This chapter and the next two focus mainly on poems outside Lyrical Ballads, taking on an unholy trinity--the child, the reprobate, and the idler--and asks why so much seems to be at stake when these figures loom into view. The chapter gravitates toward the primal scene of fanciful play--childhood--and explores how other concerns (e.g., growth, change, self-making and self-defense, the continuities and discontinuities of personhood) orbit around images of the child. The chapter looks at different forms of "play" in Poems, In Two Volumes, before turning in detail to consider one mode in particular: allusion. Whatever else it is, allusion is a form of play (from allusio, "game," and alludo, “to jest or sport with"), as Wordsworth intimated when he once spoke of "allusions suffused with humour.” Such suffusions can be found in unlikely places, and they shed light on the absorbed craft--and craftiness--of the Intimations Ode.
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