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HE present volume contains all the works of Mrs. Browning (with one

exception, mentioned below) which have been published in book form, including not only all the contents of the standard copyright edition in six volumes, but also the earlier poems which did not come within the scope of that edition. It is thus the first complete edition of Mrs. Browning's works that has been published. The basis of all the copyright editions hitherto issued is to be found in two volumes published by Mrs. Browning in 1850, in which she brought together all the poems in her volumes of 1838 and 1844 which she cared to preserve ; and by subsequent accretions, as new poems were published, this grew into the standard edition of 1866. The motive for the suppression of her earlier poems was the perfectly natural desire of a writer whose position was not yet fixed, to be known only by her best work. Now, however, that her place among English poets has long been assured, the republication of her earlier works can do her fame no harm, while they have a literary and biographical value which amply justifies their reappearance. Even if it were desirable that they should be forgotten, their inclusion in various non-copyright editions renders this impossible ; and whereas in such editions (to which the poems of later date are inaccessible) these early works appear as an integral and substantial part of Mrs. Browning's poetry, in the present edition they hold their proper position as Juvenilia.

The one exception that has been made to the completeness of this edition relates to the earlier translation of Æschylus' Prometheus Bound, published by Miss Barrett in 1833. Apart from the fact that two translations of the same play would be superfluous, it was Mrs. Browning's express wish that her earlier effort should be obliterated, not merely as unworthy of her own mature powers, but as an offence against Æschylus. The second translation was deliberately intended to efface the first, and, as in other instances of a poet's revision of his work, it is right that the more perfect form should alone remain. The preface to the earlier version has, however, an independent value, and is here prefixed to the translation of 1850.

The biographical colour which is involved in reprinting the earlier poems is carried out in the rest of the volume by the arrangement of all the poems in the chronological order of the volumes in which they were first published. Thus the contents of the 1838 volume, which after 1850 were intermixed with those of the 1844 volumes, are here restored to the order in which they stood on their first appearance. On the other hand, the text of every poem is that of the authoress's latest revision, so that each poem appears in its most perfect form, although the exhibition of her genius in its several stages of development is thereby somewhat modified. The translations are grouped together at the end of the poems, and are followed (for completeness' sake) by the series of papers on the Greek Christian Poets and the English Poets, which, though not published in book form until 1863, were originally printed in 1842. The modernisation of Chaucer, which has never been reprinted since its first appearance in 1841, is here inserted in its proper chronological position.

The prefatory matter prefixed to the volume as a whole includes (in addition to the present remarks), first, the biographical notes supplied by Mr. Browning to the edition of his wife's poems published in 1887; secondly, Mrs. Browning's dedication and preface to the volumes of 1844 ; and, thirdly, the brief note prefixed to the collected edition of 1850. Other prefaces will be found before the poems to which they relate. No notes have been added by the editor, except a few of a bibliographical nature. All others are due to Mrs. Browning herself.

The editor and publishers wish to express their thanks to Mrs. Locker. Lampson for her kindness in lending her precious copy of “The Battle of Marathon” for the purposes of this edition. The punctuation of this poem, which (owing no doubt to the tender years of the authoress) was not properly attended to in the original edition, has here been revised to a moderate extent.

The chronological list of Mrs. Browning's works and the index are the work of Mr. Roger Ingpen, whose efficient help in the production of this volume, as of others relating to Mr. and Mrs. Browning, is gratefully acknowledged.


October 1897.



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"Memoir of Elizabeth Barrett Browning,” by John H. Ingram, it is observed that “such essays on her personal history as have appeared, either in England or elsewhere, are replete with mistakes or misstatements." For these he proposes to substitute “a correct if short memoir : " but, kindly and appreciative as may be Mr. Ingram's performance, there occur not a few passages in it equally “mistaken and misstated.”

1. “Elizabeth, the eldest daughter of Edward Moulton Barrett, was born in London on the 4th of March, 1809.” Elizabeth was born, March 6, 1806, at Coxhoe Hall, county of Durham, the residence of her father. “Before she was eleven she composed an epic on ‘Marathon.'” She was then fourteen.

