Lyrical Ballads (Annotated)
Independently Published, 2018-01-02 - 69 psl.
This is an annotated version of the book1.contains an updated biography of the author at the end of the book for a better understanding of the text.2.This book has been checked and corrected for spelling errorsIt is the honourable characteristic of Poetry that its materials are tobe found in every subject which can interest the human mind. Theevidence of this fact is to be sought, not in the writings of Critics, but in those of Poets themselves.The majority of the following poems are to be considered as experiments.They were written chiefly with a view to ascertain how far the languageof conversation in the middle and lower classes of society is adapted tothe purposes of poetic pleasure. Readers accustomed to the gaudiness andinane phraseology of many modern writers, if they persist in readingthis book to its conclusion, will perhaps frequently have to strugglewith feelings of strangeness and aukwardness: they will look round forpoetry, and will be induced to enquire by what species of courtesy theseattempts can be permitted to assume that title. It is desirable thatsuch readers, for their own sakes, should not suffer the solitary wordPoetry, a word of very disputed meaning, to stand in the way of theirgratification; but that, while they are perusing this book, they shouldask themselves if it contains a natural delineation of human passions, human characters, and human incidents; and if the answer be favourableto the author's wishes, that they should consent to be pleased in spiteof that most dreadful enemy to our pleasures, our own pre-establishedcodes of decision.Readers of superior judgment may disapprove of the style in which manyof these pieces are executed it must be expected that many lines andphrases will not exactly suit their taste. It will perhaps appear tothem, that wishing to avoid the prevalent fault of the day, the authorhas sometimes descended too low, and that many of his expressions aretoo familiar, and not of sufficient dignity. It is apprehended, that themore conversant the reader is with our elder writers, and with those inmodern times who have been the most successful in painting manners andpassions, the fewer complaints of this kind will he have to make.An accurate taste in poetry, and in all the other arts, Sir JoshuaReynolds has observed, is an acquired talent, which can only be producedby severe thought, and a long continued intercourse with the best modelsof composition. This is mentioned not with so ridiculous a purpose as toprevent the most inexperienced reader from judging for himself; butmerely to temper the rashness of decision, and to suggest that if poetrybe a subject on which much time has not been bestowed, the judgment maybe erroneous, and that in many cases it necessarily will be so.The tale of Goody Blake and Harry Gill is founded on awell-authenticated fact which happened in Warwickshire. Of the otherpoems in the collection, it may be proper to say that they are eitherabsolute inventions of the author, or facts which took place within hispersonal observation or that of his friends. The poem of the Thorn, asthe reader will soon discover, is not supposed to be spoken in theauthor's own person: the character of the loquacious narrator willsufficiently shew itself in the course of the story. The Rime of theAncyent Marinere was professedly written in imitation of the _style_, aswell as of the spirit of the elder poets; but with a few exceptions, theAuthor believes that the language adopted in it has been equallyintelligible for these three last centuries. The lines entitledExpostulation and Reply, and those which follow, arose out ofconversation with a friend who was somewhat unreasonably attached tomodern books of moral philosoph
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