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Wordsworth, works. ed. Knight. vol. Th.

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No reader of this Life of Wordsworth can regret, so much as the author does, the long delay that has occurred in its publication. Although the first of the three volumes has been printed for more than a year, the issue of the work has been postponed from causes too numerous to mention. When the edition of the Works of Wordsworth-to which this Life was to be an appendix-was projected, eight years ago, the first idea was that a single volume would suffice, both for a Biography of the poet, and for a critical Essay upon him. As soon as the work of research began, however, so much new material accumulated from many sources, that it was judged expedient, not only to extend the Biography from one volume to two, and ultimately to three, but to exclude the critical Essay, reserving it for a future occasion, and a different purpose.

It can be of little consequence to any who read these volumes, to know what the writer thinks of Wordsworth, of his place as a poet in the great hierarchy of genius, and of his function as a teacher of mankind; but it matters a great deal that they should have authentic information as to the manner of man Wordsworth was-as to what he thought and said and did—and that they should know the relations he sustained toward the more distinguished of his contemporaries.

The hitherto unpublished material which the volumes contain far exceeds, in value and importance, what has been added to them from the miscellaneous sources of informa

tion, open to all students of English Literature.


solitary canto of the projected Recluse—already published by itself, but which was intended to appear first in this work—the fragments of Michael, the poem on Nab Well (originally designed as a portion of The Recluse), and many nuga which the lovers of the poet will not willingly let die; the Alfoxden, the Hamburg, and above all the Grasmere Journal of Wordsworth's sister; the two records of the Continental Tour of 1820, written by Dorothy, and by Mrs Wordsworth respectively; the Journals of other Tours in Scotland, in the Isle of Man, and on the Continent, written by the sister and the daughter of the poet; numerous letters of Wordsworth, to his wife and his sister, to Coleridge, Southey and Sir Walter Scott, to Landor and Talfourd, to Mrs Barrett Browning, to Richard Sharp and Barron Field and John Kenyon, to Scott (the editor of The Champion), to Lord Lonsdale and Viscount Lowther, to Henry Crabb Robinson, to Professor Reed of Philadelphia, and to the poet's publisher, Moxon; letters also from Dorothy Wordsworth to Miss Pollard, afterwards Mrs Marshall, and to Crabb Robinson; with others from Mrs Clarkson, and Mrs Arnold-all these are published for the first time. In addition, there are many letters from Wordsworth's correspondents on the question of copyright, -including Mr Gladstone, Sergeant Talfourd, and Lord Houghton, and some extracts containing notices of the poet, and facts regarding him, from books written by contemporaries now almost forgotten.

It is absurd at any time, and now-a-days it would be ludicrous, for a biographer to assume the role of eulogist. To be blind to the weaknesses of a great man is itself a weakness. To enlarge upon them is both foolish and useless; but to conceal them is to be unfaithful to posterity. There is this advantage however in writing the

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