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“Wordsworth was a great critic, and it is to be sincerely regretted that he has not left
us more criticism." - MATTHEW ARNOLD.

Admirable specimens of philosophical criticism.” – SIR HENRY TAYLOR.
“No one can read the reasoning of these Prefaces without instruction.” – Prof. SHAIRP.

The Prefaces are most valuable contributions to our literature of criticism."
AUBREY DE VERE.

BOSTON, U.S.A.:
D. C. HEATH & CO., PUBLISHERS.

1892.

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TO

Aubrey De, Here, LL.D.,

THE FRIEND OF WORDSWORTH,

WHO HAS NOBLY ILLUSTRATED IN PROSE AND VERSE

THE PRINCIPLES OF LITERATURE AND LIFE

CONTAINED IN THESE

PREFACES.

“High is our calling, Friend ! — Creative Art

(Whether the instrument of words she use,
Or pencil pregnant with ethereal hues),
Demands the service of a mind and heart,
Though sensitive yet, in their weakest part,
Heroically fashioned — to infuse
Faith in the whispers of the lonely Muse,
While the whole world seems adverse to desert.
And, Oh! When Nature sinks, as oft she may,
Through long-lived pressure of obscure distress,
Still to be strenuous for the bright reward,
And in the soul admit of no decay,
Brook no continuance of weak mindedness -
Great is the glory, for the strife is hard."

vi

INTRODUCTION.

“He too upon a wintry clime

Had fallen — on this iron time
Of doubts, disputes, distractions, fears.
He found us when the age had bound
Our souls in its benumbing round;
He spoke, and loosed our heart in tears;
He laid us as we lay at birth
On the cool flowery lap of earth,
Smiles broke from us, and we had ease;
The hills were round us, and the breeze
Went o'er the sunlit fields again;
Our foreheads felt the wind and rain.
Our youth returned; for there was she
On spirits that had long been dead,
Spirits dried up and closely furl'd,
The freshness of the early world.” 1

A spirit of manly independence has characterized every era of reformation, but in our own century this spirit has had a wider range, and has manifested itself in a greater variety of movements, than ever before. Independence in literature and art, in church and state, in social and political life, has been the distinguishing feature of the nineteenth century. In the literature of Greece and Rome the state is the centre, and the individual is of little account. In the Middle Ages the church

1 Matthew Arnold.

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