- The Lifetime Published Poetry
Clare’s first published volume is the only one to have gone to multiple editions, and therefore to require the selection of a particular edition as a base text. Three editions were published during 1820, and a fourth in early January 1821. The third edition (published before the end of May) was basically the same as the second edition, except that two poems, Dolly’s Mistake and My Mary, were omitted, resulting in changes to the Contents and the Glossary, but not in overall repagination. The fourth edition was subjected to further cuts, and while some of the mistakes of the second edition were corrected in it, further errors were introduced.
The second edition (published in early March) omitted only one of the poems that had appeared in the first edition, The Country Girl, while a number of corrections and changes were made with the active involvement of the poet. For these reasons, despite a degree of variety of content and order even within copies of the second edition, it is used as the base text for this work. As an example of varied content, Bodleian Library (BOD) Dunston B 571 lacks Dolly’s Mistake and My Mary, even though they are listed in the Contents. In the third edition the titles of these two poems were removed from the Contents, although, as in the Dunston version, the pages were not renumbered and an obvious gap was left in the text from page 153 to 165. In this e-text the two poems are retained, but The Country Girl is printed separately.