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'IN the Preface to "The Excursion," I have alluded to a medilated 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 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 the translator or en graver ought to be to his original. 2dly, 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 assist 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; whether of the poet's own heart and mind, or of external life and nature; and such incidents and situations produced as are most impressive to the imagination, and most fitted to do justice to the characters, sentiments, and passions, which the Poet undertakes to illustrate. And, lastly, Judgment,-to decide how and where, and in what degree, each of these faculties ought to be exerted; so that the less shall not be sacrificed to the greater; nor the greater, slighting the less, arrogate, to its own injury, more than its due. By Judgment, also is determined what are the laws and appropriate graces of every species of composition.

The materials of Poetry, by these powers collected and produced, are cast, by means of various moulds, into divers forms. The moulds may be enumerated, and the forms specified, in the following order. 1st, The Narrative,-including the Epopoeia, the Historic Poem, the Tale, the Romance, the Mock-heroic, and, if the spirit of Homer will tolerate such neighbourhood, that dear production of our days, the Metrical Novel. Of this class, the distinguishing mark, is, that the narrator, however liberally his speaking agents be introduced, is himself the source from which every thing primarily flows. Epic Poets, in order that their mode of composition may accord with the elevation of their subject, represent themselves as singing from the inspiration of the Muse, Arma virumque cano; but this is a fiction, in modern times, of slight value: the "Iliad" or the "Paradise Lost" would gain little in our estimation by being chanted. The other poets who belong to this class are commonly content to tell their tale ;-so that of the whole it may be affirmed that they neither require nor reject the accompaniment of music.

2dly, The Dramatic,-consisting of Tragedy, Historic Drama, Comedy, and Masque; in which the Poet does not appear at all in his own person, and where the whole action is carried on by speech and dialogue of the agents; music being admitted only incidentally and rarely. The Opera may be placed here, inas much as it proceeds by dialogue; though depending to the de gree that it does upon music, it has a strong claim to be ranked with the Lyrical. The characteristic and impassioned Epistle, of which Ovid and Pope have given examples, considered as a species of mono-drama, may, without impropriety, be placed in this class.

3dly, The Lyrical,-containing the Hymn, the Ode, the Elegy, the Song, and the Ballad; in all which, for the production of their full effect, an accompaniment of music is indispensable.

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laneous, may, with propriety, be arranged either with reference to the powers of mind predominant in the production of them; or to the mould in which they are cast; or, lastly, to the subjects to which they relate. From each of these considerations, the following poems have been divided into classes; which, that the work may more obviously correspond with the course of human life, for the sake of exhibiting in it the three requisites of a legitimate whole-a beginning, a middle, and an end-have been also arranged, as far as it was possible, according to an order of time, commencing with Childhood, and terminating with Old Age, Death, and Immortality. My guiding-wish was, that the small pieces of which these volumes consist, thus discriminated, might be regarded as composing an entire work within themselves. This arrangement has long presented itself habitually to my own mind. Nevertheless, I should have preferred to scatter the contents of these volumes at random, if I had been persuaded that, by the plan adopted, any thing material would be taken from the natural effect of the pieces, individually, on the mind of the unreflecting reader. I trust there is a sufficient variety in each class to prevent this; while, for him who reads with reflection, the arrangement will serve as a commentary unostentatiously directing his attention to my purposes, both particular and general. But, as I wish to guard against the possibility of misleading, by this classification, it is proper first to remind the reader, that certain Poems are placed according to the powers of mind in the Author's conception, predominant in the production of them; predominant, which implies the exertion of other faculties in less degree. Where there is more imagination than fancy in a poem, it is placed under the head of Imagination, and vice versa. Both the above classes might without impropriety have been enlarged from that consisting of "Poems founded on the Affections;" as might this latter from those, and from the class "Proceeding from Sentiment and Reflection." The most striking characteristics of each piece, mutual illustration, variety, and proportion, have governed me throughout.

The extracts, entitled "Poems written in Youth," seem to have a title to be placed here, as they were the productions of youth, and represent implicitly some of the features of a youthful mind, at a time when images of nature supplied to it the place of thought, sentiment, and almost of action; or, as it will be found expressed, of a state of mind when

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application may be made. All Poets, except the dramatic, have been in the practice of feigning that their works were composed to the music of the harp or lyre: with what degree of affectation this has been done in modern times, I leave to the judicious to determine. For my own part, I have not been disposed to violate probability so far, or to make such a large demand upon the reader's charity. Some of these pieces are essentially lyrical: and, therefore, cannot have their due force without a supposed musical accompaniment; but, in much the greatest part, as a substitute for the classic lyre or romantic harp, I require nothing more than an animated or impassioned recitation, adapted to the subject. Poems, however humble in their kind, if they be good in that kind, cannot read themselves: the law of long syllable and short must not be so inflexible,-the letter of metre must not be so impassive to the spirit of versification,-as to deprive the reader of a voluntary power to modulate, in subordination to the sense, the music of the poem ;-in the same manner as his mind is left at liberty, and even summoned, to act upon its thoughts and images. But, though the accompaniment of a musical instrument be frequently dispensed with, the true Poet does not therefore abandon his privilege distinct from that of the mere Proseman : "He murmurs near the running brooks


Poet is "all compact;" he whose eye glances from earth to heaven, whose spiritual attributes body forth what his pen is prompt in turning to shape; or what is left to characterize fancy, as insinuating herself into the heart of objects with creative activity?

-Imagination, in the sense of the word as giving title to a class of the following Poems, has no reference to images that are merely a faithful copy, existing in the mind, of absent external objects; but is a word of higher import, denoting operations of the mind upon those objects, and processes of creation or of composition, governed by certain fixed laws. I proceed to illustrate my meaning by instances. A parrot hangs from the wires of his cage by his beak or by his claws; or a monkey from the bough of a tree hy his paws or his tail. Each creature does so literally and actually In the first Eclogue of Virgil, the Shepherd, thinking of the time when he is to take leave of his farm, thus addresses his goats;

"Non ego vos posthac, viridi projectus in antro
Dumosa pendere procul de rupe videbo."

"Half way down

Hangs one who gathers samphire,"

is the well-known expression of Shakspeare, delineating an ordinary image upon the Cliffs of Dover. In these two instances is a slight exertion of the faculty which I denominate imagination, in the use of one word: neither the goats nor the samphire-gatherer do literally hang, as does the parrot or the monkey; but, presenting to the senses something of such an appearance, the mind in its activity, for its own gratification, contemplates them as hanging.

"As when far off at sea a fleet descried

Hangs in the clouds, by equinoctial winds
Close sailing from Bengala or the Isles

Of Ternate or Tydore, whence merchants bring
Their spicy drugs; they on the trading flood
Through the wide Ethiopian to the Cape

Ply, stemming nightly toward the Pole: so seemed
Far off the flying Fiend."

Here is the full strength of the imagination involved in the word hangs, and exerted upon the whole image: First, the fleet, an aggregate of many ships, is represented as one mighty person, whose track, we know and feel, is upon the waters; but, taking advantage of its appearance to the senses, the poet dares to represent it as hanging in the clouds, both for the gratification of the mind in contemplating the image itself, and in reference to the motion and appearance of the sublime object to which it is com pared.

From images of sight we will pass to those of sound:

"Over his own sweet voice the Stock-dove broods."

of the same bird,

"His voice was buried among trees,

Yet to be come at by the breeze;"

"O, Cuckoo! shall I call thee Bird,
Or but a wandering Voice?"

The stock-dove is said to coo, a sound well imitating the note of the bird; but, by the intervention of the metaphor broods, the

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