T. R. Smith, comp. Poetica Erotica: Rare and Curious Amatory Verse. 192122.
Note to Volume Three
By Thomas Robert Smith (18801942)
THIS volume completes the plan that I set for myself, which was to issue a rather selective yet a fairly comprehensive and representative collection of Amatory verse in English, different in character from the usual love poetry that is printed in Anthologies. My purpose was to select only such verse from the long line of English literature, original and translations, that had already established itself in print, and such Poetry that possessed charm, passion and humor, but always avoiding the merely vulgar and obscene. It would have been easy enough to fill a score of volumes with coarse poems, for English writing is as plentiful in pornographic specimens as any other. The text of all the verse in these three volumes is taken from standard editions, most of which have been carefully edited, but there has been no expurgation. That fine scholar, Dr. J. Woodfall Ebsworth who so very competently edited the Roxburghe and Bagford Ballads and The Drollery Books, said in one of his prefaces:
He (the editor) holds to his confirmed opinion that in reprints of scarce and valuable historical memorials no tampering with the original is permissible. He leaves others to produce expurgated editions, suitable for unlearned triflers. No editor has any business to mutilate printed copy.
In this volume of Supplementary Poems, I have selected mostly from the ballad form of verse, and some of the choicest examples of this form will be found in these pages. Shakespeares Venus and Adonis is only omitted because it is always printed complete in every edition of his poems. I sincerely hope that this collection of Amatory poetry will fill, in some degree, a need in a scholars library. As the original source of the most of these poems is noted under each title, I have not considered it necessary to add explanatory notes.