Wordsworth’s Pretty Polly

If Lucy was the kind of person portrayed in the poem; if Wordsworth murdered her, either by cutting her throat or smothering her, in concert, perhaps, with his friends Southey and Coleridge; and if he had thus found himself released from an engagement which had become irksome to him, or possibly from the threat of an action for breach of contract, there is not a syllable in the poem with which he crowns his crime which is not alive with meaning. On any other supposition, to the general reader it is unintelligible.

(Samuel Butler, Selected Essays, 1927.)

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Published in: on September 2, 2010 at 1:00 am  Leave a Comment  

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