An Introduction to Mary Tighe's Verses Transcribed for H.T.
1. This electronic edition makes available a tremendous archival deposit: Mary Tighe's Verses Transcribed for H.T. (1805), a 266-page two-volume bound autograph manuscript collection of 121 original Tighe poems and 72 original Tighe illustrations the National Library of Ireland acquired in 2004 (MS 49,155/2). Tighe began transcribing and illustrating Verses as she was contemplating the publication of a volume of poetry that would feature her epic romance "Psyche; or, the Legend of Love" accompanied by a selection of her lyrics, a project her husband Henry Tighe (H.T.) and friends such as Thomas Moore urged her to pursue while she was in England seeking treatment for a consumptive cough from June 1804 to August 1805. Generally averse to commercial publication, but happy to circulate her work among the members of her various literary coteries,  Tighe opted to print 50 copies of Psyche; or, The Legend of Love (1805) without any additions from Verses in a small private edition that she dedicated and distributed to family and friends. That private edition of Psyche; or, The Legend of Love made Tighe famous: hundreds of enthusiastic readers borrowed and shared copies of the poem (often making their own manuscript copies and thereby increasing the poem's circulation). Although readers and critics frequently recommended the publication of Psyche, and Tighe found the calls to publish flattering, she remained a coterie poet till the end of her days. Had she only pursued the larger project urged by Henry Tighe and Thomas Moore in 1804-1805, she would have prepared her own version of what became the subsequently posthumous edition of Psyche, with Other Poems that her family published with the Longman group in 1811. That edition offered a carefully culled selection of 29 lyrics from the 120 in Verses as well as another 10 lyrics not included in Verses.  The multiple printings of Psyche, with Other Poems established Tighe's literary reputation for good and ill throughout the nineteenth and twentieth century, bringing her notable attention for Psyche, but barely hinting at the lyric range of the "Other Poems" displayed in Verses. 
2. A beautifully and self-consciously constructed aesthetic artifact, Verses Transcribed for H.T. radically revises our 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;
- 72 of the 121 poems are illustrated with elegant tailpieces that cast light on the poems they illuminate and provide a visual travelogue of the spas, sites, and ruins the Tighes visited in the 1790s and early 1800s;
- 39 of the 121 are translations or imitations of Latin, Italian, French, or German writers which Tighe scholars thought were lost;
- 35 of the 121 are sonnets, including a distinct set of 30 that are showcased in a numbered "Sonnets" section suggesting a sonnet cycle;
- at least 15 of the 121 are written in the voice of characters from Tighe's 1803 manuscript novel Selena, versus the 11 of the 15 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.
3. Tighe arranges the lyrics in Verses in clusters or sets of poetic experiences, unlike the genre-based structure of Psyche, with Other Poems (epic, sonnets, occasional lyrics), or the chronological structure of the lyrics presented in Mary, a Series of Reflections During Twenty Years, a second privately printed posthumous family edition of Tighe's lyrics that appeared in 1811 (with lyrics written between 1789 and 1809).  And she foregrounds her representation of herself as a poet articulating the dilemmas of Petrarchan desire, versus the sober classical scholar mourned in Psyche or the spiritually redeemed soul elegized in Mary. Volume I begins with a set of coterie poems that include poems of friendship and poems of sorrow, moves nearly seamlessly to the poems from or for the characters in Selena, and concludes with a firmly designated section of sonnets. Volume II dramatically shifts from the more internal gaze of the sonnets to the more external gaze of a series of poems concerned with history, politics, and the world, then presents an extended section of continental translations, and ends with a return to more personal poems (interspersed with additional translations). Although many of the poems towards the end of the second volume date from the latter period of Tighe's life (1804 on), including six written after the 1805 title page inscription, the careful juxtaposition of earlier poems from the late 1790s and early 1800s among the later poems indicates deliberate design.  In Verses Tighe establishes the contours and contents of a definitive collection of her poems.
Tighe's Determination Not to Publish
4. The extraordinary quality of the material in Verses makes it particularly unfortunate that Tighe rejected the prospect of editing her own Psyche, with Other Poems in 1805 or sharing Verses Transcribed for H.T. (or her novel Selena) with the reading public. But as a relatively privileged member of the Anglo-Irish gentry, Tighe experienced no economic need to publish and some social constraint not to publish. Born in Dublin on October 9, 1772, she was the second child of Marsh librarian Rev. William Blachford (1730-1773) and Methodist leader Theodosia Tighe Blachford (1744-1817), 20 months younger than her brother John (1771-1817). Her father died seven months after her birth, leaving her mother a wealthy widow who focused on educating her children and engaging in charitable activities. Many members of Tighe's family published, including her mother, who translated The Life of the Baroness de Chantal (1787), her uncle Richard Tighe, who wrote a life of William Law, her uncle Edward Tighe, the theater critic "Melantius," and her cousin William Tighe, author of Statistical Observations Relative to the County of Kilkenny (1802) and The Plants (1808). But as many or more members of the family and well-placed friends engaged in a thriving coterie culture of shared manuscripts, albums, and commonplace books, often centered at Rossana, the Wicklow county home of Tighe's aunt and mother-in-law Sarah Fownes Tighe. Tighe grew up in a generously intellectual familial environment that offered multiple models for expression and immediate access to appreciative readers in Ireland, England, and Wales. After she and Henry Tighe consummated their troubled courtship with an equally troubled marriage in 1793, they spent most of the 1790s in London and its environs, a move that expanded Tighe's literary and social network and caused her some spiritual agony as she rued and reveled in the pleasure she took in being admired (she was renowned for her great beauty).  When the Tighes resettled in Ireland in 1801, Tighe focused intensively on her writing, completing Psyche in 1802 and Selena in 1803.
