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lish the proceeding, were aecused of wishing to philosophy. He loved to study in the open air, in make a sensation ; of doing a horrible and unfeel- the shadow of the wood, or by the side of the ing thing, etc. The truth was, that the nearest water-fall. In short, he was a singular illustration connexions, both of Mr. Shelley and Mr. Williams, of the force of natural genius, bursting the bonds wished to have their remains interred in regular of birth and habit, and the conventional ties of the places of burial; and that for this purpose they circle in which he was born, and soaring high, could be removed in no other manner. Such being under the direction of his own spirit, chartless and the case, it is admitted that the mourners did not alone. He steered by his own ideas of justice; refuse themselves the little comfort of supposing hence he was ever at war with things which reathat lovers of books and antiquity, like Mr. Shel- son and right had no hand in establishing,-radiley and his friend, would not have been sorry to cally wrong in themselves perhaps, or to be changed

foresee this part of their fate. Among the mate for the better, but by usage become second nature prials for burning, as many of the gracefuller and to society, or at least to that far larger proportion E more classical articles as could be procured,- of it which lives by custom alone. He had no frankincense, wine, etc.-were not forgotten. value for what the mass of men estimate as desi

« The proceedings of the next day, with Mr. rable; a seat in the senate he declined, though he Shelley's remains, exactly resembled those of the might have enriched himself by its acceptance. foregoing, with the exception of there being two He seemed to commit the mistake of others before assistants less. On both days, the extraordinary him, in dreaming of the perfectibility of man. An beauty of the flame arising from the funeral pile anecdote is related of him that, at a ball of fashion was noticed. Mr. Shelley's remains were taken where he was a leading character, and the most to Rome, and deposited in the Protestant burial. elegant ladies of the crowd expected the honor of ground, near those of a child he had lost in that being led out by him, he selected a friendless girl eily, and of Mr. Keats. It is the cemetery he for a partner who was scorned by her companions, speaks of in the preface to his Elegy on the death having lain under the imputation of an unlucky of his young friend, as calculated to make one mishap some time preceding. in love with death, to think that one should be The books in which he commonly read were buried in so sweet a place.”—The generous reader the Greek writers; in the tragedians particularly, will be glad to hear, that the remains of Mr. Shel- he was deeply versed. The Bible was a work of ley were attended to their final abode by some of great admiration with him, and his frequent study. the most respectable English residents in Rome. For the character of Christ and his doctrines he He was sure to awaken the sympathy of gallant had great reverence, the axiom of the founder of and accomplished spirits wherever he went, alive Christianity being that by which he endeavored to bor dead. The remains of Mr. Williams were taken shape his course in despite of all obstacles. In peto England. Mr. Williams was a very intelligent, cuniary matters he was liberal. Uncharitable ingood-hearted man, and his death was deplored by deed must that man have been who doubted the friends worthy of him."

excellence of his intentions, or charged him with Shelley was thirty years old when he died. He wilful error: who then shall judge a being of whom was tall and slender in his figure, and stooped a this may be said, save his Creator-who that lives Little in the shoulders, though perfectly well-made. in the way he sees others live, without regard to The expression of his features was mild and good. the mode being right or wrong, shall charge him His complexion was fair, and his cheeks colored. with crime, who tries to reconcile together his life

His eyes were large and lively; and the whole and his aspirations after human perfectibility ? ** turn of his face, which was small, was graceful Shelley had his faults as well as other men, but on

and full of sensibility. He was subject to attacks the whole it appears that his deviations from the of a disorder which forced him to lie down (if in vulgar routine form the great sum of the charges the open air, upon the ground) until they were made against him. His religious sentiments were over ; yet he bore them kindly and without a mur. between him and his God. mur. His disposition was amiable, and even the The writings of Shelley are too deep to be popu. word " pious" has been applied to his conduct as lar, but there is no reader possessing taste and regarded others, to his love of nature, and to his judgment, who will not do homage to his pen. He ideas of that power which pervades all things. was a poet of great power : he felt intensely, and He was very fond of music; frugal in all but his his works everywhere display the ethereal spirit charities, often to considerable self-denial, and of genius of a rare order—abstract, perhaps, but lored to do acts of generosity and kindness. He not less powerful; his is the poetry of intellect, was a first-rate scholar; and besides the languages not that of the Lakers; his theme is the high one of antiquity, well understood the German, Ital- of intellectual nature and lofty feeling, not of wagian and French tongues. He was an excellent oners or idiot children. His faults in writing are metaphysician, and was no slight adept in natural obvious, but equally so are his beauties. He is too

