Selected Poetry of William Wordsworth

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Selected Poetry of William Wordsworth represents Wordsworth’s prolific output, from the poems first published in Lyrical Ballads in 1798 that changed the face of English poetry to the late “Yarrow Revisited.” Wordsworth’s poetry is celebrated for its deep feeling, its use of ordinary speech, the love of nature it expresses, and its representation of commonplace things and events. As Matthew Arnold notes, “[Wordsworth’s poetry] is great because of the extraordinary power with which [he] feels the joy offered to us...

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Selected Poetry of William Wordsworth

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Selected Poetry of William Wordsworth represents Wordsworth’s prolific output, from the poems first published in Lyrical Ballads in 1798 that changed the face of English poetry to the late “Yarrow Revisited.” Wordsworth’s poetry is celebrated for its deep feeling, its use of ordinary speech, the love of nature it expresses, and its representation of commonplace things and events. As Matthew Arnold notes, “[Wordsworth’s poetry] is great because of the extraordinary power with which [he] feels the joy offered to us in nature, the joy offered to us in the simple elementary affections and duties.”

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“The poetical performance of Wordsworth is, after that of Shakespeare and Milton . . . undoubtedly the most considerable in our language from the Elizabethan age to the present time.”—Matthew Arnold

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780375759413
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 2/12/2002
  • Series: Modern Library Classics Series
  • Edition description: MODERN LIB
  • Edition number: 2002
  • Pages: 784
  • Sales rank: 298,199
  • Product dimensions: 5.20 (w) x 8.01 (h) x 1.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Mark Van Doren (1894–1973) was an American Pulitzer Prize–winning poet and critic who taught English at Columbia University for nearly thirty years.

David Bromwich is a professor of English at Yale Univer-sity and the author of numerous books, including Disowned by Memory: Wordsworth’s Poetry of the 1790s.

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Read an Excerpt

An Evening Walk addressed to a young lady General Sketch of the Lakes — Author’s regret of his youth which was passed amongst them —Short description of Noon — Cascade — Noontide Retreat — Precipice and sloping Lights — Face of Nature as the Sun declines — Mountain-farm, and the Cock — Slate-quarry — Sunset — Superstition of the Country connected with that moment — Swans — Female Beggar — Twilight-sounds — Western Lights — Spirits — Night — Moonlight — Hope — Night-sounds — Conclusion.

Far from my dearest Friend, ’tis mine to rove
Through bare grey dell, high wood, and pastoral cove;
Where Derwent rests, and listens to the roar
That stuns the tremulous cliffs of high Lodore;
Where peace to Grasmere’s lonely island leads,
To willowy hedge-rows, and to emerald meads;
Leads to her bridge, rude church, and cottaged grounds,
Her rocky sheepwalks, and her woodland bounds;
Where, undisturbed by winds, Winander sleeps
’Mid clustering isles, and holly-sprinkled steeps;
Where twilight glens endear my Esthwaite’s shore,
And memory of departed pleasures, more.  

Fair scenes, erewhile, I taught, a happy child,
The echoes of your rocks my carols wild:
The spirit sought not then, in cherished sadness,
A cloudy substitute for failing gladness.
In youth’s keen eye the livelong day was bright,
The sun at morning, and the stars at night,
Alike, when first the bittern’s hollow bill
Was heard, or woodcocks roamed the moonlight hill.
In thoughtless gaiety I coursed the plain,
And hope itself was all I knew of pain;
For then, the inexperienced heart would beat
At times, while young Content forsook her seat,
And wild Impatience, pointing upward, showed,
Through passes yet unreached, a brighter road,
Alas! the idle tale of man is found
Depicted in the dial’s moral round;
Hope with reflection blends her social rays
To gild the total tablet of his days;
Yet still, the sport of some malignant power,
He knows but from its shade the present hour.
But why, ungrateful, dwell on idle pain?
To show what pleasures yet to me remain,
Say, will my Friend, with unreluctant ear,
The history of a poet’s evening hear?
When, in the south, the wan noon, brooding still,
Breathed a pale steam around the glaring hill,
And shades of deep-embattled clouds were seen,
Spotting the northern cliffs with lights between;
When crowding cattle, checked by rails that make
A fence far stretched into the shallow lake,
Lashed the cool water with their restless tails,
Or from high points of rock looked out for fanning gales:
When school-boys stretched their length upon the green;
And round the broad-spread oak, a glimmering scene,
In the rough fern-clad park, the herded deer
Shook the still-twinkling tail and glancing ear;
When horses in the sunburnt intake stood,
And vainly eyed below the tempting flood,
Or tracked the passenger, in mute distress,
With forward neck the closing gate to press—
Then, while I wandered where the huddling rill
Brightens with water-breaks the hollow ghyll
As by enchantment, an obscure retreat
Opened at once, and stayed my devious feet.
While thick above the rill the branches close,
In rocky basin its wild waves repose,
Inverted shrubs, and moss of gloomy green,
Cling from the rocks, with pale wood-weeds between;

