Manuscript Documents

Explore the manuscript documents surrounding the poem's development, publication, and legacy.

Lyrical Ballads

By: William Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor Coleridge, though anonymous in its first publication
1798

Lyrical Ballads is the groundbreaking volume that attempted to make poetry more accessible to the common man. "Tintern Abbey" was published for the first time in this book and was the last poem included in the volume.

The Alfoxden Notebook

By: William Wordsworth
1798

L to R: The front cover, MS pg. , and back cover of Wordsworth's Alfoxden Notebook
January-March 1798
The Wordsworth Trust

The Alfoxden Notebook is the name assigned to William's brown leather notebook he kept during the "Alfoxden Period" when he and Coleridge collaborated on Lyrical Ballads at Alfoxden House in Somerset. This notebook contains several drafts of poems that appear in Lyrical Ballads, and also contains text that later contributes to The Prelude Books IV and VI. This notebook serves as a record of Wordsworth's development as a poet and his friendship with Coleridge leading up to the publication of their momumental volume of poetry.

Several scholars hypothesize that the following lines informed "Tintern Abbey"—particularly the "beauteous forms", which appear as "forms of beauty" in the 1798 edition of Lyrical Ballads and as "beauteous forms" in the 1802 edition.

" . . . To gaze
On that green hill and on those scattered trees
And feel a pleasant consciousness of life
In the [?impression] of that loveliness
Untill the sweet sensation called the mind
Into itself by image from without
Unvisited: and all her reflex powers
Wrapp'd in a still dream forgetfullness
I lived without the knowledge that I lived
Then by those beauteous forms brought back again
To lose myself again as if my life
Did ebb & flow with a strange mystery"

This personal artifact is housed at The Wordsworth Trust in Grasmere, Lake District, United Kingdom—Wordsworth's beloved home.

Lines 126-138 of "Tintern Abbey"

By: William Wordsworth and written in his hand
1825

Lines 126-138 of "Tintern Abbey"
William Wordsworth
1825
Scan of paste-down of an unknown book
The Wordsworth Trust

These lines were copied onto the paste-down of the inside cover of an unknown book at Wordsworth's home in Rydal Mount.

Housed at The Wordsworth Trust in Grasmere, Lake District, United Kingdom—Wordsworth's beloved home.