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With the exception of a few small Pieces, and the “ Excursion,” the present Edition contains the whole of the published Poems of the Author ; namely, the Evening Walk, Descriptive Sketches, 1793 : Lyrical Ballads, 1798 and 1790: Poems, in Two Volumes, 1807: Additional Pieces, and the White Doe of Rylstone, 1815: Thanksgiving Ode, &c. 1816: The Tale of Peter Bell, and the Waggoner, 1819: and the River Duddon, &c. 1820. A few Sonnets are now first published.
London, July 8. 1820.
The observations prefixed to that portion of these Volumes, which was published many years ago, under the title of “ Lyrical Ballads,” have so little of a special application to the greater part of the present enlarged and diversified collection, that they could not with propriety stand as an Introduction to it. Not deeming it, however, expedient to suppress that exposition, slight and imperfect as it is, of the feelings which had determined the choice of the subjects, and the principles which had regulated the composition of those Pieces, I have transferred it to the end of the second Volume, to be attended to, or not, at the pleasure of the Reader. t
To the Edition published in 1815, in Two Octavo Volumes. † Now placed at the end of Volume IV.
In the Preface to that part of “ The Recluse,” lately published under the title of “ The Excursion,” I have alluded to a meditated arrangement of my minor Poems, which should assist the attentive Reader in perceiving their connection with each other, and also their subordination to that Work. I shall here say a few words explanatory of this arrangement, as carried into effect in the present Volumes.
The powers requisite for the production of poetry are, first, those of observation and de scription, i.e. the ability to observe with accuracy things as they are in themselves, and with fidelity to describe them, unmodified by any passion or feeling existing in the mind of the Describer: whether the things depicted be actually present to the senses, or have a place only in the me mory. This power, though indispensable to a Poet, is one which he employs only in submission to necessity, and never for a continuance of time: as its exercise supposes all the higher qualities of the mind to be passive, and in a