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from such composition, composition to which he has peculiarly attached the endearing name of Poetry; and all men feel an habitual gratitude, and something of an honorable bigotry for the objects which have long continued to please them: we not only wish to be pleased, but to be pleased in that particular way in which we have been accustomed to be pleased. There is a host of arguments in these feelings; and I should be the less able to combat them successfully, as I am willing to allow, that, in order entirely to enjoy the Poetry which I am recommending, it would be necessary to give up much of what is ordinarily enjoyed. But, would my limits have permitted me to point out how this pleasure is produced, I might have removed many obstacles, and assisted my Reader in perceiving that the powers of language are not so limited as he may suppose; and that it is possible that poetry may give other enjoyments, of a purer, more lasting, and more exquisite nature. This part of my subject I have not altogether neglected; but it has been less my present aim to prove, that the interest excited by some other kinds of poetry is less vivid, and less worthy of the nobler powers of the mind, than to offer reasons for presuming, that, if the object which I have proposed to myself were adequately attained, a species of poetry would be produced, which is genuine poetry; in its nature well adapted to interest mankind permanently, and likewise important in the multiplicity and quality of its moral relations.
From what has been said, and from a perusal of the Poems, the Reader will be able clearly to perceive the object which I have proposed to myself: he will determine how far I have attained this object; and, what is a much more important question, whether it be worth attaining; and upon the decision of these two questions will rest my claim to the approbation of the public.
“ Why, William, on that old grey stone,
“ Where are your books ?—that light bequeath'd “ To beings else forlorn and blind ! “Up! Up! and drink the spirit breath'd “ From dead men to their kind.
“ You look round on your mother earth, “ As if she for no purpose bore you ; “ As if you were her first-born birth, “ And none had lived before you !"
One morning thus, by Esthwaite lake,
" The eye
it cannot chuse but see “ We cannot bid the ear be still ; “ Our bodies feel, where'er they be,
Against, or with our will.
“ Nor less I deem that there are powers s« Which of themselves our minds impress;
“ That we can feed this mind of ours
“ In a wise passiveness.