seeing a Needlecase in the Form of a
Shepherd, to the Estates and Honours
To a Lady, in answer to a request that I Mines composed a few miles above Tintern
would write her a Poem upon some
Abbey, on revisiting the Banks of the
Drawings that she had made of Flowers
Wye during a Tour. July 13, 1798..
164 It is no Spirit who from heaven hath flown
Glad sight wherever new with old.
164 French Revolution, as it appeared to Enthu-
The Contrast. The Parrot and the Wren.. 165 siasts at its Commencement. Reprinted
The Danish Boy. A Fragment...... 165 from “The Friend”
209 Grief, thou hast lost an ever ready friend 255
212 Composed in one of the Valleys of West-
214 moreland, on Easter Sunday
on her First Ascent to the Composed on the Eve of the Marriage of a
217 Friend in the Vale of Grasmere, 1812 .. 256
Ir a loang Lady, who had been reproached From the Italian of Michael Angelo
taking long Walks in the Country . 218 From the Same
218 From the Same. To the Supreme Being 257
218 Surprised by joy-impatient as the Wind
219 Methought I saw the footsteps of a throne 257
Even so for me a Vision sanctified
It is a beauteous Evening, calm and free ..**258
223 Where lies the Land to which yon Ship
225 With Ships the sea was sprinkled far and
228 The world is too much with us; late and
A volant Tribe of Bards on earth are found
restad by a Picture of the Bird of "Weak is the will of Man, his judgment
231 To the Memory of Raisley Calvert
the Power of Sound
Scorn not the Sonnet; Critic, you have
How sweet it is, when mother Fancy rocks 260
From the dark chambers of dejection
Fair Prime of life! were it cnough to gild.. 261
I watch, and long have watched, with calm
s fret not at their Convent's narrow I heard (alas ! 'twas only in a dream). 261
250 Not Love, not War, nor the tumultuous
* Bored Vale!" I said, "when I shall
250 Mark the concentred hazels that enclose 262
251 Composed after a Journey across the
und Ossa flourish side by side 251 Hambleton Hills, Yorkshire
Those words were uttered as in pensive
only pilot the soft breeze, the boat .... 251
farest, brightest, bucs of ether fade
252 While not a leaf seems faded; while the
sn the Sight of a Beautiful Picture 252
?ty, Minstrel, these untuneful murmur- How clear, how keen, how marvellously
e Fond words have oft been spoken 253 To the Lady Mary Lowther
een A flock of sheep that leisurely .. 253 To Lady Beaumont
254 There is a pleasure in poetic pains.
tten upon a Blank Leaf in "The Com- The Shepherd, looking eastward, softly
254 When haughty expectations prostrate lie .. 265
fa Detraction which followed the Publi- Hail, Twilight, sovereign of one peaceful