Lyrical Ballads: 1800 edition

Description

Lyrical Ballads was a two-volume collection of poetry by Samuel Taylor Coleridge and William Wordsworth. In the first edition it opened with The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, but in the second edition the poem was moved to the penultimate position in the first volume. It is introduced as The Ancient Mariner, a poet’s reverie.

Faced with the widespread criticism of the poem’s archaic language and general inaccessibility, Coleridge revised the work. He modernised around 40 spellings and terms, deleted 46 lines and added seven new ones. Parts v and vi were the most substantially altered, with careful revisions made to the section from ‘And soon I heard a roaring wind’ to ‘The dead men gave a groan’ (lines 309-30, 1817 text). 

When the second edition was published, in two volumes, only Wordsworth’s name appeared on the title page. Coleridge’s contribution was acknowledged in the Preface, where poems by ‘a Friend’ are presented as having been included ‘for the sake of variety’. The change of order and crediting Wordsworth as the writer were certainly done with Coleridge’s knowledge, and probably some degree of support from him. Wordsworth in turn states that he has been successful in persuading Coleridge to retain the poem in the book in spite of its ‘defects’. However it is unlikely that Coleridge was aware before publication of the paragraph in which Wordsworth criticises those defects in depth. Wordsworth did not retain these comments in later editions of the book.

Full title:
Lyrical ballads: with other poems / by W. Wordsworth
Published:
1800, London
Format:
Book
Creator:
William Wordsworth, Samuel Taylor Coleridge
Usage terms
Public Domain
Held by
British Library
Shelfmark:
Ashley 2253

Related articles

An introduction to ‘Tintern Abbey’

Article by:
Philip Shaw
Theme:
Romanticism

Professor Philip Shaw considers the composition of 'Lines written a few miles above Tintern Abbey', and explains how Wordsworth uses nature to explore ideas of connection and unity.

Kubla Khan and Coleridge's exotic language

Article by:
Daljit Nagra
Theme:
Romanticism

Poet Daljit Nagra explains how Coleridge uses language, form and imagery to create the heady exoticism of Kubla Khan.

Wordsworth and the sublime

Article by:
Philip Shaw
Theme:
Romanticism

Professor Philip Shaw explores the role of the sublime in Wordsworth's autobiographical Prelude, explaining how the poet uses the concept to investigate nature, imagination and the divine.

Related collection items

Related people

Related works

'Composed upon Westminster Bridge, September 3, 1802'

Created by: William Wordsworth

‘Composed upon Westminster Bridge, September 3, 1802’ is a sonnet by William Wordsworth (1770-1850) ...

Lyrical Ballads

Created by: William Wordsworth, Samuel Taylor Coleridge

This collaborative collection by William Wordsworth (1770-1850) and Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772-1834) was ...

The Prelude (Book I)

Created by: William Wordsworth

The subtitle of The Prelude is ‘Growth of a Poet’s Mind’. William Wordsworth (1770-1850) began ...

'I wandered lonely as a cloud'

Created by: William Wordsworth

A lyric poem inspired by an event on 15 April 1802, when William Wordsworth and his sister Dorothy came across a ...