There are two poems in this collection that I have read before — The Rime of the Ancyent Marinere and Lines written a few miles above Tintern Abbey. I pray you tell, Sweet Maid, how this may be. In 1798 Wordsworth and Coleridge published Lyrical Ballads, with a Few Other Poems anonymously. I surprisingly really enjoyed some of the poems in this text, especially 'The Thorn', 'The Brothers' and 'We Are Seven'. In process of time metre became a symbol or promise of this unusual language, and whoever took upon him to write in metre, according as be possessed more or less of true poetic genius, introduced less or more of this adulterated phraseology into his compositions, and the true and the false became so inseparably interwoven that the taste of men was gradually perverted; and this language was received as a natural language; and, at length, by the influence of books upon men, did to a certain degree really become so. If my conclusions are admitted, and carried as far as they must be carried if admitted at all, our judgments concerning the works of the greatest Poets both ancient and modern will be far different from what they are at present, both when we praise, and when we censure: and our moral feelings influencing, and influenced by these judgments will, I believe, be corrected and purified. Yet, he felt that there was much that was inadequate in the document.
The result has differed from my expectation in this only, that a greater number have been pleased than I ventured to hope I should please. Others who pursue a different track will interest him likewise; I do not interfere with their claim, but wish to prefer a claim of my own. And his emotions and passions are more enthusiastic, tenderer and more powerful. Humble and rustic life was generally chosen, because, in that condition, the essential passions of the heart find a better soil in which they can attain their maturity, are less under restraint, and speak a plainer and more emphatic language; because in that condition of life our elementary feelings coexist in a state of greater simplicity, and, consequently, may be more accurately contemplated, and more forcibly communicated; because the manners of rural life germinate from those elementary feelings, and, from the necessary character of rural occupations, are more easily comprehended, and are more durable; and, lastly, because in that condition the passions of men are incorporated with the beautiful and permanent forms of nature. Coleridge became less and less convinced of its power as an artistic tool and finally disclaimed it altogether, saying that he and Wordsworth might have subscribed to it in theory but fell far short of exploiting it in actuality. Sometimes he had great success in this; other times, less so. Poetry and prose, he says, differ only as to presence or absence of rhyme; they do not differ as to language.
It will now be proper to answer an obvious question, namely, Why, professing these opinions, have I written in verse? This is unquestionably true; and hence, though the opinion will at first appear paradoxical, from the tendency of metre to divest language, in a certain degree, of its reality, and thus to throw a sort of half-consciousness of unsubstantial existence over the whole composition, there can be little doubt but that more pathetic situations and sentiments, that is, those which have a greater proportion of pain connected with them, may be endured in metrical composition, especially in rhyme, than in prose. Wordsworth himself felt that his work was a shining embodiment of the doctrine — as well as a vindication — and never completely abandoned it. If the time should ever come when what is now called science, thus familiarized to men, shall be ready to put on, as it were, a form of flesh and blood, the Poet will lend his divine spirit to aid the transfiguration, and will welcome the Being thus produced, as a dear and genuine inmate of the household of man. But, would my limits have permitted me to point out how this pleasure is produced, many obstacles might have been removed, and the Reader assisted in perceiving that the powers of language are not so limited as he may suppose; and that it is possible for poetry to give other enjoyments, of a purer, more lasting, and more exquisite nature. If the labours of Men of science should ever create any material revolution, direct or indirect, in our condition, and in the impressions which we habitually receive, the Poet will sleep then no more than at present; he will be ready to follow the steps of the Man of science, not only in those general indirect effects, but he will be at his side, carrying sensation into the midst of the objects of the science itself.
These pretty Babes with hand in hand Went wandering up and down; But never more they saw the Man Approaching from the town. Well Wordsworth and Coleridge certainly did. For a multitude of causes, unknown to former times, are now acting with a combined force to blunt the discriminating powers of the mind, and unfitting it for all voluntary exertion to reduce it to a state of almost savage torpor. The view of the moralists is that the writer can and does influence the lives and characters of his readers; and therefore it should try to be a good influence. Many of the poems are by Wordsworth. The remotest discoveries of the Chemist, the Botanist, or Mineralogist, will be as proper objects of the Poets art as any upon which it can be employed, if the time should ever come when these things shall be familiar to us, and the relations under which they are contemplated by the followers of these respective sciences shall be manifestly and palpably material to us as enjoying and suffering beings. Apparently that preface wasn't written until later editions since this book doesn't have a copy of it.
It is not, then, in the dramatic parts of composition that we look for this distinction of language; but still it may be proper and necessary where the Poet speaks to us in his own person and character. Stage Three: Filtering The third stage is that of filtering wherein the poet is purged of non-essential elements and thus makes his experience communicable to all men. If it be affirmed that rhyme and metrical arrangement of themselves constitute a distinction which overturns what I have been saying on the strict affinity of metrical language with that of prose, and paves the way for other artificial distinctions which the mind voluntarily admits, I answer that the language of such Poetry as I am recommending is, as far as is possible, a selection of the language really spoken by men; that this selection, wherever it is made with true taste and feeling, will of itself form a distinction far greater than would at first be imagined, and will entirely separate the composition from the vulgarity and meanness of ordinary life; and, if metre be superadded thereto, I believe that a dissimilitude will be produced altogether sufficient for the gratification of a rational mind. The most effective of these causes are the great national events which are daily taking place, and the increasing accumulation of men in cities, where the uniformity of their occupations produces a craving for extraordinary incident, which the rapid communication of intelligence hourly gratifies. But it is dangerous to make these alterations on the simple authority of a few individuals, or even of certain classes of men; for where the understanding of an Author is not convinced, or his feelings altered, this cannot be done without great injury to himself: for his own feelings are his stay and support, and, if he sets them aside in one instance, he may be induced to repeat this act till his mind loses all confidence in itself, and becomes utterly debilitated. Long as the Reader has been detained, 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.
