The Works of Lord Byron (ed. Coleridge, Prothero)/Poetry/Volume 1
A NEW, REVISED AND ENLARGED EDITION,
Poetry. Vol. I.
ERNEST HARTLEY COLERIDGE, M.A.,
JOHN MURRAY, ALBEMARLE STREET.
NEW YORK: CHARLES SCRIBNER'S SONS.
PREFACE TO THE POEMS.
The text of the present issue of Lord Byron's Poetical Works is based on that of The Works of Lord Byron, in six volumes, 12mo, which was published by John Murray in 1831. That edition followed the text of the successive issues of plays and poems which appeared in the author's lifetime, and were subject to his own revision, or that of Gifford and other accredited readers. A more or less thorough collation of the printed volumes with the MSS. which were at Moore's disposal, yielded a number of variæ lectiones which have appeared in subsequent editions published by John Murray. Fresh collations of the text of individual poems with the original MSS. have been made from time to time, with the result that the text of the latest edition (one-vol. 8vo, 1891) includes some emendations, and has been supplemented by additional variants. Textual errors of more or less importance, which had crept into the numerous editions which succeeded the seventeen-volume edition of 1832, were in some instances corrected, but in others passed over. For the purposes of the present edition the printed text has been collated with all the MSS. which passed through Moore's hands, and, also, for the first time, with MSS. of the following plays and poems, viz. English Bards, and Scotch Reviewers; Childe Harold, Canto IV.; Don Juan, Cantos VI.–XVI.; Werner; The Deformed Transformed; Lara; Parisina; The Prophecy of Dante; The Vision of Judgment; The Age of Bronze; The Island. The only works of any importance which have been printed directly from the text of the first edition, without reference to the MSS., are the following, which appeared in The Liberal (1822–23), viz.: Heaven and Earth, The Blues, and Morgante Maggiore.
A new and, it is believed, an improved punctuation has been adopted. In this respect Byron did not profess to prepare his MSS. for the press, and the punctuation, for which Gifford is mainly responsible, has been reconsidered with reference solely to the meaning and interpretation of the sentences as they occur.
In the Hours of Idleness and Other Early Poems, the typography of the first four editions, as a rule, has been preserved. A uniform typography in accordance with modern use has been adopted for all poems of later date. Variants, being the readings of one or more MSS. or of successive editions, are printed in italics immediately below the text. They are marked by Roman numerals. Words and lines through which the author has drawn his pen in the MSS. or Revises are marked MS. erased.
Poems and plays are given, so far as possible, in chronological order. Childe Harold and Don Juan, which were written and published in parts, are printed continuously; and minor poems, including the first four satires, have been arranged in groups according to the date of composition. Epigrams and. jeux d'esprit have been placed together, in chronological order, at the beginning of the seventh volume. A Bibliography of the poems will immediately precede the Index at the close of the seventh volume.
The edition contains at least thirty hitherto unpublished poems, including fourteen stanzas of the unfinished seventeenth canto of Don Juan, and a considerable fragment of the third part of The Deformed Transformed. The eleven unpublished poems from MSS. preserved at Newstead, which appear in the first volume, are of slight if any literary value, but they reflect with singular clearness and sincerity the temper and aspirations of the tumultuous and moody stripling to whom "the numbers came," but who wisely abstained from printing them himself.
Byron's notes, of which many are published for the first time, and editorial notes, enclosed in brackets, are printed immediately below the variæ lectiones. The editorial notes are designed solely to supply the reader with references to passages in other works illustrative of the text, or to interpret expressions and allusions which lapse of time may have rendered obscure.
Much of the knowledge requisite for this purpose is to be found in the articles of the Dictionary of National Biography, to which the fullest acknowledgments are due; and much has been arrived at after long research, involving a minute examination of the literature, the magazines, and often the newspapers of the period.
