Poems of John Donne (1896)
E. K. CHAMBERS
WITH AN INTRODUCTION BY
J ohn D onne's Poems were originally undertaken for The Muses Library by Dr. Brinsley Nicholson. They were handed over to me shortly after his death in 1891. I have had the advantage of the material which Dr. Nicholson had brought together; but for the book as it stands, with the exception of the Introduction, which Mr. Saintsbury has kindly contributed, I am alone responsible.
The bulk of the text is based upon the principal seventeenth-century editions, those of 1633, 1635, 1650, and 1669. No one of these is of supreme authority, and therefore I have had no choice but to be eclectic. But at the same time I have endeavored to give all variants, other than obvious misprints, in the footnotes. Here and there one of other of the innumerable MS. copies has been of service. I have modernized the spelling and corrected the exceptionally chaotic punctuation of the old editions. And so, though much remains obscure, I trust that I have provided a more intelligible version of the Poems than any that has yet appeared.
It should be understood that a reading attributed to any one of the printed editions in the footnotes is retained in the later editions, unless it is otherwise stated.
My thanks are due for various help to Dr. Grosart, to Mr. J. T. Brown of Edinburgh, and to Mr. A. H. Bullen. Dr. Nicholson's notes contain abundant evidence of the similar debt which he owed to Mr. J. M. Thomson of Edinburgh.