October 30 1816: Mistakes Were Made


On October 30 1816, Percy Shelley writes to John Murray. Shelley is upset that he has seen the advertisement for Childe Harold, but has not been sent the proofs that he believed that Byron wanted him to revise. Murray has chosen someone else to edit the proofs.  

Dear Sir / I observe with surprise that you have announced the appearance of Childe Harold & the Prisoner of Chillon for so early a day as the 23d of November. I should not do my duty to Lord Byron who entrusted me with the Mss. of his Poems, if I did not remind you, that it was his particular desire that I should revise the proofs before publication. – When I had the pleasure of seeing you in London, I think I stated his Lordship’s wishes on this subject to you, remarking at the same time that his wishes did not arise from a persuasion that I should pay more attention to its accuracy than any person whom you might select; but because he communicated it to me immediately after composition; & did me the honor to entrust to my discretion, as to whether certain particular expressions should be retained or changed. All that was required, was that I should see the proofs before they were finally committed to the press. – I wrote to you, some weeks since, to this purpose. I have received no answer. –

Some mistake must have arisen, in what manner I cannot well conceive. You must have forgotten or misunderstood my explanations; by some accident you cannot have received my letter. – Do me the favor of writing by return of post; & informing me what intelligence I am to give Lord Byron respecting the commission with which I was entrusted.

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