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387. 89. The lawless merchant of the main.
THE BOROUGH The story of Peter Grimes forms Letter xxii of the poem.
the church of the quoad civilia parish of Alloway; but this parish having been annexed to that of Ayr in 1690, the church fell more or less to ruin, and when Burns wrote had been roofless for half a century. It stands some two hundred yards to the north of the picturesque Auld Brig of Doon . . . . Burns's birthplace is about three-fourths of a mile to the north; so that the ground and its legends were familiar to him from the first.” A good many local traditions centered around the old church; some of them Burns has worked into the poem.
PREFACE TO THE LYRICAL BALLADS
389. The first edition of the Lyrical Ballads
appeared in 1798; the second edition, in December, 1800, carried a lengthy Preface, from which two passages are here reprinted.
SCOTS WHA HAE
377. The poem is often called “Bruce's Ad
dress to his Army."
LINES WRITTEN IN EARLY SPRING
AULD LANG SYNE
392. The poem is notable as an expression of
Wordsworth's idea that Nature is a conscious, sentient spirit.
378. A song of this name, of which various
Scottish poets had written versions, was well known in Scotland before Burns composed his verses.
OF A' THE AIRTS THE WIND CAN BLAW “ The song I composed out of compliment to Mrs. Burns.” (Burns's note, quoted in Centenary Burns, iii. 345.)
FLOW GENTLY, SWEET AFTON 380. 3. My Mary. If any definite person is
393. 22-49. In this passage Wordsworth states
the effect that the recollection of the
referred to here, -and this is uncertain,-it is not Mary Campbell. See the Centenary Burns, iii. 395.
the apparent, into “the life of things.” 394. 72-111. This passage, with which one
should compare lines 175-203 of the
HIGHLAND MARY 381. The poem is reminiscent of Burns's devo
tion to Mary Campbell. The editors of the Centenary tell what is known of her (iii. 308).
CRADLE SONG 384. 20. While o'er thee thy mother weep.
The line (like 11-12 and 15-16) is ungrammatical, but the reading thy seems to have the weight of authority on its side; certain editions emend thy to doth.
SHE DWELT AMONG THE UNTRODDEN WAYS 396. This and the two following poems are
from a group of five which picture the poet's love for “ Lucy.” No one knows who Lucy was. It has been suggested that she is simply a creation of the poet's imagination, but this does not seem probable. It is significant that when Wordsworth commented on his own verses he remained silent concerning these five poems.
386. 9. Smooth alternate verse. See Spenser's
Shepherd's Calendar, Eclogue second,
This poem, one of Wordsworth's two long autobiographical pieces, was written between 1799 and 1805, but was not published till after the poet's death in 1850.
It was intended to be the first of three poems to constitute his magnum opus, The Recluse. Of the three only this first and the second, The Excursion, were completed.
397. 35. Journeying toward the snow-clad
Alps. Wordsworth had spent the summer
tionists on the fourteenth of July, 1789. 398. 132. Save only one. Beaupuis, a revolu
tionary officer, whom Wordsworth came to know intimately during the winter of 1791-92, which he spent at Orleans.
48. To Paris I returned. He reached
this time until his execution.
sacres of the aristocrats in September, 1792, marked the beginning of the “ Reign of Terror."
Wordsworth notes of this poem:
" Written at Town-end, Grasmere.
The Sheepfold, on which so much of the poem turns, remains, or rather the ruins of it. The character and circumstances of Luke were taken from a family to whom had belonged, many years before, the house we live in at Town-end, along with some fields and woodlands on the eastern shore of Grasmere. The name of the Evening Star was not in fact given to this house, but to another on the same side of the valley, more to the north.” Wordsworth lived at Grasmere from 1799 to 1813
AT THE GRAVE OF BURNS
409. 39, 40. Criffel, Skiddaw. Scottish moun
“ Poor inhabitant below.” A quotation from Burns's A Bard's Epitapk.
SHE WAS A PHANTOM OF DELIGHT
410. The poem characterizes Mrs. Words
worth, whom, as Mary Hutchinson, Wordsworth had married in 1802.
I WANDERED LONELY AS A CLOUD 411. 21-22.
These lines, perhaps the most Wordsworthian in the entire poem, were written by the poet's wife.
