Reliques of Ancient English Poetry

Reliques of Ancient English Poetry

by Thomas Percy

Percy's "Reliques" contains an extensive collection of early English and Scottish ballads and songs. This popular and influential work was credited with inspiring poets such as Samuel Taylor Coleridge and William Wordsworth.

The first edition of the Reliques, published in 1765, attracted some criticism for Percy's alleged cavalier attitude to his sources, changing and "improving" the poems without notice. In subsequent editions he responded to these criticisms by removing some of these changes, annotating others and showing variants from different sources. He also updated some of the more extensive notes interspersed between the poems, and added a copy of a ballad drawn directly from his manuscript source without any editorial "improvement", to show its inadequate nature.

The Kindle version is derived from a later (at least a third) edition published in 1870. As well as the original 9 books, divided into 3 series, it has a substantial Appendix containing further ballads and poems, and a Glossary.

First published in 2012, this Kindle edition has now been revised throughout. Doubtful text in the 1870 edition has been compared with other contemporary editions to identify and put right typos; transcription errors have been corrected; the layout of the poetry now matches that in the original (except for the Kindle DX, which is unable to handle the complex code). Footnotes have been moved from the end of the volume to the end of each poem, with short notes inserted between verses, to reduce flipping back and forth. Two indexes have been added: a title index and an index of authors.

Reliques of Ancient English Poetry: Amazon US / Amazon UK

The Dunnett connection:

A number of the poems quoted by Francis Crawford in the Lymond Chronicles can be found in the pages of the Reliques.