Inasmuch as the poems and plays have been before the public for more than three quarters of a century, it has not been thought necessary to burden the notes with the eulogies and apologies of the great poets and critics who were Byron's contemporaries, and regarded his writings, both for good and evil, for praise and blame, from a different standpoint from ours. Perhaps, even yet, the time has not come for a definite and positive appreciation of his genius. The tide of feeling and opinion must ebb and flow many times before his rank and station among the poets of all time will be finally adjudged. The splendour of his reputation, which dazzled his own countrymen, and, for the first time, attracted the attention of a contemporary European audience to an English writer, has faded, and belongs to history; but the poet's work remains, inviting a more intimate and a more extended scrutiny than it has hitherto received in this country. The reader who cares to make himself acquainted with the method of Byron's workmanship, to unravel his allusions, and to follow the tenour of his verse, will, it is hoped, find some assistance in these volumes.
I beg to record my especial thanks to the Earl of Lovelace for the use of MSS. of his grandfather's poems, including unpublished fragments; for permission to reproduce portraits in his possession; and for valuable information and direction in the construction of some of the notes.
My grateful acknowledgments are due to Dr. Garnett, C.B., Dr. A. S. Murray, Mr. R. E. Graves, and other officials of the British Museum, for invaluable assistance in preparing the notes, and in compiling a bibliography of the poems.
I have also to thank Mr. Leslie Stephen and others for important hints and suggestions with regard to the interpretation of some obscure passages in Hints from Horace.
In correcting the proofs for the press, I have had the advantage of the skill and knowledge of my friend Mr. Frank E. Taylor, of Chertsey, to whom my thanks are due.
On behalf of the Publisher, I beg to acknowledge with gratitude the kindness of the Lady Dorchester, the Earl Stanhope, Lord Glenesk and Sir Theodore Martin, K.C.B., for permission to examine MSS. in their possession; and of Mrs. Chaworth Musters, for permission to reproduce her miniature of Miss Chaworth, and for other favours. He desires also to acknowledge the generous assistance of Mr. and Miss Webb, of Newstead Abbey, in permitting the publication of MS. poems, and in making transcripts for the press.
I need hardly add that, throughout the progress of the work, the advice and direct assistance of Mr. John Murray and Mr. R. E. Prothero have been always within my reach. They have my cordial thanks.
HOURS OF IDLENESS AND OTHER EARLY POEMS.
There were four distinct issues of Byron's Juvenilia. The first collection, entitled Fugitive Pieces, was printed in quarto by S. and J. Ridge of Newark. Two of the poems, "The Tear" and the "Reply to Some Verses of J. M. B. Pigot, Esq.," were signed "Byron;" but the volume itself, which is without a title-page, was anonymous. It numbers sixty-six pages, and consists of thirty-eight distinct pieces. The last piece, "Imitated from Catullus. To Anna," is dated November 16, 1806. The whole of this issue, with the exception of two or three copies, was destroyed. An imperfect copy, lacking pp. 17-20 and pp. 58-66, is preserved at Newstead. A perfect copy, which had been retained by the Rev. J. T. Becher, at whose instance the issue was suppressed, was preserved by his family (see Life, by Karl Elze, 1872, p. 450), and is now in the possession of Mr. H. Buxton Forman, C.B. A facsimile reprint of this unique volume, limited to one hundred copies, was issued, for private circulation only, from the Chiswick Press in 1886.
Of the thirty-eight Fugitive Pieces, two poems, viz. "To Caroline" and "To Mary," together with the last six stanzas of the lines, "To Miss E. P. [To Eliza]," have never been republished in any edition of Byron's Poetical Works.
A second edition, small octavo, of Fugitive Pieces, entitled Poems on Various Occasions, was printed by S. and J. Ridge of Newark, and distributed in January, 1807. This volume was issued anonymously. It numbers 144 pages, and consists of a reproduction of thirty-six Fugitive Pieces, and of twelve hitherto unprinted poems—forty-eight in all. For references to the distribution of this issue—limited, says Moore, to one hundred copies—see letters to Mr. Pigot and the Earl of Clare, dated January 16, February 6, 1807, and undated letters of the same period to Mr. William Bankes and Mr. Falkner (Life, pp. 41, 42). The annotated copy of Poems on Various Occasions, referred to in the present edition, is in the British Museum.