5. In January 1804 Tighe exhibited symptoms of the consumption that took her to England that August, where her ongoing commitment to her work prompted family and friends to suggest publication. She took the suggestion seriously but declined. Surprisingly, in light of the plenitude of verses in Verses, one of the reasons Tighe opted not to publish her own version of Psyche, with Other Poems in 1805 centered on her fear that the lyric poems would serve as mere ballast to Psyche, or "the straw appendages of a kite," as she put it in a Christmas Eve 1804 letter to her friend and sometime mentor Joseph Cooper Walker, the Irish antiquarian:
6. Despite the concerns Tighe expressed in the 1802 preface—and the 1804 Christmas Eve letter to Walker—she did continue to think about commercial publication throughout the spring of 1805, while she was preparing the private edition of Psyche. On April 19, 1805 she described her frustration with the taxing process of print production in another letter to Walker that wonders how much worse it would be if she were "publishing":
7. Printing the private edition would not have precluded publishing a commercial volume that paired Psyche with selections from Verses, the initial impetus spurring its more pleasurable, handcrafted production. But the very act of transcribing poems for Verses must have made Tighe realize how difficult it would be to select enough appropriate smaller poems and maintain her status as a proper lady. Readers might easily misconstrue imagination for experience, a dilemma she dramatizes in Selena, when the characters Selena Miltern and Lady Emily Trevallyn discuss the implications of Angela Harley's passionate poem "The Picture" (transcribed in Verses and Selena, and ultimately included in the 1811 Psyche, with Other Poems):
8. Any doubts as to the predictive accuracy of assessments like Selena's would have been laid to rest when Tighe witnessed the infamous reception of Moore's Epistles, Odes, and Other Poems (1806), a reception mortifying to Tighe on several fronts.  As a close friend Tighe was pained by the reviewers' cruel castigations of Moore as a "pander of posterity" (Annual Review 499), a "literary pimp" (Eclectic Magazine 811), "a pander to loose thoughts and foul actions" (Monthly Mirror 182), or "the most licentious of modern versifiers . . . [devoted] to the propagation of immorality" (Edinburgh Review 456).  As a coterie companion Tighe correctly recognized that publishing her lyric exchanges with Moore in her Verses could subject her to an equally painful and perhaps even more disciplinary critique, especially since he had already published his poems to her in his Epistles (as well as his 1801 The Poetical Works of the Late Thomas Little, Esq.). The Literary Journal sternly reproved the "ladies of fashion" who allowed Moore to use their names in his poems, equating them with courtesans in a brothel:
The Posthumous Psyche and Verses
9. After Tighe's death in March 1810 the family decided to go ahead with the project Tighe never pursued and published Psyche, with Other Poems in May 1811.  They prominently demarcated it as a posthumous edition "by the late Mrs. Henry Tighe" with a note to the reader that justified the publication of her poems as not just a monument to her good taste (and her physical suffering) but to her capacity to "improve the best sensations of the human heart," presumably the guiding principle that governed their selection of the "smaller poems":
To possess strong feelings and amiable affections, and to express them with a nice discrimination, has been the attribute of many female writers; some of whom have also participated with the author of Psyche in the unhappy lot of a suffering frame and a premature death. Had the publication of her poems served only as the fleeting record of such a destiny, and as a monument of private regret, her friends would not have thought themselves justified in displaying them to the world. But when a writer intimately acquainted with classical literature, and guided by a taste for real excellence, has delivered in polished language such sentiments as can tend only to encourage and improve the best sensations of the human heart, then it becomes a sort of duty in surviving friends no longer to withhold from the public such precious relics.
The copies of Psyche printed for the author in her lifetime were borrowed with avidity, and read with delight; and the partiality of friends has been already outstripped by the applause of admirers.
The smaller poems which complete this volume may perhaps stand in need of that indulgence which a posthumous work always demands when it did not receive the correction of the author. They have been selected from a larger number of poems, which were the occasional effusion of her thoughts, or productions of her leisure, but not originally intended or pointed out by herself for publication. (iii-v)
10. Unfortunately Tighe's worry that the "smaller poems" might serve as simple ballast or a tail for Psyche was borne out by the reviews the posthumous edition received, which offered a great deal of praise for Psyche but paid minimal if any attention to the lyrics, often dismissing them after citing the editor's apologia (Monthly Review 149) or seeing them as a light "wreath" at the end of the volume, "lovely indeed, but scarcely worth the brow of Psyche" (Eclectic Review 228).  Thus Tighe's reputation rested primarily on Psyche during most of the nineteenth and twentieth century, without much attention to or awareness of her lyrics. One can only wonder what might have happened had Tighe gone forward with her project and prepared her own version of Psyche, with Other Poems, and which of the poems from Verses she would have selected for inclusion.
11. As a highly wrought material object it is curious that the two substantial volumes of Verses remained largely invisible for more than 200 years (akin to the comparable history of Tighe's five-volume manuscript novel Selena, although Selena only disappeared for a century or so). Neither Tighe's mother Theodosia Blachford nor her cousin and sister-in-law Caroline Hamilton mention Verses in their biographical essays on Tighe, the primary sources for contemporary information about Tighe's life and literary production, although Hamilton may be pointing to it in her comment on the tailpieces Tighe designed for her manuscripts: "the only use she made of her skill in drawing was to ornament with appropriate tail pieces, her occasional little Poems of which she has left many neatly written manuscripts" (252).  It is also possible that Hamilton used Verses as the source text for the many Tighe poems she copied into her numerous albums (however Hamilton's versions often vary from the versions in Verses and might have been transcribed from memory).  It's clear that eight of the 13 poems family friends Henry and Lucy Moore transcribed in their 1809 and 1811 albums come from Verses; almost all the poems transcribed in the 1811 album contain an endnote that states "copied from Mrs Tighe's M.S. Innistiogue - May - 1811."  Half of the 16 previously unpublished poems privately printed in Mary come from Verses without any attribution (as well as 10 of the 14 poems reprinted from Psyche).  Verses also provides the most likely source for the 12 unpublished poems E. I. Fox transcribed in "Poems by Mrs. H. Tighe. Including Twelve Poems not published with Psyche"  and probably provides the source for the four poems printed in The Churchman's Monthly (1847) by an anonymous reviewer of William Howitt's Homes and Haunts of the Most Eminent British Poets who notes that the poems are unpublished. 
