Page:Shelley, a poem, with other writings (Thomson, Debell).djvu/16

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PREFATORY NOTE.

which he wrote in 1860 to remain altogether unaltered.

The Essay on the "Prometheus Unbound" is perhaps open to the charge (as the author himself seems to have felt) of dwelling too much on points almost too minute to be worth subjecting to such a rigorous examination. But perhaps this only seems so because Shelley has not yet taken his rightful place in our literature. The same minute study of Shakespeare's text is common, and Shakespearean editors and students would be much surprised if they were reproached with too searching an analysis of their master's text.

It is perhaps rather cruel to reprint the article called "An Inspired Critic on Shelley," but really Mr. Wyke Bayliss (notice the reiteration of this gentleman's name in the article, and how it grows more comical at each repetition!) affords so much amusement whilst he is being dissected that he must suffer in order to promote "the greatest good of the greatest number." With regard to the portion of this volume which the kindness of Mr. W. M. Rossetti has enabled me to print, I can hardly doubt that it will be highly valued. When I originally planned this volume I did not know of the existence of these letters. A fortunate inspiration led me to apply to Mr. Rossetti, and that gentleman, with a generosity for which I cannot be too grateful, at once entrusted me with Thomson's correspondence with him, and gave me permission to use such portions of it as might suit my purpose. As most of the letters related more or less to Shelley, my only difficulty has lain in selecting those which seemed of most interest. One letter here printed may indeed seem rather out of place in this volume: yet I do not think any reader will find