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This edition of his Poetical Works contains all Shelley's ascertained poems and fragments of verse that have hitherto appeared in print. In preparing the volume I have worked as far as possible on the principle of recognizing the editio princeps as the primary textual authority. I have not been content to reprint Mrs. Shelley's recension of 1839, or that of any subsequent editor of the Poems. The present'text is the result of a fresh collation of the early editions; and in every material instance of departure from the wording of those originals the rejected reading has been subjoineď in a footnote. Again, wherever-as in the case of Julian and Maddalothere has appeared to be good reason for superseding the authority of the elitio princeps, the fact is announced, and the substituted exemplar indicated, in the Prefatory Note. In the case of a few pieces extant in two or more versions of debatable authority the alternative text or texts will be found at the foot of the page ; but it may be said once for all that this does not pretend to be a variorum edition, in the proper sense of the term-the textual apparatus does not claim to be exhaustive. Thus I have not thought it necessary to cumber the footnotes with every minute grammatical correction introduced by Mrs. Shelley, apparently on her own authority, into the texts of 1839; nor has it come within the scheme of this edition to record every conjectural emendation adopted or proposed by Rossetti and others in recent times. But it is hoped that, up to and including the editions of 1839 at least, no important variation of the text has been overlooked. Whenever a reading has been adopted on MS. authority, a reference to the particular source has been added below.
I have been chary of gratuitous interference with the punctuation of the MSS. and early editions; in this direction, however, some rovision was indispensable. Even in his most carefully finished 'fair copy' Shelley under-punctuates, and sometimes punctuates capriciously. In the very act of transcribing his mind was apt to stray from the work in hand to higher things; he would lose himself in contemplating those airy abstractions and lofty visions of which alone he greatly cared to sing, to the neglect and detriment of the merely external and formal element of his song. Shelley recked little of the jots and tittles of literary craftsmanship; he committed many a small sin against the rules of grammar, and certainly paid but a halting attention to thx nice distinctions of punctuation. Thus in the early editions a comma occasionally plays the part of a semicolon; colons and semicolons seem to be employed interchangeably; a semicolon almost invariably appears where nowadays we should employ the dash; and, lastly, the dash itself becomes a point of all work, replacing indifferently commas, colons, semicolons
"Thus in the exquisite autograph ·Hunt MS.' of Julian and Maddalo, Mr. Buxton Forman, the most conservative of editors, finds it necessary to supplement Shelley's punctuation in no fower than ninety-four places. or periods. Inadequate and sometimes haphazard as it is, how. evor, Shelley's punctuation, so far as it goes, is of great value as an index to his metrical, or at times, it may be, to his rhotorical intention-for, in Shelley's hands, punctuation serves rather to mark the rhythmical pause and on flow of the verse, or to secure some declamatory effect, than to indicate the structure or elucidate the sense. For this reason the original pointing has been retained, save where it tends to obscure or pervert the poet's meaning. Amongst the Editor's Notes at the end of the volume the reader will find lists of the punctual variations in the longer poems, by means of which the supplementary points now added may be identified, and the original points, which in this edition have been deleted or else replaced by others, ascertained, in the order of their occurrence. In the use of capitals Shelley's practice has been followed, while an attempt has been made to reduce the number of his incon. sistencies in this regard.
To have reproduced the spelling of the MSS. would only have served to divert attention from Shelley'e poetry to my own ingenuity in disgusting the reader according to the rules of editorial punctilio! Shelley was neither very accurate, nor always consistent, in his spelling. He was, to say the truth, indifferent about all such matters: indeed, to one absorbed in the spectacle of a world travailing for lack of the gospel of Political Justice, the study of orthographical niceties must have seemed an occupation for Bedlamites. Again – as a distin. guished critic and editor of Shelley, Professor Dowden, aptly observes in this connexion-'a great poet is not of an age,
but for all time.' Irregular or antiquated forms such as recieve,
sacrifize,'tyger," °gulph,"desart," "falshood,' and the like, can only serve to distract the reader's attention, and mar his enjoyment of the verse. Accordingly. Shelley's eccentricities in this kind have been discarded, and his spelling revised in accordance with modern usage. All weak preterite-forms, whether indicatives or participles, have been printed with ed rather than t, participial adjectives and substantives, such as 'past,' alone excepted. In the case of 'leap,' which has two preterite-forms, both employed by Shelley !--one with the long vowel of the present-form, the other with a vowel-change like that ofcrept from creep-I have not hesitated to print the longer form leaped,' and the shorter (after Mr. Henry Sweet's example) lept,' in order clearly to indicate the pronunciation intended by "I adapt a phrase or two from the preface to The Revolt of Islam.
9 See for an example of the longer form, the Hymn to Mercury, xviii. 5, where `leaped' rhymes with 'heaped’ (1. 1). The shorter form, rhyming to 'wept,''adapt,' &c., occurs more frequently
Of course, wherever this vowel-shortening takes place, whether indicated by a corresponding change in the spelling or not, t, not ed is properly used cleave,' cleft'; deal,' 'dealt'; &c. The forms discarded under the general rule laid down above are such as "wrackt,' prankt,''snatcht, kist,'opprest,' &c.
