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embellishments it has received from your pencil *, may survive as a lasting memorial of a friendship, which I reckon among the blessings of my life,
I have the honour to be,
My dear Sir George,
Yours most affectionately and faithfully,
RYDAL MOUNT, WESTMORELAND,
FEBRUARY 1, 1815.
*The state of the plates has, for some time, not allowed them to be repeated.
AN alphabetical list of the Miscellaneous Poems (the Sonnets only excepted) will be given at the close of the fifth volume. As this edition is stereotyped, the Author has thought it proper carefully to revise the whole. Two short pieces only are added, which will be found among the Elegiac Poems.
The whole of the Poems lately published, entitled "Yarrow Revisited," will be found interspersed in the several classes of this edition.
TO THE EDITION OF 1815.
THE observations prefixed to that portion of these Volumes which was published many years ago, under the title of " Lyrical Ballads," have so little of a special application to the greater part of the present enlarged and diversified collection, that they could not with propriety stand as an Introduction to it. Not deeming it, however, expedient to suppress that exposition, slight and imperfect as it is, of the feelings which had determined the choice of the subjects, and the principles which had regulated the composition of those Pieces, I have transferred it to the end
of the Second Volume *, to be attended to, or not,
at the pleasure of the Reader.
In the Preface to that part of " The Recluse," lately published under the title of "The Excursion," I have alluded to a meditated arrangement of my minor Poems, which should assist the attentive Reader in perceiving their connection with each other, and also their subordination to that Work. I shall here say a few words explanatory of this arrangement, as carried into effect in the present Volumes.
The powers requisite for the production of poetry are, first, those of observation and description, i. e., the ability to observe with accuracy things as they are in themselves, and with fidelity to describe them, unmodified by any passion or feeling existing in the mind of the describer: whether the things depicted be actually present to the senses, or have a place only in the memory. This power, though indispensable to a Poet, is
* In this Edition placed also at the end of the Second Volume.
one which he employs only in submission to necessity, and never for a continuance of time : as its exercise supposes all the higher qualities of the mind to be passive, and in a state of subjection to external objects, much in the same way as a translator or engraver ought to be to his original. 2ndly, Sensibility,—which, the more exquisite it is, the wider will be the range of a poet's perceptions; and the more will he be incited to observe objects, both as they exist in themselves and as re-acted upon by his own mind. (The distinction between poetic and human sensibility has been marked in the character of the Poet delineated in the original preface, before mentioned.) 3dly, Reflection,——— which makes the Poet acquainted with the value of actions, images, thoughts, and feelings; and assists the sensibility in perceiving their connection with each other. 4thly, Imagination and Fancy,-to modify, to create, and to associate. 5thly, Invention,-by which characters are composed out of materials supplied by observation;