“The ocean barrier is beating” and “[The tide upon the bar is leaping;]” (MS IA, g.1; MS IX; Poems [1891]; Works [1903])—The editor of Ruskin, Poems (1891), W. G. Collingwood, comments: “The second line of ‘Calais’ reads in the original, ‘The ocean barrier is beating’, which must be a mis‐transcription of an insufficiently altered rough copy, now lost, as the reading is neither rhyme nor reason” (Poems [4o, 1891], 1:280–81 n. 28; Poems [8o, 1891], 1:282, n. 28). As a substitution, Collingwood devised his own line, printing it in square brackets, as shown in the 1891 witness, ‘Calais’ [poem]. The editors of the Library Edition disagreed; and in the 1903 witness of “Calais” [poem], they restored Ruskinʼs original line, arguing that “the young author, as we have seen in the case of the ‘Iteriad’, was not always careful to get a true rhyme, and [that] the meaning [of the original line 2 of ‘Calais’] is clear enough” (Ruskin, Works, 2:341 n. 2). In fact, the use of the term barrier is significant; see Hanson, “Ruskin in the 1830s”.
In hypothesizing a “rough copy, now lost”, Collingwood evidently meant a draft version preceding not only the MS IX fair‐copy witness of “Calais” [poem], but also the MS IA, g.1, witness of “Calais” [poem]—the earliest extant version, which is in the hand of John James Ruskin, and which shows interlinear corrections by his son. In the latter version, line 2 is identical to that in the fair‐copy version. Thus, Collingwood was familiar with the MS IA, g.1 version, and he was referring to this manuscript as the one containing the “original” version of “Calais” [poem], while hypothesizing a “lost” rough copy behind it. From the MS IA, g.1 version, Collingwood did accept lines 5–6 as originally composed in John Jamesʼs hand, rejecting Ruskinʼs revision of those lines in that same manuscript. The MS IA, g.1 manuscript is the sole surviving witness of lines 5–6, which Collingwood preferred, Ruskin having carried his own, not his fatherʼs, version of these lines to the MS IX fair copy.
In arriving at his published version of “Calais” [poem], Collingwood appears therefore to have based his editorial decisions on his own aesthetic judgment, since his choices overall are consistent neither with the “original” MS IA, g.1 version in John Jamesʼs hand nor with the fair‐copy MS IX version in Ruskinʼs (and with Ruskinʼs interlinear revisions in MS IA, g.1, on which the fair copy is based). Collingwood even substituted a line of his own invention for one he disliked in both holograph versions. The editors of the Library Edition, E. T. Cook and Alexander Wedderburn, seem somewhat more consistent in preferring Ruskinʼs final, fair‐copy version, although their decisions are as eclectic and aesthetically driven as Collingwoodʼs in accepting the latterʼs re‐punctuation of the poem in combination with some punctuation found in Ruskinʼs fair copy. In the case of ‘Calais’, Cook and Wedderburn likewise clearly had access to the witnesses “in both the rough and in the fair copy”, as they call them—meaning, by the “rough” witness, what they referred to as Ruskinʼs “fatherʼs copy”, the MS IA, g.1 version (Ruskin, Works, 2:341 n. 2).
By 1903, MS IA, g.1, must have been bound as part of MS IA, a compilation that Cook and Wedderburn collected and identified in the “Note on the Original MSS. of the Poems” (i.e., in the Library Edition, their reprinting of Collingwoodʼs “Preliminary Note on the Original MSS. of the Poems” as “revised and completed from the edition of 1891”; see Ruskin, Works, 2:530).