Lyrical Ballads

On page 132 in Access to English: Literature you can read that the publication of Lyrical Ballads in 1798 signalled a breakthrough for William Wordsworth and his friend Samuel Taylor Coleridge. Below is the table of contents from that collection.



  1. Read through these poem titles. (The notes in brackets have been added by us.) How many of these poems seem to be about very ordinary people (and not about wealthy or powerful people), or even about people at the edge of society, such as tramps or drug-addicts? Which poems?
  2. Choose a poem from this book (see link below) and make your own presentation of the poem, highlighting features that you find interesting, either in a short talk or on a poster. (If you choose “Lines written a few miles above Tintern Abbey” you can select an extract, such as the first 50 lines.)


The Rime of the Ancyent Marinere (Ancient Mariner – an old sea captain)

The Foster-Mother's Tale

Lines left upon a Seat in a Yew-tree which stands near the Lake of Esthwaite (a lake in the English Lake District)

The Nightingale, a Conversational Poem

The Female Vagrant (a vagrant is a homeless person)

Goody Blake and Harry Gill (a poor old woman and a tough young man who tries to teach her a lesson)

Lines written at a small distance from my House, and sent by my little Boy to the Person to whom they are addressed

Simon Lee, the old Huntsman

Anecdote for Fathers

We are seven (in this poem a young girl talks about her brothers and sisters)

Lines written in early spring

The Thorn

The last of the Flock

The Dungeon (a dungeon is a grim prison)

The Mad Mother

The Idiot Boy

Lines written near Richmond, upon the Thames, at Evening

Expostulation and Reply

The Tables turned; an Evening Scene, on the same subject

Old Man travelling (travelling to a seaport to see his dying son)

The Complaint of a forsaken Indian Woman (a North American Indian)

The Convict

Lines written a few miles above Tintern Abbey