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Edipus Tyrannus ; /or, / Swellfoot the Tyrant. / A Tragedy. / In Two Acts. / Translated from the original Doric. / Choose Reform or civil-war, / When thro' the streets, instead of hare with dogs, / A Consort-Queen shall hunt a King with hogs, / Riding on the Ionian Minotaur. / London / Published for the Author, / By J. Johnston, 98, Cheapside, and sold by/all booksellers. / 1820.
Collation: Octavo. Title (with imprint, Printed by C. F. Seyfang, 57, Fleet-Market, on verso), pp. i. ii.; Advertisement (with Dramatis Persona on verso), pp. iii. iv. ; Edipus Tyrannus, pp. 5-39. Issued as a pamphlet without wrapper. [The volume is described after Forman, The Shelley Library, p. 97, as are also the readings of the original edition, the book not being accessible in this country.]
A fragment of the MS. is in the possession of Mr. H. A. Bright and a transcript, of doubtful authenticity, by John Gisborne, is in that of Forman. Mrs. Shelley first republished the drama in 18392. The text of other editions shows variations, except as already noted, only in I. 59 your 18392, Rossetti; I. 135 own omit, 1820, 18392; I. 219 Enter Gadfly 18392, Enter Gadfly followed by Leech and Rat, Rossetti; I. 260 Enter the Leech and the Rat Forman conj., omit, 1820, 18392, Rossetti, Dowden; I. 373 nor 18392; II. i. 19 Bristles and sausages Rossetti conj. (the conjecture is one of a class of metrical corrections already sufficiently commented on); II. i. 112 the 1820, 18392. Shelley put footnotes to his edition as follows:
I. 8 See Universal History for an account of the number of people who died, and the immense consumption of garlic by the wretched Egyptians, who made a sepulchre for the name as well as the bodies of their tyrants.
I. 153 And the Lord whistled for the gadfly out of Æthiopia, and for the bee of Egypt, etc. Ezekiel. 204 If one should marry a gallows, and beget young gibbets, I never saw one so prone. Cymbeline. II. 173 Rich and rare were the gems she wore. - See Moore's Irish Melodies.
Mrs. Shelley's Note (18392, p. 191): "In the brief journal I kept in those days, I find recorded in August , 1820, 'Shelley begins Swellfoot the Tyrant, suggested by the pigs at the fair of San Giuliano.' This was the period of Queen Caroline's landing in England, and the struggles made by George IV. to get rid of her claims; which failing, Lord Castlereagh placed the 'Green Bag' on the table of the House of Commons, demanding, in the King's name, that an inquiry should be instituted into his wife's conduct. These circumstances were the theme of all conversation among the English. We were then at the Baths of San Giuliano; a friend [Mrs. Mason] came to visit us on the day when a fair was held in the square, beneath our windows. Shelley read to us his Ode to Liberty; and was riotously accompanied by the grunting of a quantity of pigs brought for sale to the fair. He compared it to the 'chorus of frogs' in the satiric drama of Aristophanes; and it being an hour of merriment, and one ludicrous association suggesting another, he imagined a political satirical drama on the circumstances of the day, to which the pigs would serve as chorus-and Swellfoot was begun. When finished, it was transmitted to England, printed and published anonymously; but stifled at the very dawn of its existence by the 'Society for the Suppression of Vice,' who threatened to prosecute it, if not immediately withdrawn. The friend who had taken the trouble of bringing it out, of course did not think it worth the annoyance and expense of a contest, and it was laid aside.
"Hesitation of whether it would do honor to Shelley prevented my publishing it at first; but I cannot bring myself to keep back anything he ever wrote, for each word is fraught with the peculiar views and sentiments which he believed to
be beneficial to the human race; and the bright light of poetry irradiates every thought. The world has a right to the entire compositions of such a man; for it does not live and thrive by the outworn lesson of the dullard or the hypocrite, but by the original free thoughts of men of genius, who aspire to pluck bright truth
from the pale-faced moon;
Or dive into the bottom of the deep,
Where fathom-line could never touch the ground,
truth. Even those who may dissent from his opinions will consider that he was a man of genius, and that the world will take more interest in his slightest word, than from the waters of Lethe, which are so eagerly prescribed as medicinal for all its wrongs and woes. This drama, however, must not be judged for more than was meant. It is a mere plaything of the imagination, which even may not excite smiles among many, who will not see wit in those combinations of thought which were full of the ridiculous to the author. But, like everything he wrote, it breathes that deep sympathy for the sorrows of humanity, and indignation against its oppressors, which make it worthy of his name."
Note written in a copy of the original edition belonging to Mr. F. Locker-Lampson and bought by the first purchaser December 16, 1820.
"This work was published by Johnson in Cheapside at the commencement of the Caroline Phobia; was bought by me, and presuming it to be highly libellous, some Inhabitants of the Ward determined to have it prosecuted in accordance to the resolutions of the Ward-Mote; it was, however, suppressed by the interference of Alderman Rothwell without coming before a Jury, the publisher giving up the whole impression except 7 what [sic] he said was the whole number sold. He gave up as the Author (or at least his employer) Smith, the author of Rejected Addresses, Horace in London, &c. Smith, however, said it was sent to him from Pisa in Italy, at that time the residence of Lord Byron,
Shelly [sic], and others." Forman, The Shelley Library, p. 98.
Medwin, Life, ii. 29: "He [Shelley] told me that on the first day of its being exposed for sale in the city, the then Lord Mayor of London, who was a friend of the gentleman who corrected the proof sheets, advised him [Horace Smith] to withdraw it."
Epipsychidion / Verses addressed to the noble / and unfortunate lady / Emilia V― / now imprisoned in the convent of - / L' anima amante si slancia fuori del creato, e si crea nel infinito / un Mondo tutto per essa, diverso assai da questo oscuro e pauroso / baratro. Her own Words / London C. & J. Ollier Vere Street Bond Street / MDCCCXXI.
Collation: Octavo. Half title (with imprint, London / printed by S. and R. Bentley Dorset - Street, / SalisburySquare, / on verso), pp. i. ii. ; title (with blank verso), pp. iii. iv.; Advertisement (with "My Song," etc., on verso), pp. v. vi.; Eposychidion, pp. 7-31; imprint repeated, London / printed by S. and R. Bentley / Dorset-Street / MDCCCXXI, on verso of p. 31. Issued as a pamphlet without wrapper. Price 2s (below half-title).
No MS. is known. The poem was reprinted by Mrs. Shelley, 18391, among the Poems of 1820. The variations of other editions, except as already noted, are :— - 118 on 18391,2; 153 it is the 18392; 405 he 18391,2; 501 many twining 1821, Forman, Dowden. Of the persons alluded to, 1 that orphan one is Mrs. Shelley, and, 2 the name is Shelley, and, 601 Marina is Mrs. Shelley, Vanna may be Mrs. Williams, Primus is unidentified. The title of the poem signifies, as Rev. Stopford Brooke has pointed out, "this soul out of my soul."
Shelley (from Pisa) to Ollier, February 16, 1821: "I send you. and a longer piece, entitled Epipsychidion ... The longer poem, I desire, should not be considered as my