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Essay Supplementary To The Preface

Essay Supplementary to Preface. William Wordsworth (1815). 1909 ... Essay Supplementary to Preface. William Wordsworth (1815). 1909 ...
Essay Supplementary to Preface. William Wordsworth (1815). 1909-14. Famous Prefaces. The Harvard Classics.

Essay Supplementary To The Preface

Suggested on a sabbath morning in the vale of chamouny. Now as the translators of the bible, and shakspeare, milton, and pope, could not be indebted to macpherson, it follows that he must have owed his fine feathers to them unless we are prepared gravely to assert, with madame de stael, that many of the characteristic beauties of our most celebrated english poets are derived from the ancient fingallian in which case the modern translator would have been but giving back to ossian his own. He offers it willingly and readily and, this done, takes leave of his readers, by assuring them that, if he were not persuaded that the contents of these volumes, and the work to which they are subsidiary, evince something of the vision and the faculty divine and that, both in words and things, they will operate in their degree, to extend the domain of sensibility for the delight, the honour, and the benefit of human nature, notwithstanding the many happy hours which he has employed in their composition, and the manifold comforts and enjoyments they have procured to him, he would not, if a wish could do it, save them from immediate destruction from becoming at this moment, to the world, as a thing that had never been.

That even burger (to whom klopstock gave, in my hearing, a commendation which he denied to goethe and schiller, pronouncing him to be a genuine poet, and one of the few among the germans whose works would last) had not the fine sensibility of percy, might be shown from many passages, in which he has deserted his original only to go astray. I do not think that there is an able writer in verse of the present day who would not be proud to acknowledge his obligations to the reliques i know that it is so with my friends and, for myself, i am happy in this occasion to make a public avowal of my own. Having obtained this wish, and so much more, it is natural that they should make report as they have felt.

We open the volume of prefatory lives, and to our astonishment the first name we find is that of cowley! What is become of the morning-star of english poetry? Where is the bright elizabethan constellation? Or, if names be more acceptable than images, where is the ever-to-be-honoured chaucer? Where is spenser? Where sidney? And, lastly, where he, whose rights as a poet, contradistinguished from those which he is universally allowed to possess as a dramatist, we have vindicated, where shakspeare? These, and a multitude of others not unworthy to be placed near them, their contemporaries and successors, we have not. He bewitched the nation by his melody, and dazzled it by his polished style, and was himself blinded by his own success. I have been honoured by being permitted to peruse in ms.

If the latter, the soul must contribute to its support, or it never becomes vivid, and soon languishes, and dies. That even bürger (to whom klopstock gave, in my hearing, a commendation which he denied to goethe and schiller, pronouncing him to be a genuine poet, and one of the few among the germans whose works would last) had not the fine sensibility of percy, might be shown from many passages, in which he has deserted his original only to go astray. The cause, not so obvious as the fact is unquestionable, is the same as that from which erroneous judgements in this art, in the minds of men of all ages, chiefly proceed but upon youth it operates with peculiar force.

He was as skeptical on the merits of all kinds of poetry but one, as richardson was on the novels of fielding autobiography (1850) 212. The love, the admiration, the indifference, the slight, the aversion, and even the contempt, with which these poems have been received, knowing, as i do, the source within my own mind, from which they have proceeded, and the labour and pains, which, when labour and pains appeared needful, have been bestowed upon them, must all, if i think consistently, be received as pledges and tokens, bearing the same general impression, though widely different in value they are all proofs that for the present time i have not laboured in vain and afford assurances, more or less authentic, that the products of my industry will endure. Attaching so much importance to the truths which interest them, they are prone to overrate the authors by whom those truths are expressed and enforced.

The arts by which pope, soon afterwards, contrived to procure to himself a more general and a higher reputation than perhaps any english poet ever attained during his life-time, are known to the judicious. Pope, that, in his edition of the plays, with a view of rendering to the general reader a necessary service, he printed between inverted commas those passages which he thought most worthy of notice. A sketch of my own notion of the constitution of fame has been given and, as far as concerns myself, i have cause to be satisfied. For when christianity, the religion of humility, is founded upon the proudest faculty of our nature, what can be expected but contradictions? Accordingly, believers of this cast are at one time contemptuous at another, being troubled, as they are and must be, with inward misgivings, they are jealous and suspicious and at all seasons, they are under temptation to supply, by the heat with which they defend their tenets, the animation which is wanting to the constitution of the religion itself. If the number of judges who can be confidently relied upon be in reality so small, it ought to follow that partial notice only, or neglect, perhaps long continued, or attention wholly inadequate to their merits must have been the fate of most works in the higher departments of poetry and that, on the other hand, numerous productions have blazed into popularity, and have passed away, leaving scarcely a trace behind them it will be further found, that when authors shall have at length raised themselves into general admiration and maintained their ground, errors and prejudices have prevailed concerning their genius and their works, which the few who are conscious of those errors and prejudices would deplore if they were not recompensed by perceiving that there are select spirits for whom it is ordained that their fame shall be in the world an existence like that of virtue, which owes its being to the struggles it makes, and its vigour to the enemies whom it provokes a vivacious quality, ever doomed to meet with opposition, and still triumphing over it and, from the nature of its dominion, incapable of being brought to the sad conclusion of alexander, when he wept that there were no more worlds for him to conquer.


William Wordsworth: Essay Supplementary to the Preface.


