Open main menu

Page:The Works of Lord Byron (ed. Coleridge, Prothero) - Volume 1.djvu/22

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

undated letters of the same period to Mr. William Bankes and Mr. Falkner (Life, pp. 41, 42). The annotated copy of Poems on Various Occasions, referred to in the present edition, is in the British Museum.

Early in the summer (June—July) of 1807, a volume, small octavo, named Hours of Idleness—a title henceforth associated with Byron's early poems—was printed and published by S. and J. Ridge of Newark, and was sold by the following London booksellers: Crosby and Co.; Longman, Hurst, Rees, and Orme; F. and C. Rivington; and J, Mawman. The full title is, Hours of Idleness; a Series of Poems Original and Translated. By George Gordon, Lord Byron, a Minor. It numbers 187 pages, and consists of thirty-nine poems. Of these, nineteen belonged to the original Fugitive Pieces, eight had first appeared in Poems on Various Occasions, and twelve were published for the first time. The "Fragment of a Translation from the 9th Book of Virgil's Ænead" (sic), numbering sixteen lines, reappears as "The Episode of Nisus and Euryalus, A Paraphrase from the Æneid, Lib. 9," numbering 406 lines.

The final collection, also in small octavo, bearing the title Poems Original and Translated, by George Gordon, Lord Byron, second edition, was printed and published in 1808 by S. and J. Ridge of Newark, and sold by the same London booksellers as Hours of Idleness. It numbers 174 pages, and consists of seventeen of the original Fugitive Pieces, four of those first published in Poems on Various Occasions, a reprint of the twelve poems first published in Hours of Idleness, and five poems which now appeared for the first time—thirty-eight poems in all. Neither the title nor the contents of this so-called second edition corresponds exactly with the previous issue.

Of the thirty-eight Fugitive Pieces which constitute the suppressed quarto, only seventeen appear in all three subsequent issues. Of the twelve additions to Poems on Various Occasions, four were excluded from Hours of Idleness, and four more from Poems Original and Translated.

The collection of minor poems entitled Hours of Idleness, which has been included in every edition of Byron's Poetical Works issued by John Murray since 1831, consists of seventy pieces, being the aggregate of the poems published in the three issues, Poems on Various Occasions, Hours of Idleness, and Poems Original and Translated, together with five other poems of the same period derived from other sources.

In the present issue a general heading, "Hours of Idleness, and other Early Poems," has been applied to the entire collection of Early Poems, 1802-1809. The quarto has