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No languour, peevishness, nor vain complaint.
At length when sixty years and five were told
III. ESSAYS, LETTERS, AND NOTES ELUCIDATORY
AND CONFIRMATORY OF THE POEMS.
1798-1835. (a) OF THE PRINCIPLES OF POETRY AND THE · LYRICAL BALLADS' (1798-1802). (6) OF POETIC DICTION. (c) POETRY AS A STUDY (1815). (d) OF POETRY AS OBSERVATION AND DESCRIPTION, AND DEDICATION OF 1815. (e) OF THE EXCURSION: PREFACE. (f) LETTERS TO SIR GEORGE AND LADY BEAUMONT AND OTHERS ON THE POEMS
AND RELATED SUBJECTS. (9) LETTER TO CHARLES Fox WITH THE • LYRICAL BALLADS,' AND HIS An
SWER, &c. (h) LETTER ON THE PRINCIPLES OF POETRY AND HIS OWN POEMS TO (AFTER
WARDS) PROFESSOR JOHN Wilson.
NOTE. Of the occasion and sources, &c. of the several portions of the present division see Preface in Vol. I. G.
(a) OF THE PRINCIPLES OF POETRY AND THE
‘LYRICAL BALLADS' (1798-1802).
The first Volume of these Poems has already been submitted to general perusal. It was published, as an experiment, which, I hoped, might be of some use to ascertain, how far, by fitting to metrical arrangement a selection of the real language of men in a state of vivid sensation, that sort of pleasure and that quantity of pleasure may be imparted, which a Poet may rationally endeavour to impart.
I had formed no very inaccurate estimate of the probable effect of those Poems: I flattered myself that they who should be pleased with them would read them with more than common pleasure: and, on the other hand, I was well aware, that by those who should dislike them, they would be read with more than common dislike. The result has differed from my expectation in this only, that a greater number have been pleased than I ventured to hope I should please.
Friends are anxious for the success of these Poems, from a belief, that, if the views with which they were composed were indeed realised, a class of Poetry would be produced, well adapted to interest mankind permanently, and not unimportant in the quality, and in the multiplicity of its moral relations: and on this account they have advised me to prefix a systematic defence of the theory upon which the Poems were written. But I was unwilling to undertake the task, knowing that on this occasion the Reader would look coldly upon my arguments, since I might be suspected of having been principally influenced by the selfish and foolish hope of reasoning him into an approbation of these particular Poems: and I was still more unwilling to undertake the task, because, adequately to display the opinions, and fully to enforce the arguments, would require a space wholly disproportionate to a preface. For, to treat the subject with the clearness and coherence of which it is suscepti