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What's in a name?
TO ROBERT SOUTHEY, ESQ., P. L., ETC., ETC.
MY DEAR FRIEND: The Tale of Peter Bell, which I now introduce to your notice, and to that of the Public, has, in its manuscript state, nearly survived its minority; - for it first saw the light in the summer of 1798. During this long interval, pains have been taken at different times to make the production less unworthy of a favorable reception; or, rather, to fit it for filling permanently a station, however humble, in the literature of our country. This has, indeed, been the aim of all my endeavors in Poetry, which, you know, have been sufficiently laborious to prove that I deem the Art not lightly to be approached; and that the attainment of excellence in it may laudably be made the principal object of intellectual pursuit by any man, who, with reasonable consideration of circumstances, has faith in his own impulses.
The Poem of Peter Bell, as the Prologue will show, was composed under a belief that the Imagination not only does not require for its exercise the intervention of supernatural agency, but that, though such agency be excluded, the faculty may be called forth as imperiously, and for kindred results of pleasure, by incidents, within the compass of poetic probability, in the humblest departments of daily life. Since that Prologue was written, you have exhibited most splendid effects of judicious daring, in the opposite and usual course. Let this acknowledgment make my peace with the lovers of the supernatural; and I am persuaded it will be admitted, that to you, as a master in that province of the Art, the following Tale, whether from contrast or congruity, is not an unappropriate offering. Accept it, then, as a public testimony of affectionate admiration from one with whose name yours has been often coupled (to use your own words) for evil and for good; and believe me to be, with earnest wishes that life and health may be granted you to complete the many important works in which you are engaged, and with high respect,
Most faithfully yours,
WILLIAM WORDSWORTH. RYDAL MOUNT, April 7, 1819.
THERE's something in a flying horse,
And now I have a little Boat,
up - and you shall see me soon!
The woods, my Friends, are round you roaring,
ye have all a thousand fears
Meanwhile, untroubled I admire
Away we go, my Boat and I,
the winds we strive, Or deep into the clouds we dive, Each is contented with the other.
Away we go,
and what care we
Up goes my Boat among the stars Through many a breathless field of light, Through many a long blue field of ether, Leaving ten thousand stars beneath her: Up goes my little Boat so bright!
The Crab, the Scorpion, and the Bull,-
The towns in Saturn are decayed,
Swift Mercury resounds with mirth,
Then back to Earth, the dear green Earth:
if I here should roam, The world of
remarks and me Would not a whit the better be: I've left my heart at home.
See! there she is, the matchless Earth !
Yon tawny slip is Libya's sands;
And see the town where I was born !
Never did fifty things at once
“Shame on you !” cried my little Boat ;
“ Ne'er in the breast of full-grown Poet
Such din shall trouble them no more.
“ These nether precincts do not lack