Manuscript of Childe Harold's Pilgrimage by Byron, Cantos I and II


This manuscript shows the writing process behind Lord Byron’s Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage. The note at the front of the manuscript states that this is the text of the poem that was sent for printing, with Byron’s edits. The manuscript shows many corrections and alterations in Byron's hand, making it very different from the finalised version.

What kind of differences can be seen? 

Changes can be seen throughout the manuscript: 

  • In Canto 1 stanza marked 28 has ‘But’ and ‘sweat’ instead of the printed ‘And’ and ‘fret’.
  • The stanza beginning ‘Oh, Albuera …’ is written at right angles to the rest of the text, and over it, a convention from letter-writing, where it was used to save space.
  • In Canto 1 Stanza 83 the last line has been changed from,

‘Some Bitter bubbles up, and e’en on Noses stings.'

‘Some Bitter o’er the flowers its bubbling venom flings’.

Note the capital B in the manuscript indicates that it is a noun, often lost by the use of lower-case b in modern publications.

  • Canto 1 Stanzas 69-71 have been crossed out but have been restored in the published version, while in Canto 2 Stanza 88 has been completely reworked, and Stanza 89 has been replaced.
  • In Canto 2 in the song following Stanza 72 we see the insertion of notes into the page. After the text of the poem are the notes, both seen as corrected proofs, and as manuscript.

Full title:
Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage Cantos I and II
Lord Byron
© GG Byron
Held by
British Library
Egerton MS 2027

Full catalogue details

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Childe Harold's Pilgrimage

Created by: Lord Byron

A poem in Spenserian stanzas by Lord Byron (1788-1824), Cantos I and II appeared in 1812, Canto III in 1816 and ...