Page:Shelley, a poem, with other writings (Thomson, Debell).djvu/53

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35
OF SHELLEY'S POEMS.

There are still faults, but most of these may be incorrigible without taking liberties which no reverent editor would take with the text of a classical writer. As for the cases in which correction seems still necessary and allowable, and those in which the new reading seems not better or even less good than the old, their enumeration and discussion are not suited to these columns. I will here note but one instance, in which Mr. Rossetti may have been misled. His version of the graceful and charming "Good-night" is very different from that to which we have been accustomed; and I cannot but think that he has followed an earlier and inferior draft instead of a later and superior one. The last stanza which differs most seems to me the most inferior. On the whole, and in so far as I have hitherto had the opportunity of judging, I am clearly of opinion that Mr. Rossetti has done his Editorial work so thoroughly and well, that no other editions than his should now be recommended to those who wish really to study and understand the poems of Shelley.

1871.

[Mr. Rossetti afterwards explained, 1. That the limitation of size necessary in the cheap edition prevented the addition to it, both of the "Defence of Poetry," and of the "Hymn to Mercury." 2. That the text of the cheap edition, while substantially the same as that of the 2 vol. edition, published in 1870, is in some cases superior to it. 3. That in the text of the song "Good Night," he has implicitly followed Shelley's own MS.—a copy of the song carefully written by him in a pocket-book which he presented to a lady. This may or may not be the better version [Mr. Rossetti thinks it is] but at all events it is the most authentic.]