Select Poems of William Wordsworth

Select Poems of William Wordsworth

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Select Poems of William Wordsworth

Select Poems of William Wordsworth

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Excerpt

The poems for this volume were selected several years ago, but the list has been revised again and again. Some pieces have been changed for one reason and another, and some have been necessarily omitted to avoid making the book too large. Among those which I thought could best be spared from a selection for students in high schools and academies as well as for maturer readers, were poems like The Pet Lamb, The Kitten and the Falling Leaves, etc., which are to be found in most collections of verse for young children. "We are Seven" was retained as perhaps the best example of this class of compositions.

The exquisite address To the Cuckoo (see Addenda to Notes, p. 254) was accidentally left out in sending the "copy" to the printer, and I did not discover the omission until the notes upon it were being put in type for page 211.

The order of the poems is chronological, as in Knight's monumental edition, Macmillan's excellent one- volume edition, and the Selections (see page 166) edited by Knight and others. The text is generally that of the author's last revision; but in a few instances, which are duly explained in the Notes, I have ventured to follow the example of Matthew Arnold and Knight (in his Selections) in adopting an earlier reading that was manifestly better than the later one. The punctuation of fifty years ago, retained in all the standard editions, has been made to conform to present usage.

In the Notes I have been mainly indebted to Knight for the collation of the texts. I have verified his work as far as I could, but there are very few of the early editions of Wordsworth in our American libraries. In occasional instances I have suspected inaccuracies or omissions in Knight's transcript of the readings (see foot-notes on pages 177, 178, and 194, etc.), but have not had the means of settling the question. For other matter taken from Knight due credit has been given, as to the other authorities I have cited.

The beautiful illustrations by Abbey, Parsons, and others, with the descriptive comments in the Addenda to the Notes, will give the reader who has not seen "Wordsworthshire" some slight idea of its attractions, and may possibly lead him to take the book along with him if he ever visits the district.

CAMBRIDGE, July 10, 1889.

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