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HARVARD COLLEGE LIBRARY
FROM THE LIBRARY OF
APRIL 25, 1939
CONTENTS OF THE THIRD VOLUME.
IN 1757, Mr. Robert Thyer, Keeper of the Public Library at Manchester, published The Genuine Remains of Samuel Butler, in two vols. This title was adopted to distinguish the work from a spurious publication professing to contain the posthumous poems, but really consisting, with a single exception,* of a collection of contemporary pieces, written, for the most part, in the manner of Hudibras. The MSS. from which Mr. Thyer selected the Remains were in the handwriting of the poet, and having passed after Butler's death into the possession of his friend, Mr. Longueville, descended through that gentleman's son to Mr. John Clarke, by whose permission they were communicated to the public.
A second edition of the Genuine Remains, containing some additional fragments from Butler's MSS., under the designation of • Various Readings,' was projected in 1822 ; but, in consequence of the death of the publisher, Mr. Charles Baldwin, it proceeded only as far as the first volume, which was re-issued in 1829, with a new title-page, as an independent work.
The whole of the Genuine Remains, and of the additions printed in 1822, are embraced in the present volume, which completes the Poetical Works.
Mr. Thyer's notes are scanty, and not always accurate. Bishop Warburton, in his correspondence with Hurd, expresses disappointment at the whole publication, and pronounces a severe judgment upon the annotations. But it is only just to Mr. Thyer to observe that the object he appears to have proposed to himself was merely to print the poems as he found them, accompanied by such occasional explanations as
+ The Ode to the Memory of Du-Val, which had been previously published by Butler himself.
his immediate opportunities enabled him to supply. There is certainly very little evidence of editorial judgment or research, either in the text or notes. Mr. Thyer does not seem to have exercised much vigilance in the superintendence of his materials through the press, nor to have brought to the labours of annotation an adequate knowledge of the personal or literary history of the period. In some places, frankly acknowledging his imperfect information, he bequeaths the responsibility of inquiry to his successors; and in the majority of instances where exposition was needed, he passes over the difficulty in silence. If, however, Mr. Thyer left much to be done by others, it should not be forgotten that he did much himself, since it is to his zeal we are indebted for our acquaintance with these relics.
The edition of 1822 made little advance on that of 1757, beyond a few additional notes, and more ambitious typographical pretensions.
The claims of the present edition rest upon a careful revision of the text, and an endeavour, in which diligence at least has not been wanting, to explain obscure passages, and illustrate incidental allusions to current events and contemporary characters.
The punctuation of the two former editions was loose and variable, sometimes rendering the meaning doubtful, and falsifying it in other instances. Mr. Thyer apparently adopted the MS. as it stood, without sufficient consideration of involuntary errors or hasty oversights; and the slight changes made by his successor were more capricious than systematic. By strict and patient attention to the peculiarities of the style, and the intention of the author, it is hoped that the punctuation in this edition will be found intelligible and uniform. Few writers demand so much watchfulness in this respect as Butler, in consequence of the elliptical structure of some of his sentences, and the quantity of statements and images he accumulates in them. The old plan of unnecessary elisions, by which the poems have hitherto been disfigured to the hindrance of the reader's enjoyment, has been abandoned,