Alexander Pope (1688–1744). Complete Poetical Works. 1903.

Editor’s Note

AN attempt has been here made for the first time to include all of Pope’s poetical work within the limits of a single volume; and to print the poems in an approximately chronological order. It has been often difficult, and sometimes impossible, to determine the exact date of a given poem; and the known order of composition has been modified so far as to permit a method of grouping the shorter poems which has been followed in other volumes of this series. Only the twelve books of the Odyssey which were Pope’s own work are here included, and all of the notes to Homer are omitted. Most of Pope’s own notes to the poems have been retained, except in the case of certain notes on The Dunciad, which are so voluminous or so trivial as to find no proper place within the necessary limits of this edition.

The allusions to Pope’s contemporaries are so numerous, particularly in the Satires, the Moral Essays, and The Dunciad, that it has seemed advisable to rid the main body of notes of such names as are of especial importance, or are frequently mentioned. The Glossary of Names will, it is hoped, prove useful in obviating the necessity of cross-reference.

The text is the result of collation, but is based upon that of the standard Croker-Elwin-Courthope edition. As to the details of capitalization and abbreviation, a uniform though necessarily somewhat arbitrary usage has been adopted. The study of facsimiles has shown that the poet himself employed capitals quite without method. They are here used only in cases of personification or of especially important substantives. As a result of his religious preservation of the decasyllabic form of pentameter, Pope employed marks of abbreviation so profusely as often to produce a page distressing to the modern eye, and not really helpful to the modern ear. Many editors have therefore abandoned these marks altogether; in this edition they have been retained wherever they did not appear likely to prove a stumbling-block to the present generation.

The usual indexes have been furnished, and a brief bibliographical note, which, while it does not pretend to exhaustiveness, may be of aid to the general reader.

H. W. B.
ANDOVER, March, 1903.