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Brad R.R.2 English -Curr. fotheran 6-1-32

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HE present edition of the Poems of Keats aims at reproducing, except for obvious errors, the exact text of the three volumes published in the poet's lifetime, and at giving for the rest of his work what seems to be the most approved text. I have left the irregularities of orthography as I found them in the first editions, and have neither consistently modernised them, nor followed Mr. Forman in altering the spelling of certain words so as to make them fit in with what appears to be Keats's usual form. Keats's predilection for Elizabethan spelling does not seem to me to justify its introduction in passages where he did not actually employ it, and it is at least no more characteristic of him than his fluctuations between the modern and archaic spelling of the same word, which are noticeable both in his MSS. and in his printed poems. Similarly, I have not attempted to revise the printing of the -'d or -ed of the past participles. It is clear, as Mr. Forman shows, that Keats's "intention, speaking broadly, was to print -ed when that syllable was to be pronounced, and to replace the e by an apostrophe in the opposite case"; it is clear also that such a rule was not consistently carried out. But it is often impossible to decide whether Keats wished the syllable to be dropped entirely, or whether he desired a slightly dissyllabic effect as a variation of his metre, or even whether, as is quite possible, by the retention of the e he wished to indicate that the previous syllable should be slightly lingered over in reading. It is probable also that Keats would consult the eye as well as the ear in deciding which form to employ, and he would naturally shrink from printing such words as did or ey'd. Moreover it must be remembered

that he had every opportunity for correcting his proofs, and such proof copies of his poems as are now extant show that he not only corrected them with some care, but also obtained the help of friends in their correction. It is hardly likely therefore that he would have left as many as sixty incorrectly printed in Endymion, and yet Mr. Forman, in reducing the form of Keats's past participles to rule, has found it necessary to alter this number.

A word must be said in explanation, and if need be in defence, of the arrangement of the Posthumous and Fugitive Poems. It is a practice widely followed by modern scholarship to collect under this head every scrap of verse that can be discovered, and to produce the whole under the title of "Poems," and there is much to be said for the arrangement. On the other hand, I cannot help agreeing with Mr. Colvin that to print snatches of doggerel and nonsense-verses, such as are to be found in the Letters of Keats, "gravely, among the poetical works, is to punish the levities of genius too hard," and I am convinced that when the Ode to Maia shares a page with Dawlish Fair, and La Belle Dame sans Merci is immediately preceded by Two or Three Posies, as the dates of composition demand, the mind is not attuned to their proper appreciation, and chronological accuracy is bought at a heavy price.

Accordingly I have relegated to an Appendix those verses which do not seem to me to be worthy of the name of poetry, and would not, we may be sure, have been published by Keats as such; the remainder I have arranged as far as possible on the principles which actuated the poet in the arrangement of his volumes of 1817 and 1820. The Fall of Hyperion is placed first, for pure convenience, that it may stand next to Hyperion; it is followed by the other narrative poems, then by the Odes, by the Songs and Lyrics, by the Epistle to Reynolds, then by the Sonnets and the Dramas. The chronological table on pp. 590-4 will, perhaps, atone for this in the eyes of those who prefer the other plan. The Appendix is strictly chronological. It contains much verse which could well, I think, be spared, and it is only added to satisfy those readers who like to possess not merely what their

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