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called “ stuff and nonsense ; but the truth he uttered has, nevertheless, become one of the established canons of criticism.

It is not worth while for us to spend our time with those authors who have made literature a trade or a profession; life is too short for us to stand listening to those who do not recognize that “the life is more than meat,” and that the rise and fall of books obey the same law now as thousands of years ago, — the degree in which they bear witness to the grand truth of the priceless value of every human soul, rather than to what is distinctive of a particular class.

A distinguished living poet and critic, after asking whether literature, under the present ideas of life and education, will on the whole be an enemy to luxury and an inspirer of virtue, or an ally of materialism and a pander to vice, says : “There is not a rural village, nor a mighty city, the peace of which will not one day depend upon the answer time must make to this question."

In these times of “storm and stress," as the Germans say, of handicrafts and trades and mechanical marvels, of rapid reading of newspapers, reviews, and periodicals, it may seem presumption to insist upon any degree of literary culture for the majority ; thcy must be left to their newspapers and reviews, which are so much better than those their fathers had. Now the objection to this laissez faire theory is that they are thus left entirely ignorant of that personal element in literature which constitutes its very life; they are in intercourse with an infinite We, for which it is impossible to form

1 Aubrey de Vere.

an intimate friendship. Now the power of personality, of exalted manhood, has everywhere stamped its impress upon the masterpieces of literature ; and a true appreciation of these indicates a moral earnestness, a disposition to seek “the best that has been thought and said in the world," and this is what we mean by culture.

This work has been a labor of love, for as I have come under the power of Wordsworth's strong and pure personality

whether in the sacred associations of the class-room, in the solitude of the study, or in the inspiring and recreating atmosphere of his beloved Lake-land — he has spoken as a friend and companion, not as from some lofty and far-off sphere of perfected manhood, but from the common highway of duty and responsibility, cheering with the God-speed of one who has faced the same trials and wrestled with the same problems that beset our common humanity; and best of all, he encourages with the faith which comes to one who lives ever in the light of high endeavor.

It is encouraging to notice the position that English studies are occupying in our best schools and colleges : it is one indication of the return to that ideal and spiritual philosophy taught by Wordsworth, Coleridge, Tennyson, and Browning, Newman, Robertson, Kingsley, and Maurice, - a philosophy in which the facts of human experience were interpreted and referred to an order and a world beyond that which the senses can reveal. They have looked at life steadily and as a whole, and have given to the world ideas which are broader, deeper, and more consistent than those of a materialistic philosophy; representing no system of education or school of morals, they have taught that all education is a failure which does not develop an eye to see and a heart to feel moral, artistic, and intellectual excellence. While the professional moralists and the doctrinaires have been formulating what the world should think and believe, these earnest men, by the simplicity and sincerity of their lives, have brought the truths of God and the beauties of heaven to the deeper heart of the young men of this generation.

The clear, pure voice of these poets and prophets continues to be heard above the incessant din of our modern Babylon, calling upon men to live the life of the spirit; to leave the dispute of words for the discernment of things, and declaring that not a syllable of God's infinite language can be understood without a deed.

“ All that is, at all,
Lasts ever, past recall ;
Earth changes, but thy soul and God stand sure;
What entered into thee,
That was, is, and shall be ;

Time's wheel runs back or stops; Potter and clay endure." These Selections have been chosen after some experience in their use with classes, and are, it is hoped, the best representative of the poet's work. If they had been limited to those poems which represent his best work, the plan of exhibiting the growth of Wordsworth's mind and art could not have been realized. Wordsworth more than most poets needs careful, and even reverential, study; he wrote so much, and his work extends over so many years, that one needs to be familiar with the best product of each period of his work dawn, mid-day, and sunset - in order to appreciate the beauty and the variety, the breadth and the intensity, of his contributions to literature.

Professor Shairp has said that a thorough and appreciative commentary, which should open avenues to the study of Wordsworth, and render accessible his imaginative heights and his meditative depths, would be a boon to the younger part of this generation. With the hope of contributing something to the accomplishment of such a result the Prelude was published ; a familiarity with that great poem is essential to a proper understanding of the influences which did so much to shape Wordsworth's career. The reception that was accorded that work has encouraged me to fulfil the promise then made, that it would be followed by other of his works. Most of the work was done in the delightful surroundings of the Lake country, and nothing has been omitted which it was thought would add to the understanding or the appreciation of the poems. Wordsworth's interpreters have been for the most part wise and prudent, and the homage which they have paid him has been worthy both of them and of him.

I am greatly indebted to Mr. Aubrey de Vere, who, with Professor Shairp and Matthew Arnold, has merited the gratitude of all lovers of poetry in general and of Wordsworth's poetry in particular. His kindness in reviewing the list of poems selected, his thoughtful suggestions, and his sympathy and encouragement have added not a little to the pleasure of my work.

The chronological order has been followed as the only suitable one. The Sonnets have been grouped by themselves, as it is often desirable to make a study of sonnet literature, and Wordsworth's Sonnets illustrate a special and distinct phase of this work, and are extensive enough to be considered separately.

The text adopted is in every case the poet's last revision.

As regards annotation, an attempt has been made to suggest and stimulate rather than to complete. Wordsworth's own notes dictated to Miss Fenwick are especially helpful ; these are given for the most part in full. Whenever it has seemed that a description of the scene connected with a given poem would shed light upon it, I have not hesitated to introduce it.

In regard to the use to be made of the notes in class, I would say that with the exception of the poet's own, which are in the main historical, they should be supplementary, never introductory. The pupil should in every case by careful reading and afterthought form his own ideas first; for it would be better that he should disagree with every interpretation in the notes, than that he should substitute one of them in place of his own thought. Burke says that the method of teaching which approaches most nearly to the method of investigation is incomparably the best.

This work is based upon the idea that we should keep close to those writers who have enriched the tone and expanded the compass of our literature. Is it any wonder that there is an escape from the dry class drudgery in “Elegant Extracts” and “Gems of Poetry” to the forbidden fruit of sentimental novel writers, after the mind has been conducted through the thousand and one writers with no time to rest with any? Professor Dowden says :

“ To submit our

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