12. Most intriguingly, and ironically, Verses might well be one of the Tighe memorials Felicia Hemans lamented reading in her 1834 sonnet "On Records of Immature Genius: Written after reading Memorials of the late Mrs. Tighe" because the memorials transformed Hemans's sense of Tighe as a proper lady and role model:
13. Although Hemans' several letters about this visit do not mention Verses, Henry Chorley's 1834 Memorials of Mrs. Hemans notes that Hemans wrote "Records of Immature Genius" after "reading some of [Tighe's] earlier poems in manuscript" (2:219).  If Chorley means Verses, it is inaccurate (at best) for Hemans to consider the lyrics Tighe collected in 1805—when she was nearly 33—as records of immature genius except insofar as they shatter the image that she was finally "from passion-gusts made free!" (14).  That image and story—of a Tighe who turns from seducing passions to sober spirituality—is constructed by the posthumous edition of Psyche, with Other Poems, and perhaps not untrue biographically, but very different from the impression conveyed by the often unsettling and unsettled poems in Verses.
14. The Mary Tighe who shapes her poetic performance in Verses is neither ready to be buried as the unnamed pattern poetess in Hemans' "The Grave of a Poetess" nor beatified as the late Mrs. Henry Tighe in Psyche, with Other Poems, which concludes with the plaintive final request of "On Receiving a Branch of Mezereon Which Flowered at Woodstock. December, 1809" to be remembered "with fond regret" and "lingering thoughts" (311). The Mary Tighe of Verses is a passionate, playful, ambitious poet whose most powerful poems pulsate with the frustrated energies of unfulfilled Petrarchan desire voiced from a complex feminine position.
The Structure of Verses
15. Tighe positions herself first and last as a practicing poet in Verses. In the opening lyric, "The Vartree," she dedicates herself to the pastoral pursuit of poetry versus the "vain bustle of the senseless crowd" (29), emphasizing her identity as a poet by referring to herself via her coterie name "Linda,"  and affiliating herself with a particular set of poetic forebears through the epigraph from Molza's "La Ninfa Tiberina" (incorrectly attributed to Poliziano):
16. The poems that follow "The Vartree" and precede the "Sonnet in reply to Mrs. Wilmot" further Tighe's projection of herself as a coterie poet. She follows the dedicatory pastoralism of "The Vartree" with the Della Cruscan sensuality of "The Kiss," one of several "kiss" poems she and Moore wrote in conversation with one another: 
17. The journey Tighe transcribes in Verses follows a thematic versus chronological or strictly genre-based structure, organized in sets or clusters of poetic modes. If there is a story the two volumes tell, the story begins with a group of coterie poems that map physical and emotional landscapes Tighe visited during the mid- to late-1790s and early 1800s (the first 17 poems), modulates into a set of poems ostensibly voiced by the characters from Selena (most of the next nine poems), introduces a mini-cluster of four translations, and offers a transitional poem that returns to the present and Tighe's personal lyric voice ("Verses Written in Sickness Dec.r 1804") before showcasing the 30-poem sonnet cycle that completes the first volume (61 poems in all). The second volume opens with 10 poems focused on history and politics followed by a set of 29 translations; the remaining 21 poems fall into mini-clusters of political poems, thank you poems, translations, and sonnets (60 poems in all). Neither volume adheres rigidly to a particular pattern—Tighe doesn't place all the sonnets in the sonnet cycle, or all the translations in the translation section, or all the Selena poems in a Selena cluster—but there is a clear design ordering her presentation. The slight messiness of the trajectory towards the end of volume two might indicate that Tighe lost some steam towards the culmination of this major project, which she began in 1805 but continued to work on through 1808 (as her health declined). But her inclusions and omissions at the end of the second volume maintain the intentionality of the volumes' comprehensive construction. She not only juxtaposes early and late poems in the final sequence of nine poems (dated 1804, 1806, 1801, 1808, undated, undated, 1799, 1808, 1807), she omits six late lyrics that her coterie readers appreciated enough to copy into their own commonplace books. She could have added these poems, given the blank pages at the end of both volumes of Verses, to transform our sense of the ending.  Tighe ends as she begins: as a self-reflexive poet delimiting the parameters of her collection.
The Contents of Verses
18. The contents of Verses open up multiple new ways of thinking about Tighe's contributions to literary history. First and foremost, Verses provides manuscript access to some exceptional poems that illustrate Tighe's strength as a poet. A prime example is her previously unpublished ekphrastic lyric on "The Faded Flowers," which offers a thoughtful meditation on the relation between nature and art that shifts from querying the potential of the imitative arts to capture nature to pondering the role of memory in containing or recreating past desire, Tighe's great theme. In the first five stanzas the poem describes the speaker's efforts to sketch a group of flowers before they die; in the pivotal sixth stanza the poem allusively cites Shakespeare's inconstant lover Proteus before offering another five stanzas that reflect on the cheating power of memory to create the temporary illusion of restoration:
19. Verses also provides manuscript access to poems that demonstrate Tighe's engagement with the poetic, aesthetic, and political concerns of her cultural moment, unlike the lyrics selected for Psyche, with Other Poems, which largely refer to local places or personal acquaintances.  In Verses Tighe leaves a direct and indirect trail of references to a wide range of contemporary or near-contemporary poets through title dedications, epigraphs, translations, and invocations that cite Thomas Gray, Francis Greville, Thomas Warton, Salomon Gessner, William Cowper, James Beattie, James Macpherson, Hannah More, Anna Seward, Charlotte Smith, Jean-Pierre Claris de Florian, Évariste de Parny, Vincenzo Monti, Mary Robinson, Charles Demoustier, William Bowles, Lady Dacre, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, and Thomas Moore (as well as Metastasio). Sometimes those invocations operate with great subtlety, as in the August 15, 1804 sonnet "Addressed to the Rev.d W: L: Bowles" (XV), which concludes with the classic image of "the sad nightingale soft [who] pours her throat / While the thorn presses on her wounded breast" (13-14). That image does not appear in Bowles's 1789 Fourteen Sonnets  but appears with great frequency in Smith's Elegiac Sonnets (1784-1811), which Tighe was thinking about in 1804. A letter to Walker dated January 28, 1804 mentions "Charlotte Smith's distresses" (1461/5/156). Sometimes those invocations suggest an ongoing conversation, such as "Verses Imitated from Du Moustier," which presents a fairly loose verse translation of Demoustier's lyric "Je vais boire l'onde glacée," his version of Sappho's stanzas to Phaon before she takes the leap of Leucata (in Lettres à Émilie, sur la mythologie [1786-98]), but also speaks to Robinson's more significant and more radical sonnet cycle Sappho and Phaon (1796). Similarly Tighe's sonnet "Addressed to the Ladies of Langollen Vale" (XIV) not only addresses Butler and Ponsonby but participates in a dialogue with Seward's "Llangollen Vale" (1796), which prompted Seward to offer rare praise for Tighe's sonnet (rare for Seward, that is).  So too Tighe's sonnet "Written on the acquittal of Hardy &c — Dec:r 1794," which not only celebrates Thomas Erskine's successful defense of Thomas Hardy, John Thelwall, and John Horne Tooke in the 1794 Treason Trials but speaks to Coleridge's complementary sonnet "To Erskine," published in the Morning Chronicle on December 1, 1794 (when the Tighes were living in England). 
