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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
these delights thy mind maymove,” the LIBRARY editions
can be consulted in public libraries or picked up second-
hand at a high price ; or, for a very small price, the
COMPLETE" variorum edition which I prepared for
Messrs. Gowans and Gray of Glasgow may still be had.
One not unusual editorial freedom, however, I have not
permitted myself: when a reading is quoted from a
manuscript, it has been my endeavour to cite the
manuscript with the minutest accuracy; and I trust
it may not be found that I have in any instance been
betrayed into representing Keats, or his brothers, or
others of his transcribers, as having written anything
but what they actually did write. If in the notes it
has been needful to quote a word misspelt in the
manuscript, I hope I have always got it printed with
due inaccuracy; and if I have so much as supplied a
single letter obviously omitted by accident, I trust that
the liberty has been duly indicated by the orthodox
method of enclosure within brackets. But we are only
mortals—the printers and I.

It seems to me that, in an edition of Keats intended
to meet a popular demand among the educated classes,
an attempt should be made to record precisely how
and in what forms the text has come through the
nineteenth century and reached his lovers and admirers
in the twentieth.

As to the main body of printed authority for the
text, the books had better be here mentioned with the
customary bibliographical details. The volumes which
Keats himself issued through the press are three.
The contents of the first reappear in Keats's own order
of arrangement as the text of the first fifty-three pages
in the present edition ; and the book is cited in the
foot-notes as Poems 1817. It was early in that year
that this small volume was published.

The book, though worked in fours, is a foolscap
octavo, each sheet of paper being cut in halves. It
was issued in drab boards, with a back-label reading
"Keats's | Poems," and consists of a blank leaf, fly-title
"Poems" in heavy black letter, with imprint on verso,
"Printed by C. Richards, No. 18, Warwick Street,
Golden Square, London," title-page as given at the end
of this Introduction, Dedication with a note on the
verso, and pages 1 to 121 including the fly-titles to the
Epistles, Sonnets, and Sleep and Poetry.

There are
head-lines in Roman capitals running throughout
each section, recto and verso alike, (1) “ Poems,” (2)
“Epistles," (3) "Sonnets," and (4) “Sleep and Poetry."
The note after the Dedication is as follows :-

"[The Short Pieces in the middle of the Book, as |
well as some of the Sonnets, were written at an earlier
period than the rest of the Poems."

Keats's second venture was the far more ambitious
work Endymion, forming pages 55 to 168 of the present
volume. There was talk of making the poem a quarto,
with a portrait of Keats by Haydon; but ultimately
it appeared without a portrait, as a handsome octavo
volume. It was done up in thick drab boards labelled at
the back, “Keats's | Endymion. | Lond. 1818," and con-
sisted of (1) fly-title "Endymion : | A Romance" with
imprint at foot of verso, “Printed by T. Miller, Noble
street Cheapside," (2) title-page (with its motto adapted
from Shakespeare's seventeenth Sonnet), which will be
found reproduced at the end of this Introduction, (3) the
dedication reprinted as lines 3 to 6 of page 55 in the
present edition, (4) the Preface (pages vii to ix), (5) an
erratum leaf with sometimes one and sometimes five
errata printed on the recto, and (6) 207 pages of text
including the fly-titles to the four books. The head-line
throughout is “Endymion"in Roman small capitals, the
number of the Book being indicated in smaller letters at
the inner corners, and the pages in Arabic figures as usual
at the outer corners. The full page consists of twenty-
two lines; and the lines are numbered in tens in the
margin, not every ten lines of verse, but every ten lines
of print, so that when a fresh paragraph begins with a
portion of a verse, that particular verse counts for two

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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:

LAMIA
Hyperion, a Fragment,

ISABELLA
ST. AGNES EVE,

and other poems.

The Advertizement prefixed to the published volume

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