British Library Loan MS 70/8 (The Scrope Davies Notebook)
FROM THE COMPLETE POETRY OF PERCY BYSSHE SHELLEY, VOL. III, 69, EDITED BY DONALD H. REIMAN, NEIL FRAISTAT, AND NORA CROOK
The Scrope Davies Notebook, originally a blank copybook of English manufacture, is made up of 22 leaves watermarked "T STAINS | 1813" (for a full biographical description see Manuscripts of the Younger Romantics/VIII, 125-28). The Shelleys used it for fair-copy transcriptions, in ink, of poems composed in Switzerland during the summer of 1816. It contains three items in the hand of Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley (then Mary Godwin), in the following order: two sonnets, "Upon the wandering winds" (fol. 1r) and To Laughter— (fol. 1v), and a version of Hymn to Intellectual Beauty (with corrections probably by PBS) (fols. 2r-3v). Then follows one item in PBS’s hand: Scene—Pont Pellisier in the vale of Servox, a version of Mont Blanc (fols. 4r-7v). The fact that PBS, not MWS, copied Scene—Pont Pellisier probably testifies to the difficulty and roughness of his copy-text. The sonnets (unsigned and unknown before their discovery in 1976, and for which no drafts have been found) have been attributed to PBS because of their stylistic and thematic affinities with some of his other works, and their presence in the notebook, an attribution that we accept.
The notebook was apparently carried blank to Geneva in 1816 and, after the poems were entered, lent to Byron. After the Shelleys left Geneva on 29 August 1816, Byron must have given it to his friend Scrope Davies, intending that he should return it to PBS. On 5 September 1816 Davies left Switzerland for England with the notebook, but did not deliver it. Before leaving England suddenly in January 1820 because of financial problems, Davies apparently entrusted a trunk in which he had deposited it (with other literary papers, including another notebook containing Byron’s transcription of Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage III) to Douglas Kinnaird, a partner in the firm of Ransome, Morland & Co., later absorbed by Barclay's Bank. In 1976 the trunk was found in Barclay's vaults at 1, Pall Mall East in London. The Shelley notebook is at present on loan ("Loan 70/8") to the British Library.
For more information about the Scrope Davies Notebook, including an extensive commentary by Michael O’Neill, see The Complete Poetry of Percy Bysshe Shelley III, 466-523.
Linear sequence of the work