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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The edition contains at least thirty hitherto unpublished poems, including fourteen stanzas of the unfinished seventeenth canto of Don Juan, and a considerable fragment of the third part of The Deformed Transformed. The eleven unpublished poems from MSS.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.
ERNEST HARTLEY COLERIDGE.