APPENDIX
THE REVISION OF THE SEASONS

WE have noted in Chapter v. some of the literary influences which are visible in the successive revisions of The Seasons; and elsewhere reference has been made to the celebrated interleaved copy of the edition of 1738, with corrections and suggestions in the handwriting of the author and of another person, many of which were adopted in the issue of 1744. It is an interesting document, no doubt, but its importance has been greatly exaggerated, chiefly owing to the suggestion that the hand which is here found in company with Thomson's is that of Pope. The idea that Pope collaborated with Thomson in the revision of The Seasons has proved to be an attractive one, and has been accepted by several competent critics; but it was long ago denounced as a mare's nest by Mr. Churton Collins. It is unfortunate that Mr. Tovey, whose judgment seems to be against the identification of the collaborator with Pope, should, in his critical notes, constantly speak as if this identification were certain. In any case the matter is one to be decided by comparison of handwriting: and it is not enough to show that the handwriting is not that of Pope; it is necessary also to ascertain who this friend actually was, who was in such intimate literary association with Thomson. The present writer conceived it to be his duty to leave no doubt upon this question; and a comparison with the original letters from Lyttelton which are to be found among the Newcastle Papers in the British Museum, established beyond a doubt that the handwriting in question was his.1

After all, Lyttelton is a priori the most probable person. He was in close communication with Thomson at the period

____________________
1
See Athenæum, October 1, 1904, p. 446

-243-

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James Thomson
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • PREFATORY NOTE v
  • Contents vii
  • Chapter I- Early Career 1
  • Chapter II- Later Life 41
  • Chapter III- Thomson and the Poetry of Nature 84
  • Chapter IV- The Seasons 106
  • Chapter V- The Seasons (continued) 139
  • Chapter VI- Liberty and Minor Poems 172
  • Chapter VII- The Castle of Indolence 198
  • Chapter VIII- The Dramas 219
  • Chapter IX- Conclusion 234
  • Appendix- The REVISION OF THE SEASONS 243
  • Index 253
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