20. The sonnets to Bowles/Smith and the Ladies of Llangollen/Seward reflect Tighe's contemporary aesthetic commitment to the sonnet revival,  a demonstration made more potent through Tighe's clustering those two sonnets with two Petrarch imitations at the very heart of her sonnet cycle (XII-XV). Tighe's central engagement with the discourse of sensibility is also made more explicit in Verses through poems like "The Kiss," with its display of Della Cruscan eroticism, "Verses Written for Emily 1799," which begs "Insensibility" to "Stop the streams which feeling hallows / Smother each impassioned sigh" (39-40), "Song to Oberon," which models itself on Greville's "A Prayer for Indifference," "To Tranquility," which asks "Ador'd Tranquillity! / This fever'd heart to health restore, / Or lull to Apathy" (30-32), or "Sensibility," which follows More's poetical epistle "Sensibility" (not to mention the poems that cite Gray, Warton, Macpherson, or Beattie and other such exemplars). In tandem with poems that evince the discourse of sensibility are poems that exhibit Tighe's antiquarian bent ("Cleuen An Elegy" or "Morven and Miruna from Ossian") and her interest in ballads and songs, captured in at least 14 lyrics, such as "Song Post nublia Phoebus," "Forget me not!" (based on Mozart's version of Lorenz Schneider's lied "Vergiss Mein Nicht"), "Song to Oberon," or "Song to my Harp 1798." 
21. Perhaps most interesting are the poems that overtly or covertly address contemporary political events—the 1794 Treason Trials, the 1798 Rebellion, the 1801 Act of Union—which Tighe sets in two clusters in volume two, effectively encouraging more politicized readings of poems that might otherwise seem ahistorical but for their clustered proximity. Tighe positions the first cluster at the very beginning of volume two with six poems that invite close attention to Ireland's historical moment through suggestive dates and references: "Cleuen An Elegy," "Written in an Almanack 1805," "The World," "Imitation from Jeremiah Chap XXXI. Ver 15. Nov:r 1800," "Psalm CXXX. Imitated. Jan.y 1805," and "Verses Written when a detachment of Yeomen were sent against the rebel army" (dated Dublin, July 13, 1798). In the first poem, "Cleuen An Elegy," Tighe's speaker narrates the fatal consequences of a doomed love triangle, but frames that narration against the backdrop of England's colonization of Ireland, made visible in the ruins that line the Nore river:
22. Tighe positions four poems between "Cleuen" and "Yeoman": "Written in an Almanack 1805," "The World," "Imitation from Jeremiah Chap XXXI. Ver 15. Nov:r 1800," and "Psalm CXXX. Imitated. Jan.y 1805." All four lend themselves to politicized readings by being placed between these two overtly political poems. "Written in an Almanack 1805" seems particularly apolitical as a simple 12-line poem that appears to be a copy of an inscription Tighe wrote in a gift book. But the most popular almanac in Dublin, The Gentleman's and Citizen's Alamack, provided an annual listing of "The Marriages and Deaths of the Princes of Europe. The Names of the Lord Lieutenant; of His Majesty's Most Honourable Privy Council, and of the Lords and Commons of Parliament, (Printed by Authority:) Also, the Judges, and several other Persons in Places of High Trust, and Office in Ireland, both Civil and Military." Coming right after "Cleuen" and that poem's depiction of the colonization of Ireland, "Written in an Almanack 1805" invites attention to the transitory (or transitioning) nature of political power. Similarly, the spiritual rejection of "The ungrateful World!" (2) voiced in "The World" takes a political cast through Tighe's loaded use of the word "votive" — "Oh! sacrifice no more thy peace, thy joys / To the ungrateful World! it but insults / Thy wasted anguish, and thy votive cares" (1-3) — a potential reference to the Tighe family's futile votes against the Act of Union. That subtle reference becomes sharper as Tighe follows "The World" with the pointedly dated "Imitation from Jeremiah Chap XXXI. Ver. 15. Nov:r 1800," which implicitly aligns the promised restoration of Rachel's children to their own border with the pending dissolution of the Irish Parliament. Like the imitation of Jeremiah 31:15, Tighe's verse translation of Psalm 130 resonates with the politics of her times as she invokes mercy for all God's children: "And still at mercy's sacred seat / Let all thy children; Lord! be found" (33-34). Without the context of the cluster "Psalm CXXX. Imitated. Jan.y 1805" reads as a prayer for inward peace; within the context of the cluster the prayer extends that call to the nation.
