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This edition of “The Poetical Works of William Wordsworth,” containing the whole of his published Poems, has been prepared by the direction of his Trustees.
The readers of Wordsworth will, it is hoped, be gratified to find that prefatory Notes are, now for the first time, placed at the head of many of the Poems, having reference to the characters or localities treated of, or to the circumstances under which the Poems were respectively written.
Those Notes were dictated by the Author at the request of a dear friend of his, by whom they were written down, and to whom the Manuscript belonged. This was done in the year 1843. The Notes were written with the sole view of their being perused by the Author's nearest friends, and without the remotest intention, either on the part of the Poet or the writer, of their ever being published. To most of those friends, there does not appear to be any valid reason why the pleasure and benefit to be derived from the Notes should not, by their publication, be more widely diffused than was originally contemplated. They contain interesting matter, irrespective of their bearing on the Poems, and, surely, when taken in connection with the latter, which they tend to illustrate and explain, the general and less judicious reader, even, can scarcely fail to derive additional interest and pleasure, by being thus brought into more immediate community of feeling with the Poet, from a knowledge of the circumstances by which the Poems were suggested, and of the feelings under which they were composed.