The date of composition has been disputed. S. stated in a letter to Hunt on 15 August 1819 that the poem ‘was composed last year at Este’ (L ii 108); Mary added the date ‘Rome, May, 1819’ to the poem’s first publication in 1824 (26). S. dated The Cenci to the same period in his dedication of the play to Leigh Hunt. (See head-note to no. 209 for the possible significance of the date.) In 1839, Mary placed the poem among the ‘Poems written in 1820’ at the end of vol. iii, following the Letter to Maria Gisborne. In 1840 she moved it into the poems of 1818. This uncertainty is largely resolved by two pieces of evidence which establish terminal dates: first, S. included a fair copy of the poem, with instructions for publication, in his letter to Hunt on 15 August 1819; secondly, the meeting with Byron which is recalled in the poem’s opening occurred on 23 August 1818 (L ii 35-6). S. lived at Byron’s villa near Este between 25 or 26 August and 5 November 1818 (see head- note to no. 195). He may have completed the poem by the latter date though Mary’s initial dating of May 1819 and S.’s delay before sending it to England in August 1819 both suggest it was begun at Este and not completed until the following year. A draft survives in Nbk 6 ff. 62-117 (BSM xv). This includes the bulk of the poem apart from 150 lines of the Maniac’s soliloquy (lines 287-93, 300-36, 377-83, 408-510 of the printed text do not appear.) Donald H. Reiman dates the composition of the missing lines to the period after the death of William S. on 7 June 1819 (SC vi 865). This cannot be proven. Reiman is too clear-cut when he identifies (Reiman (1977) 112) two phases of composition - in early 1819 and June-August 1819. GM’s analysis of the nbk reveals that parts of the poem must have been composed after ‘Stanzas Written in Dejection - December 1818, near Naples’ (which can confidently be dated to December 1818; see headnote to no. 187) and PU II (probably begun at the same period (see headnote to no. 195)). GM concludes from his study of the nbk draft that the ‘likelihood is… that substantial additions were still being made to Julian and Maddalo as late as March 1819’ (‘”Julian and Maddalo”: The Draft and the Meaning’, Stadia Neophilologica 35 (1963) 57-84 (67)). The sections of the poem not included in the nbk draft may have been written later still, though whether before or after William S.’s death cannot be decided.