About this Edition

About this edition

This edition showcases the poetry of Thomas D’Arcy Morris (1792-1835), a significant figure in the Bombay literary scene of the early nineteenth century. It identifies and attributes Morris’s works, originally published anonymously or pseudonymously in contemporary newspapers and periodicals. The central text is the long review / poem The Griffin, accompanied by some related earlier works by Morris, and some contextual correspondence. The edition also includes a list of later anonymous and pseudonymous works by Morris from the Oriental Sporting Magazine (1828-1833).

The text

The text of The Griffin, the early works and the contemporary correspondence has been transcribed from microfilm copies held by the British Library of the Bombay Gazette (SM44) and the Bombay Courier (SM70). The microfilm images are of variable quality, but generally decipherable. End-of-line commas and full stops within verse passages are occasionally indistinguishable, and in these cases I have assigned the character that appears to be called for by the sense of the lines: in no case does making a choice involve a substantive issue of meaning.

Spelling, punctuation and capitalisation are reproduced as in the original, with the following exceptions:

  • authorial square brackets have been replaced throughout by parentheses, reserving square brackets for editorial matter;
  • where verse passages of quoted speech have quotation marks at the beginning and end of each line (the text is inconsistent in this respect), these have been omitted, retaining only the opening and closing characters of each passage;
  • where an error is clearly that of a compositor (eg the initial character of a line transposed with the corresponding character in the line immediately below; or a quotation mark opening apparently at random and never closed), these errors have been silently corrected and a list of the corrections supplied.

The editor

Máire ní Fhlathúin is Associate Professor of English Literature at the University of Nottingham. Previous publications in this area include an edition of The Poetry of British India 1780-1905 (Pickering & Chatto, 2011); a monograph on British India and Victorian Literary Culture (Edinburgh UP, 2015); and essays on Romantic and Victorian women’s writing, crime and social control, and the periodical press.


Research for this edition was part funded by a British Academy / Leverhulme Small Grant. I am grateful to the staff of the British Library in London and the Maharashtra State Archives in Mumbai for their help and expertise in the course of my research, to Lynda Pratt for her advice at an early stage of this project, and to Nicola Royan and Margaret-Anne Hutton for guidance on sources and translations. Trinity Cheltenham, the current congregation of Holy Trinity Church, Portland Street, Cheltenham, were extremely helpful in facilitating my search for Catharine Hickes’s memorial. Thanks to the Romantic Circles team, especially Dave Rettenmaier, for their invaluable contribution to this project.

An earlier version of the edited text and notes of Canto 2 of The Griffin was included in The Poetry of British India, vol. 1 (Pickering & Chatto, 2011).

Silent corrections

Canto 1

“Lordly Man‘”] “Lordly Man,”

Canto 2

believe me yours sincerely ] believe me yours sincerely”

My Uncle s Sir ] My Uncle Sir

Is this a Dream, ] “Is this a Dream,

Twas very brown, dark brown, nay almost black’ ] ’Twas very brown, dark brown, nay almost black

Canto 3

Canto third, I wouder ] Canto third, I wonder

cried “I am thine for ever: he affrighted” ] cried “I am thine for ever”: he affrighted

vroceed to the 4th Canto which opens with a pery ] proceed to the 4th Canto which opens with a very [1] 

Canto 4

When I my tale of of passion ] When I my tale of passion

it is conveyed, The other ] it is conveyed. The other

I couched in wild Expectancy,. ] I couched in wild Expectancy.

“Fierce at the bait,] Fierce at the bait,

The luckiest Ladies (altho’ oil’d and smutty ] The luckiest Ladies (altho’ oil’d and smutty)

“I hate a dumpy Woman, says my model, ] “I hate a dumpy Woman,” says my model,

First tasted and it palled not, nor grew t ameless! ] First tasted and it palled not, nor grew tameless!

Thou hast no other Bas—bleu ] Thou hast no other Bas-bleu

“Her hair was dark ] Her hair was dark

Her nose crooked (so was her whole demeanour, ] Her nose crooked (so was her whole demeanour)

Canto 5

I may not, dare not, longer stay, ] I may not, dare not, longer stay,”

“Pass the signal to HALT said the CHIEF, for I hear ] Pass the signal to HALT said the CHIEF, for I hear

Oh God! he must die ] “Oh God! he must die

An Eligible yet!!! ] An Eligible yet!”

With furious haste’ ] With furious haste,

Canto 6

to hop in o the Good Graces ] to hop into the Good Graces

they seen to have been ] they seem to have been

But at each age’ twixt leighty ] But at each age, twixt eighty

gladly do we turs to a letter ] gladly do we turn to a letter

For nought this woman---Serpent ] For nought this woman-Serpent

’Of thy warm bosom ] Of thy warm bosom

And drawing thus the world,s remarks ] And drawing thus the world’s remarks

I here must say “Good night t’ye ] I here must say “Good night t’ye”


part of so me longer Poem ] part of some longer Poem

‘Yes I have passed…’

Oh God! in pity, spare me!! ] Oh God! in pity, spare me!!”


Screams for her virtue’ ] Screams for her virtue,


the spot where the the Youth ] the spot where the Youth

Correspondence: 27 September 1820

under the title of the “Griffin” Many doubts ] under the title of the “Griffin”. Many doubts

30 September 1820

called “The Griffin” The ] called “The Griffin.” The

I read the commencemnet ] I read the commencement

1 November 1820

go farther and fare worse! ] go farther and fare worse!”

13 December 1820

corrupts enjoyment” ] “corrupts enjoyment”

she says that” in Bombay “captive ] she says that “in Bombay” captive

About the Design

This edition was TEI-encoded by David Rettenmaier (Technical Editor) at Romantic Circles. David Rettenmaier also designed the accompaning graphic banners. Laura Mandell and Dave Rettenmaier developed the modified versions of the transforms provided by the TEI that were used to convert the TEI files into HTML. TEI renders text archival quality for better preservation and future access.


[1] EDITOR'S NOTE: In the original, ‘proceed’ and ‘very’ occur one below the other at the start of successive lines, hence the printer’s transposition. BACK