Lyrical Ballads
Lyrical Ballads, with a Few Other Poems is a collection of poems by William Wordsworth
William Wordsworth
William Wordsworth was a major English Romantic poet who, with Samuel Taylor Coleridge, helped to launch the Romantic Age in English literature with the 1798 joint publication Lyrical Ballads....

 and Samuel Taylor Coleridge
Samuel Taylor Coleridge
Samuel Taylor Coleridge was an English poet, Romantic, literary critic and philosopher who, with his friend William Wordsworth, was a founder of the Romantic Movement in England and a member of the Lake Poets. He is probably best known for his poems The Rime of the Ancient Mariner and Kubla...

, first published in 1798 and generally considered to have marked the beginning of the English Romantic movement in literature. The immediate effect on critics was modest, but it became and remains a landmark, changing the course of English literature
English literature
English literature is the literature written in the English language, including literature composed in English by writers not necessarily from England; for example, Robert Burns was Scottish, James Joyce was Irish, Joseph Conrad was Polish, Dylan Thomas was Welsh, Edgar Allan Poe was American, J....

 and poetry
English poetry
The history of English poetry stretches from the middle of the 7th century to the present day. Over this period, English poets have written some of the most enduring poems in Western culture, and the language and its poetry have spread around the globe. Consequently, the term English poetry is...


Most of the poems in the 1798 edition were written by Wordsworth, with Coleridge contributing only four poems to the collection, including one of his most famous works, "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner
The Rime of the Ancient Mariner
The Rime of the Ancient Mariner is the longest major poem by the English poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge, written in 1797–98 and was published in 1798 in the first edition of Lyrical Ballads. Modern editions use a later revised version printed in 1817 that featured a gloss...

". (Additionally, though only the two writers are credited for the works, William's sister Dorothy Wordsworth
Dorothy Wordsworth
Dorothy Mae Ann Wordsworth was an English author, poet and diarist. She was the sister of the Romantic poet William Wordsworth, and the two were close for all of their lives...

's diary which held powerful descriptions of everyday surroundings influenced William's poetry immensely).

A second edition was published in 1800, in which Wordsworth included additional poems and a preface
Preface to the Lyrical Ballads
The Preface to the Lyrical Ballads is an essay, composed by William Wordsworth for the second edition of the poetry collection Lyrical Ballads, and then greatly expanded in the third edition of 1802.-External links:**...

 detailing the pair's avowed poetical principles. Another edition was published in 1802, Wordsworth added an appendix titled Poetic Diction in which he expanded the ideas set forth in the preface.


Wordsworth and Coleridge set out to overturn what they considered the priggish, learned and highly sculpted forms of 18th century English poetry and bring poetry within the reach of the average person by writing the verses using normal, everyday language. They place an emphasis on the vitality of the living voice that the poor use to express their reality. Using this language also helps assert the universality of human emotions. Even the title of the collection recalls rustic forms of art - the word "lyrical" links the poems with the ancient rustic bards and lends an air of spontaneity, while "ballads" are an oral mode of storytelling used by the common people.

In the 'Advertisement' included in the 1798 edition, Wordsworth explained his poetical concept:
The majority of the following poems are to be considered as experiments. They were written chiefly with a view to ascertain how far the language of conversation in the middle and lower classes of society is adapted to the purpose of poetic pleasure.

If the experiment with vernacular language was not enough of a departure from the norm, the focus on simple, uneducated country people as the subject of poetry was a signal shift to modern literature.
One of the main themes of "Lyrical Ballads" is the return to the original state of nature, in which people led a purer and more innocent existence. Wordsworth subscribed to Rousseau's belief that humanity was essentially good but was corrupted by the influence of society. This may be linked with the sentiments spreading through Europe just prior to the French Revolution.

Volume I

  • Expostulation and Reply
  • The Tables Turned; an Evening Scene, on the Same Subject
  • Old Man Travelling; Animal Tranquillity and Decay, a Sketch
  • The Complaint of a forsaken Indian Woman
  • The Last of the Flock
  • Lines left upon a Seat in a Yew-tree which stands near the Lake of Esthwaite
  • The Foster-Mother's Tale
  • Goody Blake and Harry Gill
  • The Thorn
  • We are Seven
    We are Seven
    "We are Seven" is a poem written by William Wordsworth and published in his Lyrical Ballads. It describes a discussion between an adult poetic speaker and a "little cottage girl" about the number of brothers and sisters who dwell with her...

  • Anecdote for Fathers
    Anecdote for Fathers
    Anecdote for Fathers is a poem written by William Wordsworth and is included in the Lyrical BalladsI have a boy of five years old;His face is fair and fresh to see;His limbs are cast in beauty's mould,And dearly he loves me....

