My residence at Oxford during the preparation of this edition was made possible by a generous grant from the Danforth Foundation. I wish to express here my gratitude to the Trustees of the Foundation.
In order to see as many copies of the text as possible I have imposed upon the kindness of many collectors and librarians. Sir Geoffrey Keynes, Mr. I. A. Shapiro, and Mr. John Sparrow were kind enough to allow me to use their copies. The librarians of the Chapter Library at Windsor, of Carlisle and York Cathedrals, and of the Innerpeffray Library deposited their copies at the Bodleian for my use. I would like to express my thanks to them and to the librarians of all the libraries listed on pages xlviii to l. It goes without saying that I am most indebted to the staff of Duke Humphrey's Library in the Bodleian.
Professor Gabriel Liegey of Fordham first suggested this edition to me. Miss Alice Walker of St. Hilda's College and Mr. Desmond Neill of the Bodleian helped me get started on the text. Dr. David Rogers, also of the Bodleian, assisted me in locating some of Donne's more arcane books. The late Professor William Jackson of Harvard led me to most of the seventeenth century copies of the text which were not listed by Sir Geoffrey Keynes. I must thank Frs. Anthony Levi and Basil Fitzgibbon of Campion Hall and Mr. Brian Daley of Merton College for their help with many points of latinity and history. Mr. John Sparrow, Warden of All Souls, and the Revd. Dr. T. M. Parker of University College both read this edition in its other incarnation and made many helpful suggestions. Fr. Edwin Cuffe of Fordham was also kind enough to read its every line and to share with me both his scholarship and his judgement. I am deeply indebted to Miss Elizabeth Wade-White for her generous kindness in helping me proof-read.
pg viAt every step in preparing this edition I have been able to rely on the help of Dame Helen Gardner, Merton Professor of English Literature at Oxford. To the generosity with which she has given of her time and learning it owes more than I can say. The only truly proprietary claim I can make is that all errors of fact or interpretation are strictly my own.
If it were appropriate to dedicate an edition, this would have borne on its dedication page the name of Joseph A. Slattery, S.J. I could thus have given some expression to my indebted affection for a great teacher and lifelong friend.