The Complete Poetical Works, by Percy Bysshe Shelley

Notes on the Text and its Punctuation.

In the case of every poem published during Shelley’s lifetime, the text of this edition is based upon that of the editio princeps or earliest issue. Wherever our text deviates verbally from this exemplar, the word or words of the editio princeps will be found recorded in a footnote. In like manner, wherever the text of the poems first printed by Mrs. Shelley in the “Posthumous Poems” of 1824 or the “Poetical Works” of 1839 is modified by manuscript authority or otherwise, the reading of the earliest printed text has been subjoined in a footnote. Shelley’s punctuation — or what may be presumed to be his — has been retained, save in the case of errors (whether of the transcriber or the printer) overlooked in the revision of the proof-sheets, and of a few places where the pointing, though certainly or seemingly Shelley’s, tends to obscure the sense or grammatical construction. In the following notes the more important textual difficulties are briefly discussed, and the readings embodied in the text of this edition, it is hoped, sufficiently justified. An attempt has also been made to record the original punctuation where it is here departed from.

The Daemon of the World: Part 1.

1. The following paragraph, relating to this poem, closes Shelley’s “Preface” to “Alastor”, etc., 1816:—‘The Fragment entitled “The Daemon of the World” is a detached part of a poem which the author does not intend for publication. The metre in which it is composed is that of “Samson Agonistes” and the Italian pastoral drama, and may be considered as the natural measure into which poetical conceptions, expressed in harmonious language, necessarily fall.’

2. Lines 56, 112, 184, 288. The editor has added a comma at the end of these lines, and a period (for the comma of 1816) after by, line 279.

3. Lines 167, 168. The editio princeps has a comma after And, line 167, and heaven, line 168.

The Daemon of the World: Part 2.

1. Printed by Mr. Forman from a copy in his possession of “Queen Mab”, corrected by Shelley’s hand. See “The Shelley Library”, pages 36–44, for a detailed history and description of this copy.

2. Lines 436–438. Mr. Forman prints:—

Which from the exhaustless lore of human weal
Draws on the virtuous mind, the thoughts that rise
In time-destroying infiniteness, gift, etc.

Our text exhibits both variants — lore for ‘store,’ and Dawns for ‘Draws’— found in Shelley’s note on the corresponding passage of “Queen Mab” (8 204–206). See editor’s note on this passage. Shelley’s comma after infiniteness, line 438, is omitted as tending to obscure the construction.

Alastor; or the Spirit of Solitude.

1. “Preface”. For the concluding paragraph see editor’s note on “The Daemon of the World”: Part 1.

2. Conducts, O Sleep, to thy, etc. (line 219.)

The Shelley texts, 1816, 1824, 1839, have Conduct here, which Forman and Dowden retain. The suggestion that Shelley may have written ‘death’s blue vaults’ (line 216) need not, in the face of ‘the dark gate of death’ (line 211), be seriously considered; Conduct must, therefore, be regarded as a fault in grammar. That Shelley actually wrote Conduct is not impossible, for his grammar is not seldom faulty (see, for instance, “Revolt of Islam, Dedication”, line 60); but it is most improbable that he would have committed a solecism so striking both to eye and ear. Rossetti and Woodberry print Conducts, etc. The final s is often a vanishing quantity in Shelley’s manuscripts. Or perhaps the compositor’s hand was misled by his eye, which may have dropped on the words, Conduct to thy, etc., seven lines above.

3. Of wave ruining on wave, etc. (line 327.)

For ruining the text of “Poetical Works”, 1839, both editions, has running — an overlooked misprint, surely, rather than a conjectural emendation. For an example of ruining as an intransitive (= ‘falling in ruins,’ or, simply, ‘falling in streams’) see “Paradise Lost”, 6 867–869:—

Hell heard th’ insufferable noise, Hell saw
Heav’n ruining from Heav’n, and would have fled
Affrighted, etc.

Ruining, in the sense of ‘streaming,’ ‘trailing,’ occurs in Coleridge’s “Melancholy: a Fragment” (Sibylline Leaves, 1817, page 262):—

Where ruining ivies propped the ruins steep —

“Melancholy” first appeared in “The Morning Post”, December 7, 1797, where, through an error identical with that here assumed in the text of 1839, running appears in place of ruining — the word intended, and doubtless written, by Coleridge.

4. Line 349. With Mr. Stopford Brooke, the editor substitutes here a colon for the full stop which, in editions 1816, 1824, and 1839, follows ocean. Forman and Dowden retain the full stop; Rossetti and Woodberry substitute a semicolon.


And nought but gnarled roots of ancient pines
Branchless and blasted, clenched with grasping roots
The unwilling soil. (lines 530–532.)

Editions 1816, 1824, and 1839 have roots (line 530)— a palpable misprint, the probable origin of which may be seen in the line which follows. Rossetti conjectures trunks, but stumps or stems may have been Shelley’s word.

6. Lines 543–548. This somewhat involved passage is here reprinted exactly as it stands in the editio princeps, save for the comma after and, line 546, first introduced by Dowden, 1890. The construction and meaning are fully discussed by Forman (“Poetical Works” of Shelley, edition 1876, volume 1 pages 39, 40), Stopford Brooke (“Poems of Shelley”, G. T. S., 1880, page 323), Dobell (“Alastor”, etc., Facsimile Reprint, 2nd edition 1887, pages 22–27), and Woodberry (“Complete P. W. of Shelley”, 1893, volume 1 page 413).

The Revolt of Islam.

1. The revised text (1818) of this poem is given here, as being that which Shelley actually published. In order to reconvert the text of “The Revolt of Islam” into that of “Laon and Cythna”, the reader must make the following alterations in the text. At the end of the “Preface” add:—

‘In the personal conduct of my Hero and Heroine, there is one circumstance which was intended to startle the reader from the trance of ordinary life. It was my object to break through the crust of those outworn opinions on which established institutions depend. I have appealed therefore to the most universal of all feelings, and have endeavoured to strengthen the moral sense, by forbidding it to waste its energies in seeking to avoid actions which are only crimes of convention. It is because there is so great a multitude of artificial vices that there are so few real virtues. Those feelings alone which are benevolent or malevolent, are essentially good or bad. The circumstance of which I speak was introduced, however, merely to accustom men to that charity and toleration which the exhibition of a practice widely differing from their own has a tendency to promote. (The sentiments connected with and characteristic of this circumstance have no personal reference to the Writer. —[Shelley’s Note.]) Nothing indeed can be more mischievous than many actions, innocent in themselves, which might bring down upon individuals the bigoted contempt and rage of the multitude.’

2 21 1:
I had a little sister whose fair eyes

2 25 2:
To love in human life, this sister sweet,

3 1 1:
What thoughts had sway over my sister’s slumber

3 1 3:
As if they did ten thousand years outnumber

4 30 6:
And left it vacant —’twas her brother’s face —

5 47 5:
I had a brother once, but he is dead! —

6 24 8:
My own sweet sister looked), with joy did quail,

6 31 6:
The common blood which ran within our frames,

6 39 6–9:
With such close sympathies, for to each other
Had high and solemn hopes, the gentle might
Of earliest love, and all the thoughts which smother
Cold Evil’s power, now linked a sister and a brother.

6 40 1:
And such is Nature’s modesty, that those

8 4 9:
Dream ye that God thus builds for man in solitude?

8 5 1:
What then is God? Ye mock yourselves and give

8 6 1:
What then is God? Some moonstruck sophist stood

8 6 8, 9:
And that men say God has appointed Death
On all who scorn his will to wreak immortal wrath.

8 7 1–4:
Men say they have seen God, and heard from God,
Or known from others who have known such things,
And that his will is all our law, a rod
To scourge us into slaves — that Priests and Kings

8 8 1:
And it is said, that God will punish wrong;

8 8 3, 4:
And his red hell’s undying snakes among
Will bind the wretch on whom he fixed a stain

8 13 3, 4:
For it is said God rules both high and low,
And man is made the captive of his brother;

9 13 8:
To curse the rebels. To their God did they

9 14 6:
By God, and Nature, and Necessity.

9 15. The stanza contains ten lines — lines 4–7 as follows:
There was one teacher, and must ever be,
They said, even God, who, the necessity
Of rule and wrong had armed against mankind,
His slave and his avenger there to be;

9 18 3–6:
And Hell and Awe, which in the heart of man
Is God itself; the Priests its downfall knew,
As day by day their altars lovelier grew,
Till they were left alone within the fane;

10 22 9:
On fire! Almighty God his hell on earth has spread!

10 26 7, 8:
Of their Almighty God, the armies wind
In sad procession: each among the train

10 28 1:
O God Almighty! thou alone hast power.

10 31 1:
And Oromaze, and Christ, and Mahomet,

10 32 1:
He was a Christian Priest from whom it came

10 32 4:
To quell the rebel Atheists; a dire guest

10 32 9:
To wreak his fear of God in vengeance on mankind

10 34 5, 6:
His cradled Idol, and the sacrifice
Of God to God’s own wrath — that Islam’s creed

10 35 9:
And thrones, which rest on faith in God, nigh overturned.

