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date: 30 May 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter explores the lyricism of Wordsworth’s 1807 collection, and considers how the lyric principle might ‘console the afflicted’, and ‘add sunshine to daylight’. Poems in Two Volumes extends Wordsworth’s sense of the poet as ‘Teacher’, presenting ‘new compositions of feeling’ and ‘widening the sphere of human sensibility’. Coleridge had already expressed concern that Wordsworth was squandering his greater calling on ‘minor’ pieces. But by analogy with the agricultural principle of rotation, those shorter poems provided the necessary variation to prevent the soil in which the great work might grow from becoming exhausted. At the same time his shorter pieces were nourished by a shared apparatus of purpose. What is at stake is the embodiment of the ‘principle of joy’ at the root of human hope itself, constituting a faith not dependent on religious doctrine, but summoned by perpetually renewed acts of seeing, thinking, and feeling.

Keywords: Wordsworth, poetry, lyric, play, grace, feeling, Coleridge

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