Early in the summer (June—July) of 1807, a volume, small octavo, named Hours of Idleness—a title henceforth associated with Byron's early poems—was printed and published by S. and J. Ridge of Newark, and was sold by the following London booksellers: Crosby and Co.; Longman, Hurst, Rees, and Orme; F. and C. Rivington; and J, Mawman. The full title is, Hours of Idleness; a Series of Poems Original and Translated. By George Gordon, Lord Byron, a Minor. It numbers 187 pages, and consists of thirty-nine poems. Of these, nineteen belonged to the original Fugitive Pieces, eight had first appeared in Poems on Various Occasions, and twelve were published for the first time. The "Fragment of a Translation from the 9th Book of Virgil's Ænead" (sic), numbering sixteen lines, reappears as "The Episode of Nisus and Euryalus, A Paraphrase from the Æneid, Lib. 9," numbering 406 lines.
The final collection, also in small octavo, bearing the title Poems Original and Translated, by George Gordon, Lord Byron, second edition, was printed and published in 1808 by S. and J. Ridge of Newark, and sold by the same London booksellers as Hours of Idleness. It numbers 174 pages, and consists of seventeen of the original Fugitive Pieces, four of those first published in Poems on Various Occasions, a reprint of the twelve poems first published in Hours of Idleness, and five poems which now appeared for the first time—thirty-eight poems in all. Neither the title nor the contents of this so-called second edition corresponds exactly with the previous issue.
Of the thirty-eight Fugitive Pieces which constitute the suppressed quarto, only seventeen appear in all three subsequent issues. Of the twelve additions to Poems on Various Occasions, four were excluded from Hours of Idleness, and four more from Poems Original and Translated.
The collection of minor poems entitled Hours of Idleness, which has been included in every edition of Byron's Poetical Works issued by John Murray since 1831, consists of seventy pieces, being the aggregate of the poems published in the three issues, Poems on Various Occasions, Hours of Idleness, and Poems Original and Translated, together with five other poems of the same period derived from other sources.In the present issue a general heading, "Hours of Idleness, and other Early Poems," has been applied to the entire collection of Early Poems, 1802-1809. The quarto has
been reprinted (excepting the lines "To Mary," which Byron himself deliberately suppressed) in its entirety, and in the original order. The successive additions to the Poems on Various Occasions, Hours of Idleness, and Poems Original and Translated, follow in order of publication. The remainder of the series, viz. poems first published in Moore's Life and Journals of Lord Byron (1830); poems hitherto unpublished; poems first published in the Works of Lord Byron (1832), and poems contributed to J. C. Hobhouse's Imitations and Translations (1809), have been arranged in chronological order. (For an important contribution to the bibliography of the quarto of 1806, and of the other issues of Byron's Juvenilia, see papers by Mr. R. Edgcumbe, Mr. H. Buxton Forman, C.B., and others, in the Athenæum, 1885, vol. ii. pp. 731-733, 769; and 1886, vol. i. p. 101, etc. For a collation of the contents of the four first issues and of certain large-paper copies of Hours of Idleness, etc., see The Bibliography of the Poetical Works of Lord Byron, vol. vii. of the present edition.)
ENGLISH BARDS, AND SCOTCH REVIEWERS.
After the publication of the January number of The Edinburgh Review for 1808 (containing the critique on Hours of Idleness), which was delayed till the end of February, Byron added a beginning and an ending to the original draft. The MSS. of these additions, which number ninety lines, are written on quarto sheets, and have been bound up with the folios. (Lines 1-16 are missing.) The poem, which with these and other additions had run up to 520 lines, was printed in book form (probably by Ridge of Newark), under the title of British Bards, A Satire. "This Poem," writes Byron [MSS. M.], "was begun in October, 1807, in London, and at different intervals composed from that period till September, 1808, when it was completed at Newstead Abbey.—B., 1808." A date, 1808, is affixed to the last line. Only one copy is extant, that which was purchased, in 1867, from the executors of R. C. Dallas, by the Trustees of the British Museum. Even this copy has been mutilated. Pages 17, 18, which must have contained the first version of the attack on Jeffrey (see English Bards, p. 332, line 439, note 2), have been torn out, and quarto proof-sheets in smaller type of lines 438-527, "Hail to immortal Jeffrey," etc., together with a quarto proof-sheet, in the same type as British Bards, containing lines 540-559, "Illustrious Holland," etc., have been inserted. Hobhouse's lines (first edition, lines 247-262), which are not in the original draft, are included in British Bards. The insertion of the proofs increased the printed matter to 584 lines. After
The MS. (MS. M.) of the first draft of Byron's "Satire" (see Letter to Pigot, October 26, 1807) is now in Mr. Murray's possession. It is written on folio sheets paged 6-25, 28-41, and numbers 360 lines. Mutilations on pages 12, 13, 34, 35 account for the absence of ten additional lines.