10 39 4:
Of God may be appeased. He ceased, and they

10 40 5:
With storms and shadows girt, sate God, alone,

10 44 9:
As ‘hush! hark! Come they yet?
God, God, thine hour is near!’

10 45 8:
Men brought their atheist kindred to appease

10 47 6:
The threshold of God’s throne, and it was she!

11 16 1:
Ye turn to God for aid in your distress;

11 25 7:
Swear by your dreadful God.’—‘We swear, we swear!’

12 10 9:
Truly for self, thus thought that Christian Priest indeed,

12 11 9:
A woman? God has sent his other victim here.

12 12 6–8:
Will I stand up before God’s golden throne,
And cry, ‘O Lord, to thee did I betray
An Atheist; but for me she would have known

12 29 4:
In torment and in fire have Atheists gone;

12 30 4:
How Atheists and Republicans can die;

2. Aught but a lifeless clod, until revived by thee (Dedic. 6 9).

So Rossetti; the Shelley editions, 1818 and 1839, read clog, which is retained by Forman, Dowden, and Woodberry. Rossetti’s happy conjecture, clod, seems to Forman ‘a doubtful emendation, as Shelley may have used clog in its [figurative] sense of weight, encumbrance.’— Hardly, as here, in a poetical figure: that would be to use a metaphor within a metaphor. Shelley compares his heart to a concrete object: if clog is right, the word must be taken in one or other of its two recognized LITERAL senses —‘a wooden shoe,’ or ‘a block of wood tied round the neck or to the leg of a horse or a dog.’ Again, it is of others’ hearts, not of his own, that Shelley here deplores the icy coldness and weight; besides, how could he appropriately describe his heart as a weight or encumbrance upon the free play of impulse and emotion, seeing that for Shelley, above all men, the heart was itself the main source and spring of all feeling and action? That source, he complains, has been dried up — its emotions desiccated — by the crushing impact of other hearts, heavy, hard and cold as stone. His heart has become withered and barren, like a lump of earth parched with frost —‘a lifeless clod.’ Compare “Summer and Winter”, lines 11–15:—

‘It was a winter such as when birds die
In the deep forests; and the fishes lie
Stiffened in the translucent ice, which makes
Even the mud and slime of the warm lakes
A wrinkled clod as hard as brick;’ etc., etc.

The word revived suits well with clod; but what is a revived clog? Finally, the first two lines of the following stanza (7) seem decisive in favour of Roseetti’s word.

If any one wonders how a misprint overlooked in 1818 could, after twenty-one years, still remain undiscovered in 1839, let him consider the case of clog in Lamb’s parody on Southey’s and Coleridge’s “Dactyls” (Lamb, “Letter to Coleridge”, July 1, 1796):—

Sorely your Dactyls do drag along limp-footed;
Sad is the measure that hangs a clog round ’em so, etc., etc.

Here the misprint, clod, which in 1868 appeared in Moxon’s edition of the “Letters of Charles Lamb”, has through five successive editions and under many editors — including Fitzgerald, Ainger, and Macdonald — held its ground even to the present day; and this, notwithstanding the preservation of the true reading, clog, in the texts of Talfourd and Carew Hazlitt. Here then is the case of a palpable misprint surviving, despite positive external evidence of its falsity, over a period of thirty-six years.

3. And walked as free, etc. (Ded. 7 6).

Walked is one of Shelley’s occasional grammatical laxities. Forman well observes that walkedst, the right word here, would naturally seem to Shelley more heinous than a breach of syntactic rule. Rossetti and, after him, Dowden print walk. Forman and Woodberry follow the early texts.

4. 1 9 1–7. Here the text follows the punctuation of the editio princeps, 1818, with two exceptions: a comma is inserted (1) after scale (line 201), on the authority of the Bodleian manuscript (Locock); and (2) after neck (line 205), to indicate the true construction. Mrs. Shelley’s text, 1839, has a semicolon after plumes (line 203), which Rossetti adopts. Forman (1892) departs from the pointing of Shelley’s edition here, placing a period at the close of line 199, and a dash after blended (line 200).

5. What life, what power, was, etc. (1 11 1.)

The editio princeps, 1818, wants the commas here.


. . . and now
We are embarked — the mountains hang and frown
Over the starry deep that gleams below,
A vast and dim expanse, as o’er the waves we go. (1 23 6–9.)

With Woodberry I substitute after embarked (7) a dash for the comma of the editio princeps; with Rossetti I restore to below (8) a comma which I believe to have been overlooked by the printer of that edition. Shelley’s meaning I take to be that ‘a vast and dim expanse of mountain hangs frowning over the starry deep that gleams below it as we pass over the waves.’

7. As King, and Lord, and God, the conquering Fiend did own — (1 28 9.) So Forman (1892), Dowden; the editio princeps, has a full stop at the close of the line — where, according to Mr. Locock, no point appears in the Bodleian manuscript.

8. Black-winged demon forms, etc. (1 30 7.)

The Bodleian manuscript exhibits the requisite hyphen here, and in golden-pinioned (32 2).

9. 1 31 2, 6. The ‘three-dots’ point, employed by Shelley to indicate a pause longer than that of a full stop, is introduced into these two lines on the authority of the Bodleian manuscript. In both cases it replaces a dash in the editio princeps. See list of punctual variations below. Mr. Locock reports the presence in the manuscript of what he justly terms a ‘characteristic’ comma after Soon (31 2).

10. . . . mine shook beneath the wide emotion. (1 38 9.)

For emotion the Bodleian manuscript has commotion (Locock)— perhaps the fitter word here.

11. Deep slumber fell on me:— my dreams were fire — (1 40 1.)

The dash after fire is from the Bodleian manuscript — where, moreover, the somewhat misleading but indubitably Shelleyan comma after passion (editio princeps, 40 4) is wanting (Locock). I have added a dash to the comma after cover (40 5) in order to clarify the sense.

12. And shared in fearless deeds with evil men, (1 44 4.)

With Forman and Dowden I substitute here a comma for the full stop of the editio princeps. See also list of punctual variations below (stanza 44).

13. The Spirit whom I loved, in solitude Sustained his child: (1 45 4, 5.) The comma here, important as marking the sense as well as the rhythm of the passage, is derived from the Bodleian manuscript (Locock).


I looked, and we were sailing pleasantly,
Swift as a cloud between the sea and sky;
Beneath the rising moon seen far away,
Mountains of ice, etc. (1 47 4–7.)

The editio princeps has a comma after sky (5) and a semicolon after away (6)— a pointing followed by Forman, Dowden, and Woodberry. By transposing these points (as in our text), however, a much better sense is obtained; and, luckily, this better sense proves to be that yielded by the Bodleian manuscript, where, Mr. Locock reports, there is a semicolon after sky (5), a comma after moon (6), and no point whatsoever after away (6).

15. Girt by the deserts of the Universe; (1 50 4.)

So the Bodleian manuscript, anticipated by Woodberry (1893). Rossetti (1870) had substituted a comma for the period of editio princeps.


Hymns which my soul had woven to Freedom, strong
The source of passion, whence they rose, to be;
Triumphant strains, which, etc. (2 28 6–8.)

The editio princeps, followed by Forman, has passion whence (7). Mrs. Shelley, “Poetical Works” 1839, both editions, prints: strong The source of passion, whence they rose to be Triumphant strains, which, etc.

17. But, pale, were calm with passion — thus subdued, etc. (2 49 6.)

With Rossetti, Dowden, Woodberry, I add a comma after But to the pointing of the editio princeps. Mrs. Shelley, “Poetical Works”, 1839, both editions, prints: But pale, were calm. — With passion thus subdued, etc.

18. Methought that grate was lifted, etc. (3 25 1.)

Shelley’s and Mrs. Shelley’s editions have gate, which is retained by Forman. But cf. 3 14 2, 7. Dowden and Woodberry follow Rossetti in printing grate.

19. Where her own standard, etc. (4 24 5.)

So Mrs. Shelley, “Poetical Works”, 1839, both editions.

20. Beneath whose spires, which swayed in the red flame, (5 54 6.)

Shelley’s and Mrs. Shelley’s editions (1818, 1839) give red light here — an oversight perpetuated by Forman, the rhyme-words name (8) and frame (9) notwithstanding. With Rossetti, Dowden, Woodberry, I print red flame — an obvious emendation proposed by Fleay.


— when the waves smile,
As sudden earthquakes light many a volcano-isle,
Thus sudden, unexpected feast was spread, etc. (6 7 8, 9; 8 1.)

With Forman, Dowden, Woodberry, I substitute after isle (7 9) a comma for the full stop of editions 1818, 1839 (retained by Rossetti). The passage is obscure: perhaps Shelley wrote ‘lift many a volcano-isle.’ The plain becomes studded in an instant with piles of corpses, even as the smiling surface of the sea will sometimes become studded in an instant with many islands uplifted by a sudden shock of earthquake.

