No draft of this poem is known to exist. It is placed amongst ‘Poems written in 1820’ in 1839 iv 47. Given its theme, it is possible that it was composed in the summer or autumn of 1820 around the time of an anniversary of the death of one S. particularly mourned, i.e. 7 June (William), 24 September (Clara), 9 October (Fanny) or 9 November (Harriet). There is an intermediate fair copy in S.’s hand, entitled ‘Sonnet’, made for safe-keeping in Harvard Nbk 1 p. 151 (reproduced in facsimile in MYRS v 148). Donald Reiman suggests it was amongst those poems S. ‘last copied’ into this nbk (MYRS v, p. xxii). It is possible, though by no means certain, that a fair copy of the sonnet was enclosed in S.’s letter to Ollier of 10 November 1820 and intended for publication with J&Min a collection he described as ‘all my saddest verses raked up into one heap.’ (L ii 246; on the likely contents of this collection, which was never published, see BSM ix pp. liii–lv and headnotes to Stanzas written in dejection—December 1818, near Naples (no. 187) and Misery.—A Fragment (no. 202)) The neat holograph fair copy in Morgan Library and Museum, M.A. 3223 f. 2v, with the title ‘Sonnet’ cancelled, on the recto of which is The Question — (no. 288), was apparently made from Harvard Nbk 1, probably in the summer of 1821. There is also a neat copy of the first line and the start of the second, mostly cancelled, at the top of M.A. 3223 f 3v rev. The Question and Goodnight (no. 277) (also in M.A. 3223) were first published in The Literary Pocket-Book 1822 in November 1821 (see headnotes to those poems), 726this poem, under the title ‘Sonnet’, in The Literary Pocket-Book 1823 in 1822. All three appeared over the signature ‘Σ’ (the Greek letter sigma, equivalent of the English ‘S’). As Reiman notes, S. probably posted these fair copies to London in late summer or early autumn 1821, though whether to Hunt, editor of the Literary Pocket-Book, or to Ollier, its publisher, is not clear. However Ollier, who effectively took over editorship of the final, 1823 Literary Pocket-Book on Hunt’s departure for Italy, must have handled the publication of the sonnet (MYRS viii 303). There are markings in pencil on M.A. 3223 f. 2v including cancel lines which Reiman interprets as ‘probably by Charles Ollier when he determined not to include all three of PBS’s poems in LPB for 1822.’ (MYRS viii 306) He also conjectures that M.A. 3223 may not have been copy-text for the Literary Pocket-Book print-ing, and that more probably ‘Ollier copied it out and sent his transcription to press at that time.’ (MYRS viii 306) The Literary Pocket-Book text is more heavily punctuated than M.A. 3223, and its printing of ‘living’ for ‘livery’ in line 3 results from a misreading of S.’s hand. For 1824, where it was published as ‘Sonnet I’, Mary used as base-text Harvard Nbk 1, the only version available to her. M.A. 3223 f. 2v is collated with The Literary Pocket-Book 1823, 1824, 1839 and Forman 1876–7, amongst other witnesses, in MYRS viii 320. The rhyme-scheme (abababc-cbdcdcc) and the position of the turn at the end of l. 5 are characteristically unconventional. Rognoni 1603, noting parallels with Alastor (no. 114) and The Two Spirits. An Allegory (no. 182) calls the sonnet ‘un carpe diem … ma cosí concitato, come se la voce della saggezza mondana da un istante all’altro potesse venir travolta dalla corsa dei suoi stessi, frenetici pensieri’ (‘a carpe diem, but so flustered as if the voice of worldly wisdom could at any moment be swept away in the rush of its very own frantic thoughts’).