Lyrical Ballads

Lyrical Ballads, with a Few Other Poems is a collection of poems by William Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor Coleridge, first published in 1798 and generally considered to have marked the beginning of the English Romantic movement in literature.[1] The immediate effect on critics was modest, but it became and remains a landmark, changing the course of English literature and poetry.

Most of the poems in the 1798 edition were written by Wordsworth, with Coleridge contributing only four poems to the collection, including one of his most famous works, The Rime of the Ancient Mariner.

A second edition was published in 1800, in which Wordsworth included additional poems and a preface detailing the pair's avowed poetical principles.[2] For another edition, published in 1802, Wordsworth added an appendix titled Poetic Diction in which he expanded the ideas set forth in the preface.[3]

Lyrical Ballads
Title page of the first edition.

Content

Wordsworth and Coleridge set out to overturn what they considered the priggish, learned, and highly sculpted forms of 18th-century English poetry and to make poetry accessible to the average person via verse written in common, everyday language. They emphasize the vitality of the living voice used by the poor to express their reality. This language also helps assert the universality of human emotions. Even the title of the collection recalls rustic forms of art – the word "lyrical" links the poems with the ancient rustic bards and lends an air of spontaneity, while "ballads" are an oral mode of storytelling used by the common people.

In the 'Advertisement' included in the 1798 edition, Wordsworth explained his poetical concept:

The majority of the following poems are to be considered as experiments. They were written chiefly with a view to ascertain how far the language of conversation in the middle and lower classes of society is adapted to the purpose of poetic pleasure.[4]

If the experiment with vernacular language was not enough of a departure from the norm, the focus on simple, uneducated country people as the subject of poetry was a signal shift to modern literature. One of the main themes of "Lyrical Ballads" is the return to the original state of nature, in which people led a purer and more innocent existence. Wordsworth subscribed to Rousseau's belief that humanity was essentially good but was corrupted by the influence of society. This may be linked with the sentiments spreading through Europe just prior to the French Revolution.

Poems in the 1800 edition

Poems marked (Coleridge) were written by Coleridge; all other poems were written by Wordsworth. In first edition, 1798 there were 19 poems written by Wordsworth and 4 poems by Coleridge.

Volume I

  • Expostulation and Reply
  • The Tables Turned; an Evening Scene, on the Same Subject
  • Old Man Traveling; Animal Tranquillity and Decay, a Sketch
  • The Complaint of a forsaken Indian Woman
  • The Last of the Flock
  • Lines left upon a Seat in a Yew-tree which stands near the Lake of Esthwaite
  • The Foster-Mother's Tale (Coleridge)
  • Goody Blake and Harry Gill
  • The Thorn
  • We are Seven
  • Anecdote for Fathers
  • Lines written at a small distance from my House and sent me by my little Boy to the Person to whom they are addressed
  • The Female Vagrant
  • The Dungeon (Coleridge)
  • Simon Lee, the old Huntsman
  • Lines written in early Spring
  • The Nightingale, written in April 1798. (Coleridge)
  • Lines written when sailing in a Boat at Evening
  • written near Richmond, upon the Thames
  • The Idiot Boy
  • The Mad Mother
  • The Rime of the Ancient Mariner (Coleridge)
  • Lines written above Tintern Abbey

Volume II

For the 1800 edition, Wordsworth added several poems which make up Volume II. The poem The Convict (Wordsworth) was in the 1798 edition but Wordsworth omitted it from the 1800 edition, replacing it with Coleridge's "Love". Lewti or the Circassian Love-chaunt (Coleridge) exists in some 1798 editions in place of The Convict. The poems "Lines written when sailing in a Boat at evening" and "Lines written near Richmond, upon the Thames" are one poem in the 1798 edition entitled "Lines written near Richmond, upon the Thames, at Evening."

References

  1. ^ See Lyrical Ballads (1 ed.). London: J. & A. Arch. 1798. Retrieved 13 November 2014. via archive.org
  2. ^ Wordsworth, William (1800). Lyrical Ballads with Other Poems. I (2 ed.). London: Printed for T.N. Longman and O. Rees. Retrieved 13 November 2014.; Wordsworth, William (1800). Lyrical Ballads with Other Poems. II (2 ed.). London: Printed for T.N. Longman and O. Rees. Retrieved 15 November 2014. via archive.org
  3. ^ Wordsworth, William (1802). Lyrical Ballads with Pastoral and other Poems. I (3 ed.). London: Printed for T.N. Longman and O. Rees. Retrieved 15 November 2014. via archive.org
  4. ^ "Lyrical Ballads". The Wordsworth Trust. 2005. Archived from the original on 10 December 2007. Retrieved 18 March 2006.