22. 7 7 2–6. The editio princeps punctuates thus:—

and words it gave
Gestures and looks, such as in whirlwinds bore
Which might not be withstood, whence none could save
All who approached their sphere, like some calm wave
Vexed into whirlpools by the chasms beneath;

This punctuation is retained by Forman; Rossetti, Dowden, Woodberry, place a comma after gave (2) and Gestures (3), and — adopting the suggestion of Mr. A.C. Bradley — enclose line 4 (Which might . . . could save) in parentheses; thus construing which might not be withstood and whence none could save as adjectival clauses qualifying whirlwinds (3), and taking bore (3) as a transitive verb governing All who approached their sphere (5). This, which I believe to be the true construction, is perhaps indicated quite as clearly by the pointing adopted in the text — a pointing moreover which, on metrical grounds, is, I think, preferable to that proposed by Mr. Bradley. I have added a dash to the comma after sphere (5), to indicate that it is Cythna herself (and not All who approached, etc.) that resembles some calm wave, etc.


Which dwell in lakes, when the red moon on high
Pause ere it wakens tempest; — (7 22 6, 7.)

Here when the moon Pause is clearly irregular, but it appears in editions 1818, 1839, and is undoubtedly Shelley’s phrase. Rossetti cites a conjectural emendation by a certain ‘C.D. Campbell, Mauritius’:— which the red moon on high Pours eve it wakens tempest; but cf. “Julian and Maddalo”, lines 53, 54:—

Meanwhile the sun paused ere it should alight,
Over the horizon of the mountains.
— and “Prince Athanase”, lines 220, 221:—
When the curved moon then lingering in the west
Paused, in yon waves her mighty horns to wet, etc.


— time imparted
Such power to me — I became fearless-hearted, etc. (7 30 4, 5.)

With Woodberry I replace with a dash the comma (editio princeps) after me (5)retained by Forman, deleted by Rossetti and Dowden. Shelley’s (and Forman’s) punctuation leaves the construction ambiguous; with Woodberry’s the two clauses are seen to be parallel — the latter being appositive to and explanatory of the former; while with Dowden’s the clauses are placed in correlation: time imparted such power to me that I became fearless-hearted.

25. Of love, in that lorn solitude, etc. (7 32 7.)

All editions prior to 1876 have lone solitude, etc. The important emendation lorn was first introduced into the text by Forman, from Shelley’s revised copy of “Laon and Cythna”, where lone is found to be turned into lorn by the poet’s own hand.

26. And Hate is throned on high with Fear her mother, etc. (8 13 5.)

So the editio princeps; Forman, Dowden, Woodberry, following the text of “Laon and Cythna”, 1818, read, Fear his mother. Forman refers to 10 42 4, 5, where Fear figures as a female, and Hate as ‘her mate and foe.’ But consistency in such matters was not one of Shelley’s characteristics, and there seems to be no need for alteration here. Mrs. Shelley (1839) and Rossetti follow the editio princeps.


The ship fled fast till the stars ‘gan to fail,
And, round me gathered, etc. (8 26 5, 6.)

The editio princeps has no comma after And (6). Mrs. Shelley (1839) places a full stop at fail (5) and reads, All round me gathered, etc.

28. Words which the lore of truth in hues of flame, etc. (9 12 6.)

The editio princeps, followed by Rossetti and Woodberry, has hues of grace [cf. note (20) above]; Forman and Dowden read hues of flame. For instances of a rhyme-word doing double service, see 9 34 6, 9 (thee . . . thee); 6 3 2, 4 (arms . . . arms); 10 5 1, 3 (came . . . came).

29. Led them, thus erring, from their native land; (10 5 6.)

Editions 1818, 1839 read home for land here. All modern editors adopt Fleay’s cj., land [rhyming with band (8), sand (9)].

30. 11 11 7. Rossetti and Dowden, following Mrs. Shelley (1839), print writhed here.

31. When the broad sunrise, etc. (12 34 3.)

When is Rossetti’s cj. (accepted by Dowden) for Where (1818, 1839), which Forman and Woodberry retain. In 11 24 1, 12 15 2 and 12 28 7 there is Forman’s cj. for then (1818).


a golden mist did quiver
Where its wild surges with the lake were blended — (12 40 3, 4.)

Where is Rossetti’s cj. (accepted by Forman and Dowden) for When (editions 1818, 1839; Woodberry). See also list of punctual variations below.

33. Our bark hung there, as on a line suspended, etc. (12 40 5.)

Here on a line is Rossetti’s cj. (accepted by all editors) for one line (editions 1818, 1839). See also list of punctual variations below.


List of Punctual Variations.

Obvious errors of the press excepted, our text reproduces the punctuation of Shelley’s edition (1818), save where the sense is likely to be perverted or obscured thereby. The following list shows where the pointing of the text varies from that of the editio princeps (1818) which is in every instance recorded here.

DEDICATION, 7. long. (9).


9. scale (3), neck (7).
11. What life what power (1).
22. boat, (8), lay (9).
23. embarked, (7), below A vast (8, 9).
26. world (1), chaos: Lo! (2).
28. life: (2), own. (9).
29. mirth, (6).
30. language (2), But, when (5).
31. foundations — soon (2), war — thrones (6), multitude, (7).
32. flame, (4).
33. lightnings (3), truth, (5), brood, (5), hearts, (8).
34. Fiend (6).
35. keep (8).
37. mountains — (8).
38. unfold, (1), woe: (4), show, (5).
39. gladness, (6) 40 fire, (1), cover, (5), far (6).
42. kiss. (9).
43. But (5).
44. men. (4), fame; (7).
45. loved (4).
47. sky, (5), away (6).
49. dream, (2), floods. (9).
50. Universe. (4), language (6).
54. blind. (4).
57. mine — He (8).
58. said — (5).
60. tongue, (9).


1. which (4).
3. Yet flattering power had (7).
4. lust, (6).
6. kind, (2).
11. Nor, (2).
13. ruin. (3), trust. (9).
18. friend (3).
22. thought, (6), fancies (7).
24. radiancy, (3).
25. dells, (8).
26. waste, (4)
28. passion (7).
31. yet (4).
32. which (3).
33. blight (8), who (8).
37. seat; (7).
39. not —‘wherefore (1).
40. good, (5).
41. tears (7).
43. air (2).
46. fire, (3).
47. stroke, (2).
49. But (6).


1. dream, (4).
3. shown (7), That (9).
4. when, (3).
5. ever (7).
7. And (1).
16. Below (6).
19. if (4).
25. thither, (2).
26. worm (2), there, (3).
27. beautiful, (8).
28. And (1).
30. As (1).


2. fallen — We (6).
3. ray, (7).
4. sleep, (5).
8. fed (6).
10. wide; (1), sword (7).
16. chance, (7).
19. her (3), blending (8).
23. tyranny, (4).
24. unwillingly (1).
26. blood; (2).
27. around (2), as (4).
31. or (4).
33. was (5).


1. flow, (5).
2. profound — Oh, (4), veiled, (6).
3. victory (1), face — (8).
4. swim, (5)
6. spread, (2), outsprung (5), far, (6), war, (8).
8. avail (5).
10. weep; (4), tents (8).
11. lives, (8).
13. beside (1).
15. sky, (3).
17. love (4).
20. Which (9).
22. gloom, (8).
23. King (6).
27. known, (4).
33. ye? (1), Othman — (3).
34. pure — (7).
35. people (1).
36. where (3).
38. quail; (2).
39. society, (8).
40. see (1).
43. light (8), throne. (9).
50. skies, (6).
51. Image (7), isles; all (9), amaze. When (9, 10), fair. (12).
51. 1: will (15), train (15).
51. 2: wert, (5).
51. 4: brethren (1).
51. 5: steaming, (6).
55. creep. (9).


1. snapped (9).
2. gate, (2).
5. rout (4), voice, (6), looks, (6).
6. as (1).
7. prey, (1), isle. (9).
8. sight (2).
12. glen (4).
14. almost (1), dismounting (4).
15. blood (2).
21. reins:— We (3), word (3).
22. crest (6).
25. And, (1), and (9).
28. but (3), there, (8).
30. air. (9).
32. voice:— (1).
37. frames; (5).
43. mane, (2), again, (7).
48. Now (8).
51. hut, (4).
54. waste, (7).


2. was, (5).
6. dreams (3).
7. gave Gestures and (2, 3), withstood, (4), save (4), sphere, (5).
8. sent, (2).
14. taught, (6), sought, (8).
17. and (6).
18. own (5), beloved:— (5).
19. tears; (2), which, (3), appears, (5).
25. me, (1), shapes (5).
27. And (1).
28. strength (1).
30. Aye, (3), me, (5).
33. pure (9).
38. wracked; (4), cataract, (5).


2. and (2).
9. shadow (5).
11. freedom (7), blood. (9).
13. Woman, (8), bond-slave, (8).
14. pursuing (8), wretch! (9).
15. home, (3).
21. Hate, (1).
23. reply, (1).
25. fairest, (1).
26. And (6).
28. thunder (2).


