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Entered according to the Act of Congress, in the year 1851, by James Kay, Jun. & BROTHER,
PRINTED BY SMITH & PETERS,
Franklin Building, Sixth Street below Arrd, Philadelsble
The circumstances of the preparation of the American Edition of 1837 were stated in the Preface to that Edition-which is placed as the second preface in this volume. A copy of that Edition was sent to the Poet, and received his hearty sanction and approval. It is due to the readers of the Poems in the American Edition that the authority thus given to It should not be withheld from them. In a letter addressed to the Editor, and dated London, 19th August, 1837, Mr. W ordsworth said, “I shall now hasten to notice the Edition which you have superintended of my Poems. This I can do with much pleasure, as the Book, w hich has been shown to several persons of taste, Mr. Rogers in particular, is allowed to be far the handsomest specimen of print in double column which they have seen. Allow me to thank you for the pains you have bestowed upon the work. Do not apprehend that any difference in our several arrangements of the poems can be of much importance; you appear to understand me far too well for that to be possible.”
Since the publication of the former American Edition, there have appeared in England the following publications of the Poems under the Author's own supervision: the Edition of 1939–40, in six yolumes, containing some additional pieces: the volume, forming a seventh, entitled " Poems of Early and Late Years,” which appeared in 1842; the complete Poetical Works (with some additional poems) in one volume, issued in 1845; and the last Edition containing some few later pieces) which appeared in six volumes in 1849 and 1850—being completed a very short time before the Poet's death. In the summer of 1850, “The Prelude” was published posthumously.
Speaking of his own Edition in one volume, Wordsworth wrote to the American Editor as follows, in a letter dated, “ Rydal Mount, 31st July, 1845
arrying through the press an Edition in double column of my Poems, creding the last; the contents of
ontents of which will be interspersed in their several places. In the heading of the nages. I have followed the example of your Edition, by extending the
ation far beyond what it has hitherto been, except in your Edition. Ine book will be hos no means so well-looking as yours; as the contents will be more
Cassification of Imaginatio
Again, in a letter dated September 27th, of the same year—"The new edition of my Poems (double column) which is going through the press, will contain about three hundred verses not found in the previous Edition. I do not remember whether I have mentioned to you, that, following your example, I have greatly extended the class entitled “ Poems of the Imagination,” thinking as you must have done that, if Imagination were predominant in the class, it was not indispensable that it should pervade every poem which it contained. Limiting the class as I had done before, seemed to imply, and to the uncandid or observing did so, that the faculty, which is the primum mobile in poetry, had little to do, in the estimation of the author, with pieces not arranged under that head. I therefore feel much obliged to you for suggesting by your practice the plan which I have adopted.”
In the present volume the text of the former edition has been for the most part retained; all the additional poems have been introduced, and the arrangement made to correspond more nearly in the details of it with that adopted by the Author. This volume also contains some pieces, which were omitted, (inadvertently it is believed,) from the latest London Edition. The Alphabetical Index to the Poems, and the Index to the First Lines, will prove of great convenience, as giving, in addition to the Table of Contents, such facilities for reference as are peculiarly needed in a collection containing many short poems.
The Table of Contents will be found to have, besides its ordinary use, a biographical interest, in giving the dates of the composition of the poems, as far as stated by the Poet. A brief biographical note is also placed among the prefatory pages
In the prefatory matter of this volume, I have introduced the tributes paid to the genius of Wordsworth, by the late Hartley Coleridge, and by the author of “ Ion,” together with the still grander one from the pen of the Poet of “The Christian Year,” — a faithful and eloquent exposition of the character and spiritual worth of Wordsworth's poetry, expressed with such truthfulness and beauty of diction that the words scarce seem to belong to a dead language, when thus made the eloquent utterance of living thought and feeling.
The lines on p. xi. beginning “ If thou indeed derive thy light from Heaven,” are inserted as used by the Poet himself for a prefatory poem in his late Editions.
This Edition is now offered to the public with the assurance that it is the most complete collection of Wordsworth's poems, which has appeared. With regard to accuracy, the same sedulous effort, which on a former occasion was employed in affectionate and reverential gratitude to the living Poet, has been repeated with a yet deeper affection to his memory.
PHILADELPHIA, February 18, 1851.
THE AMERICAN EDITION OF 1837.
This Volume is published with a view to present a complete and uniform Edition of the Poetical Works of William Wordsworth. It contains the poems in the latest collected edition and in the additional volume, entitled “Yarrow Revisited and other Poems,” published in 1835. — The text has been adopted with great care from the London editions. To the contents of those volumes there have been added some lines published since the date of the last volume, and the Description of the Scenery of the Lakes, written by Mr. Wordsworth some years ago.
When the Publishers were about beginning the preparation of this volume, a difficulty in regard to the arrangement of the poems presented itself, to which it is proper here to advert. — The recent volume “ Yarrow Revisited, &c.” was prefaced by an advertisement o which Mr. Wordsworth stated his intention to have been “ to reserve the contents of the volume to be interspersed in some future edition of his miscellaneous Poems.” The request of friends, however, and a delicate regard for the interests of the purchasers of his former works, induced the publication of the separate volume, in which the poems are printed without reference to the classification, which distinguishes the general collection of his poems. In preparing a complete and uniform edition, it was at once obvious that great incongruity would result from inserting after the former collection of Poems, as arranged by Mr. Wordsworth, the contents of the volume since published in an order wholly different. Such a course would have been in direct violation of the Poet's expressed intention, and would have betrayed an ignorance or distrust of his principles of classification, or a timidity in applying them. It would have been a method purely mechanical, and calculated to impair the effect of that philosophical arrangement, which was designed “as a commentary unostentatiously directing the attention of those, who read with reflection, to the Poet's purposes." — Intelligent readers, familiar with the spirit of Wordsworth's poetry, would regret any violation of the harmony of his method : they could not be content, for instance, with any other arrangement of the miscellaneous Poems than that which the Poet has adopted, closing with the lofty Ode on the Intimations of Immortality.
In editing this volume, I have therefore ventured to adopt the only alternative which presented itself — to anticipate Mr. Wordsworth’s unexecuted intention of interspersing the contents of the volume entitled “Yarrow Revisited, &c.” among the poems already arranged by him. I have been guided by an attentive study of the principles of classification stated in his general Preface, and the character of each poem to which they were to be applied. In some instances special directions for arrangement had been given by the Poet himself; these have been carefully followed. In many instances the close similarity between groups of the unarranged poems, and those which had been arranged, left little room for error. With respect to the detached pieces, it has been felt to be a delicate undertaking to decide under which class each one of them should be appropriately arranged. This has been attempted with an anxious sense of the care it required, though with an assurance