The Charge of the Light Apostrophe, or "their's" in Tennyson

Douglas G. Wilson douglas at NB.NET
Sat Jul 10 15:06:08 UTC 2004

>#All I can say is that Tennyson published the poem as it stands in RPO. I
>#took my text from the original printed edition.

According to the RPO footnote this printed edition dates from 1908, about
54 years after the first printing.

There are several other printed versions reproduced at MoA, dated from 1855
to 1892 IIRC, all of them without the dubious apostrophes.

This Web transcription ... ...
has the apostrophes and claims to be from an 1870 book.

>He decided not to use the
>#manuscript reading you favour. Are you sure that he did not change his

Hard to know for certain. Tennyson died in 1892.

Here is the same issue discussed:

My own casual guess is that somebody goofed in typesetting.

But IF Tennyson employed these apostrophes (in some revisions, perhaps) it
wouldn't have to be an error, necessarily, nor any standard of the time,
but maybe just his free choice or 'poetic license'.

-- Doug Wilson

More information about the Ads-l mailing list