the completion of this revised version of British Bards, additions continued to be made. Marginal corrections and MS. fragments, bound up with British Bards, together with forty-four lines (lines 723-726, 819-858) which do not occur in MS. M., make up with the printed matter the 696 lines which were published in March, 1809, under the title of English Bards, and Scotch Reviewers. The folio and quarto sheets in Mr. Murray's possession (MS. M.) may be regarded as the MS. of British Bards; British Bards (there are a few alterations, e.g. the substitution of lines 319-326, "Moravians, arise," etc., for the eight lines on Pratt, which are to be found in the folio MS., and are printed in British Bards), with its accompanying MS. fragments, as the foundation of the text of the first edition of English Bards, and Scotch Reviewers.
Between the first edition, published in March, and the second edition in October, 1809, the difference is even greater than between British Bards and the first edition. The Preface was enlarged, and a postscript affixed to the text of the poem. Hobhouse's lines (first edition, 247-262) were omitted, and the following additional passages inserted, viz.: (i.) lines 1-96, "Still must I hear," etc.; (ii.) lines 129-142, "Thus saith the Preacher," etc.; (iii.) lines 363-417, "But if some new-born whim," etc.; (iv.) lines 638-706, "Or hail at once," etc.; (v.) lines 765-798, "When some brisk youth," etc.; (vi.) lines 859-880, "And here let Shee," etc.; (vii.) lines 949-960, "Yet what avails," etc.; (viii.) lines 973-980, "There, Clarke," etc.; (ix.) lines 1011-1070, "Then hapless Britain," etc. These additions number 370 lines, and, together with the 680 lines of the first edition (reduced from 696 by the omission of Hobhouse's contribution), make up the 1050 lines of the second and third editions, and the doubtful fourth edition of 1810. Of these additions, Nos. i., ii., iii., iv., vi., viii., ix. exist in MS., and are bound up with the folio MS. now in Mr. Murray's possession.
The third edition, which is, generally, dated 1810, is a replica of the second edition.
The first issue of the fourth edition, which appeared in 1810, is identical with the second and third editions. A second issue of the fourth edition, dated 1811, must have passed under Byron's own supervision. Lines 759, 760 are added, and lines 761-764 are materially altered. The fourth edition of 1811 numbers 1052 lines.
The suppressed fifth edition, numbering 1070 lines (the copy in the British Museum has the title-page of the fourth edition; a second copy, in Mr. Murray's possession, has no title-page), varies from the fourth edition of 1811 by the addition of lines 97–102 and 528–539, and by more than thirty emendations of the text. Eighteen of these emendations were made by Byron in a copy of the fourth edition which belonged to Leigh Hunt. On another copy, in Mr. Murray’s possession, Byron made nine emendations, of which six are identical with those in the Hunt copy, and three appear for the first time. It was in the latter volume that he inscribed his after-thoughts, which are dated “B. 1816.”
For a complete collation of the five editions of English Bards, and Scotch Reviewers, and textual emendations in the two annotated volumes, and for a note on genuine and spurious copies of the first and other editions, see The Bibliography of the Poetical works of Lord Byron, vol. vii.
CONTENTS OF VOL. I.
HOURS OF IDLENESS, AND OTHER EARLY POEMS.
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS.
|1.||Portrait of Lord Byron, from a Miniature, painted in 1815 by James Holmes, in the Possession of the Earl of Lovelace||Frontispiece|
|2.||Facsimile of Title-page of Poems on Various Occasions||To face p.x|
|3.||Facsimile of Title-page of Hours of Idleness||„„xii|
|4.||Facsimile of Title-page of Poems Original and Translated||„„xii|
|5.||Facsimile of Title-page of the First Edition of English Bards, and Scotch Reviewers||„„xiv|
|6.||Miss Chaworth, from a Miniature in the Possession of Mrs. Chaworth Musters, of Wiverton||„„ 276|
|7.||“Theseus” from the East Pediment of the Parthenon, now in the British Museum||„„ 456|