Sidor som bilder
PDF
ePub

THE

POETICAL WORKS

OF

WILLIAM WORDSWORTH.

TO SIR GEORGE HOWLAND BEAUMONT, BART. MY DEAR SIR GEORGE, Accept my thanks for the permission given me to dedicate these Poems to you.— In addition to a lively pleasure derived from general considerations, I feel a particular satisfaction; for, by inscribing them with your Name, I seem to myself in some degree to repay, by an appropriate bonour, the great obligation which I owe to one part of the Collection—as having been the means of first making us personally known to each otber. Upon much of the remainder, also, you have a peculiar claim,-for several of the best picces were composed under the shade of your own groves, upon the classic ground of Coleorton ; where I was animated by the recollection of those illustrious Poets of your Name and Family, who were born in that neighbourhood; and, we may be assured, did not wander with indifference by the dashing stream of Grace-Dieu, and among the rocks that diversify the forest of Charnwood.-Nor is there any one to whom such parts of this Collection as have been inspired or coloured by the beautiful Country from which I now address you, could be presented with more propriety than to yourself -- who have composed so many admirable Pictures from the suggestions of the same scenery. Early in life, the sublimity and beauty of this Region excited your admiration ; and I know that you are bound to it in mind by a stillstrengthening attachment.

Wishing and hoping that these Poems may survive as a lasting memorial of a friendship, which I reckon among the blessings of my life,

I bave the honour to be, my dear Sir George,

Yours most affectionately and faithfully, Rydal Mount, Westmoreland, February 1, 1815.

WILLIAM WORDSWORTH.

PREFACE.

Tax observations prefixed to that portion of this work by any passion or feeling existing in the mind of the which was publisbed many years ago, under the title of Describer; whether the things depicted be actually pre« Lyrical Ballads,» have so little of a special application sent to the senses, or have a place only in the memory. to the greater part of the present enlarged and diversi- | This power, although indispensable to a Poet, is onc fied collection, that they could not with propriety stand which he employs only in submission to necessity, and as an Introduction to it. Not deeming it, however, ex- never for a continuance of time: as its exercise suppedient to suppress that exposition, slight and imperfect poses all the higher qualities of the mind 10 be passive, as it is, of the feelings which had determined the choice and in a state of subjection to external objects, much of the subjects, and the principles which had regulated in the same way as the Translator or Engraver ought to the composition of those Pieces, I have placed it so as be to his Original. 2dly, Sensibility,—which, the more to form an essay supplementary to the Preface, to be exquisite it is, the wider will be the range of a Poet's attended to, or not, at the pleasure of the Reader. perceptions ; and the more will he be incited to observe

lo the Preface to that part of « The Recluse,» lately objects, both as they exist in themselves and as reacted published under the title of « The Excursion,» I have upon by his own mind. (The distinction between poalluded to a meditated arrangement of my minor Poems, eric and human sensibility has been marked in the chawhich should assist the attentive Reader in perceiving racter of the Poct delineated in the original preface, betheir connexioo with each other, and also their subordi-fore mentioned.) 3dly, Reflection, - which makes the mation to that Work. I shall here say a few words ex- Poet acquainted with the value of actions, images, planatory of this arrangement, as carried into effect in thoughts, and feelings; and assists the sensibility in ibe present Work,

perceiving their connexion with each other. 4thly, The powers requisite for the production of poetry are, Imagination and Fancy,--to modify, to create, and to first, those of observation and description; i. e. the abi- associate. 5tbly, Invention,-- by which characters are huy to observe with accuracy things as they are in tbem-composed out of materials supplied by observacion--selves, and with fidelity to describe them, unmodified | whether of the Poet's own heart and mind, or of exter

[ocr errors]

nal life and nature; and such incidents and situations comprehending susticient of the general in the indiviproduced as are most impressive to the imagination, dual to be dignified with the name of poetry. and most fitted 10 do justice to the characters, senti Out of the three last has been constructed a comments, and passions, which the Poet undertakes to il- posite order, of which Young's Night Thoughts, and lustrate. And lastly, Judgment,—to decide how and Cowper's Task, are excellent examples. where, and in what degree, each of these faculties It is deducible from the above, that poems, apought to be exerted; so that the less shall not be sacri- parently miscellaneous, may with propriety be arranged ficed to the greater; nor the greater, slighting the less, either with reference to the powers of mind predoarrogate, to its own injury, more than its due. By minant in the production of them; or to the mould judgment, also, is determined what are the laws and in which they are cast; or, lastly, to the subjects to appropriate graces of every species of composition. which they relate. From each of these considerations,