External links

1798 in literature

This article presents lists of the literary events and publications in 1798.

1798 in poetry

Nationality words link to articles with information on the nation's poetry or literature (for instance, Irish or France).

A slumber did my spirit seal

"A slumber did my spirit seal" is a poem written by William Wordsworth in 1798 and published in the 1800 edition of Lyrical Ballads. It is usually included as one of his The Lucy poems, although it is the only poem of the series not to mention her name. The poem is a mere eight lines long; two "stanzas."

Christabel (poem)

Christabel is a long narrative ballad by Samuel Taylor Coleridge, in two parts. The first part was reputedly written in 1797, and the second in 1800. Coleridge planned three additional parts, but these were never completed. Coleridge prepared for the first two parts to be published in the 1800 edition of Lyrical Ballads, but on the advice of William Wordsworth it was left out; the exclusion of the poem, coupled with his inability to finish it, left Coleridge in doubt about his poetical power. It was published in a pamphlet in 1816, alongside Kubla Khan and The Pains of Sleep.

Coleridge aimed to write Christabel using an accentual metrical system, based on the count of only accents: even though the number of syllables in each line can vary from four to twelve, the number of accents per line never deviates from four.

Early life of William Wordsworth

William Wordsworth (7 April 1770 – 23 April 1850) was an English Romantic poet who, with Samuel Taylor Coleridge, helped launch the Romantic Age in English literature with their 1798 joint publication, Lyrical Ballads. His early years were dominated by his experience of the countryside around the Lake District and the English moors. Dorothy Wordsworth, his sister, served as his early companion until their mother's death and their separation when he was sent to school.

Lucy Gray

"Lucy Gray" is a poem written by William Wordsworth in 1799 and published in his Lyrical Ballads. It describes the death of a young girl named Lucy Gray, who went out one evening into a storm.

Michael (poem)

"Michael" is a pastoral poem, written by William Wordsworth in 1800 and first published in the 1800 edition of Lyrical Ballads. The poem is one of Wordsworth's best known poems and the subject of much critical literature. It tells the story of an aging shepherd, Michael, his wife, and his only child Luke.

Michael lost half his land when he used it as a surety for a nephew who had met with financial misfortune. When Luke reaches the age of 18, Michael sends Luke to stay in London with a merchant that he might learn a trade and acquire sufficient wealth to regain the land that Michael has lost. It breaks Michael's heart to send Luke away and he makes Luke lay the first stone of a sheepfold as a covenant between them that Luke will return. However, Luke is corrupted in the city and is forced to flee the country and Michael must live out his life without his son. He returns sometimes to the sheepfold but no longer has the heart to complete it.

The epigraph of George Eliot's Silas Marner is taken from the poem.

The story of "Michael" may derive in part from the famous Parable of the Prodigal Son in the Bible.

Pandaemonium (film)

Pandaemonium is a 2000 film, directed by Julien Temple, screenplay by Frank Cottrell Boyce. It is based on the early lives of English poets Samuel Taylor Coleridge and William Wordsworth, in particular their collaboration on the Lyrical Ballads (1798), and Coleridge's writing of Kubla Khan (completed in 1797, published in 1816).

Much of the film was shot on location on and around the Quantock Hills in Somerset.

Poetic diction

Poetic diction is the term used to refer to the linguistic style, the vocabulary,

and the metaphors used in the writing of poetry. In the Western tradition, all these elements were thought of as properly different in poetry and prose up to the time of the Romantic revolution, when William Wordsworth challenged the distinction in his Romantic manifesto, the Preface to the second (1800) edition of Lyrical Ballads (1798). Wordsworth proposed that a "language near to the language of men" was as appropriate for poetry as it was for prose. This idea was very influential, though more in theory than practice: a special "poetic" vocabulary and mode of metaphor persisted in 19th century poetry. It was deplored by the Modernist poets of the 20th century, who again proposed that there is no such thing as a "prosaic" word unsuitable for poetry.

