“I would pay five-and-forty thousand carriages to read W.’s tragedy, of which I have heard so much and seen so little.” Shortly afterwards, August 26, he wrote to Coleridge: “I have a sort of a recollection that somebody, I think you, promised me a sight of Wordsworth’s tragedy. I shall be very glad of it just now, for I have got Manning with me, and should like to read it with him. But this, I confess, is a refinement. Under any circumstances, alone, in Cold-Bath Prison, or in the desert island, just when Prospero and his crew had set off, with Caliban in a cage, to Milan, it would be a treat to me to read that play. Manning has read it, so has Lloyd, and all Lloyd’s family; but I could not get him to betray his trust by giving me a sight of it. Lloyd is sadly deficient in some of those virtuous vices.”—Ed.
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VARIANTS ON THE TEXT
... female ... 1842.]
Ha! ... 1842.]
With whom you parted? 1842.]
... o’er ... 1842.]
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FOOTNOTES ON THE TEXT
[Footnote A: He doubtless refers to the lines (Act iii. l. 405) “Action is transitory—a step, a blow,” etc., which followed the Dedication of ‘The White Doe of Rylstone’ in the edition of 1836.—Ed.]
[Footnote B: Note prefixed to the edition of 1842.—Ed.]
[Footnote C: Note appended to the edition of 1842.—Ed.]
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THE REVERIE OF POOR SUSAN
Composed 1797.—Published 1800.
[Written 1801 or 1802. This arose out of my observations of the affecting music of these birds, hanging in this way in the London streets during the freshness and stillness of the spring morning.—I. F.]
Placed by Wordsworth among his “Poems of the Imagination.”—Ed.
The preceding Fenwick note to this poem is manifestly inaccurate as to date, since the poem is printed in the “Lyrical Ballads” of 1800. In the edition of 1836 the date of composition is given as 1797, and this date is followed by Mr. Carter, the editor of 1857. Miss Wordsworth’s Journal gives no date; and, as the Fenwick note is certainly incorrect—and the poem must have been written before the edition of 1800 came out—it seems best to trust to the date sanctioned by Wordsworth himself in 1836, and followed by his literary executor in 1857. I think it probable that the poem was written during the short visit which Wordsworth and his sister paid to their brother Richard in London in 1797, when he tried to get his tragedy, ‘The Borderers’, brought on the stage. The title of the poem from 1800 to 1805 was ’Poor Susan’.—Ed.