23. A comparable effect occurs towards the end of volume two as Tighe sequences the powerful political ballad "Bryan Byrne founded on truth" within a cluster that includes "Song 1806," "Bryan Byrne," "Written for Angela," Song to my Harp 1798," and "Song" ("Still as on Liffey's banks I stray"). While "Song 1806," "Written for Angela," and "Song" seem to read as simple love songs—invoking renewal ("Song 1806"), cherishing the moment that is about to pass ("Written for Angela"), and anticipating an uncertain return ("Song")—Tighe juxtaposes those three songs with two songs that speak to the troubles of 1798, as if to weave a larger tale about the intersection of personal history and national strife. "Song 1806" begins the sequence by asking a beloved to turn his blue eyes on her and smile as he did long ago, "Oh! smile, as when / Our youthful loves were in their spring, / And teach this thrilling heart again / The song of joy to sing!" (14-16). But if the next song was inspired by the beloved's smile, it is anything but joyful in relating the tragic tale of Bryan Byrne's violent death at the hands of a loyalist mob in 1798, a murdered nonpartisan still mourned by his grieving widow Ellen, his son and his father-in-law (who also mourn the deaths of Ellen's brother and three cousins). To turn from "Bryan Byrne" to "Written for Angela" is to turn from Ireland's history to a poem intended for Tighe's novel Selena, seemingly nonpolitical except in its rendering of the speaker's desperate valuing of the moment before parting from another blue-eyed beloved. That parting suddenly takes on greater political heft when followed by "Song to my Harp 1798," a second harp poem in Verses that now notes how Tighe's/Linda's harp foregoes pleasure to focus on the dark times at hand with "prophetic power" (24):
24. Akin to the political clusters and the poems that reference contemporary or near-contemporary poets, the stunning visual displays of ruins, prospects, spas, monuments, landscapes, scenery, and assorted tourist sites in the tailpieces situate Tighe more actively in the physical environs of her time and place: at Glendalough in Wicklow, at Muckross Abbey in Killarney, at the Devil's Bridge in Cardiganshire, at the Avon River in Bristol, at Harling Hall in Norfolk, or at Plas Newydd in Llangollen. They also demonstrate her keen engagement with the picturesque and her participation in the burgeoning verbal-visual print culture of views, tours, sketches, and guides.  If one of the signal revelations of the collection lies in the simple fact that Tighe did illustrate so many of her lyrics, one of the greater pleasures Verses provides is the opportunity to see how Tighe illustrated some of her most famous poems, including sonnets of named places such as "III Written at Scarborough Augt 1799," "IX Written in the Church yard at Malvern," and the three Killarney sonnets, "XVIII Written at the Eagle's Nest Killarney July 26. 1800" (figure 4), "XIX Written at Killarney July 29. 1800" (figure 5), and "XX On Leaving Killarney August 5. 1800" (figure 6).
25. Other illustrations provide tantalizing interpretive suggestions, as in the tailpiece for Sonnet VI ("Poor, fond deluded heart! wilt thou again"), where the monument's inscription ("Credule, quid frustra simulacra fugacia captas? / Quod petis est nusquam") directs us to Ovid's Metamorphosis and the tale of Echo and Narcissus, or "Sonnet XXII Written for Angela 1802," whose tailpiece rendering of Muckross Abbey at Killarney hints at directions Tighe might have contemplated pursuing in the plot of Selena (the character Angela Harley never visits Killarney, a crucial location in the fifth volume).  Just as the tailpiece for “Sonnet XXII” images an alternate narrative development for Selena, Tighe’s dedicated sequence of Selena poems in volume one calls attention to the ways in which the characters Angela Harley and Lady Emily Trevallyn mirror one other’s emotional, sexual, and traumatic situations via a cluster of six poems that modulate back and forth between their voices, from “The Picture Written for Angela. 1802” to “Elegy Written for Emily 1802,” “Stanzas Written for Angela 1800” to “Verses Written for Emily 1799,” and “Verses Written for Angela 1804” to “Song to Oberon.” Although Tighe’s mother claimed that Tighe completed Selena by the end of 1803, the dating of “Verses Written for Angela 1804”—not printed in the manuscript of the novel—indicates that Tighe continued thinking about and working on Selena after 1803; and the tailpiece’s illustration of a child leaning against a monument inscribed to Angela (figure 8) offers an intriguing glimpse of different outcomes Tighe might have considered.
26. In addition to scenes, prospects, monuments, and ruins, the illustrations evidence Tighe's interest in botany,  displayed in the beautifully detailed (and sometimes labeled) specimens of flowers and trees in "Forget me not!," "V Written in Autumn 1795," "XVI Written at Rossana. Novr 18, 1799," or "Written in an Almanack 1805" (figure 9).r 1804,” “Cupid’s Quiver,” or “Song Adapted to an Air by Mozart 1806.”
27. Just as Verses documents Tighe's energetic participation in the verbal-visual print culture of the Romantic era, it showcases Tighe's work as a translator with 37 verse imitations of classical and contemporary poetry and prose selections originally written in Latin, Greek, Italian, French, and German (nearly one third of the total contents of the collection).  Hamilton's biographical essay on Tighe notes that Tighe began translating French and Italian literature as a child under her mother's direction (252-3) and took up a serious course of Latin studies after her marriage to Henry, whose daily instructions enabled her to translate "with his help, a variety of authors" (254). When and where Tighe acquired knowledge of Greek and German is not known (and seemingly minimal), but her letters to Walker and her reading journal are rich resources recording her lifelong study of Italian, the more linguistic aspects of her interest in antiquarian studies (including a belated attention to Gaelic), and the degree to which members of her literary circle shared or commented upon each other's verse translations (notably Thomas Moore's Anacreon, Lady Dacre's Petrarch, Henry Boyd's Dante, and Walker's Monti, among others). 
