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not been followed,-terza rima and the Sonnet. In printing the terza rima poems in simple groups of three lines, the present edition follows those of Mrs. Shelley, who, I doubt not, followed in this respect the indication of Shelley's manuscripts,-especially as we find the same arrangement in the stanzas of cognate form employed in the Ode to the West Wind. In giving the sonnet without “indentions," the invariable practice of Shelley's own printed volumes is followed; and in such of his manuscript sonnets as I have seen there are no intentional “indentions,”—merely the same irregularity of margin that we generally find in his manuscripts. As the writing of these two highly artificial forms of verse has ever been matter of much controversy and strong opinion, it is unlikely that Shelley's own way of writing them was unconsidered: it should therefore be followed. In the preface to the first volume (page xxxvii), it was stated that the lines had been numbered throughout, in the margin, whenever the poems were not already, in Shelley's editions, divided into numbered stanzas, but that no new numeration of stanzas had been introduced : it was not, however, intended that the rule of marginal numeration should apply to any poem or fragment of less than fifteen lines,—that is to say, of anything not exceeding in length the sonnet; nor was it intended that no new numeration of stanzas was to be introduced into the posthumous poems, in which there seemed to be no need to follow any such irregular precedent as that of leaving the stanzas unnumbered in some cases and not in others.

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The assignment of particular poems to particular years never rests on my own authority unless that fact be expressed. When a poem is placed under a given year without any remark as to authority, it is to be assumed that no change has been made, and that the poem remains under the year to which it is assigned by Mrs. Shelley or such other editor as may have given it to the public. Generally, I think, sufficient clue will be found, in the notes, to the authorities on which particular poems are assigned to particular dates; but, as that may not be invariably the case, it is as well to say here that precedent is the authority when no other is adduced.

Seeing that the expression “the Boscombe MSS." has crept into some of the foot-notes, it ought perhaps to be explained, for the benefit of those to whom such expression may seem unintelligible, that Boscombe Manor is the seat of Sir Percy Shelley, and that there the priceless manuscripts and other relics of the poet remaining in the hands of his family are reverently preserved.

In going over the lyrics of 1821 and 1822, given in this volume, it has occurred to me as probable that it was to some of these, especially those in which the Williamses are concerned, that Mrs. Shelley referred when, in bringing out the second edition of 1839, she said in her postscript of the 6th of November of that year, “By the aid of a friend I also present some poems complete and correct, which hitherto have been defaced by various mistakes and omissions."

Since the greater part of the present volume was printed, I have had the opportunity of collating a few manuscripts of Shelley's not seen in time to be dealt with in framing the text. The chief results of such collation will be found at the end of the volume, under the head of Addenda. The manuscript of Hellas and the list of errata for that poem, sold by auction on the 19th of last month, are treasure-trove of importance for the Shelley student, though the manuscript of the poem is not written by Shelley, but only revised by him.


38, Marlborough Hill, St. John's Wood,

August, 1877.




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