4. hills, (1), brood, (6).
5. port — alas! (1).
8. grave (2).
9. with friend (3), occupations (7), overnumber, (8).
12. lair; (5), Words, (6).
15. who, (4), armed, (5), misery. (9).
17. call, (4).
20. truth (9).
22. sharest; (4).
23. Faith, (8).
28. conceive (8).
30. and as (5), hope (8).
33. thoughts:— Come (7).
34. willingly (2).
35. ceased, (8).
36. undight; (4).


2. tongue, (1).
7. conspirators (6), wolves, (8).
8. smiles, (5).
9. bands, (2)
11. file did (5).
18. but (5).
19. brought, (5).
24. food (5).
29. worshippers (3).
32. west (2).
36. foes, (5).
38. now! (2).
40. alone, (5).
41. morn — at (1).
42. below, (2).
43. deep, (7), pest (8).
44. drear (8).
47. ‘Kill me!’ they (9).
48. died, (8).


4. which, (6), eyes, (8).
5. tenderness (7).
7. return — the (8).
8. midnight — (1).
10. multitude (1).
11. cheeks (1), here (4).
12. come, give (3).
13. many (1).
14. arrest, (4), terror, (6).
19. thus (1).
20. Stranger: ‘What (5).
23. People: (7).


3. and like (7).
7. away (7).
8. Fairer it seems than (7).
10. self, (9).
11. divine (2), beauty — (3).
12. own. (9).
14. fear, (1), choose, (4).
17. death? the (1).
19. radiance (3).
22. spake; (5).
25. thee beloved; — (8).
26. towers (6).
28. repent, (2).
29. withdrawn, (2).
31. stood a winged Thought (1).
32. gossamer, (6).
33. stream (1).
34. sunrise, (3), gold, (3), quiver, (4).
35. abode, (4).
37. wonderful; (3), go, (4).
40. blended: (4), heavens, (6), lake; (6).

Prince Athanase.

1. Lines 28–30. The punctuation here (“Poetical Works”, 1839) is supported by the Bodleian manuscript, which has a full stop at relief (line 28), and a comma at chief (line 30). The text of the “Posthumous Poems”, 1824, has a semicolon at relief and a full stop at chief. The original draft of lines 29, 30, in the Bodleian manuscript, runs:—

He was the child of fortune and of power,
And, though of a high race the orphan Chief, etc.

— which is decisive in favour of our punctuation (1839). See Locock, “Examination”, etc., page 51.

2. Which wake and feed an ever-living woe — (line 74.)

All the editions have on for an, the reading of the Bodleian manuscript, where it appears as a substitute for his, the word originally written. The first draft of the line runs: Which nursed and fed his everliving woe. Wake, accordingly, is to be construed as a transitive (Locock).

3. Lines 130–169. This entire passage is distinctly cancelled in the Bodleian manuscript, where the following revised version of lines 125–129 and 168–181 is found some way later on:—

Prince Athanase had one beloved friend,
An old, old man, with hair of silver white,
And lips where heavenly smiles would hang and blend
With his wise words; and eyes whose arrowy light
Was the reflex of many minds; he filled
From fountains pure, nigh overgrown and [lost],
The spirit of Prince Athanase, a child;
And soul-sustaining songs of ancient lore
And philosophic wisdom, clear and mild.
And sweet and subtle talk they evermore
The pupil and the master [share], until
Sharing that undiminishable store,
The youth, as clouds athwart a grassy hill
Outrun the winds that chase them, soon outran
His teacher, and did teach with native skill
Strange truths and new to that experienced man;
So [?] they were friends, as few have ever been
Who mark the extremes of life’s discordant span.

The words bracketed above, and in Fragment 5 of our text, are cancelled in the manuscript (Locock).

4. And blighting hope, etc. (line 152.)

The word blighting here, noted as unsuitable by Rossetti, is cancelled in the Bodleian manuscript (Locock).

5. She saw between the chestnuts, far beneath, etc. (line 154.)

The reading of editions 1824, 1839 (beneath the chestnuts) is a palpable misprint.


And sweet and subtle talk they evermore,
The pupil and the master, shared; (lines 173, 174.)

So edition 1824, which is supported by the Bodleian manuscript — both the cancelled draft and the revised version: cf. note above. “Poetical Works”, 1839, has now for they — a reading retained by Rossetti alone of modern editors.

7. Line 193. The ‘three-dots’ point at storm is in the Bodleian manuscript.

8. Lines 202–207. The Bodleian manuscript, which has a comma and dash after nightingale, bears out James Thomson’s (‘B. V.‘s’) view, approved by Rossetti, that these lines form one sentence. The manuscript has a dash after here (line 207), which must be regarded as ‘equivalent to a full stop or note of exclamation’ (Locock). Editions 1824, 1839 have a note of exclamation after nightingale (line 204) and a comma after here (line 207).

9. Fragment 3 (lines 230–239). First printed from the Bodleian manuscript by Mr. C.D. Locock. In the space here left blank, line 231, the manuscript has manhood, which is cancelled for some monosyllable unknown — query, spring?

10. And sea-buds burst under the waves serene:— (line 250.)

For under edition 1839 has beneath, which, however, is cancelled for under in the Bodleian manuscript (Locock).

11. Lines 251–254. This, with many other places from line 222 onwards, evidently lacks Shelley’s final corrections.

12. Line 259. According to Mr. Locock, the final text of this line in the Bodleian manuscript runs:—

Exulting, while the wide world shrinks below, etc.

13. Fragment 5 (lines 261–278). The text here is much tortured in the Bodleian manuscript. What the editions give us is clearly but a rough and tentative draft. ‘The language contains no third rhyme to mountains (line 262) and fountains (line 264).’ Locock. Lines 270–278 were first printed by Mr. Locock.

14. Line 289. For light (Bodleian manuscript) here the editions read bright. But light is undoubtedly the right word: cf. line 287. Investeth (line 285), Rossetti’s cj. for Investeth (1824, 1839) is found in the Bodleian manuscript.

15. Lines 297–302 (the darts . . . ungarmented). First printed by Mr. Locock from the Bodleian manuscript.

16. Another Fragment (A). Lines 1–3 of this Fragment reappear in a modified shape in the Bodleian manuscript of “Prometheus Unbound”, 2 4 28–30:—

Or looks which tell that while the lips are calm
And the eyes cold, the spirit weeps within
Tears like the sanguine sweat of agony;
Here the lines are cancelled — only, however, to reappear in a heightened
shape in “The Cenci”, 1 1 111–113:—
The dry, fixed eyeball; the pale quivering lip,
Which tells me that the spirit weeps within
Tears bitterer than the bloody sweat of Christ.
(Garnett, Locock.)

17. PUNCTUAL VARIATIONS. The punctuation of “Prince Athanase” is that of “Poetical Works”, 1839, save in the places specified in the notes above, and in line 60 — where there is a full stop, instead of the comma demanded by the sense, at the close of the line.

Rosalind and Helen.

1. A sound from there, etc. (line 63.)

Rossetti’s cj., there for thee, is adopted by all modern editors.

2. And down my cheeks the quick tears fell, etc. (line 366.)

The word fell is Rossetti’s cj. (to rhyme with tell, line 369) for ran 1819, 1839).

3. Lines 405–409. The syntax here does not hang together, and Shelley may have been thinking of this passage amongst others when, on September 6, 1819, he wrote to Ollier:—‘In the “Rosalind and Helen” I see there are some few errors, which are so much the worse because they are errors in the sense.’ The obscurity, however, may have been, in part at least, designed: Rosalind grows incoherent before breaking off abruptly. No satisfactory emendation has been proposed.

4. Where weary meteor lamps repose, etc. (line 551.)

With Woodberry I regard Where, his cj. for When (1819, 1839), as necessary for the sense.

5. With which they drag from mines of gore, etc. (line 711.)

Rossetti proposes yore for gore here, or, as an alternative, rivers of gore, etc. If yore be right, Shelley’s meaning is: ‘With which from of old they drag,’ etc. But cf. Note (3) above.

6. Where, like twin vultures, etc. (line 932.)

Where is Woodberry’s reading for When (1819, 1839). Forman suggests Where but does not print it.

7. Lines 1093–1096. The editio princeps (1819) punctuates:—

Hung in dense flocks beneath the dome,
That ivory dome, whose azure night
With golden stars, like heaven, was bright
O’er the split cedar’s pointed flame;

8. Lines 1168–1170. Sunk (line 1170) must be taken as a transitive in this passage, the grammar of which is defended by Mr. Swinburne.


Whilst animal life many long years
Had rescue from a chasm of tears; (lines 1208–9.)

Forman substitutes rescue for rescued (1819, 1839)— a highly probable cj. adopted by Dowden, but rejected by Woodberry. The sense is: ‘Whilst my life, surviving by the physical functions merely, thus escaped during many years from hopeless weeping.’