28. The translations Tighe includes in Verses do not simply showcase scholarship, however; they trace affinities with other writers whose works and passions resonate with hers, offering a discreet or safe venue to express what might be otherwise inexpressible. While Tighe only presents three translations from Petrarch in Verses, those three imitations underscore the larger Petrarchan sensibility that operates in so many of the translations and original poems, voiced from the position of the tormented lover who has lost at love, who desperately struggles to resist succumbing to the emotional and spiritual paralysis of despair, who understands too well the danger of seeking solace and basing poetry in memories of past pleasure, but whose very prayer to experience relief through forgetfulness undermines that potential relief by recalling the source of present pain. Thus "Verses Imitated from Du Moustier" begins and ends with a command to forget, but the six stanzas between the opening and closing injunction viscerally catalogue and make manifest all that is impossible to forget, not only transforming the more conventional listing of Petrarchan physical attributes into affective experiences but showing how the wise and moral framework fails to regulate or contain emotional embodiment:
29. The Petrarchan sensibility that underscores so many of the translations provides an even more important trajectory in shaping the arc of the sonnet cycle, which also owes a great deal to Smith in beginning with a set of nine elegiac poems that lament lost love and youth as well as the teasing power of memory to provide the illusion of a return to the past that therein deepens the pain of the present. The cycle continues by turning from the temporary and deeply problematic panacea of memory to more enduring possibilities: the passage of time that lessens all loss (X), the coming of death, which loosens all ties (XI), and the production of poetry, which potentially transforms the present into eternity (XII-XV, which directly invoke Petrarch and Bowles). With the turn to poetry as the pivot point of the cycle, Tighe looks to present pleasures, contemplating solace in the calm of domestic love and the possibility of creating new memories and moments in the now of Rossana and Killarney (XVI-XX). But it is sonnet XXI's address to William Hayley's biographical representation of William Cowper and Mary Unwin that provides transition to the cycle's most dramatic shift as Tighe suddenly introduces a named speaker for XXII and XXIII—the tragic Selena character Angela Harley—who vocalizes experiences and perspectives that sound exactly like those informing the regrets and longings of the unnamed speaker of the first nine sonnets. Rather than a coded regression to the torments of the past, Tighe's use of a named persona marks her staging her progressive journey as a poet who has learned how to sublimate and recast the seemingly autobiographical as art. Though Tighe only marks XXII and XXIII as "Written for Angela 1802," and designates XXVI as an Angela poem through the tailpiece, XXIV, XXV, XXVII, XXVIII and XXIX easily fit the framework and plot of Selena.  The introduction of Angela as an external persona masterfully complicates the performing identity Tighe constructs for the last third of the sonnet cycle until she firmly re-establishes herself as speaking subject in the final sonnet "XXX. Addressed to my Brother 1805," which concludes both the sonnet cycle and the first volume of Verses.
Not a Conclusion but a New Beginning
30. Verses Transcribed for H.T. provides a remarkable opportunity to re-evaluate our historical understanding of Mary Tighe and her place in the literary, visual, material, and cultural productions of Romanticism. Its rich array of sonnets, translations, illustrations, political poems, coterie poems, poems for Selena, and references to contemporary poets and poetics not only showcases Tighe's power as a lyric poet, it foregrounds her representation of herself as a lyric poet, just as she foregrounds herself as a visionary poet in Psyche; or, The Legend of Love. Like Tighe's 1805 private edition of Psyche, Tighe's 1805 manuscript edition of Verses asserts her vision of herself as the designing poet, shaping her own story.
 EDITOR'S NOTE: Tighe shared her work with an extended network of family, friends, and literary acquaintances in Ireland, Wales, and England, including Joseph Atkinson, John Blachford, Theodosia Blachford, Henrietta Bowdler, Henry Boyd, Lady Eleanor Butler, Catherine Maria Fanshawe, William Hayley, Alicia LeFanu, Henry Moore, Thomas Moore, Hannah More, Sydney Owenson/Lady Morgan, William Parnell, Sarah Ponsonby, William Roscoe, Anna Seward, Charlotte Smith, Caroline Tighe Hamilton, Elizabeth Tighe Kelly, George Tighe, Sarah Tighe, William Tighe, Barbarina Wilmot/Lady Dacre, Joseph Cooper Walker, John Wesley and others (Linkin, "Mary Tighe and the Coterie of Women Poets in Psyche," 303-04). BACK
 EDITOR'S NOTE: The ten lyrics from Psyche, with Other Poems not included in Verses are "Written in a Copy of Psyche which had been in the library of C. J. Fox. April, 1809," "To the Memory of Margaret Tighe, Taken from Us June 7th, 1804, Etat 85," "Written for Her Niece S. K.," "To Fortune, From Metastasio," "The Shawl's Petition, To Lady Asgill," "To Lady Charlemont, in Return for Her Presents of Flowers, March, 1808," "Hagar in the Desert," "The Lily, May, 1809," "Sonnet Written at Woodstock, in the County Kilkenny, the Seat of William Tighe, June 30, 1809," and "On Receiving a Branch of Mezereon Which Flowered at Woodstock, December, 1809." BACK
 EDITOR'S NOTE: Like Psyche, with Other Poems the identity of Mary's editor is unknown. Only two of the twenty copies have been located to date, at the National Library of Ireland and Harvard. BACK
 EDITOR'S NOTE: Tighe provides dates for six poems composed after 1805: "Song Adapted to an Air by Mozart 1806," "Song 1806" ("Turn on me, Love, thine eye of blue"), "To W. Hayley. In return for a copy of Cowper's life sent with a sonnet. 1806," "The Myrtle Written at West Aston. 1808," "Sonnet to W. Parnell written at Avondale 1808," and "Sonnet In reply to Mrs Wilmot. 1807." It is possible that some of the undated poems might have been composed after 1805. BACK
 EDITOR'S NOTE: One of Tighe's surviving journal entries dated March 25, 1796 (or 1797) confesses that she is "Very unhappy in my mind—Yet I find it impossible to resist the flattering temptation of being admired, & showing the world that I am so. My conscience this day has been disturbed—I feel uneasy at the vanity, the folly, the dissipation in which I am engaged. Yet without the power to wish myself disengaged from it" (Collected Poems and Journals, 221). BACK
