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INTRODUCTION The chief aim in the present edition of Keats's poetry is to supply in a handy form an authoritative text of the whole body of his work in verse. The edition differs from those which I have prepared in past years, in that it is neither an exhaustive variorum edition nor a mere unannotated text, but a text illustrated by readings and cancelled passages selected from the great mass of manuscript and printed material. These illustrations are offered as likely to be helpful to those who would form a conception, not only of the results which Keats arrived at, but also of the steps by which he attained them, so far as those steps may be said to have a true literary or psychological value.
The more notable the effort on which the poet was engaged, the better has it seemed worth while to indicate the lower rungs of the creative ladder by which he ascended to the final result. Hence, the comparative fulness of annotation in the case of, say, Lamia, Isabella, The Eve of St. Agnes, the Ode to a Nightingale, and Hyperion, is to be attributed either to the intrinsic interest of the variations themselves or of that leap of the poetic mind which they serve to mark ; while the comparative freedom from foot-notes in the case of such work as Otho the Great and The Cap and Bells does not point to the absence of manuscript sources on which to draw, or to any failure to consult any or every source, but to the conviction that the variations are of little general interest, the works themselves being in the main of inferior texture.
In settling the text I have of course refrained from abandoning what is authorized, in any particular of the slightest consequence, without recording the counterauthority ; but I have not, as in my LIBRARY editions, sought to record every comma, capital, or typographical eccentricity (perhaps not Keats's after all), which I or the Press authorities have found it needful
to amend for the sake of reasonable uniformity. “If
It seems to me that, in an edition of Keats intended
As to the main body of printed authority for the
The book, though worked in fours, is a foolscap
"[The Short Pieces in the middle of the Book, as |
Keats's second venture was the far more ambitious
lines. In numbering the lines for the present edition I have of course counted by lines of verse.
The poet's third and last book of poems, the contents of which, arranged in the order adopted by Keats, occupy pages 169 to 279 of this edition, was issued in 12mo in the summer of 1820, put up in stout drab boards like those of Endymion, with a back-label "Lamia, Isabella, &c. - 7s.6d." It consists of halftitle, reading “Lamia, Isabella, &c.," with imprint on verso, "London: Printed by Thomas Davison, Whitefriars," title-page, as given (post) following that of Endymion, Advertizement, Contents, and pages 1 to 199 including the half-titles to Lamia, Isabella, The Eve of St. Agnes, the miscellaneous Poems, and Hyperion. There are head-lines in Roman capitals running throughout each section, recto and verso alike: (1) "Lamia," (2) "Isabella," (3) "Eve of St. Agnes," (4) "Poems," and (5) "Hyperion.” The pages are numbered in the usual way with Arabic figures; and in Lamia and Hyperion the Parts and Books are marked at the inner side of the head-line in smaller Roman capitals. On the verso of page 199 the imprint of Davison is repeated; and there are eight pages of Taylor and Hessey's advertisements, beginning with one of Endymion. A large part of the contents of the volume still exists in the poet's manu. script; and Professor Sidney Colvin possesses Richard Woodhouse's Common-place book, described later on, the contents of which bear largely on the pooms in the 1820 publication. The following title for it, by the way, is sketched in pencil on a blank page of the manuscript book:
and other poems.
The Advertizement prefixed to the published volume