Poor Susan

"Poor Susan" is a lyric poem by William Wordsworth composed at Alfoxden in 1797. It was first published in the collection Lyrical Ballads in 1798. It is written in anapestic tetrameter.

The poem records the memories awakened in a country girl in London on hearing a thrush sing in the early morning.

Preface to the Lyrical Ballads

The Preface to the Lyrical Ballads is an essay, composed by William Wordsworth, for the second edition (published in January 1801, and often referred to as the "1800 Edition") of the poetry collection Lyrical Ballads, and then greatly expanded in the third edition of 1802. It has come to be seen as a de facto manifesto of the Romantic movement.

The Lucy poems

The Lucy poems are a series of five poems composed by the English Romantic poet William Wordsworth (1770–1850) between 1798 and 1801. All but one were first published during 1800 in the second edition of Lyrical Ballads, a collaboration between Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor Coleridge that was both Wordsworth's first major publication and a milestone in the early English Romantic movement. In the series, Wordsworth sought to write unaffected English verse infused with abstract ideals of beauty, nature, love, longing and death.

The poem was written during a short period while the poet lived in Germany. Although they individually deal with a variety of themes, as a series they focus on the poet's longing for the company of his friend Coleridge, who had travelled with him to Germany but took up residence separately in the university town of Göttingen, and on his increasing impatience with his sister Dorothy, who had travelled with him abroad. Wordsworth examines the poet's unrequited love for the idealised character of Lucy, an English girl who has died young. The idea of her death weighs heavily on the poet throughout the series, imbuing it with a melancholic, elegiac tone. Whether Lucy was based on a real woman or was a figment of the poet's imagination has long been a matter of debate among scholars. Generally reticent about the poems, Wordsworth never revealed the details of her origin or identity. Some scholars speculate that Lucy is based on his sister Dorothy, while others see her as a fictitious or hybrid character. Most critics agree that she is essentially a literary device upon whom he could project, meditate and reflect.

The "Lucy poems" consist of "Strange fits of passion have I known", "She dwelt among the untrodden ways", "I travelled among unknown men", "Three years she grew in sun and shower", and "A slumber did my spirit seal". Although they are presented as a series in modern anthologies, Wordsworth did not conceive of them as a group, nor did he seek to publish the poems in sequence. He described the works as "experimental" in the prefaces to both the 1798 and 1800 editions of Lyrical Ballads, and revised the poems significantly—shifting their thematic emphasis—between 1798 and 1799. Only after his death in 1850 did publishers and critics begin to treat the poems as a fixed group.

The Rime of the Ancient Mariner

The Rime of the Ancient Mariner (originally The Rime of the Ancyent Marinere) is the longest major poem by the English poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge, written in 1797–98 and published in 1798 in the first edition of Lyrical Ballads. Some modern editions use a revised version printed in 1817 that featured a gloss. Along with other poems in Lyrical Ballads, it is often considered a signal shift to modern poetry and the beginning of British Romantic literature.

The Rime of the Ancient Mariner relates the experiences of a sailor who has returned from a long sea voyage. The mariner stops a man who is on his way to a wedding ceremony and begins to narrate a story. The wedding-guest's reaction turns from bemusement to impatience to fear to fascination as the mariner's story progresses, as can be seen in the language style: Coleridge uses narrative techniques such as personification and repetition to create a sense of danger, the supernatural, or serenity, depending on the mood in different parts of the poem.

The Solitary Reaper

"The Solitary Reaper" is a ballad by English Romantic poet William Wordsworth, and one of his best-known works. The poem was inspired by his and his sister Dorothy's stay at the village of Strathyre in the parish of Balquhidder in Scotland in September 1803.'"The Solitary Reaper is one of Wordsworth's most famous post-Lyrical Ballads lyrics". The words of the reaper's song are incomprehensible to the speaker, so his attention is free to focus on the tone, expressive beauty, and the blissful mood it creates in him. The poem functions to 'praise the beauty of music and its fluid expressive beauty, the "spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings :it takes its origin from emotion recollected in tranquility"that Wordsworth identified at the heart of poetry.' The poet orders or requests his listeners to behold a young maiden reaping and singing to herself. The poet says that anyone passing by should either stop or gently pass as not to disturb her. There is a controversy however over the importance of the reaper along with Nature.