  • Lines written at a small distance from my House and sent me by my little Boy to the Person to whom they are addressed
  • The Female Vagrant
  • The Dungeon
  • Simon Lee, the old Huntsman
  • Lines written in early Spring
  • The Nightingale, written in April, 1798
    The Nightingale: A Conversation Poem
    The Nightingale: A Conversation Poem was a poem written by Samuel Taylor Coleridge in April 1798. Originally included in the joint collection of poems called Lyrical Ballads, the poem disputes the traditional idea that nightingales are connected to the idea of melancholy. Instead, the nightingale...

  • Lines written when sailing in a Boat at Evening
  • written near Richmond, upon the Thames
  • The Idiot Boy
    The Idiot Boy
    -Poem:The poem is of four hundred and sixty three lines and is written in five-line stanzas with a varying rhyme scheme. It was first published in the Lyrical ballads of 1798, where it appeared between The Mad Mother and Lines Written Near Richmond....

  • Love
  • The Mad Mother
  • The Rime of the Ancyent Marinere
    The Rime of the Ancient Mariner
    The Rime of the Ancient Mariner is the longest major poem by the English poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge, written in 1797–98 and was published in 1798 in the first edition of Lyrical Ballads. Modern editions use a later revised version printed in 1817 that featured a gloss...

  • Lines written above Tintern Abbey
    Tintern Abbey (poem)
    "Lines composed a few miles above Tintern Abbey on revisiting the banks of the Wye during a tour, 13 July 1798" is a poem by William Wordsworth. Tintern Abbey is an abbey abandoned in 1536 and located in the southern Welsh county of Monmouthshire...

indicates the poem is by Coleridge

indicates the poem was in the 1798 edition.

Volume II

  • Hart-leap Well
  • There was a Boy, &c
  • The Brothers, a Pastoral Poem
  • Ellen Irwin, or the Braes of Kirtle
  • Strange fits of passion have I known
    Strange fits of passion have I known
    "Strange fits of passion have I known" is a seven-stanza poem ballad by the English Romantic poet William Wordsworth. Composed during a sojourn in Germany in 1798, the poem was first published in the second edition of Lyrical Ballads . The poem describes the poet's trip to his beloved Lucy's...

    , &c.
  • Song
  • She Dwelt among the Untrodden Ways
    She Dwelt among the Untrodden Ways
    "She dwelt among the untrodden ways" is a three-stanza poem written by the English Romantic poet William Wordsworth in 1798 when he was 28 years old. The verse was first printed in Lyrical Ballads, 1800, a volume of Wordsworth's and Samuel Taylor Coleridge's poems that marked a climacteric in the...

  • A slumber did my spirit seal, &c
  • The Waterfall and the Eglantine
  • The Oak and the Broom, a Pastoral
  • Lucy Gray
    Lucy Gray
    Lucy Gray is the debut full length album from American emo band, Envy On The Coast. The album was released under Matt Galle's Photo Finish Records on August 7, 2007. The album's first single, "Sugar Skulls," is currently on the iTunes Music store. "Mirrors" has also been released as the second single...

  • The Idle Shepherd-Boys or Dungeon-Gill Force, a Pastoral
  • 'Tis said that some have died for love, &c.
  • Poor Susan
  • Inscription for the Spot where the Hermitage stood on St. Herbert's Island, Derwent-Water
  • Inscription for the House (an Out-house) on the Island at Grasmere
  • To a Sexton
  • Andrew Jones
  • The two Thieves, or the last stage of Avarice
  • A whirl-blast from behind the Hill, &c.
  • Song for the wandering Jew
  • Ruth
  • Lines written with a Slate-Pencil upon a Stone, &c.
  • Lines written on a Tablet in a School
  • The two April Mornings
  • The Fountain, a conversation
  • Nutting
  • Three years she grew in sun and shower, &c.
  • The Pet-Lamb, a Pastoral
  • Written in Germany on one of the coldest days of the century
  • The Childless Father
  • The Old Cumberland Beggar, a Description
  • Rural Architecture
  • A Poet's Epitaph
  • A Character
  • A Fragment
  • Poems on the Naming of Places,
  • Michael, a Pastoral
    Michael (poem)
    Michael: A Pastoral Poem, written in 1800, is a one of William Wordsworth's best known poems and the subject of much critical literature. It was first published in the 1800 edition of Lyrical Ballads...

The poem The Convict (Wordsworth) was in the 1798 edition but Wordsworth omitted it from the 1800 edition. Lewti or the Circassian Love-chaunt (Coleridge) exists in some 1798 editions in place of The Convict.
The poems "Lines written when sailing in a Boat at evening" and "Lines written near Richmond, upon the Thames" are one poem in the 1798 edition entitled "Lines written near Richmond, upon the Thames, at Evening."

External links

  • Lyrical Ballads available at Internet Archive
    Internet Archive
    The Internet Archive is a non-profit digital library with the stated mission of "universal access to all knowledge". It offers permanent storage and access to collections of digitized materials, including websites, music, moving images, and nearly 3 million public domain books. The Internet Archive...

  • Preface to Lyrical Ballads 1802
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