Shelley. In the editions the two vowel-sounds are confounded under the one spelling, leapt.' In a few cases Shelley's spelling, though unusual or obsolete, has been retained. Thus in aethereal," paean,' and one or two more words the ae will be found, and 'airy' still appears as aöry.' Shelley seems to have uniformly written 'lightening': here the word is so printed whenever it is employed as a trisyllable; elsewhere the ordinary spelling has been adopted".
The editor of Shelley to-day enters upon a goodly heritage, the accumulated gains of a series of distinguished predecessors. Mrs. Shelley's two editions of 1839 form the nucleus of the present volume, and her notes are here reprinted in full ; but the arrangement of the poems differs to some extent from that followed by her-chiefly in respect of Queen Mab, which is here placed at the head of the Juvenilia, instead of at the forefront of tho poems of Shelley's maturity. In 1862 a slender volume of poems and fragments, entitled Relics of Shelley, was published by Dr. Richard Garnett, C.B.-a precious sheaf gleaned from the MSS. preserved at Boscombe Manor. The Relics constitute a salvage second only in value to the Posthumous Poems of 1824. To the growing mass of Shelley's verse yet more material was added in 1870 by Mr. William Michael Rossetti, who edited for Moxon the Complete Poctical Works published in that year. To him we owe in particular a revised and greatly enlarged version of the fragmentary drama of Charles I. But though not seldom successful in restoring the text, Mr. Rossetti pushed revision beyond the bounds of prudence, freely correcting grammatical errors, rectifying small inconsistencies in the sense, and too lightly adopting conjectural emendations on the grounds of rhyme or metre. In the course of an article published in the Westminster Review for July, 1870, Miss Mathilde Blind, with the aid of material furnished by Dr. Garnett, 'was enabled,' in the words of Mr. Buxton Forman, 'to supply omissions, make authoritative emendations, and controvert erroneous changes' in Mr. Rossetti's work; and in the more cautiously
· Not a little has been written about .uprest' (Revolt of Islam, III. xxi. 5), which has been described as a nonce-word deliberately coined by Shelley on no better warrant than the exigency of the rhyme.' There can be little doubt that uprest' is simply an overlooked misprint for 'uprist'--not by any means a nonce-word, but a genuine English verbal substantive of regular formation, familiar to many from its employment by Chaucer. True, the corresponding rhyme-words in the passage above referred to are 'nest,'' possessed,' 'breast'; but a laxity such as nest'-'uprist' is quite in Shelley's manner. Thus in this very poem we find 'midst'-'shed'st' (VI. xvi), 'mist '-'rest '- blest' (V. Iviii), loveliest'-'mist'—'kissed -' dressed' (V. xliii). Shelley may have first seen the word in The Ancient Mariner ; but' he omploys it more correctly than Coleridge, who seems to have mistaken it for å preteriteform (='uprose '), whereas in truth it serves either as the third person singular of the present (= 'upriseth), or, as here, for the verbal substantive ( = 'uprising').
edited text of his later edition, published by Moxon in 1878, may
years later appeared a variorum edition in which for the first time Shelley's text was edited with scientific exactness of method, and with a due respect for the authority of the original editions. It would be difficult indeed to over-estimate the gains which have accrued to the lovers of Shelley from the strenuous labours of Mr. Harry Buxton Forman, C.B. He too has enlarged the body of Shelley's poetry'; but, important as his additions undoubtedly are, it may safely be affirmed that his services in this direction constitute the least part of what we owe him. He has vindicated the authenticity of the text in many places, while in many others he has succeeded, with the aid of manuscripts, in restoring it. His untiring industry in research, his wide bibliographical knowledge and experience, above all, his accuracy, as invariable as it is minute, have combined to make him, in the words of Professor Dowden,'our chief living authority on all that relates to Shelley's writings.' His name stands securely linked for all time to Shelley's by a long series of notable works, including three successive editions (1876, 1882, 1892) of the Poems, an edition of the Prose Remains, as well as many minor publications--a Bibliography (The Shelley Library, 1886) and several Facsimile Reprints of the early issues, edited for the Shelley Society.
To Professor Dowden, whose authoritative Biography of the poet, published in 1886, was followed in 1890 by an edition of the Poems (Macmillans), is due the addition of several pieces belonging to the juvenile period, incorporated by him in the pages of the Life of Shelley. Professor Dowden has also been enabled, with
the aid of the manuscripts placed in his hands, to correct the text of the Juvenilia in many places. In 1893 Professor George E. Woodberry edited a Centenary Edition of the Complete Poetical Works, in which, to quote his own words, an attempt is made 'to summarize the labours of more than half a century on Shelley's text, and on his biography so far as the biography is bound up with the text.' In this Centenary edition the textual variations found in the Harvard College MSS., as well as those in the MSS. belonging to Mr. Frederickson of Brooklyn, are fully recorded. Professor Woodberry's text is conservative on the whole, but his revision of the punctuation is drastic, and occasionally sacrifices melody to perspicuity.
In 1903 Mr. C. D. Locock published, in a quarto volume of seventy-five pages, the fruits of a careful scrutiny of the Shelley MSS. now lodged in the Bodleian Library. Mr. Locock succeeded in recovering several inedited fragments of verse and prose. Amongst the poems chiefly concerned in the results
1 Mr. Forman's most notable addition is the second part of The Daemon of the World, which he printed privately in 1876, and included in his Library Edition of the Poetical Works published in the same year. See the List of Editions, &c. at the end of this volume.