CHARACTER OF THE HAPPY WARRIOR
The portrait or character here sketched is not that of any single person, but is, as Wordsworth pointed out in his note, a sort of composite, based on Lord Nelson, and Wordsworth's brother John, master of the Abergavenny, East India man. Nelson and John Wordsworth both died in 1805; the former at Trafalgar, the latter in the wreck of his vessel in the English Channel.
ODE: INTIMATIONS OF IMMORTALITY 413. A part of Wordsworth's note on the poem
as follows: Nothing was difficult for me in childhood than to admit the notion of death as a state applicable to my own being. ... It was not so much from feelings of animal vivacity that my difficulty came as from a sense of the indomitableness of the Spirit within me. ... To that dream-like vividness and splendor which invest objects of sight in childhood, everyone, I believe, if he would look back, could bear testimony, and I need not dwell upon it here: but having in the poem regarded it as presumptive evidence of a prior state of existence, I think it right to protest against a conclusion, which has given pain to some good and pious persons, that I meant to inculcate such a belief. It is far too shadowy a notion to be recommended to faith, as more than an element in our instincts of immortality.” The argument of the poems proceeds from stanza to stanza as follows: 1. I can no longer see the celestial beauty which once enfolded every object in nature. 2. Nature is the same, but the glory has passed away. 3. The utterance of this thought brought relief from the sadness it occasioned: “No more shall grief of mine the season
wrong.” 4. Despite the happiness of Nature on “this sweet May-morning,” the “glory
MY HEART LEAPS UP
406. 9. Natural piety. Reverence, affection
for Nature. Wordsworth chose the last three lines for the motto of his Ode: Intimations of Immortality.
RESOLUTION AND INDEPENDENCE 407. 43. I thought of Chatterton, the marvelous
Boy. Thomas Chatterton (1752-1770), who poisoned himself, in a fit of despondency, before he was eighteen years old. 45. Him who walked in glory. Burns. 97. Grave Livers. Persons of solemn deportment.
tenth of November, 1793, the Goddess of Reason was enthroned in Notre Dame
Cathedral. 418. 66. From bleak Helvetia's icy caverns.
The ode was occasioned by the French invasion of Switzerland in 1798.
and the dream” have gone; “ whither is
fled the visionary gleam? 413. 5. The child brings with him into this
world recollections of Heaven; the older we become the farther we journey from the celestial vision of childhood, till at length
* the Man perceives it die away, And fade into the light of common day.” 6. The Earth, man's foster-mother, does all she can to make the child “ Forget the glories he hath known, And that imperial palace whence he came." 7. The child in his play imitates all the businesses of life. 8. Why should he do this, and hurry himself into the yoke of manhood? 9. Let us give thanks for the " shadowy recollections ” which persist from childhood into maturity to uphold and cher10. Even though the celestial radiance has now departed from the world, I can still be joyful, finding strength in human sympathy, and " In the faith that looks through death, In years that bring the philosophic mind.” 11. And Nature still is beautiful, for the love I feel for her is strengthened and enriched by years of experience with the world, and by sympathetic association with men.
ON THE EXTINCTION OF THE VENETIAN
419. Coleridge writes, in his preface to the
poem: “In consequence of a slight indisposition, an anodyne had been prescribed, from the effects of which he (Coleridge] fell asleep in his chair at the moment that he was reading the following sentence, or words of the same substance, in Purchas's Pilgrimage: 'Here the Khan Kubla commanded a palace to be built, and a stately garden thereunto. And thus ten miles of fertile ground were inclosed with a wall.' The author continued for about three hours in a profound sleep, at least of the external senses, during which time he has the most vivid confidence that he could not have composed less than from two to three hundred lines; if that indeed can be called composition in which all the images rose up before him as things, with a parallel production of the correspondent expressions, without any sensation or consciousness of effort. On awaking he appeared to himself to have a distinct recollection of the whole, and instantly and eagerly wrote down the lines that are here preserved. At this moment he was unfortunately called out by a person on business . . . and detained by him above an hour, and on his return to his room found
that ... all the rest had passed away: Professor William A. Neilson, in his recent Essentials of Poetry, writes: In
Coleridge's Kubla Khan we have no wrestling with spiritual questions, no lofty solution of the problem of conduct found through brooding on the beauties of nature. Instead, a thousand impressions received from the senses, from records of Oriental travel, from numberless romantic tales, have been taken in by the author, dissolved as in a crucible by the fierce heat of his imagination, and are poured forth a molten stream of sensuous imagery, incalculable in its variety of suggestion, yet homogeneous, unified, and, despite its fragmentary character, the ultimate expression of a whole romantic world” (p. 43).