The materials of Poetry, by these powers collected the following Poems have been divided into classes; and produced, are cast, by means of various moulds, wbich, that the work may more obviously correspond into divers forms. The moulds may be enumerated, with the course of human life, and for the sake of and the forms specified, in the following order. ist, exhibiting in it the three requisites of a legitimate the Narrative,-including the Epopeia, the Historic whole, a beginuing, a middle, and an end, have been Poem, the Tale, the Romance, the Mock-heroic, and, if also arranged, as far as it was possible, according to the spirit of Homer will tolerate such neighbourhood, an order of time, commencing with Childhood, and that dear production of our days, the metrical Novel. terminaling with Old Age, Death, and Immortality. My of this Class, the distinguishing mark is, that the Nar- guiding wish was, that the small pieces thus discrirator, however liberally his speaking agents be intro- minated, might be regarded under a two-fold duced, is himself the source from which every thing composing an entire work within themselves, and as primarily flows. Epic Poets, in order that their mode adjuncts to the philosophical Poem, « The Recluse. of composition may accord with the elevation of their This arrangement has long presented itself habitually subject, represent themselves as singing from the to my own mind. Nevertheless, I should have preinspiration of the Muse, Arma virumque cano ; but ferred to scatter the little poems alluded to at random, this is a fiction, in modern times, of slight value: the if I had been persuaded that, by the plan adopted, any Iliad or the Paradise Lost would cain little in our esti- thing material would be taken from the natural effect of mation by being chanted. The other poets who belong the pieces, individually, on the mind of the upretlecting to this class are commonly content to tell their tale;– Reader. I trust there is a sufficient variety in each class 10 so that of the whole it may be affirmed that they neither prevent this; while, for him who reads with reflection, the require nor reject the accompaniment of music. arrangement will serve as a commentaryunostenlatiously

2dly, The Dramatic,-consisting of Tragedy, Historic directing his attention to my purposes, both particular Drama, Comedy, and Masque, in which the poet does and general. But, as I wish to guard against the possinot appear at all in his own person, and where the bility of misleading by this classification, it is proper whole action is carried on by speech and dialogue of first to remind the Reader, that certain poems are the agents ; music being admitted only incidentally and placed according to the powers of mind, in the Author's rarely. The Opera may be placed here, inasınuch as it conception, predominant in the production of them; proceeds by dialogue; though, depending to the predominant, which implies the exertion of ouber fadegree that it does, upon music, it has a strong claim culties iu less degree. Where there is more imaginato be ranked with the Lyrical. The characteristic and tion than fancy in a poem, it is placed under the head impassioned Epistle, of which Ovid and Pope have of imagination, and vice versa. Both the above Classes given examples, considered as a species of monodrama, might without impropriety have been enlarged from may, without impropriety, be placed in this class. that consisting of « Poems founded on the Affections;»

3dly, The Lyrical, --contaiving the lymn, the Ode, as might this latter from those, and from the class the Elegy, the song, and the Ballad; in all which, for « Proceeding from Sentiment and Reflection.» The the production of their full effcct, an accompaniment most striking characteristics of each piece, mutual of music is indispensable.

illustration, variety, and proportion, have governed me 4thly, The Idyllium,--descriptive chiefly either of throughout. the processes and appearances of external nature, as It may be proper in this place to state, that the the « Seasons» of Thomson ; or of characters, manners, Extracts in the second Class, entitled « Juvenile Pieces, >> and sentiments, as are Sheostone's School-mistress, are in many places altered from the printed copy, The Cotter's Saturday Night of Burns, The Twa Dogschietly by omission and compression. The slight alof the same Author; or of these in conjunction with terations of another kind were for the most part made the appearances of Nature, as most of the pieces of not long after the publication of the Poems from which Theocritus, the Allegro and Perseroso of Milton, Beattie's the Extracts are taken.' These Extracts seem to have Minstrel, Goldsmith's « Deserted Village.» The Epitaph, a title to be placed here, as they were the productions the Inscription, the Sonnet, most of the epistles of of youth, and represent implicitly some of the features poets writing in their own persons, and all loco-de- of a youthful mind, at a time when images of pature scriptive poetry, belong to this class.