 EDITOR'S NOTE: Richard Polwhele dedicated his polemical poem The Unsex'd Females (1798) to T. J. Mathias, who used that phrase in his conservative satire The Pursuits of Literature (1794). Although Mathias recommended that Tighe publish Psyche, she cited prudence in a letter to him dated August 2, 1806: "I am not insensible to the value of praise from such a pen, so that if the resolutions now made by prudence & timidity shall ever be conquer'd, he will have to reproach himself, in a grand degree, for the ill-success of a publication he has so powerfully encourag'd" (BL 22976: 248-9). For the validity of Tighe's fears see Andrea Bradley's insightful discussion of the Edinburgh Review essay on Amelia Opie's 1802 Poems in its inaugural issue, and the way the reviewer demarcates gendered expectations and boundaries for form, style, and sentiment. BACK
 EDITOR'S NOTE: Tighe dates the preface to the 1805 Psyche "Rossana, Jan. 1802" (viii). In the March 1804 manuscript copy of Psyche Tighe transcribed for Lady Eleanor Butler and Sarah Ponsonby (the Ladies of Llangollen) she positions the preface as a postscript and further emphasizes her personal connection to her readers through a telling underline: "I must therefore be forgiven the egotism which makes me anxious to recommend to my readers the tale with which I now present them" (NLW MS 22985B/69). BACK
 EDITOR'S NOTE: In Selena Tighe weaves a complicated courtship plot around three inter-connected young women and the men who love and/or leave them. In the main plot the title character Selena Miltern is coerced into marrying her cousin Lord Dallamore and subsequently falls in love with Dallamore’s cousin Sidney Dallamore. In an important corollary plot Selena’s friend Lady Emily Trevallyn continues to long for her cousin Lord Henry Ortney after she marries the significantly older Lord Trevallyn to fulfill her mother’s deathbed request. And in an equally important subplot Lord Henry seduces Angela Harley, who was raised by Lady Trevallyn’s (and Lord Henry’s) aunt Lady Anne Ortney. Four of the characters write poetry, including Lady Emily, Angela, Sidney Dallamore, and Edwin Stanmore, one of Selena’s suitors. BACK
 EDITOR'S NOTE: Tighe indicates how offended she was by these reviews in a September 1806 journal entry on the Edinburgh Review in her reading journal: "his work is cruelly abus'd & the personality it contain'd provok'd him to call for the author when Mr Jeffrey came forward - I cannot speak with candour or impartiality of an article which has so much wounded my feelings" (NLI MS 4804). BACK
 EDITOR'S NOTE: Tighe transcribed an early draft of Moore's "To Mrs. Henry T-ghe, on reading her Psyche" for the manuscript copy of Psyche she prepared for the Ladies of Llangollen in 1804 (NLW MS 22985B). BACK
 EDITOR'S NOTE: Interestingly, the next article in the Edinburgh Review offers a mostly favorable review of Opie's Simple Tales for expressing appropriately gendered merits that reproduce the natural pathos of her Mother and Daughters: "There is something delightfully feminine in all Mrs. Opie's writings . . . . very amiable and very beautiful; and exhibit virtuous emotions under a very graceful aspect. They would do very well to form a woman that a gentleman should fall in love with" (467, 471). A poet like Tighe would be caught between the Scylla and Charybdis of Moore and Opie. While Tighe resists commenting on the specifics of the ER's review of Moore, she does comment on the Opie review in her reading journal: "Mrs Opie's simple tales they praise fully as much as they deserve & they give as a specimen a letter I thought very poor & some of the poetry which I did not think very good - yet they are pathetic & tender" (NLI MS 4804). BACK
 EDITOR'S NOTE: Although Rev. J. Whitelaw and Rev. Robert Walsh began the trend of naming William Tighe as the unidentified editor in their History of Dublin (2:1214-15), Averill Buchanan offers compelling evidence that Henry Tighe edited the collection with the assistance of Tighe's brother John Blachford (120). BACK
 EDITOR'S NOTE: Caroline Hamilton was a skilled artist who received private lessons from Jonathan Spilsbury (as did her sisters) while her brother Henry Tighe studied at Harrow (1781-1788). After the Tighes returned to Ireland Sarah Tighe engaged the Spilsburys to continue instructing her children in drawing and music and to engage in evangelical work (1789-1790). It is likely that Mary Tighe took occasional lessons from the Spilsburys. See Charlotte Yeldham 21-26. BACK
 EDITOR'S NOTE: The Methodist minister Rev. Henry Moore was very close to Theodosia Blachford; he was one of the fifty friends and family members to receive an inscribed copy of the 1805 Psyche. BACK
 EDITOR'S NOTE: Buchanan suggests this second posthumous collection was edited by Theodosia Blachford (based on the inscriptions in the two extant copies at the National Library of Ireland and the Harvard University Library). BACK
 EDITOR'S NOTE: Fox includes "The Faded Flowers," "XXVII" ("Or do I dream, or do I view indeed")," "If Slander sting thy swelling heart" (titled "La Guêpe"), "See while the Juggler Pleasure smiles" (titled "Stanza's"), "Il est tems mon Eleonore," "Hope" (titled "Le Retour"), "II Written at Scarborough 1799" (titled "Le Someil"), "Song to Oberon" (titled "Addressed to Oberon"), "Stanzas Written at the Hotwells of Bristol July 1804" (titled "Verses Written at the Hotwells Bristol July 1804"), "The Superannuated Guide's Farewell to the Seven Churches," "Forget me not!" and "The Hours of Peace," as well as a commemorative elegy "To the Memory of Mrs. Henry Tighe Who Died January 1810. Etat 37" and another eight poems transcribed from Psyche, with Other Poems. BACK
 EDITOR'S NOTE: The reviewer includes "To Tranquility" (778-79), "Written in a Horace, Presented to her by Dr. ---- on her Birth-day, 1804" (779-80), "Psalm CXXX Imitated.—January, 1805" (780-81), "Address to the West-Wind. Written at Parkgate, Sept. 1805" (781-82), devoting only 10 of the review's 25 pages to a discussion of Howitt's chapter on Tighe (versus Tighe's poems). BACK
 EDITOR'S NOTE: Later Hemans comments "Mr. Tighe, the widower of the Poetess, was amongst our party; he had just been translating a poem of mine into Latin, which I am told is very elegant. He is very intelligent & gentlemanly, nevertheless, 'I did not like this Dr. Fell'" (Wolfson 515). BACK
 EDITOR'S NOTE: Hemans's sister Harriet Hughes similarly notes "The sonnet 'On Records of Immature Genius' (published in Mrs Hemans's Poetical Remains), was written after reading some of the earlier poems of Mrs Tighe, which had been lent to her in MS" (1.239). BACK
