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[In a letter to Mr. Gisborne, dated “ Pisa, October 22, 1821," printed in the second volume of Shelley's Essays &c. (1840), pp. 332-5, we read, “I am just finishing a dramatic poem, called Hellas, upon the contest now raging in Greece—a sort of imitation of the Persæ of Æschylus, full of lyrical poetry.” And another letter to Mr. Gisborne, dated “ Pisa, April 10, 1822,” standing next in the volume, opens thus : I have received Hellas, which is prettily printed, and with fewer mistakes than any poem I ever published. Am I to thank you for the revision of the press ? or who acted as midwife to this last of my orphans, introducing it to oblivion, and me to my accustomed failure?... It was written without much care, and in one of those few moments of enthusiasm which now seldom visit me, and which make me pay dear for their visits.” In a letter to “C. T. Esq.” (Horace Smith), he calls Hellas “a sort of lyrical, dramatic, nondescript piece of business." The book characterized by Shelley as comparatively free from mistakes, and of which the title-page is here reproduced, is an octavo pamphlet, consisting of fly-title Hellas with imprint at back (“ PRINTED BY S. AND R. BENTLEY, DORSET STREET, LONDON.”), title-page, dedication, preface pp. VII to XI, fly-title Hellas with dramatis persona at back, and text pp. 3 to 60. The poem itself ends at p. 53 of the pamphlet, where the imprint is repeated ; and the notes form pp. 55 to 58 : these, again, are followed by the poem Written on hearing the News of the Death of Napoleon, forming pp. 59 and 60. Shelley's remark as to the comparative freedom from mistakes of course refers to essential mistakes only, and must be taken as a protection against any freedom of emendation, though the expression used implies that there were some mistakes ; but from a technical point of view mistakes abound, as the utmost irregularity of production prevails. For instance, the names of speakers for the first 113 lines are printed in uniform small capitals, while throughout the remainder of the drama they are in large and small capitals : then we have sometimes “ SEMICHORUS 2d,” -at others “ SEMICHORUS 2nd.” I have followed Mrs. Shelley's uniform “SEMICHORUS I” and “SEMICHORUS II.” Various other small inconsistencies, probably attributable to the printer, or to Shelley's substitute in revision, will be found referred to in the foot-notes ; but one, the most annoying of all, may with advantage be got rid of here. There are a great number of past tenses and participles in ed contracted by the substitution of an apostrophe for the e, contrary to Shelley's practice. In these cases I have restored the e, namely in lines 36, 39, 47, 68, 73, 99, 113, 158, 188, 206, 220, 223, 260, 263, 266, 284, 314, 337, 338, 348, 384, 409, 411, 419, 426, 432, 439, 456, 494, 506, 514, 515, 518 (in the word perched : the word stooped in the same line is not contracted), 530, 552, 571, 574, 582, 583, 602, 603, 604, 606, 624, 629, 634, 642, 688, 690, 772, 846, 864, 948, 1018, 1023, and 1043. It seems unlikely that Shelley is responsible for this annoying variation of practice : I am not however aware that any MS. of Hellas, beyond the fragments of the draft, in Sir Percy Shelley's note-books, is now in existence.-H.B.F.]

HELLAS

A LYRICAL DRAMA

BY

PERCY B. SHELLEY

ΜΑΝΤΙΣ ΕΙΜ' ΕΣΘΛΩΝ ΑΓΩΝΩΝ

EDIP. Colon.

LONDON

CHARLES AND JAMES OLLIER VERE STREET

BOND STREET

MDCCCXXII

[1877]

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TO

HIS EXCELLENCY

PRINCE ALEXANDER MAVROCORDATO

LATE SECRETARY FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS

TO THE HOSPODAR OF WALLACHIA

THE DRAMA OF HELLAS

IS INSCRIBED

AS AN IMPERFECT TOKEN

OF THE ADMIRATION, SYMPATHY, AND FRIENDSHIP

OF

THE AUTHOR.

PISA, November 1st, 1821.

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