supplied to it the place of thought, sentiment, and 5thly, Didactic,--the principal object of which is almost of action ; or, as it will be found expressed, of direct instruction; as the Poem of Lucretius, the a state of mind when Georgics of Virgil, « the Fleece » of Dyer, Mason's « English Garden,» etc.

the sounding cataract And, lastly, philosophical satire, like that of Horace

Haunted me like a passion : The tall rock, and Juvenal; personal and occasional Satire rarely

! These Poems are now printed ontire.

The mountain, and the deep and gloomy wood,

he takes up the original word as his guide and escort, Their colours and their forms were then to mo

and too often does not perceive how soon he becomes An appetite, a feeling, and a love, That had no need of a remoter charm,

its prisoner, without liberty to tread in any path but By thought supplied, or any interest

that to which it confines him. It is not easy to find Unborrowd from the eye.

out how imagination, thus cxplained, differs from I will own that I was much at a loss what to select of distinct remembrance of images; or fancy from quick these descriptions; and perhaps it would have been and vivid recollection of them : each is nothing more better either to have reprinted the whole, or suppressed than a mode of memory. If the two words bear the what I have given.

above meaning, and no other, what term is left to None of the other Classes, except those of Fancy and designate that Faculty of which the Poet is « all comImajination, require any particular police.

But a

pact;» he whose eye glances from earth to Lieaven, remark of general application may be made. AI whose spiritual attributes body forth what his pen is Poets, excepe the dramatic, have been in the practice prompt in turning to shape; or what is left to characof frigning that their works were composed to the terise fancy, as insinuating herself into the heart of music of the harp or lyre : with what degree of affec-objects with creative activity ?--Imagination, in the tation this has been done in modern times, I leave to

sense of the word as giving title to a Class of the folthe judicious to determine. For my own part, I have lowing Poems, has no reference to images that are vot been disposed to violate probability so far, or 10 merely a faithful copy, exis:ing in the mind, of absent make such a larye demand upon the Reader's charity. external objects; but is a word of higher import, deSome of these pieces are essentially lyrical; and, there- noting operations of the mind upon those objects, and fore, cannot have their due force without a supposed processes of creation or of composition, governed by musical accompaniment; but, in much the greatest certain fixed laws. I proceed to illustrate my meaning part, as a substitute for the classic lyre or romantic by instances. A parrot hangs from the wires of his tarp, I require nothing more than an animated or im- cage by kris beak or by his claws; or a monkey from passioned recitation, adapted to the subject. Poems, the bough of a tree by his paws or liis tail. Each creahowever humble in their kind, if they be good in that

ture does so literally and actually. In the first Eclogue kind, canoot read themselves : the law of long syllable of Virgil, the Shepherd, thinking of the time when and short must not be so intlexible, – the letter of metre

he is to take leave of his Farm, thus addresses his must not be so impassive to the spirit of versification,

Goals ; -as to deprive the Reader of a voluntary power to mo

Non ego vos posthac viridi projectus in antro dulate, in subordination to the sense, the music of the

Dumosà pendere procul de rupe videbo. poern ;-in the same manner as his mind is left at

- half way down liberty, and even suinmoncd, to act upon its thoughts

Hangs one who gathers samphlre, and images. But, though the accompaniment of a mu- is the well-known expression of Shakspeare, delineating sical instrument be frequently dispeused with, the true Poes does not therefore abandon his privilege distinct iwo instances is a slight exertion of the faculty which I

an ordinary image upon the Cliffs of Dover. In these from that of the merc Proseman;

denominate imagination, in the use of one word : He murriors near the runaing brooks

neither the goals nor the samphire-gatherer do literally A music swocter than their owa.

hang, as does the parrot or the monkey; but, presentI come now to the consideration of the words Fancy ing to the senses something of such an appearance, and imagination, as employed in the classification of the mind in its activity, for its own gratification, conthe following Poems. A man,» says an intelligent templates them as hanging. Author, « has imagination in proportion as he can

