Page:Shelley, a poem, with other writings (Thomson, Debell).djvu/51

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33
CHEAP EDITION OF SHELLEY'S POEMS.

and slowly for a book which will endure. I think so highly of Mr. Rossetti's powers as a writer and critic, and believe that his sympathy with the noblest spirit of Shelley is so genuine and profound, that I cannot feel satisfied with less than his well-considered and well-wrought treatment of this subject, even when he is limited to a dozen pages.

When so much of the very best quality is offered at so low a price, one feels somewhat ashamed of asking for more, yet I cannot but express my wish that the "Defence of Poetry" (which, although in prose, should always accompany the other poems in verse), and the translation of the "Hymn to Mercury" had been included. This latter, indeed, may have been omitted through some misunderstanding, for the subject of the first of the full-page illustrations is taken from it. Having seen that this edition is complete (as regards the original poems, and with the exception of the minute fragments above mentioned, and some quite boyish pieces without value to the general reader), the important point remaining to consider is the quality of its text. About a year since Messrs. Moxon published in two volumes the poetical works of Shelley, the text carefully revised, with notes and a memoir by W. M. Rossetti; and in the present popular edition the text, I presume, is a reprint from that larger work. In previous editions both copyright and pirated, expensive and cheap, the text was very faulty. Mrs. Shelley, in her note written in 1839, on the poems of 1822, says, "I at one time feared that the correction of the press might be less exact through my illness; but I believe it is nearly free from error." In fact, however, the errors were very numerous, and what she states further on in the same