Published in 1798, Lyrical Ballads is a dazzling collaboration containing twenty-three poems by close friends, William Wordsworth (1770-1850) and Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772-1834) – two major figures of English Romanticism. The volume heralded a new approach to poetry and expresses the poets' reflections on mankind's relationship with the forces of the world. Coleridge's contribution includes the nightmarish vision of 'The Rime of the Ancyent Marinere', one of the works for which he became best known, as well as the fantastical conversational poem 'The Foster-Mother's Tale' and the melancholic 'The Nightingale'. Wordsworth's 'We are Seven' depicts a child's naove optimism in the face of the cruel mortality, while 'Goody Blake and Harry Gill' and 'Simon Lee' celebrate the simplicity and strength he perceived in country people, and 'Tintern Abbey' explores the healing powers of nature. Published as part of the Penguin Poetry First Editions series in which the greatest collections of poetry in English will be published in their original form.
About The Authors
William Wordsworth was born in the Lake District in April 1770, and died there eighty years later on 23 April 1850. He had three brothers and a sister, Dorothy, to whom throughout his life he was especially close. When she was six, and he was nearly eight, their mother died. Dorothy was sent away to be brought up by relatives, and a year later William was sent to Hawkshead Grammar School, scene of the great childhood episodes of The Prelude.
Wordsworth was cared for in lodgings and led a life of exceptional freedom, roving over the fells that surround the village. The death of his father, agent to the immensely powerful landowner Sir James Lowther, broke in on this happiness when he was thirteen, but did not halt the education through nature that complemented his Hawkshead studies and became the theme of his poetry.
At Cambridge, Wordsworth travelled (experiencing the French Revolution at first hand) and wrote poetry. His twenties were spent as a wanderer, in France, Wales, London, the Lakes, Dorset and Germany. In France he fathered a child whom he did not meet till she was nine because of the War. In 1795 he was reunited with Dorothy, and met Coleridge, with whom he published Lyrical Ballads in 1898, and to whom he addressed The Prelude, his epic study of human consciousness.
In the last days of the century Wordsworth and Dorothy found a settled home at Dove Cottage, Grasmere. Here Wordsworth wrote much of his best-loved poetry, and Dorothy her famous Journals. In 1802 Wordsworth married Dorothy's closest friend, Mary Hutchinson.
Gradually he established himself as the great poet of his age, a turning-point coming with the Collected Poems of 1815. From 1813 Wordsworth and his family lived at Rydal Mount in the next-door valley to Grasmere. In 1843 he became Poet Laureate.
Samuel Taylor Coleridge was born in 1772 at Ottery St Mary, Devon, the youngest son of a clergyman. A precocious reader and talker as a child, he was educated at Christ’s Hospital School, London, where he began his friendship with Charles Lamb and wrote his earliest poems, and Jesus College, Cambridge.
In 1794 he met Robert Southey and together they planned Pantisocracy, an ideal community to be founded in America, but the project collapsed after a quarrel. Coleridge’s poems were published in the Morning Chronicle, and in he wrote ‘The Eolian Harp’ for Sara Fricker, whom he married in the same year, although the marriage was an unhappy one. He first met Dorothy and William Wordsworth in 1797 and a close association developed between them. Coleridge wrote his famous ‘Kubla Khan’ in the same year, followed in 1798 by ‘Frost at Midnight’.
In 1799 he and Wordsworth published the Lyrical Ballads, which marked a conscious break with eighteenth-century tradition and included one of Coleridge’s greatest poems, 'The Rime of the Ancient Mariner'. During a visit to the Wordsworths in 1799 he met Sara Hutchinson, who became his lifelong love and the subject of his Asra poems.
In the following year Coleridge and his family settled at Greta Hall, Keswick, where he wrote the second part of Christabel, begun in 1798, and also became addicted to opium. In 1804 he separated from his wife and spent the following years in the Mediterranean or London, returning in 1808 to live with the Wordsworths in Grasmere. In 1809 he established The Friend, a political, literary and philosophical weekly journal, which he published regularly over the next year.
After a disagreement with Wordsworth in 1810 Coleridge left the Lake District for ever, centering his life thereafter in London, where he gave his Shakespeare Lectures. He presented his literary and philosophical theories in the two-volume Biographia Literaria, published in 1817, and collected his poems in Sibylline Leaves. In an attempt to control his opium addiction he entered the household and care of Dr James Gillman at Highgate in 1816. Here he was to remain for the last eighteen years of his life, writing a number of late confessional poems and prose works, including Aids to Reflection, published in 1825. Coleridge died in 1834 overseen a final edition of his Poetical Works.
Poet, philosopher and critic, Coleridge stands as one of the seminal figures of his time. William Hazlitt wrote: ‘His thoughts did not seem to come with labour and effort; but as if borne on the gusts of genius, and as if the wings of his imagination lifted him from off his feet’, and Wordsworth called him ‘the only wonderful man I ever knew’.
|The Rime of the Ancyent Marinere||p. 1|
|The Foster-Mother's Tale||p. 26|
|Lines left upon a Seat in a Yew-tree which stands near the Lake of Esthwaite||p. 30|
|The Nightingale, a Conversational Poem||p. 32|
|The Female Vagrant||p. 36|
|Goody Blake and Harry Gill||p. 45|
|Lines written at a small distance from my House, and sent by my little Boy to the Person to whom they are addressed||p. 50|
|Simon Lee, the Old Huntsman||p. 52|
|Anecdote for Fathers||p. 56|
|We Are Seven||p. 59|
|Lines written in Early Spring||p. 62|
|The Thorn||p. 63|
|The Last of the Flock||p. 73|
|The Dungeon||p. 77|
|The Mad Mother||p. 78|
|The Idiot Boy||p. 82|
|Lines written near Richmond, upon the Thames, at Evening||p. 98|
|Expostulation and Reply||p. 100|
|The Tables Turned; an Evening Scene, on the same subject||p. 102|
|Old Man Travelling||p. 104|
|The Complaint of a Forsaken Indian Woman||p. 105|
|The Convict||p. 108|
|Lines written a few miles above Tintern Abbey||p. 110|
|Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.|
Series: Penguin Classics
For Ages: 18+ years old
Number Of Pages: 128
Published: 30th January 2007
Dimensions (cm): 19.9 x 12.8 x 0.9
Weight (kg): 0.1