Scope and Content Note
Volume I is dated 1810, but it contains manuscript versions of works published in 1801 and earlier material. Volume I begins
with an index of sixty-four authors, in no obvious order, whose works are represented in the volume. They range from classical
to contemporary writers. Owenson includes several quotations from Confucius (credited as such in the copy), although she
does not list him in her table of authors.
The volume is divided by four subheadings: Poetic Extracts, Prosaic Extracts, Miscelanies [sic], and Original Poetry by Sidney
Owenson, although it is important to note that these categories do not accurately describe all of the content within the sections
(i.e., prose appears in the poetic extracts and vice-versa).
Of particular interest are two elements found near the end of the volume. The first is the section titled "Original Poetry
by Sidney Owenson" (though it contains misc. matter besides her poetry), which includes manuscript versions of poems such
as "Will 'o the Wisp," "Sonnet to Hope," "To Myself," "To My Muse," "Chloe and Cupid" (in pencil, and barely legible), "Stanzas"
("When shall I be at rest"), and "The Post Boy (waiting for a letter from my father)," which were published in her first work,
the 1801 Poems. The manuscript versions differ substantially from their finished incarnations, and many show evidence of composition:
strike-throughs, words replaced, etc. The poems are preceded by a list of 42 "Poems by Sydney Owenson," somewhat re-ordered
and with many strike-throughs. Many of the titles here are recognizable as versions of the poems included in her 1801 volume.
The other matter of interest is her self-explanatory "List of books I'm anxious to procure," which includes, among others,
Johnson's Lives of the Poets, "Petrarch - Tasso - Metastasio," Lorenzo de Medici, Burke's Sublime and Beautiful, "Lives of
Peter the Great, Frederic the Great," and James Harris's Hermes.