The Poetical Works of William Wordsworth — Volume 1 eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 540 pages of information about The Poetical Works of William Wordsworth — Volume 1.

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[Sub-Footnote i:  The final retention of the reading of 1798 was probably due to a remark of Charles Lamb’s, in 1815, in which he objected to the loss of the “admirable line” in the first edition, “a line quite alive,” he called it.  Future generations may doubt whether the reading of 1798, or that of 1815, is the better.—­Ed.]

[Sub-Footnote ii:  An emendation by S. T. C.—­Ed.]

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Composed 1795-6.—­Published 1842

Readers already acquainted with my Poems will recognise, in the following composition, some eight or ten lines, [A] which I have not scrupled to retain in the places where they originally stood.  It is proper however to add, that they would not have been used elsewhere, if I had foreseen the time when I might be induced to publish this Tragedy.

  February 28, 1842. [B]

This Dramatic Piece, as noted in its title-page, was composed in 1795-6.  It lay nearly from that time till within the last two or three months unregarded among my papers, without being mentioned even to my most intimate friends.  Having, however, impressions upon my mind which made me unwilling to destroy the MS., I determined to undertake the responsibility of publishing it during my own life, rather than impose upon my successors the task of deciding its fate.  Accordingly it has been revised with some care; but, as it was at first written, and is now published, without any view to its exhibition upon the stage, not the slightest alteration has been made in the conduct of the story, or the composition of the characters; above all, in respect to the two leading Persons of the Drama, I felt no inducement to make any change.  The study of human nature suggests this awful truth, that, as in the trials to which life subjects us, sin and crime are apt to start from their very opposite qualities, so there are no limits to the hardening of the heart, and the perversion of the understanding to which they may carry their slaves.  During my long residence in France, while the Revolution was rapidly advancing to its extreme of wickedness, I had frequent opportunities of being an eye-witness of this process, and it was while that knowledge was fresh upon my memory, that the Tragedy of ‘The Borderers’ was composed. [C]

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The Poetical Works of William Wordsworth — Volume 1 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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