Wordsworth’s literary criticism springs from his creative writing: it is almost invariably an exposition or a defence of his own poetry. Thus the Preface to The Borderers (No. 1) and the Note to The Thorn’ (No. 4) expound dramatic characters which (the poet conceives) the reader may find hard to accept as credible. The Preface to Lyrical Ballads (No. 3) defends poems which (the poet admits) are experimental in matter and manner and therefore, again, perhaps difficult of acceptance; and the letter to Fox (No. 5) urges their acceptability to a man of power who, Wordsworth thinks, is likely to be sympathetic to them. The Essays upon Epitaphs (No. 9), though often more general in scope than other Wordsworthian documents in that they deal with much material outside the Wordsworthian poetic canon, nevertheless defend Wordsworth’s way of writing epitaphs and, on the whole, the way of Chiabrera whose epitaphs Wordsworth admired and translated. The Preface of 1815 (No. 11) and the sketch for it in the letter to Coleridge (No. 8) defend a particular arrangement of Wordsworth’s poems, and the Preface goes on to expound two ‘new’ aesthetic concepts which are relevant to that arrangement and to the production of poetry generally. The Essay, Supplementary (No. 12) defends Wordsworth’s poetry against the attacks of Francis Jeffrey and, implicitly and explicitly, all new poetry against the attacks of incompetent but powerful critics. The defensive stance of the letters to John Wilson, Lady Beaumont, and Catherine Clarkson (Nos 6, 7, 13) is obvious.