The following is a list of punctual variations, giving in each case the pointing of the editio princeps (1819):— heart 257; weak 425; Aye 492; There — now 545; immortally 864; not, 894; bleeding, 933; Fidelity 1055; dome, 1093; bright 1095; tremble, 1150; life-dissolving 1166; words, 1176; omit parentheses lines 1188–9; bereft, 1230.

Julian and Maddalo.

1. Line 158. Salutations past; (1824); Salutations passed; (1839). Our text follows Woodberry.


— we might be all
We dream of happy, high, majestical. (lines 172–3.)

So the Hunt manuscript, edition 1824, has a comma after of (line 173), which is retained by Rossetti and Dowden.


— his melody
Is interrupted — now we hear the din, etc. (lines 265–6.)

So the Hunt manuscript; his melody Is interrupted now: we hear the din, etc., 1824, 1829.

4. Lines 282–284. The editio princeps (1824) runs:—

Smiled in their motions as they lay apart,
As one who wrought from his own fervid heart
The eloquence of passion: soon he raised, etc.

5. Line 414. The editio princeps (1824) has a colon at the end of this line, and a semicolon at the close of line 415.

6. The ‘three-dots’ point, which appears several times in these pages, is taken from the Hunt manuscript and serves to mark a pause longer than that of a full stop.

7. He ceased, and overcome leant back awhile, etc. (line 511.)

The form leant is retained here, as the stem-vowel, though unaltered in spelling, is shortened in pronunciation. Thus leant (pronounced ‘lent’) from lean comes under the same category as crept from creep, lept from leap, cleft from cleave, etc. — perfectly normal forms, all of them. In the case of weak preterites formed without any vowel-change, the more regular formation with ed is that which has been adopted in this volume. See Editor’s “Preface”.


These were first printed by Dr. Garnett, “Relics of Shelley”, 1862.


Shelley’s final transcript of “Julian and Maddalo”, though written with great care and neatness, is yet very imperfectly punctuated. He would seem to have relied on the vigilance of Leigh Hunt — or, failing Hunt, of Peacock — to make good all omissions while seeing the poem through the press. Even Mr. Buxton Forman, careful as he is to uphold manuscript authority in general, finds it necessary to supplement the pointing of the Hunt manuscript in no fewer than ninety-four places. The following table gives a list of the pointings adopted in our text, over and above those found in the Hunt manuscript. In all but four or five instances, the supplementary points are derived from Mrs. Shelley’s text of 1824.

1. Comma added at end of line: 40, 54, 60, 77, 78, 85, 90, 94, 107, 110, 116, 120, 123, 134, 144, 145, 154, 157, 168, 179, 183, 191, 196, 202, 203, 215, 217, 221, 224, 225, 238, 253, 254, 262, 287, 305, 307, 331, 338, 360, 375, 384, 385, 396, 432, 436, 447, 450, 451, 473, 475, 476, 511, 520, 526, 541, 582, 590, 591, 592, 593, 595, 603, 612.

2. Comma added elsewhere: seas, 58; vineyards, 58; dismounted, 61; evening, 65; companion, 86; isles, 90; meant, 94; Look, Julian, 96; maniacs, 110; maker, 113; past, 114; churches, 136; rainy, 141; blithe, 167; beauty, 174; Maddalo, 192; others, 205; this, 232; respects, 241; shriek, 267; wrote, 286; month, 300; cried, 300; O, 304; and, 306; misery, disappointment, 314; soon, 369; stay, 392; mad, 394; Nay, 398; serpent, 399; said, 403; cruel, 439; hate, 461; hearts, 483; he, 529; seemed, 529; Unseen, 554; morning, 582; aspect, 585; And, 593; remember, 604; parted, 610.

3. Semicolon added at end of line: 101, 103, 167, 181, 279, 496.

4. Colon added at end of line: 164, 178, 606, 610.

5. Full stop added at end of line: 95, 201, 299, 319, 407, 481, 599, 601, 617.

6. Full stop added elsewhere: transparent. 85; trials. 472; Venice, 583.

7. Admiration — note added at end of line: 392, 492; elsewhere: 310, 323,

8. Dash added at end of line: 158, 379.

9. Full stop for comma (manuscript): eye. 119.

10. Full stop for dash (manuscript): entered. 158.

11. Colon for full stop (manuscript): tale: 596.

12. Dash for colon (manuscript): this — 207; prepared — 379.

13. Comma and dash for semicolon (manuscript): expressionless — 292.

14. Comma and dash for comma (manuscript): not — 127.

Prometheus Unbound.

The variants of B. (Shelley’s ‘intermediate draft’ of “Prometheus Unbound”, now in the Bodleian Library), here recorded, are taken from Mr. C.D. Locock’s “Examination”, etc., Clarendon Press, 1903. See Editor’s Prefatory Note, above.

1. Act 1, line 204. B. has — shaken in pencil above — peopled.

2. Hark that outcry, etc. (1 553.)

All editions read Mark that outcry, etc. As Shelley nowhere else uses Mark in the sense of List, I have adopted Hark, the reading of B.

3. Gleamed in the night. I wandered, etc. (1 770.)

Forman proposes to delete the period at night.

4. But treads with lulling footstep, etc. (1 774.)

Forman prints killing — a misreading of B. Editions 1820, 1839 read silent.

5. . . . the eastern star looks white, etc. (1 825.)

B. reads wan for white.

6. Like footsteps of weak melody, etc. (2 1 89.)

B. reads far (above a cancelled lost) for weak.

7. And wakes the destined soft emotion — Attracts, impels them; (2 2 50, 51.)

The editio princeps (1820) reads destined soft emotion, Attracts, etc.; “Poetical Works”, 1839, 1st edition reads destined: soft emotion Attracts, etc. “Poetical Works”, 1839, 2nd edition reads destined, soft emotion Attracts, etc. Forman and Dowden place a period, and Woodberry a semicolon, at destined (line 50).

8. There steams a plume-uplifting wind, etc. (2 2 53.)

Here steams is found in B., in the editio princeps (1820) and in the 1st edition of “Poetical Works”, 1839. In the 2nd edition, 1839, streams appears — no doubt a misprint overlooked by the editress.

9. Sucked up and hurrying: as they fleet, etc. (2 2 60.)

So “Poetical Works”, 1839, both editions. The editio princeps (1820) reads hurrying as, etc.

10. See’st thou shapes within the mist? (2 3 50.)

So B., where these words are substituted for the cancelled I see thin shapes within the mist of the editio princeps (1820). ‘The credit of discovering the true reading belongs to Zupitza’ (Locock).

11. 2 4 12–18. The construction is faulty here, but the sense, as Professor Woodberry observes, is clear.

12. . . . but who rains down, etc. (2 4 100.)

The editio princeps (1820) has reigns — a reading which Forman bravely but unsuccessfully attempts to defend.

13. Child of Light! thy limbs are burning, etc. (2 5 54.)

The editio princeps (1820) has lips for limbs, but the word membre in Shelley’s Italian prose version of these lines establishes limbs, the reading of B. (Locock).

14. Which in the winds and on the waves doth move, (2 5 96.)

The word and is Rossetti’s conjectural emendation, adopted by Forman and Dowden. Woodberry unhappily observes that ‘the emendation corrects a faultless line merely to make it agree with stanzaic structure, and . . . is open to the gravest doubt.’ Rossetti’s conjecture is fully established by the authority of B.

15. 3 4 172–174. The editio princeps (1820) punctuates:

mouldering round
These imaged to the pride of kings and priests,
A dark yet mighty faith, a power, etc.

This punctuation is retained by Forman and Dowden; that of our text is Woodberry’s.

16. 3 4 180, 188. A dash has been introduced at the close of these two lines to indicate the construction more clearly. And for the sake of clearness a note of interrogation has been substituted for the semicolon of 1820 after Passionless (line 198).

17. Where lovers catch ye by your loose tresses; (4 107.)

B. has sliding for loose (cancelled).

18. By ebbing light into her western cave, (4 208.)

Here light is the reading of B. for night (all editions). Mr. Locock tells us that the anticipated discovery of this reading was the origin of his examination of the Shelley manuscripts at the Bodleian. In printing night Marchant’s compositor blundered; yet ‘we cannot wish the fault undone, the issue of it being so proper.’

19. Purple and azure, white, and green, and golden, (4 242.)

The editio princeps (1820) reads white, green and golden, etc. — white and green being Rossetti’s emendation, adopted by Forman and Dowden. Here again — cf. note on (17) above — Prof. Woodberry commits himself by stigmatizing the correction as one ‘for which there is no authority in Shelley’s habitual versification.’ Rossetti’s conjecture is confirmed by the reading of B., white and green, etc.

20. Filling the abyss with sun-like lightenings, (4 276.)

The editio princeps (1820) reads lightnings, for which Rossetti substitutes lightenings — a conjecture described by Forman as ‘an example of how a very slight change may produce a very calamitous result.’ B. however supports Rossetti, and in point of fact Shelley usually wrote lightenings, even where the word counts as a dissyllable (Locock).

