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EDITOR'S NOTES ON THE POEMS.

VOL. II.

EDITOR'S NOTES ON THE POEMS.

VOL. II.

'Rob Roy's Grave (page 3).—Composed later than September 25, 1803, the date of the Wordsworths' return from Scotland, and before April 11, 1805, when Dorothy copied it into her Journal of the Tour. The error in the prefatory note of 1807 is excused in the note on the poem dictated to Isabella Fenwick in 1843, on the ground that the Poet had been misinformed by a well-educated resident as to Rob Roy's resting-place. The outlaw lies between his wife and his eldest son in the Kirkton of Balqıwhidder at the lower end of Loch Voil, his grave marked by “ a rude grey slab, on which a long claymore is roughly engraved" (Shairp's Wordsworth's Tour in Scotland, p. 315). In 1827 Wordsworth altered 1. 58 (stanza xiv.) to: “Through summer heat and winter snow," doubtless to avoid the clashing sibilants in “ winter's snow ; ” but he disapproved strongly of the lax use in poetry of substantives in the place of adjectives. In November, 1814, he wrote to R. P. Gillies : “ We say “summer sun,' because we have no adjectival termination for that season, but 'vernal' and 'autumnal' are unexceptionable words. Miss Seward uses hybernal,' and I think it is to be regretted that the word is not familiar.” In 1815 11. 109-112 were altered so as to extend the apostrophe to stanza xxvii.—“For thou wert still,” etc. (1. 109), and “Had thine at their command.” (1. 112)—and in 1827 1. 119 (the penultimate) was happily refashioned :

“The proud heart flashing through the eyes,"

The Solitary Reaper (page 11).—Composed between September, 1803, and April, 1805. See date note to Glen-Almain. For the genesis of the poem

, see Author's Note (p. 162) and Editor's Note thereon. In 1827 11. 9-13 were rehandled :

“No Nightingale did ever chaunt
More welcome notes to weary bands
Of Travellers * *

Such thrilling voice was never heard" etc. -and in 1836 1. 13 was again altered to: “A voice so thrilling ne'er was heard.” These changes were effected to get rid of the sweetly' and 'sweeter' of ll. 10 and 13. Wordsworth's original text teems with 'sweet' and its derivatives, nor was it until after ed. 1820 had appeared that he began thinning out the crop. Coleridge, who censured Lamb for affecting such epithets as "charming,' 'exquisite,' • admirable,' etc., on the ground that they express a state of feeling rather than any definite idea, could not fail to condemn Wordsworth’s extravagant fondness for 'sweet' on the same ground (Lamb's Letters, Ainger's ed., i., p. 9). Anyhow, in 1827 Wordsworth. removed this word from ten places in his poems; in 1832 he removed it from one place; in 1836-7 from

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