This pocket-sized, water-damaged book was presented to the Bodleian in 1893 by Lady Shelley and put on public display with the following description: ‘SHELLEY’S SOPHOCLES / WHICH HE HAD WITH HIM WHEN DROWNED / PRESENTED TO THE BODLEIAN LIBRARY, OXFORD, BY JANE, LADY SHELLEY [THE END EDGE IS SUPPOSED TO SHOW THE MARK OF SHELLEY’S THUMB]'. The Librarian, E.W.B. Nicholson, catalogued it as being ‘found in Shelley's hand at his death'.
It is not known how the book was acquired by Sir Percy and Lady Shelley; the idea that it was found clutched in the poet's dead hand is surely fanciful, but it may have been in the trunk that was salvaged from the Don Juan. Its similarity to Shelley's copy of Aeschylus supports the claim that it did belong to the poet, and that its provenance (which Lady Shelley obviously accepted) is not a deliberate fraud. It is not unlikely that both the Aeschylus and the Sophocles (handy and portable) were with Shelley on his last voyage.
? Percy Bysshe Shelley; […]; (by 1886) Sir Percy and Lady Shelley; (bequest, 1889) Lady Shelley; (gift, 1893) Bodleian.