21. Meteors and mists, which throng air’s solitudes:— (4 547.)

For throng (cancelled) B. reads feed, i.e., ‘feed on’ (cf. Pasturing flowers of vegetable fire, 3 4 110)— a reading which carries on the metaphor of line 546 (ye untameable herds), and ought, perhaps, to be adopted into the text.


The punctuation of our text is that of the editio princeps (1820), except in the places indicated in the following list, which records in each instance the pointing of 1820:—

Act 1. — empire. 15; O, 17; God 144; words 185; internally. 299; O, 302; gnash 345; wail 345; Sufferer 352; agony. 491; Between 712; cloud 712; vale 826.

Act 2:

Scene 1. — air 129; by 153; fire, 155.
Scene 2. — noonday, 25; hurrying 60.
Scene 3. — mist. 50.
Scene 4. — sun, 4; Ungazed 5; on 103; ay 106; secrets. 115.
Scene 5. — brightness 67.

Act 3:

Scene 3. — apparitions, 49; beauty, 51; phantoms, (omit parentheses) 52;
reality, 53; wind 98.

Scene 4. — toil 109; fire. 110; feel; 114; borne; 115; said 124;
priests, 173; man, 180; hate, 188; Passionless; 198.

Act 4. — dreams, 66; be. 165; light. 168; air, 187; dreams, 209; woods 211;
thunder-storm, 215; lie 298; bones 342; blending. 343; mire. 349;
pass, 371; kind 385; move. 387.

The Cenci.


The deed he saw could not have rated higher
Than his most worthless life:— (1 1 24, 25.)

Than is Mrs. Shelley’s emendation (1839) for That, the word in the editio princeps (1819) printed in Italy, and in the (standard) edition of 1821. The sense is: ‘The crime he witnessed could not have proved costlier to redeem than his murder has proved to me.’

2. And but that there yet remains a deed to act, etc. (1 1 100.)

Read: And but: that there yet: remains: etc.

3. 1 1 111–113. The earliest draft of these lines appears as a tentative fragment in the Bodleian manuscript of “Prince Athanase” (vid. supr.). In the Bodleian manuscript of “Prometheus Unbound” they reappear (after 2 4 27) in a modified shape, as follows:—

Or looks which tell that while the lips are calm
And the eyes cold, the spirit weeps within
Tears like the sanguine sweat of agony;

Here again, however, the passage is cancelled, once more to reappear in its final and most effective shape in “The Cenci” (Locock).


And thus I love you still, but holily,
Even as a sister or a spirit might; (1 2 24, 25.)

For this, the reading of the standard edition (1821), the editio princeps has, And yet I love, etc., which Rossetti retains. If yet be right, the line should be punctuated:—

And yet I love you still — but holily,
Even as a sister or a spirit might;


What, if we,
The desolate and the dead, were his own flesh,
His children and his wife, etc. (1 3 103–105.)

For were (104) Rossetti cj. are or wear. Wear is a plausible emendation, but the text as it stands is defensible.


But that no power can fill with vital oil
That broken lamp of flesh. (3 2 17, 18.)

The standard text (1821) has a Shelleyan comma after oil (17), which Forman retains. Woodberry adds a dash to the comma, thus making that (17) a demonstrative pronoun indicating broken lamp of flesh. The pointing of our text is that of editions 1819, 1839, But that (17) is to be taken as a prepositional conjunction linking the dependent clause, no power . . . lamp of flesh, to the principal sentence, So wastes . . . kindled mine (15, 16).

7. The following list of punctual variations indicates the places where our pointing departs from that of the standard text of 1821, and records in each instance the pointing of that edition:—

Act 1,
Scene 2:— Ah! No, 34;
Scene 3:— hope, 29; Why 44; love 115; thou 146; Ay 146.

Act 2,
Scene 1:— Ah! No, 13; Ah! No, 73; courage 80; nook 179;
Scene 2:— fire, 70; courage 152.

Act 3,
Scene 1:— Why 64; mock 185; opinion 185; law 185; strange 188; friend 222;
Scene 2:— so 3; oil, 17.

Act 4,
Scene 1:— wrong 41; looked 97; child 107;
Scene 3:— What 19; father, (omit quotes) 32.

Act 5,
Scene 2:— years 119;
Scene 3:— Ay, 5; Guards 94;
Scene 4:— child, 145.

The Mask of Anarchy.

Our text follows in the main the transcript by Mrs. Shelley (with additions and corrections in Shelley’s hand) known as the ‘Hunt manuscript.’ For the readings of this manuscript we are indebted to Mr. Buxton Forman’s Library Edition of the Poems, 1876. The variants of the ‘Wise manuscript’ (see Prefatory Note) are derived from the Facsimile edited in 1887 for the Shelley Society by Mr. Buxton Forman.

1. Like Eldon, an ermined gown; (4 2.)

The editio princeps (1832) has Like Lord E— here. Lord is inserted in minute characters in the Wise manuscript, but is rejected from our text as having been cancelled by the poet himself in the (later) Hunt manuscript.

2. For he knew the Palaces

Of our Kings were rightly his; (20 1, 2.) For rightly (Wise manuscript) the Hunt manuscript and editions 1832, 1839 have nightly which is retained by Rossetti and in Forman’s text of 1876. Dowden and Woodberry print rightly which also appears in Forman’s latest text (“Aldine Shelley”, 1892).

3. In a neat and happy home. (54 4.)

For In (Wise manuscript, editions 1832, 1839) the Hunt manuscript reads To a neat, etc., which is adopted by Rossetti and Dowden, and appeared in Forman’s text of 1876. Woodberry and Forman (1892) print In a neat, etc.

4. Stanzas 70 3, 4; 71 1. These form one continuous clause in every text save the editio princeps, 1832, where a semicolon appears after around (70 4).

5. Our punctuation follows that of the Hunt manuscript, save in the following places, where a comma, wanting in the manuscript, is supplied in the text:— gay 47; came 58; waken 122; shaken 123; call 124; number 152; dwell 163; thou 209; thee 249; fashion 287; surprise 345; free 358. A semicolon is supplied after earth (line 131).

Peter Bell the Third.

Thomas Brown, Esq., the Younger, H. F., to whom the “Dedication” is addressed, is the Irish poet, Tom Moore. The letters H. F. may stand for ‘Historian of the Fudges’ (Garnett), Hibernicae Filius (Rossetti), or, perhaps, Hibernicae Fidicen. Castles and Oliver (3 2 1; 7 4 4) were government spies, as readers of Charles Lamb are aware. The allusion in 6 36 is to Wordsworth’s “Thanksgiving Ode on The Battle of Waterloo”, original version, published in 1816:—

But Thy most dreaded instrument,
In working out a pure intent,
Is Man — arrayed for mutual slaughter,
— Yea, Carnage is Thy daughter!

1. Lines 547–549 (6 18 5; 19 1, 2). These lines evidently form a continuous clause. The full stop of the editio princeps at rocks, line 547, has therefore been deleted, and a semicolon substituted for the original comma at the close of line 546.

2. ‘Ay — and at last desert me too.’ (line 603.)

Rossetti, who however follows the editio princeps, saw that these words are spoken — not by Peter to his soul, but — by his soul to Peter, by way of rejoinder to the challenge of lines 600–602:—‘And I and you, My dearest Soul, will then make merry, As the Prince Regent did with Sherry.’ In order to indicate this fact, inverted commas are inserted at the close of line 602 and the beginning of line 603.

3. The punctuation of the editio princeps, 1839, has been throughout revised, but — with the two exceptions specified in notes (1) and (2) above — it seemed an unprofitable labour to record the particular alterations, which serve but to clarify — in no instance to modify — the sense as indicated by Mrs. Shelley’s punctuation.

Letter to Maria Gisborne.

Our text mainly follows Mrs. Shelley’s transcript, for the readings of which we are indebted to Mr. Buxton Forman’s Library Edition of the Poems, 1876. The variants from Shelley’s draft are supplied by Dr. Garnett.

1. Lines 197–201. These lines, which are wanting in editions 1824 and 1839 (1st edition), are supplied from Mrs. Shelley’s transcript and from Shelley’s draft (Boscombe manuscript). In the 2nd edition of 1839 the following lines appear in their place:—

Your old friend Godwin, greater none than he;
Though fallen on evil times, yet will he stand,
Among the spirits of our age and land,
Before the dread tribunal of To-come
The foremost, whilst rebuke stands pale and dumb.

2. Line 296. The names in this line are supplied from the two manuscripts. In the “Posthumous Poems” of 1824 the line appears:— Oh! that H—— and — were there, etc.

3. The following list gives the places where the pointing of the text varies from that of Mrs. Shelley’s transcript as reported by Mr. Buxton Forman, and records in each case the pointing of that original:— Turk 26; scorn 40; understood, 49; boat — 75; think, 86; believe; 158; are; 164; fair 233; cameleopard; 240; Now 291.

The Witch of Atlas.