As when far off at Sea a Fleet descried distinctly copy in idea the impressions of sense : it is Hangs in the clouds, by equinoctial winds the faculty which images within the mind the pheno

Close sailing from Bengala, or the Isles

of Ternate or Tydore, whence Merchants bring mena of sensation. A man has fancy in proportion as

Their spicy drugs; they on the trading flooul i he can call up, connect, or associate, at pleasure, those Through the wide Ethiopian to the Cape internal images (AVTT5:1 is to cause to appear) so as Ply, stemming, nightly toward the Pole: so seemed

Par off the flying Fiend. to complete ideal representations of absent objects. Imagination is the power of depicting, and fancy of Here is the full strength of the imagination involved evoking and combining. The imagination is formed in the word hangs, and exerted upon the whole image: by patient observation; the fancy by a voluntary acti- First, the Fleet, an aggregate of many Ships, is reprevity in shifting tbe scenery of the miod. The more sented as one mighty Person, wliose track, we know accurate the imagination, the more safely may a and feel, is upon the waters ; but, taking advantage of painter, or a poet, undertake a delineation, or a des- its appearance to the senses, the Poet dares to reprecription, without the presence of the objects to be sent it as hanging in the clouds, both for the gratificharacterized. The more versatile the fancy, the more cation of the mind in contemplating the image itself, original and striking will be the decorations produced.» and in reference to the motion and appearance of the -- british Synonyms discriminated, by W. Taylor. sublime object to which it is compared.

Is not this as if a man should undertake to supply From images of sight we will pass to those of sound: an account of a building, and be so intent upon what

Over bis own sweet voice the Stock-dove broods; he had discovered of the foundation as to conclude his task without once looking up at the superstructure? of the same bird, Flere, as in other instances throughout the volume, the

His voice was buried among trees, judicious Author's mind is enthralled by Etymology;

Yet to be come at by the breeze,

0, Cuckoo ! shall I call thee Bird,

The Stone is endowed with something of the power of Or but a wandering Voice?

life to approximate it to the Sea-beast; and the SeaThe Stock-dove is said to coo, a sound well imitating beast stripped of some of its vital qualities to assimilate the note of the bird; but, by the intervention of the it to the stone; which intermediate image is thus metaphor broods, the affections are called in by the treated for the purpose of bringing the original image, imagination to assist in marking the manner in which that of the stone, to a nearer resemblance to the figure the Bird reiterates and prolongs her soft note, as if and condition of the aged Man; who is divested of so herself delighting to listen to it, and participating of a much of the indications of life and motion as to bring still and quiet satisfaction, like that which may be him to the point where the two objects unite and supposed inseparable from the continuous process of coalesce in just comparison. After what has been incubation. « His voice was buried among trees,» a said, the image of the Cloud need not be commented metaphor expressing the love of seclusion by which upon. this Bird is marked; and characterising its note as not

Thus far of an endowing or modifying power : but partaking of the shrill and the piercing, and therefore the Imagination also shapes and creates; and how? By more easily deadened by the intervening shade; yet a

innumerable processes; and in none does it more note so peculiar, and withal so pleasing, that the breeze, delight than in that of consolidating numbers into gifted with that love of the sound which the poet feels, unity, and dissolving and separating unity into number, penetrates the shade in which itis entombed and conveys sublime consciousness of the soul in ber owo mighty

-alternations proceeding from, and governed by, a it to the ear of the listener.

and almost divine powers. Recur to the passage alShall I call thee Bird,

ready cited from Milton. When the compact Fleet, as Or but a wandering Voice !

one Person, bas been introduced « Sailing from BenThis concise interrogation characterises the seeming gala,» « They,» i.e. the « Merchants,» representing the ubiquity of the voice of the Cuckoo, and dispossesses Fleet resolved into a Multitude of Ships, «ply » their the creature almost of a corporeal existence; the ima- voyage towards the extremities of the earth : « So» (regination being tempted to this exertion of her power ferring to the word « As» in the commencement) by a consciousness in the memory that the Cuckoo is « seemed the flying Fiend ;» the image of his Person almost perpetually heard throughout the season of acting to recombine the multitude of Ships into one Spring, but seldom becomes an object of sight. body,- the point from which the comparison set out.