2. “It is said that Mr. Barrett was a man of intellect and culture, and therefore able to direct his daughter's education ; but be that so or not, he obtained for her the tutorial assistance of the well-known Greek scholar Hugh Stuart Boyd . . . who was also a writer of Auent verse : and his influence and instruction doubtless confirmed Miss Barrett in her poetical aspirations.” Mr. Boyd, early deprived of sight from over-study, resided at Malvern, and cared for little else than Greek literature, especially that of the “Fathers.” He was about or over fifty, stooped a good deal, and was nearly bald. His daily habit was to sit for hours before a table, treating it as a piano with his fingers, and reciting Greek--his memory for which was such that, on a folio column of his favourite St. Gregory being read to him, he would repeat it without missing a syllable. Elizabeth, then residing in Herefordshire, visited him frequently, partly from her own love of Greek, and partly from a desire for the congenial society of one to whom her attendance might be helpful. There was nothing in the least “ tutorial” in this relation--merely the natural feeling of a girl for a blind and disabled scholar in whose pursuits she took interest. Her knowledge of Greek was originally due to a preference for sharing with her brother Edward in the instruction of his Scottish tutor Mr. M'Swiney rather than in that of her own governess Mrs. Orme : and at such lessons she constantly assisted until her brother's departure for the Charter House-where he had Thackeray for a schoolfellow. In point of fact, she


1 The entry in the Parish Register of Kelloe Church is as follows:

Elizabeth Barrett Moulton Barrett, daughter and first child of Edward Barrett Moulton Barrett, of Coxhoe Hall, native of St. James's, Jamaica, by Mary, late Clarke, native of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, was born, March 6th, 1806, and baptized Ioth of February, 1808.

was self-taught in almost every respect. Mr. Boyd was no writer of “fuent verse,” though he published an unimportant volume, and the literary sympathies of the friends were exclusively bestowed on Greek.

3. “Edward, the eldest of the family," was Elizabeth's younger by nearly two years. He and his companions perished, not "just off Teignmouth,” but in Babbicombe Bay. The bodies drifted up channel, and were recovered three days after.

4. “Her father's fortune was considerably augmented by his accession to the property of his only brother Richard, for many years Speaker of the House of Assembly at Jamaica.” Mr. Edward Moulton, by the will of his grandfather, was directed to affix the name of Barrett to that of Moulton, upon succeeding to the estates in Jamaica. Richard was his cousin, and by his death Mr. Barrett did not acquire a shilling. His only brother was Samuel, sometime M.P. for Richmond. He had also a sister who died young, the full-length portrait of whom by Sir Thomas Lawrence (the first exhibited by that painter) is in the possession of Octavius Moulton-Barrett at Westover, near Calbourne, in the Isle of Wight. With respect to the "semi-tropical taste" of Mr. Barrett, so characterised in the “ Memoir,” it may be mentioned that, on the arly death of his father, he was brought from Jamaica to England when a very young child, as a ward of the late Chief Baron Lord Abinger, then Mr. Scarlett, whom he frequently accompanied in his post-chaise when on Circuit. He was sent to Harrow, but received there so savage a punishment for a supposed offence (“ burning the toast ") by the youth whose fag" he had become, that he was withdrawn from the school by his mother, and the delinquent was expelled. At the age of sixteen he was sent by Mr. Scarlett to Cambridge, and thence, for an early marriage, went to Northumberland. After purchasing the estate in Herefordshire, he gave himself up assiduously to the usual duties and occupations of a country gentleman,-farmed largely, was an active magistrate, became for a year High Sheriff, and in all county contests busied himself as a Liberal. He had a fine taste for landscape. gardening, planted considerably, loved trees--almost as much as his friend, the early correspondent of his daughter, Sir Uvedale Price—and for their sake discontinued keeping deer in the park.

Many other particulars concerning other people, in other “ Biographical Memoirs which have appeared in England or elsewhere” for some years past, are similarly “mistaken and misstated :" but they seem better left without notice by anybody.

R. B.


December 10, 1887.

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