Preface to the Lyrical Ballad is an essay by William Wordsworth written and published in 1802.
Before this essay, a collection of poems called ‘Lyrical Ballad‘ was published in collaboration of Wordsworth and S.T Coleridge in 1798.
Preface to the Lyrical Ballad is the most important work of Romantic literature, this work was like a manifesto of the beginning of Romantic Literature.
What is the purpose of writing this Ballad?
William Wordsworth basically wanted to create an atmosphere where the readers connect to the literary world in their own common and simple language. A language that readers should feel the emotions of the poetry while reading.
What was the opinion of Wordsworth about the Neo Classicism’s writers?
According to Wordsworth, late Neo Classicals were self- serving writers as they use harsh and hatred tone of language in their poetry. Because of their harsh tone of language, Neo Classicals were not able to connect with readers. And also, they randomly change the language of the poetry that makes difficult for readers to understand and connect with the writer.
Wordsworth thought that late Neo Classicals were ignoring the literate section and they are not writing poetry with deep meaning and also, they are not putting much thought on their language before writing poetry. Wordsworth thought that poetry should have feelings, he also said before writing poetry, think deeply and emotionally.
He also said that it is not necessary for a poet to always write emotionally but a poet sometimes should use their thoughts. He gives more importance to feelings and emotions instead of thoughts.
William Wordsworth said, my purpose for writing poetry is that I can connect my feelings and thoughts to the readers, and that is why I give feelings to the action and situation.
He basically wanted his reader to connect with simple and common world of language. He said that Neo Classical’s poetries are making people dull.
Further, he says that I use common language in my poetry, because it is realistic and relatable which direct connects to the readers language. And also, more specifically, I want my reader to not only read but to understand and feel the emotions as if necessary, it can also apply in their life.
He thinks that some critics disapprove poetry because of its difficult language while some critics thought that a poet should use meter rules and laws of poetry. And to prove, he put an example of John Milton, John Grey who did not use any of these laws in their poetry.
According to Wordsworth, poetry and prose are not much different in language. People called poetry and painting sisters together, then why poetry and prose should be different?
After Preface to the Lyrical Ballad, a question arises that;
Why Wordsworth chose poetry instead of prose?
He says that I chose to write poetry because of rhyme and meter. By using these terms, a poet can increase or decrease (control) the emotions of poetry. By putting an example, he says that Shakespeare, a greatest playwright also used rhymes and meters in his work to create emotions.
He further describes that a poet should not write poetry with instant pain, instead they should realize, analyze and organize the behavior of pain then after should apply in poetry.
He said, readers should think with emotions instead of people’s reaction like what and how do they think?
According to William Wordsworth, reading and judging poetry is a talent that nobody can have easily.
According to him, ‘poetry is the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings, it takes its origin from emotion and recollected in tranquility’.
At the end, he said that satire also should not be written with fun but it also needs to be work seriously.