Benny B

Well-known member
Oh right. I dunno, did he delete them for the second edition or something? I'd have to check but I've got that penguin edition that reproduces the original as it was printed and I think it has those lines in.
 

Corpsey

bandz ahoy
Those lines were included in the Lyrical Ballads but later excised

The poem was first released in 1798 under the title "Old Man Travelling" with the subtitle "Animal Tranquillity and Decay, A Sketch".[7] In the next edition of Lyrical Ballads, which came out in 1800, the subtitle became the official title.[8] In the same edition Wordsworth also decided to refrain from using the name "Old Man Travelling". According to Wolfson, he might have done it so as to avoid emphasizing the ironic undertone of the poem – the contrast between the lyrical sketch and the violent imagery of war – as well as to "stabilise a harmony of pathos".[9]

The first changes in the text occurred in the 1800 edition of Lyrical Ballads. In this version, the old man's speech transformed from "direct speech into reported speech".[10] Ulin comments that Wordsworth introduced the revision in order to make the old man seem less independent as a character, as well as to reduce the social distance between him and the speaker, marked in the 1798 version by the man addressing the speaker as "Sir".[10] In the 1815 version, only the first 14 lines of the poem were published, the last 6 lines of the original being skipped there.[8]
 

Corpsey

bandz ahoy
Seems like he might have deleted those lines because they could be taken as critical of the government...

The poem contains certain political allusions. According to Bugg, the reader's understanding of Wordsworth's commentary on the state of politics provided in spite of the "repressive climate" is what makes the poem so impactful.[11] The location of the old man's son's arrival is intentional – by mentioning Falmouth, a military port, Wordsworth alludes to the war that Great Britain waged against the French revolutionaries in the 1790s.[12][11] Benis argues that the poem is "directly critical of official authority".[13] The exchange between the old man and the gentleman – presented in the form of direct speech in the 1798 version – illustrates a clash of viewpoints; the old man represents a person affected by the conflict between England and France, and the speaker – someone who benefits from it.[12] By giving the old man a chance to speak for himself, Wordsworth confronts the reader with the drastic reality and "harsh dailiness of war".[14] Considering the political situation of Britain at the time, discourse condemning the government's doings seemed "unpatriotic, even seditious".[13]According to Lucas, the changes the author introduced within the poem illustrate Wordsworth's final disconnection from his former radical beliefs and support for the French Revolution, and eventual subscription to the conservative, Tory views.[15]
 

Benny B

Well-known member
Consensus is WW was a notoriously shit reviser of his own work and he ruined loads of stuff apparently, not least the Prelude.
 

Benny B

Well-known member
@Corpsey if you want to be able to say you've got the prelude under your belt but can't actually be arsed to read the full 14 book epic, this is what I recommend.

Anyone thinking of giving the Prelude a go (probably no one else here now, but fuck it) and put off by the length, I'd recommend reading the much shorter two-part 1799 version - it basically covers the first two books of the later longer versions, where all the real juice is (those amazing childhood passages of stealing birds eggs, stealing a boat, the ice skating on the lake and the drowned man) but in a looser form. Seems WW was a terrible reviser of his own work, 'tightening up' his lines in the later versions while simultaneously adding a lot of pointless detail and more conservative, Christian stuff. The 1799 version also includes the famous and amazing 'spots in time' section in its proper place with his other childhood memories, rather than buried in a much later book in the long versions.

If you read the short 1799 version and like it, then go on to read the 13 book 1805 version for all the extra stuff about going to university and the French Revolution is my advice.

Also Tintern Abby from Lyrical Ballads is superb and goes so well with the Prelude - another way in.
 

Corpsey

bandz ahoy
I'm much more inclined to read the Prelude now

Unfortunately I've managed to buy myself the 1850 version so will need to rectify that too

I read Tintern Abbey last night. I've read it a few times before. There are a lot of perfect passages in it and I can see why it has the rep it has but I actually found myself a bit unsatisfied with it when compared to Michael and the original "Animal Tranquility..." because it's obviously so inward looking. Which is what WW is known for, ofc, but I actually really like when he turns his gaze on other people.

Worth reading "Frost at Midnight" by Coleridge which is similar to Tintern Abbey.

It might be in Lyrical Ballads actually which I clearly need to get hold of
 

Benny B

Well-known member
I've only read frost at midnight on here actually, I think Luka posted it in the Prynne thread cos it was an influence on him. Amazing poem. Don't know what book it's from

The original version of the ancient mariner with all the archaic spellings is great as well, another that got revised about a million times.
 

Benny B

Well-known member
I don't think you have to have had kiddies yourself to get this poem and I don't think it should be reduced to just sentimental, that's doing it an injustice. It's more about growing up in a town v the idealised country childhood that's he's exploring.
The reverse of it is Wordsworth in Cambridge/London, or Lorca in New York/Madrid, country boy goes to big city, and they're usually excited but horrified by the experience (and don't stay there long)
 

Corpsey

bandz ahoy
This bit:

Only that film, which fluttered on the grate,

Still flutters there, the sole unquiet thing.
Methinks, its motion in this hush of nature
Gives it dim sympathies with me who live,
Making it a companionable form,
Whose puny flaps and freaks the idling Spirit
By its own moods interprets, every where
Echo or mirror seeking of itself,
And makes a toy of Thought.
 
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