Published here for the first time, Verses Transcribed for H.T. is a manuscript collection of 121 original lyric poems with 72 original illustrations that Mary Tighe prepared in 1805 as she was contemplating publishing a volume of poetry that would feature her epic romance "Psyche; or, the Legend of Love" accompanied by a selection of her lyrics. Instead she opted to print 50 copies of Psyche; or, The Legend of Love (London, 1805) without any additions from Verses in a small private edition that she dedicated and distributed to family and friends (her only publication). After she died her family published Psyche, with Other Poems (London, 1811), which offered a carefully culled and re-ordered selection of 29 lyrics from Verses (with 10 additional lyrics).
Verses Transcribed for H.T. provides a truly unique opportunity to see Tighe as the determining editor of her own collected poems. Organized in deliberate clusters, Verses is a self-consciously constructed aesthetic artifact that radically revises prior knowledge of Tighe's literary, visual, and material production: 65 of the 121 poems had not appeared in any known print sources as of yet; 17 of the 121 poems contain significant variants from the published versions; at least 15 of the poems are written in the voice of characters from Tighe's 1803 manuscript novel Selena, versus the 11 that are printed in the novel; dozens attest to Tighe's full-scale engagement with contemporary poetics and politics: the discourse of sensibility, Della Cruscan poetry, coterie culture, the sonnet revival, Romantic antiquarianism, the 1794 Treason Trials, the 1798 Irish Rebellion, the 1801 Act of Union, and more.
This edition contains a comprehensive introduction by the editor, a fully annotated and searchable transcription of the manuscript, and digital images of the manuscript pages, made available through the kind courtesy of the National Library of Ireland.