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THE Prose Works of Wordsworth have never till now been brought together in chronological order, nor have the "Prefaces" and "Appendices" to his Poems, his "Essays," Addresses," and such books as his Description of the Scenery of the Lakes, been separated from his "Letters," and his "Notes" to his Poems; and there is some difficulty in doing so, in the present edition. Many of his "Letters" were, in reality, long "Essays"; and some of these were reproduced in the Memoirs, written by his nephew, and published in 1851. Others were first published in The Prose Works of William Wordsworth, edited by Dr. Grosart, in 1876. These "Prose Works" contain much that will be found in the subsequent volumes of this edition, devoted exclusively to the Poet's "Letters," and to those of his sister. I think it wise to detach the "Letters," as far as possible, from the "Prose Works." It is not always possible. The letter to the Bishop of Landaff, for example, and the Letter to a Friend of Robert Burns,—both of which are long Essays—must be placed in the "Prose Works." These works were never brought together till Dr. Grosart edited them in 1876.
I write with the greatest respect of Dr. Grosart's
labour, and of the services which he rendered to the memory of Wordsworth, by his edition of that year. He did great service, but my admiration for his work does not blind me to certain things, which detract from its perfection. It was a mistake to include in "The Prose Works of Wordsworth" the letter of Professor Wilson to The Friend signed "Mathetes," without a very clear indication, in the table of contents, as well as in the text, that it was not written by Wordsworth. I have spoken elsewhere of the title, "Apology for the French Revolution," affixed by Dr. Grosart to Wordsworth's letter to the Bishop of Landaff. But further, under the general title of "Advice to the Young" (which was not, and never could have been Wordsworth's), we have (1) this letter of John Wilson's to The Friend; (2) a paper by Wordsworth, in reply, headed, "Answer to the Letter of Mathetes," -a title which Wordsworth never gave to his Essay. Then, under the general head of "Education," we have five sub-sections: the titles, in each instance, being Dr. Grosart's. It would surely have been well to have told the world, in some sort of way, that these two titles, "Of the People, their Ways and Needs," and "Education of Duty," were not Wordsworth's.
The Poet expressed a wish that his nephew, the late Bishop of Lincoln, who wrote his Memoirs, should edit his Prose Works; and afterwards that his son-in-lawQuillinan-should do so. So late as 1840 he told Professor Read that one reason for not himself reprinting his Tract on The Convention of Cintra, was the regard he entertained for the Duke of Wellington, whose actions are discussed in the Tract.
Although it may be repeating what has been already