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said, it may be well to insert here a complete list of the "Prose Writings," which were published, with his own sanction, during Wordsworth's lifetime.
A Letter to the Bishop of Landaff, on the extraordinary avowal of his Political Principles, contained in the Appendix to his late Sermon; by a Republican (1793).
Advertisement to Lyrical Ballads, 1798.
Preface to Lyrical Ballads, in the second edition of 1800.
Appendix to Lyrical Ballads, on Poetic Diction, in the third edition of 1802.
Concerning the Relations of Great Britain, Spain, and Portugal, to each other and the Common Enemy at this crisis ; and specifically as affected by the Convention of Cintra. (1809.)
a. Introduction to Select Views in Cumberland, Westmoreland, and Lancashire, by the Reverend Joseph Wilkinson, (1810); afterwards expanded into,
b. A Topographical Description of the Country of the Lakes in the North of England, appended to "The River Duddon, a series of Sonnets" (1820).
c. A Description of the Scenery of the Lakes in the North of England. Third edition, now first published separately (1822).
d. A Guide through the District of the Lakes in the North of England, with a Description of the Scenery, etc. (1835).
Essay upon Epitaphs, in The Friend (1810).
Preface to The Excursion (1814).
Preface to the Poems by William Wordsworth, 1815, and Essay Supplementary to the Preface.
A Letter to a Friend of Robert Burns (1816).
Two Addresses to the Freeholders of Westmoreland (1818).
Postscript to Yarrow revisited and other Poems (1836).
Speech, delivered at Bowness in 1836, when laying the foundation-stone of a new School.
Serjeant Talfourd's Copy-Right Bill. A Letter to the Editor of the Kendal Mercury (1838).
Kendal and Windermere Railway.
from the Morning Post (1844).
Two Letters reprinted
The various "Dedications" and "Notes" included in, or appended to, the successive editions of Poems, from 1793 to 1849.
Many archaic forms of spelling, which were current in Wordsworth's days, are retained in this edition, simply because they were his; e.g. I retain "Landaff" throughout, and such words as "burthen," "tenour," 99 66 shewn," "controul," "cheared," "chaunted," etc. etc.; while such
spellings as "moveable," bigotted," ‚” “aweful,” “judgement," "stedfast," "palateable," "publickly," are discarded. In all his prose writings Wordsworth's use of capital letters was quite casual. I have sometimes been compelled to reduce their number; but, quite as often, to raise his small letters to capitals! e.g. "prince regent" will be found over and over again in the original edition of The Convention of Cintra, 1809.
The Advertisement to Lyrical Ballads of 1798 is a remarkable document, and a fit prelude to the more famous "Preface" of 1800.
The seventeenth number of The Friend-published on the 14th of December 1809-contained a letter "To the Editor," signed MATHETES; and the first part of a sequel to it—a critical commentary-by Wordsworth, followed in the same number. The second part of the sequel appeared in the twentieth number.
In the edition of The Friend, published in 1818, the letter of Mathetes, and Wordsworth's commentary, occupy pages 1 to 64 of the third volume. The commentary is signed W. W. In The Friend no clue was given as to the identity of Mathetes, and only a partial clue to the identity of the author of the sequel, as the initials "W. W." occur at the close of a quotation from the Ode to Duty.
It is now well known that "Mathetes" was John Wilson, and that his commentator was Wordsworth. What probably led Dr. Grosart to include both of these communications to The Friend, under the common title of "Advice to the Young" in The Prose Works of William Wordsworth, was the fact that the Poet's nephew, the late Bishop of Lincoln, entitled the XXIX chapter of his Memoirs of William Wordsworth, “Advice
to the Young." In any case it is essential to know what was and what was not Wordsworth's own title.
In reference to that really great Essay on The Convention of Cintra it is unfortunate that Wordsworth himself did not see it through the press. The paragraphs, as originally printed, are so long, and they pass from page to page without a break or restingpoint, that many readers are deterred from going on, in the perusal of the Essay. But that was the fault of his original publisher, and assistant editor. I do not feel at liberty to make any structural changes in the text of The Convention of Cintra in this edition, although it would be very easy to break it up into paragraphs; so as to rest the eye of the reader, without adding to, or taking from, the original in any way.
It was towards the close of March 1809 that Wordsworth completed the manuscript of this Essay. He then sent it to De Quincey, who was resident in London, and who kindly undertook to see it through the press, and to compile an Appendix, which he did. For these "labours of love" Wordsworth was abundantly grateful, and he expressed his gratitude to De Quincey. The latter, however, seems to have worried the printers (chiefly about details of punctuation) to such an extent that the press was frequently stopped. Before the end of March, a hundred pages were printed off, and the last sheets of the MSS. were in De Quincey's hands. Wordsworth naturally expected that publication would follow in about a fortnight. In May he got alarmed about some expressions he had used, and Mr. Daniel Stewart, editor of The Courier, undertook to read the proofs with a view to the correction of any libelous passages. Another month elapsed, and the pamphlet was still un
published. When it appeared-early in June-public interest in the subject had evaporated, and the pamphlet fell dead from the press. This was doubtless due to some editorial mismanagement. Wordsworth, not unnaturally, complained of this; although to De Quincey himself he said as little as possible, beyond expressions of gratitude for the trouble he had taken in compiling the Appendix.
As the Advertisement of 1809 tells us, two portions of this Essay, a pamphlet, entitled The Convention of Cintra, originally appeared in The Courier newspaper, edited by Daniel Stewart, in December 1808 and January 1809. When they thus appeared Walter Scott wrote to Southey "I much agree with him."
In a letter, dated 6th February 1836, Henry Nelson Coleridge wrote to Mr. Dyce—the letter is in the Dyce and Forster Library at South Kensington-"A very brilliant portion of Mr. W.'s pamphlet on the Cintra Convention is Coleridge's. They did not think of authorship meum and tuum then. Few persons are now competent to take an account of that partnership. Indeed who wants to strike any balance?"
It would be interesting if we could now discover what "portion” of this “Tract” was written by S. T. C.; but, in the absence of such a clue, it is extremely interesting to find that the literary co-partnery, begun in the Lyrical Ballads of 1798, was continued in The Convention of Cintra, as well as in The Friend.
On the 30th October 1808, Southey wrote to his son Tom of "this infamous Convention," and said, "If anything is done in Cumberland here, it will originate with Wordsworth he and I and Coleridge will set the business in its true light, in the county newspapers, and frame the resolutions, to be brought forward by some