Imagination is thought to be a mode of memory which brings images from the memory and so represents sense objects not actually present. He must communicate his ideas and emotions through a powerful re-creation of the original experience. He considers man and the objects that surround him as acting and re-acting upon each other, so as to produce an infinite complexity of pain and pleasure; he considers man in his own nature and in his ordinary life as contemplating this with a certain quantity of immediate knowledge, with certain convictions, intuitions, and deductions, which from habit acquire the quality of intuitions; he considers him as looking upon this complex scene of ideas and sensations, and finding everywhere objects that immediately excite in him sympathies which, from the necessities of his nature, are accompanied by an overbalance of enjoyment. So, he discusses the idea of poetry after discussing the idea of poet. But, as the pleasure which I hope to give by the Poems I now present to the Reader must depend entirely on just notions upon this subject, and, as it is in itself of the highest importance to our taste and moral feelings, I cannot content myself with these detached remarks. One of the significant forces that shaped Romantic Revival is the French Revolution 1789—1799.
The pleasure imparted by poetry ennobles and edifies the readers. This is not what I expected. He became a member of the so-called Godwin circle in London. The landscaping varieties of influences that provoked Wordsworth's inner child to sing out heart in Lyrical Ballads of first editions of 1798 as well as 1800. Poetry should express common human feelings and there should be no restriction in the expression of the experiences of the senses and sensibilities. A similar kind of incident triggers the poet to visit the past experiences stored in the unexplored regions of his mind.
They induced a mutual flood of creativity. On the whole, I preferred Wordsworth's poems over Colderidge's, mainly because the latter used a more advanced and superior language which in my case distanced the reader from both the writer and what he was trying to say. This effect is always produced in pathetic and impassioned poetry; while, in lighter compositions, the ease and gracefulness with which the Poet manages his numbers are themselves confessedly a principal source of the gratification of the Reader. Jointly, they conceived the romantic formula which was to enliven poetry from that day to this, Coleridge with his vast knowledge of German transcendental philosophy in which traces of romanticism were already evident, and Wordsworth with his cunning awareness of the magic of the commonplace. He is by nature led To peace so perfect, that the young behold With envy, what the old man hardly feels. This opinion may be further illustrated by appealing to the Reader's own experience of the reluctance with which he comes to the re-perusal of the distressful parts of Clarissa Harlowe, or the Gamester. Except this one restriction, there is no object standing between the Poet and the image of things; between this, and the Biographer and Historian there are a thousand.
For example, the mythological characters are the products of imagination. Moreover, they celebrate the joys and power o I've always shied away from reading poetry anthologies. I will not suffer a sense of false modesty to prevent me from asserting, that I point my Reader's attention to this mark of distinction, far less for the sake of these particular Poems than from the general importance of the subject. I cannot, however, be insensible of the present outcry against the triviality and meanness both of thought and language, which some of my contemporaries have occasionally introduced into their metrical compositions; and I acknowledge, that this defect, where it exists, is more dishonorable to the Writer's own character than false refinement or arbitrary innovation, though I should contend at the same time that it is far less pernicious in the sum of its consequences. Now these men would establish a canon of criticism which the Reader will conclude he must utterly reject, if he wishes to be pleased with these volumes.
But these passions and thoughts and feelings are the general passions and thoughts and feelings of men. Their language was far from what people used in daily conversations and they spoke of extraordinary subjects. To these qualities he has added a disposition to be affected more than other men by absent things as if they were present; an ability of conjuring up in himself passions, which are indeed far from being the same as those produced by real events, yet especially in those parts of the general sympathy which are pleasing and delightful do more nearly resemble the passions produced by real events, than any thing which, from the motions of their own minds merely, other men are accustomed to feel in themselves; whence, and from practice, he has acquired a greater readiness and power in expressing what he thinks and feels, and especially those thoughts and feelings which, by his own choice, or from the structure of his own mind, arise in him without immediate external excitement. While artful shades thy downy couch enclose, And soft solicitation courts repose, Amidst the drowsy charms of dull delight, Year chases year with unremitted flight, Till want now following, fraudulent and slow, Shall spring to seize thee, like an ambushed foe. How common is it to hear a person say, I myself do not object to this style of composition, or this or that expression, but, to such and such classes of people it will appear mean or ludicrous! Small volumes of verse often start literary revolutions, and this little book published in 1798 is perhaps the most revolutionary of all, It not only brought England into the Romantic Movement, but also simplified English poetic diction, right up to the present day. The result has differed from my expectation in this only, that I have pleased a greater number, than I ventured to hope I should please.