Essay Supplementary to the Preface. Poems by William Wordsworth: including Lyrical ballads, and the Miscellaneous Pieces of the Author, with additional ...

Essay Supplementary To The Preface

Poems (Wordsworth, 1815)/Volume 1 - Wikisource, the free online ...
Sep 17, 2017 ... AND THE. MISCELLANEOUS PIECES OF THE AUTHOR. WITH ADDITIONAL POEMS,. A NEW PREFACE, AND A SUPPLEMENTARY ESSAY.
Essay Supplementary To The Preface The commerce between man and his maker cannot be carried on but by a process where much is represented in little, But. For when christianity, the religion of humility, is founded upon the proudest faculty of our nature, what can be expected but contradictions? Accordingly, believers of this cast are at one time contemptuous at another, being troubled, as they are and must be, with inward misgivings, they are jealous and suspiciousand at all seasons, I do not think that there is an able writer in verse of the present day who would not be proud to acknowledge his obligations to the reliques i know that it is so with my friends and, for myself.
  • Writing 109HU--Topics for the Poetry Essay - UCSB Writing Program


    Evett, 19th century criticism of spenser (1965) 69 elliott, prince of poets (1968) 14 wittreich, romantics on milton (1970) 130 spenser encyclopedia, wordsworth (1990) 735. Johnson has strangely styled metaphysical poets, were beginning to lose something of that extravagant admiration which they had excited, the paradise lost made its appearance. Thirteen hundred copies were sold in two years an uncommon example, he asserts, of the prevalence of genius in opposition to so much recent enmity as miltons political and religious opinions, and the manner in which he announced them, had raised him many enemies, they had procured him numerous friends who, as all personal danger was passed away at the time of publication, would be eager to procure the master-work of a man whom they revered, and whom they would be proud of praising. Strange to think of an enthusiast, as may have been the case with thousands, reciting those verses under the cope of a moonlight sky, without having his raptures in the least disturbed by a suspicion of their absurdity! If these two distinguished writers could habitually think that the visible universe was of so little consequence to a poet, that it was scarcely necessary for him to cast his eyes upon it, we may be assured that those passages of the elder poets which faithfully and poetically describe the phenomena of nature, were not at that time holden in much estimation, and that there was little accurate attention paid to those appearances. Suggested on a sabbath morning in the vale of chamouny.

    But, as the mind grows serious from the weight of life, the range of its passions is contracted accordingly and its sympathies become so exclusive, that many species of high excellence wholly escape, or but languidly excite, its notice. He had perceived, from the successful trials which he himself had made in literary forgery, how few critics were able to distinguish between a real ancient medal and a counterfeit of modern manufacture and he set himself to the work of filling a magazine with saxon poems, counterparts of those of ossian, as like his as one of his misty stars is to another. In the instance of taste, the process has been reversed and from the prevalence of dispositions at once injurious and discreditable, being no other than that selfishness which is the child of apathy,which, as nations decline in productive and creative power, makes them value themselves upon a presumed refinement of judging. For to be mistaught is worse than to be untaught and no perverseness equals that which is supported by systems, no errors are so difficult to root out as those which the understanding has pledged its credit to uphold. Johnson has strangely styled metaphysical poets, were beginning to lose something of that extravagant admiration which they had excited, the made its appearance.

    The verses of dryden, once highly celebrated, are forgotten those of pope still retain their hold upon public estimation,nay, there is not a passage of descriptive poetry, which at this day finds so many and such ardent admirers. And as well known is it to them, that the undue exertion of those arts is the cause why pope has for some time held a rank in literature, to which, if he had not been seduced by an over-love of immediate popularity, and had confided more in his native genius, he never could have descended. Trees shake their dusk heads in the breeze. Men of mature age, through want of practice, be thus easily beguiled into admiration of absurdities, extravagances, and misplaced ornaments, thinking it proper that their understandings should enjoy a holiday, while they are unbending their minds with verse, it may be expected that such readers will resemble their former selves also in strength of prejudice, and an inaptitude to be moved by the unostentatious beauties of a pure style. But in every thing which is to send the soul into herself, to be admonished of her weakness, or to be made conscious of her power wherever life and nature are described as operated upon by the creative or abstracting virtue of the imagination wherever the instinctive wisdom of antiquity and her heroic passions uniting, in the heart of the poet, with the meditative wisdom of later ages, have produced that accord of sublimated humanity, which is at once a history of the remote past and a prophetic enunciation of the remotest future, there, the poet must reconcile himself for a season to few and scattered hearers. The critic triumphed, the legendary imitators were deservedly disregarded, and, as undeservedly, their ill-imitated models sank, in this country, into temporary neglect while burger, and other able writers of germany, were translating, or imitating these reliques, and composing, with the aid of inspiration thence derived, poems which are the delight of the german nation. Hogg? Pray, where are they, sir? Confound him! I doubt if he would have allowed even byron to have been a poet, if he had been there. Readers of poetry may be divided critics abound in them all but from the last only can opinions be collected of absolute value, and worthy to be depended upon, as prophetic of the destiny of a new work. What further demand there might be for these works i do not know but i well remember, that, twenty-five years ago, the booksellers stalls in london swarmed with the folios of cowley. And, on the other hand, religious faith is to him who holds it so momentous a thing, and error appears to be attended with such tremendous consequences, that, if opinions touching upon religion occur which the reader condemns, he not only cannot sympathise with them, however animated the expression, but there is, for the most part, an end put to all satisfaction and enjoyment.

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