Page:The Works of Lord Byron (ed. Coleridge, Prothero) - Volume 2.djvu/37

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PREFACE.[1]

[TO THE FIRST AND SECOND CANTOS.]

The following poem was written, for the most part, amidst the scenes which it attempts[2] to describe. It was begun in Albania; and the parts relative to Spain and Portugal were composed from the author's observations in those countries. Thus much it may be necessary to state for the correctness of the descriptions. The scenes attempted to be sketched are in Spain, Portugal, Epirus, Acarnania and Greece. There, for the present, the poem stops: its reception will determine whether the author may venture to conduct his readers to the capital of the East, through Ionia and Phrygia: these two cantos are merely experimental.

A fictitious character is introduced for the sake of giving some connection to the piece; which, however, makes no pretension to regularity. It has been suggested to me by friends, on whose opinions I set a high value,[3] that in this fictitious character, "Childe Harold," I may incur the suspicion of having intended some real personage: this I beg leave, once for all, to disclaim—Harold is the child of imagination, for the purpose I have stated.

In some very trivial particulars, and those merely local,

  1. Advertisement to be prefixed to ye Poem.—[MS. B.M.]
  2. Professes to describe.—[MS. B.M.]
  3. —— that in the fictitious character of "Childe Harold" I may incur the suspicion of having drawn "from myself." This I beg leave once for all to disclaim. I wanted a character to give some connection to the poem, and the one adopted suited my purpose as well as any other.—[MS. B.M.]