‘My object is to give pictures of Nature, Man, and Society. Indeed I do not know any thing which will not come within the scope of my plan. ’ That is how (6. iii. 98), when ‘ Life went a-maying with Nature, Hope, and Poesy’, Wordsworth euphorically envisaged the philosophical work which the ebullient-minded Coleridge persuaded him to believe that he was supremely qualified to accomplish. He ... [Show full abstract] worked at it piecemeal, and procrastinated, finding relief for long periods in The Prelude, an introduction which absorbed most of the creative ideas for the mammoth tripartite sequel he contemplated. These had been set out with some grand succinctness as an appendix to ‘Home at Grasmere’, and then revised to appear as a prospectus in the preface to The Excursion. Unfortunately a sense of unfulfilled obligations dimmed Wordsworth’s judgment, and made him persist in a task which never had a unified design to direct and discipline it. Piecemeal work and procrastination continued until a narrative framework was devised to give a semblance of a whole, in ‘something of a dramatic form’, to a collection of passages written or extended or revised on innumerable occasions from 1795 to 1814. The result was The Excursion, intended as the second part of The Recluse, the first and third of which were to ‘consist chiefly of meditations in the author’s own person’.