Lyrical Ballads, with a Few Other Poems

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A collection of poems by Wordsworth and Coleridge, of which the first edition appeared 1798, the second with new poems and a preface (known as the 1800 edition) Jan. 1801, and a third 1802.

The book was a landmark of English Romanticism and the beginning of a new age. Coleridge's contributions to the first edition were The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, ‘The Foster‐Mother's Tale’, ‘The Nightingale’, and ‘The Dungeon’; Wordsworth's include ballads and narratives such as ‘The Thorn’, ‘The Idiot Boy’, and ‘Simon Lee, the old Huntsman’, and more personal poems such as ‘Lines written in early spring’ and ‘Lines written a few miles above Tintern Abbey’. They appeared with a brief ‘Advertisement’ by Wordsworth, stating his theory of poetic diction and attacking the ‘gaudy and inane phraseology of many modern writers’; his views were much expanded in his important preface to the second edition, and enlarged again in 1802. The poems themselves, with their ‘low’ subjects and language and their alleged banality and repetitions, were subjected to much ridicule. The second volume of the second edition added many of Wordsworth's most characteristic works, including the so‐called ‘Lucy poems’, ‘The Old Cumberland Beggar’, and ‘Michael, a Pastoral’.

Subjects: Literature.

Reference entries

Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772—1834) poet, critic, and philosopher

William Wordsworth (1770—1850) poet

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