1. The following list gives the places where our text departs from the pointing of the editio princeps (“Dedication”, 1839; “Witch of Atlas”, 1824), and records in each case the original pointing:— DEDIC. — pinions, 14; fellow, 41; Othello, 45. WITCH OF ATLAS. — bliss; 164; above. 192; gums 258; flashed 409; sunlight, 409; Thamondocana. 424; by. 432; engraven. 448; apart, 662; mind! 662.


1. The following list gives the places where our text departs from the pointing of the editio princeps, 1821, with the original point in each case:— love, 44; pleasure; 68; flowing 96; where! 234; passed 252; dreamed, 278; Night 418; year), 440; children, 528.


1. The following list indicates the places in which the punctuation of this edition departs from that of the editio princeps, of 1821, and records in each instance the pointing of that text:— thou 10; Oh 19; apace, 65; Oh 73; flown 138; Thou 142; Ah 154; immersed 167; corpse 172; tender 172; his 193; they 213; Death 217; Might 218; bow, 249; sighs 314; escape 320; Cease 366; dark 406; forth 415; dead, 440; Whilst 493.


A Reprint of the original edition (1822) of “Hellas” was edited for the Shelley Society in 1887 by Mr. Thomas J. Wise. In Shelley’s list of Dramatis Personae the Phantom of Mahomet the Second is wanting. Shelley’s list of Errata in edition 1822 was first printed in Mr. Buxton Forman’s Library Edition of the Poems, 1876 (4 page 572). These errata are silently corrected in the text.

1. For Revenge and Wrong bring forth their kind, etc. (lines 728–729.)

‘“For” has no rhyme (unless “are” and “despair” are to be considered such): it requires to rhyme with “hear.” From this defect of rhyme, and other considerations, I (following Mr. Fleay) used to consider it almost certain that “Fear” ought to replace “For”; and I gave “Fear” in my edition of 1870 . . . However, the word in the manuscript [“Williams transcript”] is “For,” and Shelley’s list of errata leaves this unaltered — so we must needs abide by it.’— Rossetti, “Complete Poetical Works of P. B. S.”, edition 1878 (3 volumes), 2 page 456.

2. Lines 729–732. This quatrain, as Dr. Garnett (“Letters of Shelley”, 1884, pages 166, 249) points out, is an expansion of the following lines from the “Agamemmon” of Aeschylus (758–760), quoted by Shelley in a letter to his wife, dated ‘Friday, August 10, 1821’:— to dussebes —

meta men pleiona tiktei,
sphetera d’ eikota genna.

3. Lines 1091–1093. This passage, from the words more bright to the close of line 1093, is wanting in the editio princeps, 1822, its place being supplied by asterisks. The lacuna in the text is due, no doubt, to the timidity of Ollier, the publisher, whom Shelley had authorised to make excisions from the notes. In “Poetical Works”, 1839, the lines, as they appear in our text, are restored; in Galignani’s edition of “Coleridge, Shelley, and Keats” (Paris, 1829), however, they had already appeared, though with the substitution of wise for bright (line 1091), and of unwithstood for unsubdued (line 1093). Galignani’s reading — native for votive — in line 1095 is an evident misprint. In Ascham’s edition of Shelley (2 volumes, fcp. 8vo., 1834), the passage is reprinted from Galignani.

4. The following list shows the places in which our text departs from the punctuation of the editio princeps, 1822, and records in each instance the pointing of that edition:— dreams 71; course. 125; mockery 150; conqueror 212; streams 235; Moslems 275; West 305; moon, 347; harm, 394; shame, 402; anger 408; descends 447; crime 454; banner. 461; Phanae, 470; blood 551; tyrant 557; Cydaris, 606; Heaven 636; Highness 638; man 738; sayest 738; One 768; mountains 831; dust 885; consummation? 902; dream 921; may 923; death 935; clime. 1005; feast, 1025; horn, 1032; Noon, 1045; death 1057; dowers 1094.

Charles the First.

To Mr. Rossetti we owe the reconstruction of this fragmentary drama out of materials partly published by Mrs. Shelley in 1824, partly recovered from manuscript by himself. The bracketed words are, presumably, supplied by Mr. Rossetti to fill actual lacunae in the manuscript; those queried represent indistinct writing. Mr. Rossetti’s additions to the text are indicated in the footnotes. In one or two instances Mr. Forman and Dr. Garnett have restored the true reading. The list of Dramatis Personae is Mr. Forman’s.

The Triumph of Life.

1. Lines 131–135. This grammatically incoherent passage is thus conjecturally emended by Rossetti:—

Fled back like eagles to their native noon;
For those who put aside the diadem
Of earthly thrones or gems . . .,
Whether of Athens or Jerusalem,
Were neither mid the mighty captives seen, etc.

In the case of an incomplete poem lacking the author’s final corrections, however, restoration by conjecture is, to say the least of it, gratuitous.

2. Line 282. The words, ‘Even as the deeds of others, not as theirs.’ And then — are wanting in editions 1824, 1839, and were recovered by Dr. Garnett from the Boscombe manuscript. Mrs. Shelley’s note here runs:—‘There is a chasm here in the manuscript which it is impossible to fill. It appears from the context that other shapes pass and that Rousseau still stood beside the dreamer.’ Mr. Forman thinks that the ‘chasm’ is filled up by the words restored from the manuscript by Dr. Garnett. Mr. A.C. Bradley writes: ‘It seems likely that, after writing “I have suffered . . . pain”, Shelley meant to strike out the words between “known” [276] and “I” [278], and to fill up the gap in such a way that “I” would be the last word of the line beginning “May well be known”.’

Miscellaneous Poems.

1. TO—. Mrs. Shelley tentatively assigned this fragment to 1817. ‘It seems not improbable that it was addressed at this time [June, 1814] to Mary Godwin.’ Dowden, “Life”, 1 422, Woodberry suggests that ‘Harriet answers as well, or better, to the situation described.’

2. ON DEATH. These stanzas occur in the Esdaile manuscript along with others which Shelley intended to print with “Queen Mab” in 1813; but the text was revised before publication in 1816.

3. TO—. ‘The poem beginning “Oh, there are spirits in the air,” was addressed in idea to Coleridge, whom he never knew’— writes Mrs. Shelley. Mr. Bertram Dobell, Mr. Rossetti and Professor Dowden, however, incline to think that we have here an address by Shelley in a despondent mood to his own spirit.

4. LINES. These appear to be antedated by a year, as they evidently allude to the death of Harriet Shelley in November, 1816.

5. ANOTHER FRAGMENT TO MUSIC. To Mr. Forman we owe the restoration of the true text here —‘food of Love.’ Mrs. Shelley printed ‘god of Love.’

6. MARENGHI, lines 92, 93. The 1870 (Rossetti) version of these lines is:—

White bones, and locks of dun and yellow hair,
And ringed horns which buffaloes did wear —

The words locks of dun (line 92) are cancelled in the manuscript. Shelley’s failure to cancel the whole line was due, Mr. Locock rightly argues, to inadvertence merely; instead of buffaloes the manuscript gives the buffalo, and it supplies the ‘wonderful line’ (Locock) which closes the stanza in our text, and with which Mr. Locock aptly compares “Mont Blanc”, line 69:—

Save when the eagle brings some hunter’s bone,
And the wolf tracks her there.

7. ODE TO LIBERTY, lines 1, 2. On the suggestion of his brother, Mr. Alfred Forman, the editor of the Library Edition of Shelley’s Poems (1876), Mr. Buxton Forman, printed these lines as follows:—

A glorious people vibrated again:
The lightning of the nations, Liberty,
From heart to heart, etc.

The testimony of Shelley’s autograph in the Harvard College manuscript, however, is final against such a punctuation.

8. Lines 41, 42. We follow Mrs. Shelley’s punctuation (1839). In Shelley’s edition (1820) there is no stop at the end of line 41, and a semicolon closes line 42.

9. ODE TO NAPLES. In Mrs. Shelley’s editions the various sections of this Ode are severally headed as follows:—‘Epode 1 alpha, Epode 2 alpha, Strophe alpha 1, Strophe beta 2, Antistrophe alpha gamma, Antistrophe beta gamma, Antistrophe beta gamma, Antistrophe alpha gamma, Epode 1 gamma, Epode 2 gamma. In the manuscript, Mr. Locock tells us, the headings are ‘very doubtful, many of them being vaguely altered with pen and pencil.’ Shelley evidently hesitated between two or three alternative ways of indicating the structure and corresponding parts of his elaborate song; hence the chaotic jumble of headings printed in editions 1824, 1839. So far as the “Epodes” are concerned, the headings in this edition are those of editions 1824, 1839, which may be taken as supported by the manuscript (Locock). As to the remaining sections, Mr. Locock’s examination of the manuscript leads him to conclude that Shelley’s final choice was:—‘Strophe 1, Strophe 2, Antistrophe 1, Antistrophe 2, Antistrophe 1 alpha, Antistrophe 2 alpha.’ This in itself would be perfectly appropriate, but it would be inconsistent with the method employed in designating the “Epodes”. I have therefore adopted in preference a scheme which, if it lacks manuscript authority in some particulars, has at least the merit of being absolutely logical and consistent throughout.