416. Napoleon entered Venice on the 16th of
May, 1797, and proclaimed the end of the republic.
ON THE SEA-SHORE NEAR CALAIS
THE RIME OF THE ANCIENT MARINER
The ode is perhaps the most notable ex-
and Spain, February 1, 1793. 418. 43. Blasphemy's loud scream. On the
In Wordsworth's note on his own poem, We Are Seven, the following passage explains the origin of the Ancient Mariner: * In the spring of the year 1798 (Coleridge), my sister, and myself, started . to visit Linton. In the course of this walk was planned the poem of the worth's marriage—in the Morning Post. Although Wordsworth's name did not appear in this version, it was in fact addressed to him. Later, after an estrangement between the two poets, Coleridge revised and enlarged the ode. The first form is printed in the Globe edition of
Coleridge's works, p. 522. 433. 25. O Lady! In the earlier version, here
and throughout the poem, O Edmund!
What can these beauties of nature avail? 435. 120. As Otway's self. Originally
I also sug
WORK WITHOUT HOPE 436. The poem was composed in February,
1827, long after Coleridge's best work
Ancient Mariner, founded on a dream,
We began the composi-
The poem was first printed in the 1798 edition of the Lyrical Ballads. Many archaisms, intended to make it resemble the popular ballads, and a few stanzas, were afterwards removed. The marginal gloss was added when the poem appeared in the Sybilline Leaves, 1817.
FROST AT MIDNIGHT 430. The poem was written in February, 1798,
while Coleridge was living in his cottage at Nether-Stowey.
7. My cradled infant. His son Hartley. 431. 25. At school. Coleridge entered Christ's
Hospital when he was ten years old, and
DEJECTION: AN ODE 433. The poem was first printed on the fourth
BIOGRAPHIA LITERARIA 37. The Lyrical Ballads. The title given to the 1798 volume to which both Wordsworth and Coleridge contributed. It contained, among other poems, Tinters
Abbey, and The Ancient Mariner. 437. 85. A preface. See the selections from
this Preface, pp. 389 ff. 439. 297. Præcipitandus, etc. The free spirit
must be urged forward.
CORONACH 443. “ The Coronach of the Highlanders was
of October, 1802,—the day of Words
a wild expression of lamentation, poured
HARP OF THE NORTH
446. 35. Duniewassals. Highland gentlemen
of somewhat inferior rank.
443. This is a sort of epilogue to The Lady of
KNOW YE THE LAND
3. The turtle. The turtle dove. 8. Gul. The rose.
JOCK OF HAZELDEAN 444. The first stanza is traditional; see F. J.
THE DESTRUCTION OF SENNACHERIB
447. See 2 Kings, xix: 35.
MY BOAT IS ON THE SHORE 448. Tom Moore and Byron were for many
years intimate friends.
SONNET ON CHILLON; THE PRISONER OF
CHILLON François de Bonnivard (1493–1570), a patriotic citizen of Geneva, undertook to defend the city against the Duke of Savoy. In this he was unsuccessful, and after various adventures, was imprisoned in the castle of Chillon from 1530 to 1536. The castle stands on the shore of the Lake
of Geneva. 449. 107. Lake Leman. The Lake of Geneva.
CHILDE HAROLD'S PILGRIMAGE: CANTO III 452. 182. Belgium's capital. Brussels. See
Thackeray's description of Brussels dur-
killed at Jena, in 1806. 463. 226. “ Cameron's Gathering.” The pi
broch, or martial rallying song, played on the bagpipe. The clan Cameron had been
out under Prince Charles Stuart in 1745, but was enthusiastically loyal in 1815. 227. Albyn's. Scotland's. 235. Ardennes.
Byron notes: " The wood of Soignies is supposed to be a remnant of the forest of Ardennes,' famous in Boiardo's Orlando, and immortal in Shakespeare's As You Like
11." 466. 848. Cytherea's zone. Venus's girdle,
which inspired the beholder with love for the wearer.
CANTO IV 466. 1. The Bridge of Sighs. The famous
Child's English and Scottish Popular
446. From Quentin Durward.
From The Doom of Devor goil.
rock. Edinburgh Castle
bridge leading from the Doge's Palace to