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Composed 1795-1814.—Published 1814
[SOMETHING must now be said of this poem, but chiefly, as has been done through the whole of these notes, with reference to my personal friends, and especially to her who has perseveringly taken them down from my dictation. Towards the close of the first book, stand the lines that were first written,beginning “Nine tedious years," and ending “ Last human tenant of these ruined walls.” These were composed in 1795, at Racedown ; and for several passages describing the employment and demeanour of Margaret during her affliction, I was indebted to observations made in Dorsetshire, and afterwards at Alfoxden, in Somersetshire, where I resided in 1797 and 1798. The lines towards the conclusion of the fourth book, spondency corrected,”—beginning “ For the man who in this spirit,” to the words “intellectual soul,” -- were in order of time composed the next, either at Racedown or Alfoxden, I do not remember which. The rest of the poem was written in the vale of Grasmere, chiefly during our residence at Allan Bank. The long poem on my own education was, together with many minor poems, composed while we lived at the cottage at Townend. Perhaps my purpose of giving an additional interest to these my poems, in the eyes of my nearest and dearest friends, may be promoted by saying a few words upon the character of the Wanderer, the Solitary, and the Pastor, and some other of the persons introduced. And first of the principal one, the Wanderer.