Mr. Locock has some interesting remarks on the metrical features of this complex ode. On the 10th line of Antistrophe 1a (line 86 of the ode)— Aghast she pass from the Earth’s disk — which exceeds by one foot the 10th lines of the two corresponding divisions, Strophe 1 and Antistrophe 1b, he observes happily enough that ‘Aghast may well have been intended to disappear.’ Mr. Locock does not seem to notice that the closing lines of these three answering sections —(1) hail, hail, all hail! —(2) Thou shalt be great — All hail! —(3) Art Thou of all these hopes. — O hail! increase by regular lengths — two, three, four iambi. Nor does he seem quite to grasp Shelley’s intention with regard to the rhyme scheme of the other triple group, Strophe 2, Antistrophe 2a, Antistrophe 2b. That of Strophe 2 may be thus expressed:— a-a-bc; d-d-bc; a-c-d; b-c. Between this and Antistrophe 2a (the second member of the group) there is a general correspondence with, in one particular, a subtle modification. The scheme now becomes a-a-bc; d-d-bc; a-c-b; d-c: i.e. the rhymes of lines 9 and 10 are transposed — God (line 9) answering to the halfway rhymes of lines 3 and 6, gawd and unawed, instead of (as in Strophe 2) to the rhyme-endings of lines 4 and 5; and, vice versa, fate (line 10) answering to desolate and state (lines 4 and 5), instead of to the halfway rhymes aforesaid. As to Antistrophe 2b, that follows Antistrophe 2a, so far as it goes; but after line 9 it breaks off suddenly, and closes with two lines corresponding in length and rhyme to the closing couplet of Antistrophe 1b, the section immediately preceding, which, however, belongs not to this group, but to the other. Mr. Locock speaks of line 124 as ‘a rhymeless line.’ Rhymeless it is not, for shore, its rhyme-termination, answers to bower and power, the halfway rhymes of lines 118 and 121 respectively. Why Mr. Locock should call line 12 an ‘unmetrical line,’ I cannot see. It is a decasyllabic line, with a trochee substituted for an iambus in the third foot — Around: me gleamed: many a: bright se: pulchre.

10. THE TOWER OF FAMINE. — It is doubtful whether the following note is Shelley’s or Mrs. Shelley’s: ‘At Pisa there still exists the prison of Ugolino, which goes by the name of “La Torre della Fame”; in the adjoining building the galley-slaves are confined. It is situated on the Ponte al Mare on the Arno.’

11. GINEVRA, line 129: Through seas and winds, cities and wildernesses. The footnote omits Professor Dowden’s conjectural emendation — woods — for winds, the reading of edition 1824 here.

12. THE LADY OF THE SOUTH. Our text adopts Mr. Forman’s correction — drouth for drought — in line 3. This should have been recorded in a footnote.

13. HYMN TO MERCURY, line 609. The period at now is supported by the Harvard manuscript.


Queen Mab.


Throughout this varied and eternal world
Soul is the only element: the block
That for uncounted ages has remained
The moveless pillar of a mountain’s weight
Is active, living spirit. (4, lines 139–143.)

This punctuation was proposed in 1888 by Mr. J. R. Tutin (see “Notebook of the Shelley Society”, Part 1, page 21), and adopted by Dowden, “Poetical Works of Shelley”, Macmillan, 1890. The editio princeps (1813), which is followed by Forman (1892) and Woodberry (1893), has a comma after element and a full stop at remained.


Guards . . . from a nation’s rage
Secure the crown, etc. (4, lines 173–176.)

So Mrs. Shelley (“Poetical Works”, 1839, both editions), Rossetti, Forman, Dowden. The editio princeps reads Secures, which Woodberry defends and retains.

3. 4, lines 203–220: omitted by Mrs. Shelley from the text of “Poetical Works”, 1839, 1st edition, but restored in the 2nd edition of 1839. See above, “Note on Queen Mab, by Mrs. Shelley”.

4. All germs of promise, yet when the tall trees, etc. (5, line 9.)

So Rossetti, Dowden, Woodberry. In editions 1813 (editio princeps) and 1839 (“Poetical Works”, both editions) there is a full stop at promise which Forman retains.

5. Who ever hears his famished offspring’s scream, etc. (5, line 116.)

The editio princeps has offsprings — an evident misprint.

6. 6, lines 54–57, line 275: struck out of the text of “Poetical Works”, 1839 (1st edition), but restored in the 2nd edition of that year. See Note 3 above.

7. The exterminable spirit it contains, etc. (7, line 23.)

Exterminable seems to be used here in the sense of ‘illimitable’ (N. E. D.). Rossetti proposes interminable, or inexterminable.

8. A smile of godlike malice reillumed, etc. (7, line 180.)

The editio princeps and the first edition of “Poetical Works”, 1839, read reillumined here, which is retained by Forman, Dowden, Woodberry. With Rossetti, I follow Mrs. Shelley’s reading in “Poetical Works”, 1839 (2nd edition).

9. One curse alone was spared — the name of God. (8, line 165.)

Removed from the text, “Poetical Works”, 1839 (1st edition); restored, “Poetical Works”, 1839 (2nd edition). See Notes 3 and 6 above.


Which from the exhaustless lore of human weal
Dawns on the virtuous mind, etc. (8, lines 204–205.)

With some hesitation as to lore, I reprint these lines as they are given by Shelley himself in the note on this passage (supra). The text of 1813 runs:—

Which from the exhaustless store of human weal
Draws on the virtuous mind, etc.

This is retained by Woodberry, while Rossetti, Forman, and Dowden adopt eclectic texts, Forman and Dowden reading lore and Draws, while Rossetti, again, reads store and Dawns. Our text is supported by the authority of Dr. Richard Garnett. The comma after infiniteness (line 206) has a metrical, not a logical, value.

11. Nor searing Reason with the brand of God. (9, line 48.)

Removed from the text, “Poetical Works”, 1839 (1st edition), by Mrs. Shelley, who failed, doubtless through an oversight, to restore it in the second edition. See Notes 3, 6, and 9 above.

12. Where neither avarice, cunning, pride, nor care, etc. (9, line 67.)

The editio princeps reads pride, or care, which is retained by Forman and Woodberry. With Rossetti and Dowden, I follow Mrs. Shelley’s text, “Poetical Works”, 1839 (both editions).

Notes to Queen Mab.

1. The mine, big with destructive power, burst under me, etc. (Note on 7 67.)

This is the reading of the “Poetical Works” of 1839 (2nd edition). The editio princeps (1813) reads burst upon me. Doubtless under was intended by Shelley: the occurrence, thrice over, of upon in the ten lines preceding would account for the unconscious substitution of the word here, either by the printer, or perhaps by Shelley himself in his transcript for the press.

2. . . . it cannot arise from reasoning, etc. (Note on 7 135.)

The editio princeps (1813) has conviction for reasoning here — an obvious error of the press, overlooked by Mrs. Shelley in 1839, and perpetuated in his several editions of the poems by Mr. H. Buxton Forman. Reasoning, Mr. W.M. Rossetti’s conjectural emendation, is manifestly the right word here, and has been adopted by Dowden and Woodberry.

3. Him, still from hope to hope, etc. (Note on 8 203–207.)

See editor’s note 10 on “Queen Mab” above.

1. A DIALOGUE. — The titles of this poem, of the stanzas “On an Icicle”, etc., and of the lines “To Death”, were first given by Professor Dowden (“Poetical Works of P. B. S.”, 1890) from the Esdaile manuscript book. The textual corrections from the same quarter (see footnotes passim) are also owing to Professor Dowden.

2. ORIGINAL POETRY BY VICTOR AND CAZIRE. — Dr. Garnett, who in 1898 edited for Mr. John Lane a reprint of these long-lost verses, identifies “Victor’s” coadjutrix, “Cazire”, with Elizabeth Shelley, the poet’s sister. ‘The two initial pieces are the only two which can be attributed to Elizabeth Shelley with absolute certainty, though others in the volume may possibly belong to her’ (Garnett).

3. SAINT EDMOND’S EVE. This ballad-tale was “conveyed” in its entirety by “Cazire” from Matthew Gregory Lewis’s “Tales of Terror”, 1801, where it appears under the title of “The Black Canon of Elmham; or, Saint Edmond’s Eve”. Stockdale, the publisher of “Victor and Cazire”, detected the imposition, and communicated his discovery to Shelley — when ‘with all the ardour natural to his character he [Shelley] expressed the warmest resentment at the imposition practised upon him by his coadjutor, and entreated me to destroy all the copies, of which about one hundred had been put into circulation.’

4. TO MARY WHO DIED IN THIS OPINION. — From a letter addressed by Shelley to Miss Hitchener, dated November 23, 1811.

5. A TALE OF SOCIETY. — The titles of this and the following piece were first given by Professor Dowden from the Esdaile manuscript, from which also one or two corrections in the text of both poems, made in Macmillan’s edition of 1890, were derived.

Last updated Wednesday, March 5, 2014 at 22:30