It was published in Poems, in two Volumes in 1807. Wordsworth style: Wordsworth's poetry is characterized by two cardinal features that he explicitly outlines in his preface to the Lyrical Ballads. There is, first and foremost, the use of what Wordsworth calls "the language really used by men."

In this poem, the poet tells us about a girl, a Highland lass, who is in a field alone: ”single in the field.” As she is harvesting her crops, she is singing a sad tune which echoes in the deep valley. The speaker asks us to stop and listen to her tune or “gently pass”.

He tells us readers that no nightingale has sung a welcoming song , to wanderers in the deserts, more beautiful than the girl’s strain. He goes on to say that a cuckoo bird , at its best , during spring time cannot hum a tune better. Her singing is the only sound breaking the silence in the Hebrides , a group of islands off the coast of Scotland.

The poet has not a clue of what this song is about or if it has a theme. Having no answer, he guesses it’s about a war long ago, something mundane, or even some suffering which she has gone through and may go through again.

He eventually resigns himself to the fact that he may never find out the theme of her never-ending song. It’s beauty changed the poet’s heart and he captured it and heard it after it was heard no more. What one gets from the last lines,"And a I mounted up the hill| The music in my heart I bore| Long after it was heard no more." is that she either completed her work or that a thought came across her.”

Three years she grew in sun and shower

"Three years she grew in sun and shower" is a poem composed in 1798 by the English poet William Wordsworth, and first published in the Lyrical Ballads collection which was co-written with his friend and fellow poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge. As one of the five poems that make up the "Lucy series", the work describes the relationship between Lucy and nature using words and sentiments. The author creates an impression of the indifference of nature as the poem progresses. The care with which Nature had sculpted Lucy, and then casually let her "race" end, reflects Wordsworth's view of the harsh reality of life. Although Nature is indifferent, it also cares for Lucy enough to both sculpt and mould her into its own. Wordsworth valued connections to nature above all else. The poem thus contains both epithalamic and elegiac characteristics; the marriage described is between Lucy and nature, while her human lover is left to mourn in the knowledge that death has separated her from mankind, and she will forever now be with nature.

We Are Seven

"We are Seven" is a poem written by William Wordsworth and published in his Lyrical Ballads. It describes a discussion between an adult poetic speaker and a "little cottage girl" about the number of brothers and sisters who dwell with her. The poem turns on the question of whether to account two dead siblings as part of the family.

Wilhelm Heinrich Wackenroder

Wilhelm Heinrich Wackenroder (13 July 1773 – 13 February 1798) was a German jurist and writer. With Ludwig Tieck, he was a co-founder of German Romanticism.

Wackenroder was born in Berlin. He was a close friend of Tieck from youth until his early death. They collaborated on virtually everything they wrote in this period. Wackenroder probably made substantial contributions to Tieck's novel Franz Sternbalds Wanderungen (Franz Sternbald’s Wanderings, 1798), and Tieck to Wackenroder's influential collection of essays, Herzensergießungen eines kunstliebenden Klosterbruders (Outpourings of an Art-Loving Friar, 1797). Outpourings is a tribute to Renaissance and medieval literature and art, attributing to them a sense of emotion Wackenroder and Tieck felt was missing in German Enlightenment thought. It was also the first work to claim for Northern Renaissance art a status equivalent to that of the Italian Renaissance, at least in the case of Albrecht Dürer. The Outpourings have been accorded a status in Germany akin to that of Lyrical Ballads in England, i.e. as the first work of the Romantic movement.Wackenroder died in Berlin in 1798 at the age of 24 of a case of typhoid fever.

William Wordsworth

William Wordsworth (7 April 1770 – 23 April 1850) was a major English Romantic poet who, with Samuel Taylor Coleridge, helped to launch the Romantic Age in English literature with their joint publication Lyrical Ballads (1798).

Wordsworth's magnum opus is generally considered to be The Prelude, a semi-autobiographical poem of his early years that he revised and expanded a number of times. It was posthumously titled and published, before which it was generally known as "the poem to Coleridge". Wordsworth was Britain's poet laureate from 1843 until his death from pleurisy on 23 April 1850.

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