Written, according to Wordsworth’s own account, when he was composing the play which it expounds, i.e. in late 1796 or early 1797 (PW, i. 343–4). The Preface survives in two manuscripts preserved in the Wordsworth Library, Grasmere, both probably to be dated about 1800. An inaccurately transcribed text, based on one of the manuscripts, was printed by Ernest de Selincourt in Nineteenth Century and After, c (1926), 723–41, and reprinted in his Oxford Lectures on Poetry, Oxford, 1934, 157–79. A slightly improved text appears in PW, i. 345–9. The text given here is from Prose, i. 76–80. For details see the apparatus there printed, the textual introduction (Prose, i. 75), and the commentary (Prose, i. 81–6).