 EDITOR'S NOTE: Hemans transcribes a copy of the poem under the title "On the relics of immature genius: written after reading some unpublished pieces by Mrs. Tighe" in Hamilton's Hamwood Album (22984C/49). BACK
 EDITOR'S NOTE: In addition to "The Vartree" Tighe identifies herself as "Linda" in "The Hours of Peace," "Verses Written when a detachment of Yeomen were sent against the rebel army," and "Song to my Harp 1798." Sarah Ponsonby names her "Linda" in a manuscript poem praising Psyche ("Sweet Linda! Meditate thy charming song"), as does E. I. Fox in a tribute at the end of "Poems by Mrs. H. Tighe," noting that Linda was "Her own poetic appellation" (no page). BACK
 EDITOR'S NOTE: Moore published two poems titled "The Kiss" in The Poetical Works of the Late Thomas Little, Esq. as well as his "To Mrs. ----. On Her Beautiful Translation of Voiture's Kiss," which praises Tighe's "The Kiss. Imitated from Voiture," printed in volume two of Verses. BACK
 EDITOR'S NOTE: William Parnell (1780-1821), later Parnell-Hayes, was a family friend and MP for Wicklow perhaps best known for his An Inquiry into the Causes of Popular Discontents in Ireland (1804) and An Historical Apology for the Irish Catholics (1807). BACK
 EDITOR'S NOTE: She did not include "Hagar in the Desert" [April 1807], "To Lady Charlemont, in Return for Her Presents of Flowers. March, 1808," "Written in a Copy of Psyche Which Had Been in the Library of C. J. Fox. April, 1809," "The Lily. May, 1809," "Sonnet Written at Woodstock, in the County of Kilkenny, the Seat of William Tighe. June 30, 1809," and "On Receiving a Branch of Mezereon Which Flowered at Woodstock. December, 1809," all printed in Psyche, with Other Poems. BACK
 EDITOR'S NOTE: The Psyche poems name Rossana, Woodstock, Avondale, Killarney, Scarborough, and Malvern (places Tighe inhabited or visited in Ireland or England) and family and friends (her brother John Blachford, her aunt Margaret Tighe, her cousin William Tighe, her niece Sarah Kelly, and her friends Lady Asgill, Lady Charlemont, and William Parnell). The few exceptions include the patriotic sonnet on Charles James Fox, the ballad on the atrocities of 1798 ("Bryan Byrne, of Glenmalure"), the Metastasio imitation "To Fortune," epigraphs from Statius ("Morning") and Poliziano/Molza ("The Vartree"), and incidental references to Senegal ("Pleasure") and Persia ("The Shawl's Petition, To Lady Asgill"). One could also include Tighe's invocations of the Bible in "A Faithful Friend is the Medicine of Life," "Imitated from Jeremiah" and "Hagar in the Desert." BACK
 EDITOR'S NOTE: Bowles makes one reference to an unidentified bird in "Sonnet XIII": "As some poor bird, at day's departing hour, / Sings in the sunbeam, of the transient shower / Forgetful, tho' its wings are wet the while" (lines 10-12). BACK
 EDITOR'S NOTE: In a letter to Rev. Henry White dated April 7, 1795 Seward mentions meeting Tighe while visiting Butler and Ponsonby and notes that "She left an elegant and accurate sonnet, addressed to Lady E. Butler and her friend, on leaving their enchanting bowers" (4:108). Tighe postdates her sonnet 1796 in Verses, perhaps to align more closely with Seward's poem. BACK
 EDITOR'S NOTE: In 1794 the British government sought to cripple the radical and reform movement of the 1790s by rounding up suspected revolutionaries and charging them with treason. More than 30 radicals were arrested; habeas corpus was suspended in May. The Treason Trials began in October and concluded in December. Thomas Hardy, John Horne Tooke, and John Thelwall were tried separately. Each one was exonerated with great public rejoicing, which forced crown lawyers to drop charges against the remaining prisoners. BACK
 EDITOR'S NOTE: During much of the eighteenth century use of the sonnet form declined and was even scorned by Pope, Dryden and Johnson. In the 1770s and 1780s the sonnet began to regain popularity through the work of Thomas Gray, Charlotte Smith, Anna Seward, and William Lisle Bowles. BACK
 EDITOR'S NOTE: In addition to the four songs named, the other ten include two songs that are attributed to the character Edwin Stanmore in Selena, "Hope" and "The Minstrel," another Mozart song, "Song Adapted to an Air by Mozart 1806" (Mozart's rendition of Christian Adolf Overbeck's "Komm lieber Mai"), an "Imitation from Colardeau," which François-Adrien Boieldieu set to music in 1801, and "Bryan Byrne founded on truth," "Dirge Written at Brompton January 12 1805," "Song 1801," "Song 1806," "Song" ("How hard with anguish unreveal'd"), and "Song" ("Still as on Liffey's banks I stray"). BACK
 EDITOR'S NOTE: The Wicklow Yeomen were part-time soldiers (mostly gentry) loyal to the British government who fought against the United Irishmen, the “savage” rebels who sought to end British rule over Ireland. Although the outbreak of military action in Dublin was deterred, fighting in the county of Wicklow was fierce. BACK
 EDITOR'S NOTE: Tighe's reading journal entries in 1806 and 1807 evidence her ongoing interest in painting and the picturesque: on September 17, 1806 she expresses disappointment in Charles Bell's 1806 Essays on the Anatomy of Expression in Painting; on May 15, 1807 she notes that "a young artist might reap much instruction" from Salomen Gessner's 1804 The Letters of Gessner and His Family; and on October 12, 1807 she praises Uvedale Price's 1798 Essays on the Picturesque (NLI MS 4804). BACK
 EDITOR'S NOTE: This sonnet is one of the four poems clearly intended for Selena but not included in the novel. The other three are "Stanzas Written for Angela 1800," "Verses Written for Angela 1804," and "Written for Angela." Additional poems such as "The Scissars a Riddle" seem to illustrate moments in the novel, as do several sonnets, but are not definitively marked as Selena poems. BACK
 EDITOR'S NOTE: Like thousands of women in the eighteenth century Tighe participated in the botanizing craze, collecting specimens, classifying them, and drawing images of them. In an undated letter to her cousin Caroline Hamilton she writes “I botanise a great deal & when I come home loaded with exquisite beauties & wonders, I say to myself with a degree of triumph & self satisfaction ‘the world scorns these & calls them by the indiscriminate name of weeds’” (Collected Poems and Journals 260). BACK
 EDITOR'S NOTE: Not included in the 37 are Tighe's imitations from the Bible ("Imitation. from Jeremiah Chap XXXI. Ver 15. Nov:r 1800" and "Psalm CXXX. Imitated. Jan.y 1805") and her imitation from Ossian, "Morven and Miruna." BACK