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Table of Contents

Biographical Note
An Evening Walk. Addressed to a Young Lady
Descriptive Sketches. Taken during a Pedestrian Tour among the Alps
Guilt and Sorrow; or, Incidents upon Salisbury Plain
Lines Left upon a Seat in a Yew-tree, Which Stands Near the Lake of Esthwaite, on a Desolate Part of the Shore, Commanding a Beautiful Prospect
The Reverie of Poor Susan
A Night-Piece
We Are Seven
Anecdote for Fathers
The Thorn
Goody Blake and Harry Gill. A True Story
Her Eyes Are Wild
Simon Lee, the Old Huntsman; with an Incident in Which He Was Concerned
Lines Written in Early Spring
To My Sister
"A Whirl-Blast from Behind the Hill"
Expostulation and Reply
The Tables Turned. An Evening Scene on the Same Subject
The Complaint of a Forsaken Indian Woman
The Last of the Flock
The Idiot Boy
Lines Composed a Few Miles above Tintern Abbey, on Revisiting the Banks of the Wye during a Tour July 13, 1798
The Old Cumberland Beggar
Animal Tranquillity and Decay
Peter Bell. A Tale
The Simplon Pass
Influence of Natural Objects in Calling Forth and Strengthening the Imagination in Boyhood and Early Youth
There Was a Boy
"Strange Fits of Passion Have I Known"
"She Dwelt among the Untrodden Ways"
"I Travelled Among Unknown Men"
"There Years She Grew in Sun and Shower"
"A Slumber Did My Spirit Seal"
A Poet's Epitaph
The Two April Mornings
The Fountain. A Conversation
Lucy Gray; or, Solitude
"Bleak Season Was It, Turbulent and Wild"
"On Nature's Invitation Do I Come"
The Prelude; or, Growth of a Poet's Mind. An Autobiographical Poem
The Recluse
The Brothers
Michael. A Pastoral Poem
The Pet-Lamb. A Pastoral
The Waterfall and the Eglantine
The Oak and the Broom. A Pastoral
Hart-leap Well
The Childless Father
The Sparrow's Nest
The Sailor's Mother
Alice Fell; or, Poverty
To a Butterfly
"My Heart Leaps Up When I Behold"
"Among All Lovely Things My Love Had Been"
Written in March, While Resting on the Bridge at the Foot of Brother's Water
To a Butterfly
To the Small Celandine
Resolution and Independence
"I Grieved for Buonaparte"
A Farewell
Composed upon Westminster Bridge, Sept. 3, 1802
Composed by the Sea-side, near Calais, August, 1802
Calais, August, 1802
"It Is a Beauteous Evening, Calm and Free"
On the Extinction of the Venetian Republic
To Toussaint L'Ouverture
Composed in the Valley near Dover, on the Day of Landing
Near Dover, September, 1802
In London, September, 1802
London, 1802
"England! The Time Is Come When Thou Should'st Wean"
"Great Men Have Been Among Us"
"It Is Not to Be Thought of That the Flood"
"When I Have Borne in Memory"
Stanzas Written in My Pocket-Copy of Thomson's "Castle of Indolence"
To H. C. Six Years Old
The Green Linnet
Stepping Westward
The Solitary Reaper
Yarrow Unvisited
October, 1803
To the Men of Kent. October, 1803
In the Pass of Killicranky, an Invasion Being Expected, October, 1803
Lines on the Expected Invasion, 1803
To the Cuckoo
"She Was a Phantom of Delight"
"I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud"
The Affliction of Margaret
The Small Celandine
Ode to Duty
"When to the Attractions of the Busy World"
Elegiac Stanzas, Suggested by a Picture of Peele Castle, in a Storm, Painted by Sir George Beaumont
To a Young Lady, Who Had Been Reproached for Taking Long Walks in the Country
The Waggoner
French Revolution, As It Appeared to Enthusiasts at Its Commencement. Reprinted from the Friend
Character of the Happy Warrior
"Nuns Fret Not at Their Convent's Narrow Room"
Personal Talk
"The World Is Too Much with Us; Late and Soon"
"With Ships the Sea Was Sprinkled Far and Nigh"
"Where Lies the Land to Which Yon Ship Must Go?"
To Sleep
To Sleep
To Sleep
To the Memory of Raisley Calvert
"Methought I Saw the Footsteps of a Throne"
November, 1806
Ode. Intimations of Immortality from Recollections of Early Childhood
Thought of a Briton on the Subjugation of Switzerland
"Though Narrow Be That Old Man's Cares"
Song at the Feast of Brougham Castle, upon the Restoration of Lord Clifford, the Shepherd, to the Estates and Honours of His Ancestors
The White Doe of Rylstone; on the Fate of the Nortons
The Excursion, Book I
Yarrow Visited, September, 1814
"Surprised by Joy - Impatient as the Wind"
Ode to Lycoris. May, 1817
Composed upon an Evening of Extraordinary Splendour and Beauty
The River Duddon. A Series of Sonnets
Ecclesiastical Sonnets. In Series. (A Selection)
Pt. I. From the Introduction of Christianity into Britain, to the Consummation of the Papal Dominion
Pt. II. To the Close of the Troubles in the Reign of Charles I
Pt. III. From the Restoration to the Present Times
"Scorn Not the Sonnet"
Yarrow Revisited
"If Thou Indeed Derive Thy Light from Heaven"
"If This Great World of Joy and Pain"
"Most Sweet It Is with Unuplifted Eyes"
To a Child. Written in Her Album
Preface to the Second Edition of "Lyrical Ballads," 1800
Appendix, 1802
Index of Titles
Index of First Lines

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Customer Reviews

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 15, 2004

    The overflow of spontaneous emotion recollected in tranquillity

    One major element of the greatness of Wordsworth is his meditation on the visionary gleam of youth lost, and its replacement by a quieter calmer more sober love of nature and humanity. His simplicity of language and his inherent dignity continually invoke the sublime. He too writes lines so classically beautiful that one thinks naturally that G-d wrote some of these lines and simply made Wordworth his agent in writing them down. But in any case in all cases this is an outstanding collection of one of the finest of all English poets.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 28, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

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