I do find that the principles stated in William Wordsworth’s Preface are reflected in his poems. I was particularly interested in the idea of simplicity brought forth in the beginning of his preface. Wordsworth made it clear that he was against the fancy decorum of his time’s poetry and believed in using the language of everyday men in order to entice them. In order to appeal to the common man, he stated that he must affirm that he was “flesh and blood” by becoming familiar with his readership. This was carried out by his poetry’s overall simplicity (297).
William Wordsworth looked to the rural life to make his poem’s familiar. He did so by writing about nature in Tintern Abbey, such in lines 68-69: “I bounded o’er the mountains, by the sides/Of the deep rivers, and the lonely streams”. Wordsworth mentioned in his preface that the “passions of men are incorporated with the beautiful and permanent of forms of nature” (295). So by writing about nature, he formed a connection between his desired readership and himself, as it was a familiar subject to the both of them.
Although Wordsworth aimed to use simple language, he did not mean his work to be dull in the least. As stated on page 295, he meant to add a “colouring of imagination” to his work to balance out the simplicity of the diction. This imagination came in the form of turning ordinary things, such as sleep, into extraordinary concepts. In Wordsworth’s poem A slumber did my spirit seal on page 307, he managed to turn the simple act of sleeping into a metaphysical state in which the soul seems untouchable by things like “earthly years” (307).
Wordsworth argued that using simple language rather than the fluffy diction used by his contemporaries was a superior way to writing poetry. He was successful in blending his preface’s theories into his work. He accommodated both imagination and comprehensible language, as were his intentions in the Preface to his poems.
Wordsworth, William. Preface to Lyrical Ballads. p.293-298. Greenblatt, Stephen, gen. ed. The Norton Anthology of English Literature: Volume A The Middle Ages 9th ed. 6 vols. New York: NY, 2012. Print.
Wordsworth, William. Lines. p.290. Greenblatt, Stephen, gen. ed. The Norton Anthology of English Literature: Volume A The Middle Ages 9th ed. 6 vols. New York: NY, 2012. Print.
Wordsworth, William. A slumber did my spirit seal. p.307. Greenblatt, Stephen, gen. ed. The Norton Anthology of English Literature: Volume A The Middle Ages 9th ed. 6 vols. New York: NY, 2012. Print.