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much of a philosopher, and dwells too much upon “ The comparative solitude in which Mr. Shelley favorite images, that draw less upon our sympa- lived, was the occasion that he was personally thies than those of social life. His language is known to few; and his fearless enthusiasm in the lofty, and no one knows better how to cull, arrange, cause, which he considered the most sacred upon and manage the syllables of his native tongue. He earth, the improvement of the moral and physical thoroughly understood metrical composition. state of mankind, was the chief reason why be,

Shelley began to publish prematurely, as we like other illustrious reformers, was pursued by have already stated, at the early age of 15; but it hatred and calumny. No man was ever more dewas not till about the year 1811 or 1812 that he voted than he, to the endeavor of making those seems first to have devoted his attention to poetical around him happy; no man ever possessed friends composition. To enumerate his poetical works more unfeignedly attached to him. The ungratehere would be a useless task, as they will be found ful world did not feel his loss, and the gap it made in the collection of his poems appended. His seemed to close as quickly over his memory :3 “ Prometheus Unbound” is a noble work; his the murderous sea above his living frame. Here “Cenci” and “Adonais” are his principal works after men will lament that his transcendent por. in point of merit. Love was one of his favorite ers of intellect were extinguished before they had themes, as it is with all poets, and he has ever bestowed on them their choicest treasures. To his touched it with a master-hand. The subject of the friends his loss is irremediable: the wise, the “Cenci" is badly selected, but it is nobly written, brave, the gentle, is gone for ever! He is to them and admirably sustained. Faults it has, but they as a bright vision, whose radiant track, left behind are amply redeemed by its beauties. It is only in the memory, is worth all the realities that so from the false clamor raised against him during ciety can afford. Before the critics contradict me, his life-time, that his poems have not been more let them appeal to any one who had ever know read. No scholar, no one having the slightest pre-him: to see him was to love him; and his pres tensions to true taste in poetry, can be without ence, like Ithuriel's spear, was alone sufficient to them. It may be boldly prophesied that they will disclose the falsehood of the tale, which his ene. one day be more read than they have ever yet mies whispered in the ear of the ignorant world. been, and more understood. In no nation but Eng. “ His life was spent in the contemplation of 13land do the reading public suffer others to judge ture, in arduous study, or in acts of kindness and for them, and pin their ideas of the defects or affection. He was an elegant scholar and a probeauties of their national writers upon the partial found metaphysician: without possessing much diatribes of hired pens, and the splenetic outpour. scientific knowledge, he was unrivalled in the ings of faction. It is astonishing how the nation justness and extent of his observations on natural of Newton and Locke is thus contented to suffer objects; he knew every plant by its name, and itself to be deceived and misled by literary Ma- was familiar with the history and habits of every chiavelism.

production of the earth; he could interpret withThe following preface to the author's Posthu- out a fault each appearance in the sky, and the mous Poems contains much to interest the admi- varied phenomena of heaven and earth filled him rers of his genius. The circumstance of its being with deep emotion. He made his study and readfrom the pen of Mrs. Shelley will still farther re-ing-room of the shadowed copse, the stream, the commend it:

lake and the water-fall. n health and continual “ It had been my wish, on presenting the public pain preyed upon his powers; and the solitude in with the Posthumous Poems of Mr. Shelley, to which we lived, particularly on our first arrival in have accompanied them by a biographical notice ; Italy, although congenial to his feelings, must freas it appeared to me, that at this moment a narra. quently have weighed upon his spirits : those beaution of the events of my husband's life would come tiful and affecting 'Lines, written in dejection at more gracefully from other hands than mine, I Naples,' were composed at such an interval; bat applied to Mr. Leigh Hunt. The distinguished when in health, his spirits were buoyant and friendship that Mr. Shelley felt for him, and the youthful to an extraordinary degree. enthusiastic affection with which Mr. Leigh Hunt “Such was his love for nature, that erery page clings to his friend's memory, seemed to point of his poetry is associated in the minds of his him out as the person best calculated for such an friends with the loveliest scenes of the countries undertaking. His absence from this country, which he inhabited. In early life he visited the which prevented our mutual explanation, has un- most beautiful parts of this country and Ireland. fortunately rendered my scheme abortive. I do Afterwards the Alps of Switzerland became his not doubt but that, on some other occasion, he will inspirers. 'Prometheus Unbound' was written pay this tribute to his lost friend, and sincerely re- among the deserted and flower-grown ruins of gret that the volume which I edit has not been Rome; and when he made his home under the honored by its insertion.

Pisan hills, their roofless recesses harbored him as

he composed 'The Witch of Atlas' • Adonais,' and to imbue with strange horror our days of uncerHellas.' In the wild but beautiful Bay of Spezia, tainty. The truth was at last known,-a truth the winds and waves which he loved became his that made our loved and lovely Italy appear a tomb, playmates. His days were chiefly spent on the its sky, a pall. Every heart echoed the deep lament; water; the management of his boat, its alterations and my only consolation was in the praise and and improvements, were his principal occupation. earnest love that each voice bestowed and each At night, when the unclouded moon shone on the countenance demonstrated for him we had lost,calm sea, he often went alone in his little shallop not, I fondly hope, for ever : his unearthly and to the rocky caves that bordered it, and sitting be- elevated nature is a pledge of the continuation of neath their shelter wrote • The Triumph of Life,' his being, although in an altered form. Rome re. the last of his productions. The beauty but ceived his ashes; they are deposited beneath its strangeness of this lonely place, the refined plea- weed-grown wall, and the world's sole monusure which he felt in the companionship of a few ment' is enriched by his remains. selected friends, our entire sequestration from the Julian and Maddalo,' • The Witch of Atlas,' rest of the world, all contributed to render this and most of the Translations, were written some period of his life one of continued enjoyment. I years ago, and, with the exception of The Cyclops,' am convinced that the two months we passed there and the Scenes from the Magico Prodigioso,' were the happiest he had ever known: his health may be considered as having received the author's even rapidly improved, and he was never better ultimate corrections. “The Triumph of Life' was than when I last saw him, full of spirits and joy, his last work, and was left in so unfinished a state, embark for Leghorn, that he might there welcome that I arranged it in its present form with great Leigh Hant to Italy. I was to have accompanied difficulty. Many of the Miscellaneous Poems, him, but illness confined me to my room, and thus written on the spur of the occasion, and never reput the seal on my misfortune. His vessel bore touched, I found among his manuscript books, and out of sight with a favorable wind, and I remained have carefully copied : I have subjoined, whenever awuting his return by the breakers of that sea I have been able, the date of their composition. which was about to ingulf him.

"I do not know whether the critics will repre. " He spent a week at Pisa, employed in kind hend the insertion of some of the most imperfect ofices towards his friend, and enjoying with keen among these; but I frankly own, that I have been celight the renewal of their intercourse. He then more actuated by the fear lest any monument of embarked with Mr. Williams, the chosen and his genius should escape me, than the wish of prebeloved sharer of his pleasures and of his fate, to senting nothing but what was complete to the fasreturn to us. We waited for them in vain; the tidious rcader. I feel secure that the Lovers of Hea by its restless moaning seemed to desire to in- Shelley's Poetry (who know how, more than any frorin os of what we would not learn : —but a other poet of the present day, every line and word reil may well be drawn over such misery. The he wrote is instinct with peculiar beauty) will meal anguish of these moments transcended all the pardon and thank me: I consecrate this volume fetions that the most glowing imagination ever to them. portrayed : our seclusion, the savage nature of the

* MARY W. SHELLEY, inhabitants of the surrounding villages, and our immediate vicinity to the troubled sea, combined “ London, June 1st, 1824.

