IN calling my book the ' Romantic Movement in English Poetry' I do not wish that title to be taken in too exclusive a sense. The word 'romantic,' I think, defines more clearly than any other what we find most characteristic in the renewal of poetry after its long banishment. The great poets of every age but the eighteenth have been romantic: what are Chaucer, Shakespeare, and Coleridge if not romantic? But in using the convenient word 'movement' I wish it to be understood that it is not meant in the usual historical sense, or with the definiteness with which we say, for example, the Tractarian or the Agrarian Movement. There a definite aim sets many minds working together, not in mere comradeship. No such thing ever happened in the creation of literature. It is each one of these poets whom I want to study, finding out, if I can, what he was in himself, what he made of himself in his work, and by what means, impulses, and instincts. The poet, the poem, -- it is with these only that I am concerned.
And, again for convenience, I have set limits to my plan. The year 1800 is taken as a sort of centre; or shall I say a barrier, which shuts out every writer of verse who was born after that year, and lets through every one who survived from the eighteenth into the nineteenth century. My plan allows me no choice between good or bad writers in verse: I give each his due consideration, his due space, of a few lines or of many pages. And I have given each in chronological order, with the dates of his birth and death and of the first edition of his published volumes of verse. I have consulted no histories of literature, nor essays about it, except for the bare facts of a man's life or work; but I have tried to get at one thing only: the poet in his poetry, his poetry in the poet; it is the same thing.