Thus far of images independent of each other, and « So seemed,» and to whom seemed ? To the heavenly immediately endowed by the mind with properties that Muse who dictates the poem, to the eye of the Poet's do not inhere in them, upon an incitement from pro- mind, and to that of the Reader, present at one moment perties and qualities the existence of which is inherent in the wide Ethiopian, and the next in the solitudes, and obvious. These processes of imagination are car- then first broken in upon, of the infernal regions ! ried on either by conferring additional properties upon an object, or abstracting from it some of those which it

Modo me Thebis, modo ponit Athenis. actually possesses, and thus enabling it to re-act upon Hear again this mighty Poet,-speaking of the Messiah the mind which hath performed the process, like a going forth to expel from Heaven the rebellious Angels, new existence.

Allended by ten thousand, thousand Saints I pass from the Imagination acting upon an indivi

He onward caine : far off his coming shone, dual image to a consideration of the same facully the retinue of Saints, and the Person of the Messialı employed upon images in a conjunction by which they modify cach other. The Reader has already had himself

, lost almost and merged in the splendour of a fine instance before him in the passage quoted from

that indefinite abstraction, « His coming !» Virgil, where the apparently perilous situation of the

As I do not mean here to treat this subject further Goat, hanging upon the shagcy precipice, is contrasted

than to throw some light upon the present Edition, with that of the Shepherd, contemplating it from the and especially upon one division of it, I shall spare seclusion of the Cavern in which he lies stretched at myself and the Reader the trouble of considering the ease and in security. Take these images separately, Imagination as it deals with thoughts and sentiments

, and how unaffecting the picture compared with that

as il regulates the composition characters, and de produced by their being thus connected with, and op- termines the course of actions : I will not consider it posed to, each other!

(more than I have already done by implication) as that As a huge Stone is sometimes seen to lio

power which, in the language of one of my most

esteemed Friends, « draws all things to one, which Couched on the bald top of an eminence, Wonder to all wbo do the same espy

makes things animate or inanimate, beings with their By what means it could thithur come, aod whence, attributes, subjects with their accessaries, lake one coSo that it seems a thing endued with sepse,

lour and serve to one effect.» . The grand store-houses Like a Sea-beast crawled forth, which on a shelf

of enthusiastic and meditative Imagination, of poetical, of rock or sand reposeth, there to suo himself.

as contradistinguished from human and dramatic ImaSuch seemed this Man; not all alive or dead, Nor all asleep, in his extreme old age.

gination, are the prophetic and lyrical parts of the Holy Motionless as a cloud the old Man stood,

Scriptures, and the works of Milton, to which I cannot That beareth not tbe loud winds when they call,

forbear to add those of Spenser. I select these writers And moveth altogether if it move at all.

in preference to those of ancient Greece and Rome, In these images, the conferring, thic abstracting, and because the anthropomorphitism of the Pagan religion the modifying powers of the Imagination, inmediately subjected the minds of the greatest poets in those and mediately acting, are all brought into conjunction.

Charles Lamb upon the genius of Hogarth.

may be

countries too much to the bondage of definite form; nation as to the Fancy; but either the materials evoked from which the Hebrews were preserved by their and combined are different; or they are brought abhorrence of idolatry. This abhorrence was almost together under a different law, and for a different puras strong in our great epic Poet, both from circum- pose. Fancy does not require that the materials which stances of his life, and from the constitution of his she makes use of should be susceptible of change in mind. However imbued the surface might be with their constitution, from her touch: and, where they adclassical literature, he was a Hebrew in soul; and all mit of modification, it is enough for her purpose if it things tended in him towards the sublime. Spenser, be slight, limited, and evanescent. Directly the reverse of a gentler nature, maintained his freedom by aid of of these are the desires and demands of the Imagination. his allegorical spirit, at one time inciting him to create She recoils from every thing but the plastic, the pliant, persoas out of abstractions; and, at another, by a su- and the indefinite. She leaves it to Fancy to describe perior effort of genius, to give the universality and Queen Mab as coming, permaneace of abstractions to bis human beings, by

In shape no bigger than an agatestone means of attributes and emblems that belong to the

On the fore-finger of an Alderman. highest moral truths and the purest sensations,—of Having to speak of stature, she does not tell you that which his character of Uoa is a glorious example. Of her gigantic Angel was as tall as Pompey's Pillar; much tbe human and dramatic Imagination the works of less that he was (welve cubits, or twelve hundred cubits Shakspeare are an inexhaustible source.

