INTRODUCTION TO THE THIRD CANTO.
The Third Canto of Childe Harold was begun early in May, and finished at Ouchy, near Lausanne, on the 27th of June, 1816. Byron made a fair copy of the first draft of his poem, which had been scrawled on loose sheets, and engaged the services of "Claire" (Jane Clairmont) to make a second transcription. Her task was completed on the 4th of July. The fair copy and Claire's transcription remained in Byron's keeping until the end of August or the beginning of September, when he consigned the transcription to "his friend Mr. Shelley," and the fair copy to Scrope Davies, with instructions to deliver them to Murray (see Letters to Murray, October 5, 9, 15, 1816). Shelley landed at Portsmouth, September 8, and on the 11th of September he discharged his commission.
"I was thrilled with delight yesterday," writes Murray (September 12), "by the announcement of Mr. Shelley with the MS. of Childe Harold. I had no sooner got the quiet possession of it than, trembling with auspicious hope,... I carried it ... to Mr. Gifford.... He says that what you have heretofore published is nothing to this effort.... Never, since my intimacy with Mr. Gifford, did I see him so heartily pleased, or give one fiftieth part of the praise, with one thousandth part of the warmth."
The correction of the press was undertaken by Gifford, not without some remonstrance on the part of Shelley, who maintained that "the revision of the proofs, and the retention or alteration of certain particular passages had been entrusted to his discretion" (Letter to Murray, October 30, 1816).