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Full Chorus of IONA and the SWINE.
Through rain, hail, and snow,
Through brake, gorse, and briar,
Through pond, ditch, and slough,
Like the Devil behind them,
(Exeunt, in full cry; IONA driving on the SWINE, with the empty GREEN BAG.)
[OF EDIPUS TYRANNUS.]
The imprint of Edipus Tyrannus is as follows :
C. F. SEYFANG, Printer 57, Fleet Market.
[A very curious case of minute verbal and other variation is that of "the oracle," which first appears on the title-page of Swellfoot, and then occurs twice in the text of the poem. I have given it on the title-page precisely from Shelley's edition, in the minutest particulars: when PURGANAX utters it in Act I, beginning at line 112, it stands thus in the original edition :
Boeotia, choose reform or civil war!
When through the streets, instead of hare with dogs,
Here I have not thought it necessary to interfere with anything in the text except the word the in the second line of the oracle: that word, I have not the least doubt, is a misprint for thy; but I do not suppose the other variations were the printer's doing; and the note of exclamation at the end of the first line seems likely enough to have been deliberate. When the Chorus repeats the oracle in Act II, Sc. I, beginning at line 153, it runs, in Shelley's edition, thus:
Thebes, choose reform or civil war,
When through your streets instead of hare with dogs,
In that case I have supplied, in the text, a comma after streets in the second line, because, whether Shelley or the printer dropped it, the omission must have been purely accidental, and damages the sense. But in regard to your for thy in the second line, and upon for on in the fourth, I should not doubt that those variations would have been left as they are, even if Shelley's attention had been called to them. If any one had asked him, "Why don't your people repeat the oracle correctly?"-he might fairly have answered, "Because real people don't repeat anything correctly in minute particulars" and, as regards the variations in the matter of italics, capitals, and so on, they probably place the stress more precisely where Shelley meant it to fall in each instance than would be the case if we ventured to print the oracle exactly alike in all three places. This case seems to me, without being of any intrinsic importance, to afford a good example of Shelley's un-minute way of work; and I think any textual critic who will take the trouble to compare the three versions, letter by letter, and point by point, will readily perceive as he goes on how little safety there can possibly be in "harmonizing" or "systematizing" the text of Shelley's poems.-H. B. F.]
[Mrs. Shelley classes Epipsychidion among the poems written in 1821: in a letter to Leigh Hunt dated the 29th of December, 1820, of which a portion is published in Hunt's Correspondence (Vol. I, p. 160), she seems to refer to it as being already written; but only seems, for the context of the letter, which is extant, shews that there is no reference to Shelley or Epipsychidion in the passage wherein those names were inserted by Thornton Hunt. Whatever be the date of completion, the poem was sent to Mr. Ollier, to be published, in a letter dated the 16th of February, 1821, printed in the Shelley Memorials (pp. 152-3), in which Shelley says, "The longer poem, I desire, should not be considered as my own; indeed, in a certain sense, it is the production of a portion of me already dead; and in this sense the advertisement is no fiction. It is to be published simply for the esoteric few; and I make its author a secret, to avoid the malignity of those who turn sweet food into poison; transforming all they touch into the corruption of their own natures. My wish with respect to it is that it should be printed immediately in the simplest form, and merely one hundred copies: those who are capable of judging and feeling rightly with respect to a composition of so abstruse a nature, certainly do not arrive at that number-among those, at least, who would ever be excited to read an obscure and anonymous production; and it would give me no pleasure that the vulgar should read it. If you have any bookselling reason against publishing so small a number as a hundred, merely distribute copies among those to whom you think the poetry would afford any pleasure." It was printed as an octavo pamphlet, sewed, without wrapper, consisting of fly-title Epipsychidion-Price, 2s., title-page (as opposite), 1 page of preface called "Advertisement" with stanza from Dante at back, and text pp. 7 to 31. There is an imprint at the back of the fly-title, as follows:-"London. Printed by S. and R. Bentley Dorset-Street, Salisbury-Square." The name of the lady, omitted from the title-page, was Viviani,-the convent that of St. Anne, Pisa. I have not been able to ascertain that there is in existence any finished MS. of Epipsychidion.-H. B. F.]
VERSES ADDRESSED TO THE NOBLE
AND UNFORTUNATE LADY
NOW IMPRISONED IN THE CONVENT OF
L'anima amante si slancia fuori del creato, e si crea nel infinito un Mondo tutto per essa, diverso assai da questo oscuro e pauroso baratro. HER OWN WORDS.
C AND J OLLIER VERE STREET BOND STREET