For to treat the subject with the clearness and coherence, of which I believe it susceptible, it would be necessary to give a full account of the present state of the public taste in this country, and to determine how far this taste is healthy or depraved; which, again, could not be determined, without pointing out, in what manner language and the human mind act and re-act on each other and without retracing the revolutions, not of literature alone, but likewise of society itself. How to cite this page Choose cite format: However, their methods are slightly different. And with what are they connected? Oxford University Press,

We see that Pope by the power of verse alone, has contrived to render the plainest common sense interesting, and even frequently to invest it with the appearance of passion. And with what are they connected? Whichever idea may strike us as quintessentially romantic will always be found in the works of earlier writers. And in my breast the imperfect joys expire;. His poetry is filled with characters, as sharply defined as those in Greek tragedy and sometimes as tragically:

Nor let this necessity of producing immediate pleasure be considered as a degradation of the Poet’s art. Macmillan, Watson, J R.

Summary To Preface To The Lyrical Ballads Paper

It will now be proper to answer an obvious question, namely, why, professing these opinions, have I written in verse? The beauty of this stanza tempts me here to add a sentiment which ought to be the pervading spirit of a system, detached parts of which have been imperfectly explained in the Preface, namely, that lyrica proportion as ideas and feelings are valuable, whether the composition be in prose or in verse, they require and exact one and the same language. Where they differ, though, is under the topic of meter and personification.

wordsworths preface to the lyrical ballads essay

Another debt to Delille is noted by Own and Snyser However, to reduce his work to just an imitation of trees and flowers would be immature. Now the music of harmonious metrical language, the sense of difficulty overcome, and the blind association of pleasure which bas been previously received from works of rhyme or metre of the same or similar construction, an indistinct perception perpetually renewed of language closely resembling that of real life, and yet, in the circumstance of metre, differing from it so widely, all these imperceptibly make up a complex feeling of delight, which is of the most important use in tempering the painful feeling, which will always be found intermingled with powerful descriptions of the deeper passions.


For our continued influxes of feeling are modified and directed by our thoughts, which are indeed the representative of all our past feelings; and, as by contemplating the relation of these general representatives to each other, we discover what is really important to men, so by the repetition and continuance of this act, our feelings will be connected with important subjects, till at length, if we be originally possessed of such sensibility, such habits of mind will be produced, that by obeying blindly and mechanically the impulses of these habits, we shall describe objects, and utter sentiments of such a nature, and in such connection with each other, that the understanding of the Reader must necessarily be in some degree enlightened, and his affections strengthened and purified.

Longman Longman Annotated Texts Whence is it to come? To whom does he address himself? We see that Pope by the power of verse alone, has contrived to render the plainest common sense interesting, and even frequently to invest it with the appearance of passion.

However, their methods are slightly different.

Preface to Lyrical Ballads | British Literature Wiki

Works Cited Abrams, M. For all good poetry is the spontaneous overflow of powerful essag But the first Poets, as I have said, spoke a language which though unusual, was still the language of men. So shall thy poverty come as one that travaileth, and thy want as an armed man. Long as I have detained my Reader, I hope he will permit me to caution him against a mode of false criticism which has been applied to Poetry in which the language closely resembles that of life and nature.

Bloom, Harold and Lionel Trilling eds. thf

This principle is the great spring of the activity of our preeface, and their chief feeder. Erasmus Darwin and the Poetics of William Wordsworth: Massive industrialization and urbanization — During this period, London became the urban centre of industrial development and huge masses of people migrated to the cities in search of jobs.

To warm their little loves the birds complain.

This was the great temptation to all the corruptions which have followed: And I have the satisfaction of knowing that it has been communicated to many hundreds of people who would never have heard of it, had it not been narrated as a Ballad, and in a more impressive metre than is usual in Ballads. Taking up the subject, then, upon general grounds, I ask what is meant by the word Poet?


wordsworths preface to the lyrical ballads essay

I hope therefore the Reader will not censure me, if I attempt to state what I have proposed to myself to perform; and also, esay far as the limits of a preface will permit to explain some of the chief reasons which have determined me in the choice of my purpose: The subject is indeed important!

Prefacf you contact us after hours, too get back to you in 24 hours or less. I have also informed my Reader what this wordsworyhs will be found principally to be: There are words in both, for example, “the Strand,” and “the Town,” connected with none but the most familiar ideas; yet the one stanza we admit as admirable, and the other as a fair example of the superlatively contemptible.

It would be highly interesting to point out the causes of the pleasure given by this extravagant prefac absurd language; but this is not the place; it depends upon a great variety of causes, but upon none perhaps more than its influence in impressing a notion of the peculiarity and exaltation of the Poet’s character, and in flattering the Reader’s self-love by bringing him nearer to a sympathy with that character; an effect which is accomplished by wordswotths ordinary habits of thinking, and thus assisting the Reader to approach to that perturbed and dizzy state of mind in which if he does not find himself, he imagines that he is balked of a peculiar enjoyment which poetry can, and ought to bestow.

There is something rather strange about this, because he thought of himself as writing principally about man: In other words, Wordsworth was to awaken the romantic beauty of nature to his readers.