Last Poems, 1821–1850
Edited by Jared Curtis, Apryl Lea Denny-Ferris, Jillian Heydt-Stevenson
This book presents much of Wordsworth's poetic output from the last three decades of his life. Approximately two hundred poems are featured, including On the Power of Sound, the sequence of Evening Voluntaries, and the poet's tributes to the dead, such as those to Sir George Beaumont, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, and James Hogg. The volume excludes longer works written during this period, which appear in other volumes in The Cornell Wordsworth. Last Poems provides reading texts of all the poems in their earliest finished versions, an apparatus criticus of all variant readings from all surviving manuscript and print forms over which the poet exercised control, Wordsworth's—and the editors—notes to each of the poems, and photographs and transcriptions of selected manuscripts.
The poems display a wide range of verse forms, including examples from most of the classes and types that Wordsworth himself used to organize his oeuvre as well as poems best described as efforts to shape poetic forms in new ways. Chronologically arranged, the poems explore themes both perennial and topical as Wordsworth endeavored to come to terms with a rapidly changing world by exploring the past, the present, and the links between them.