247

1

THE

POETICAL WORKS

OF

PERCY BYSSHE SHELLEY.

The Revolt of Yslam;

A POEM.

IN TWELVE CANTOES.

PREFACE.

limprove mankind; the rapid effects of the applica

tion of that tendency; the awakening of an immense nation from their slavery and degradation to a true

sense of moral dignity and freedom; the bloodless The Poem which I now present to the world, is an dethronement of their oppressors, and the unveiling of attempt from which I scarcely dare to expect success, the religious frauds by which they had been deluded and in which a writer of established fame might fail into submission; the tranquillity of successful pawithout disgrace. It is an experiment on the temper triotism, and the universal toleration and benevolence of the public mind, as to how far a thirst for a hap- of true philanthropy; the treachery and barbarity of pier condition of moral and political society survives, hired soldiers; vice not the object of punishment and among the enlightened and refined, the tempests hatred, but kindness and pity; the faithlessness of which have shaken the age in which we live. I tyrants; the confederacy of the Rulers of the World, have sought to enlist the harmony of metrical lan- and the restoration of the expelled Dynasty by forguage, the ethereal combinations of the fancy, the eign arms; the massacre and extermination of the rapid and subtle transitions of human passion, all Patriots, and the victory of established power; the those elements which essentially compose a Poem, consequences of legitimate despotism, civil war, samin the cause of a liberal and comprehensive morality ; ine, plague, superstition, and an utter extinction of and in the view of kindling within the bosoms of my the domestic affections ; the judicial murder of the readers, a virtuous enthusiasm for those doctrines of advocates of Liberty; the temporary triumph of opliberty and justice, that faith and hope in something pression, that secure earnest of its final and inevitagood, which neither violence, nor misrepresentation, ble fall; the transient nature of ignorance and error, nor prejudice, can ever totally extinguish among and the eternity of genius and virtue, Such is the mankind.

series of delineations of which the Poem consists. For this purpose I have chosen a story of human And if the lofty passions with which it has been my passion in its most universal character, diversified scope to distinguish this story, shall not excite in the with moving and romantic adventures, and appeal- reader a generous impulse, an ardent thirst for exing, in contempt of all artificial opinions or institu- cellence, an interest profound and strong, such as tions, to the common sympathies of every human belongs to no meaner desire—let not the failure be breast. I have made no attempt to recommend the imputed to a natural unfitness for human sympathy motives which I would substitute for those at present in these sublime and animated themes. It is the busigoverning mankind, by methodical and systematic ness of the poet to communicate to others the pleaargument I would only awaken the feelings, so that sure and enthusiasm arising out of those images and the reader should see the beauty of true virtue, and feelings, in the vivid presence of which within his be incited to those inquiries which have led to my own mind, consists at once his inspiration and his moral and political creed, and that of some of the reward. sublimest intellects in the world. The Poem there. The panic which, like an epidemic transport, seized fore (with the exception of the first Canto, which is upon all classes of men during the excesses consepurely introductory), is narrative, not didactic. It is quent upon the French Revolution, is gradually giving a succession of pictures illustrating the growth and place to sanity. It has ceased to be believed, that progress of individual mind aspiring after excellence, whole generations of mankind ought to consign themand devoted to the love of mankind; its influence in selves to a hopeless inheritance of ignorance and refining and making pure the most daring and un- misery, because a nation of men who had been dupes common impulses of the imagination, the understand- and slaves for centuries, were incapable of conducting, and the senses ; its impatience at all the op- ing themselves with the wisdom and tranquillity of pressions which are done under the sun;" its tend- freemen so soon as some of their fetters were partially Ency to awaken public hope, and to enlighten and sloosened. That their conduct could not have been

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