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PREFACE TO THE REVISED EDITION.
A FEW paragraphs will suffice here by way of preface ; other details, relevant to Shelley's poems and to the present republication of them, being supplied in the Memoir, and in the notes at the close of the volumes.
The fact that the previous editions of Shelley were the reverse of scrupulously correct has frequently been remarked upon ; as, for instance, thus by a poet who is also a keen critic, Mr. Allingham :-"Hardly any great poet, certainly no modern one, has been
so inaccurately printed as Shelley. Helps to the very necessary revision are in existence, and ought quickly to be used.”* And thus by Mr. Swinburne, when the present revised edition was already in an advanced stage :-“It is seldom that the work of a scholiast is so soon wanted as in Shelley's case it has been. The first collected edition of his works had many gaps and errors patent and palpable to any serious reader. His text is already matter for debate and comment, as though he were a classic newly unearthed." +
If we enquire why Shelley has suffered so much in the printed form of his poems, we shall find that the responsibility rests upon three defendants-Shelley himself, Casualty, and Mrs. Shelley.
Shelley was essentially careless as a writer. Spite of his classical education and tastes, and his cultivated perceptions of
Nightingale Valley, p. 282 (1860).
+ Fortnightly Review, May 1869.