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THE eighth volume of this edition completes the Works of the poet. As there is no prefatory note to volume seven, the extension of the edition to nine, instead of eight volumes may now be explained.

It was originally intended that the Poetical Works should be completed in seven volumes, and that the eighth should be entirely devoted to the Life of Wordsworth, and a Critical Essay; but it has been found impossible, even by omitting editorial notes and other illustrative matter-as well as the prose fragments and the indexes-to condense what remained of the poems into a single volume that did not greatly exceed the others in size. In these circumstances it seemed best to close the seventh volume with the poems belonging to the year 1834; and to add the prose fragments, two indexes, and a new chronological table of the poems to the eighth.

The chronological list previously given was necessarily incomplete, important sources of information having been discovered since it was published. That which is now published may not be absolutely accurate. There is no such thing as finality in such a matter-as fresh documentary evidence may fix some dates that are uncertain, and correct others that seem reliable-but it is believed that no important error will be found in the present list.

Wordsworth's Description of the Scenery of the Lakes in the North of England, and his Two Letters to the Morning Post on "The Kendal and Windermere Railway," are included in this volume, on the same principle that the Prefaces and Appendices to his Poems were published in previous ones, viz., from the close relation in which they stand to the Poetical Works, and the light which they cast upon them. These prose fragments will be further referred to in the Life of the poet.

Materials for this Life have accumulated, which, if published as they stand, would more than fill another volume of equal size to those already issued; and the importance of presenting the Life by itself, apart from the Works, will justify the slight extension of this edition beyond the limit originally proposed.

Through the kindness of Mr William Wordsworth, Elphinstone College, Bombay, and Mr Gordon Wordsworth, -grandsons of the poet,-I shall be able to include in the next volume the unpublished canto of The Recluse, entitled "Home at Grasmere." A portrait of the poet will be given in the same volume.

Several Poems now published have not appeared in any previous edition of the Works.

I am indebted to the Bishop of St Andrews for most kindly revising the proof-sheets of the first hundred pages of volume seven, containing the Ecclesiastical Sonnets, and for making some valuable suggestions.

The etching in volume seven is of Alfoxden, in Somersetshire, where Wordsworth lived with his sister from August 1797 to September 1798.

November 1835.


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