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HARVARD COLLEGE LIBRARY
Entered according to the Act of Congress, in the year 1851, by JAMES KAY, JUN. & BROTHER, in the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the United States, in and for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.
THE AMERICAN EDITOR.
THE circumstances of the preparation of the American Edition of 1837 were stated in the I reface 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. Wordsworth 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, which 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 1839-40, in six volumes, 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 pocms) 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
"I am at present carrying through the press an Edition in double column of my Poems, .ncluding the last; the contents of which will be interspersed in their several places. In the heading of the pages, I have followed the example of your Edition, by extending the classification of Imagination far beyond what it has hitherto been, except in your Edition. The book will be by no means so well-looking as yours; as the contents will be more crowded."
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.