high; or that his dimensions equalled those of Teneriffe I tas not you, ye Elements, with unkindness ;

or Atlas ;---because these, and if they were a million I never gave you Kingdoms, called you Daughters !

times as high, it would be the same, are bounded : The And if, bearing in mind the many Poets distinguished table firmament!-When the Imagination frames a

expression is, « His stature reached the sky!» the illimiby this prime quality, whose names I omit to mention; comparison, if it does not strike on the first presentayet justified by a recollection of the insults which the tion, a sense of the truth of the likeness, from the Ignorant, the Incapable, and the Presumptuous, have

moment that it is perceived, grows—and continues to heaped upon these and my other writings, I

grow-upon the mind; the resemblance depending less permitted to anticipate the judgment of posterity upon upon outline of form and feature than upon expression myself ; I shall declare (censurable, I grant, if the no- and effect, less upon casual and outstanding, than upon toriety of the fact above stated does not justify me) inherent and internal, properties :

: - moreover, the that I have given, in these unfavourable times, evidence images invariably modify each other. The law under of exertious of this faculty upon ijs worthiest objects, which the processes of Fancy are carried on is as caprithe external universe, the moral and religious senti- cious as the accidents of things, and the effects are ments of Man, bis natural affections, and his acquired surprising, playful, ludicrous, amusing, tender, or passions; which have the same ennobliug tendency as pathetic, as the objects happen to be appositely producthe productions of men, in this kind, worthy to be ed or fortunately combined. Fancy depends upon the holden in undying remembrance.

rapidity and profusion with which she scatters her I dismiss this subject with observing—that, in the thoughts and images, trusting that their number, and series of Poems placed under the head of Imagination, the felicity with which they are linked together, will I have begun with one of the earliest processes of Na- make amends for the want of individual value : or she ture in the development of this faculty, Guided by prides herself upon the curious subtilty and the sucone of my own primary consciousnesses, I have repre- cessful elaboration with which she can detect their seated a commutation and transfer of internal feelings, lurking affinities. If she can win you over to her purpose, co-operatiog with external accidents to plant, for im- and impart to you her feelings, she cares not how mortality, images of sound and sight, in the celestial unstable or transitory may be her influence, knowing soil of the Imagination. The Boy, there introduced, is that it will not be out of her power to resume it upon listening, with something of a feverish and restless

an apt occasion. But the Imagination is conscious of anxiety, for the recurrence of the riotous sounds which

an indestructible domicion ;-the Soul may fall away he had previously excited ; and, at the moment when from it, not being able to sustain its grandeur; but, if the intenseness of luis mind is beginning to remit, he is once felt and acknowledged, by no act of any other surprised into a perception of the solemn and tran- faculty of the mind can it be relaxed, impaired, or quillizing images which the Poem describes. — The diminished. - Fancy is given to quicken and to beguile Poems next in succession exhibit the faculty exerting the temporal part of our Nature, Imagination to incite itself upon various objects of the external universe; and to support the eternal. —Yet is it not the less true theo follow others, where it is employed upon feelings, that Fancy, as she is an active, is also, under her own characters, and actions;' and the Class is concluded laws and in her owo spirit, a creative faculty. In what with imaginative pictures of moral, political, and re

manner Fancy ambitiously aims at a rivalship with the ligious sentiments.

Imagination, and Imagination stoops to work with the To the mode in which Fancy has already been cha- materials of Fancy, might be illustrated from the comracterised as the Power of evoking and combining, or, positions of all eloquent writers, whether in prose or as my friend Mr Coleridge has styled it, a the aggregative verse; and chiefly from those of our own Country. and associative Power,» mny objection is only that the Scarcely a page of the impassioned parts of Bishop definition is too general. To aggregate and to associate, Taylor's Works can be opened that shall not afford to roke and to combine, belong as well to the Imagi- examples.-Referring the Reader to those inestimable

Volumes, I will content myself with placing a conceit * In the present edition, such of these as were furnished by (ascribed to Lord Chesterfield) in contrast with a passage Sotish sabje 11 are incorporated with a class entitled, Memorials of a Tour in Scotland.

from the Paradise Lost;

« FöregåendeFortsätt »