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In 1842, when Tennyson published in England the two volumes which marked the beginning of his great fame, the predecessors in America of the present publishers reissued the volumes, and from that year until 1880 they and their successors continued to publish by arrangement the volumes of poetry and drama which appeared from time to time. The present Cambridge edition contains this body of verse, and other poems published later than that date, and includes moreover in the Appendix the pieces from “ Poems by Two Brothers” assigned to Alfred Tennyson, together with the poems from the volumes of 1830 and 1833 and other sources, which have for the most part continued to have currency in America, though dropped from collective editions in England.
The volume has been edited by Dr. W. J. Rolfe in general conformity with the previous volumes of the series of “ Cambridge ” poets. The editor has brought to his task a long familiarity with the poetry, as evidenced by the several separate works of Tennyson which he has edited both for school use and for the general reader. In this comprehensive work he has given special attention to the text, which in the body of the volume has been made to follow, with most careful revision of minor details such as punctuation, the most authoritative form; and in the Earlier Poems in the Appendix has been compared as far as possible with the original issues and not with later reprints.
Lord Tennyson, as is well known, subjected his poems to frequent revision, and the editor has therefore, in addition to giving the authoritative text with scrupulous care, collated the volumes of 1830 and 1833 (in the library of the British Museum), the edition of 1842, and all others to which he has had access, and has recorded in his notes all the various readings of any importance or interest which he has detected. For most of the poems this collation has never been attempted by any other editor or commentator. The editor has also, both in his notes and in the several introductions and brief prefaces, made a thorough bibliographical study of the poetry, so that the reader is now able to trace with great exactness the history of Tennyson's work. For information concerning the origin of some of the poems, or the allusions contained in them, the editor is indebted to the Memoir,” and has made due acknowledgment in the Notes.
BOSTON, 4 PARK STREET, August 1, 1898.