« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
him. The sight of the works of art was full [of] enjoyment and wonder; he had not studied pictures or statues before; he now did so with the eye of taste, that referred not to the rules of schools, but to those of nature and truth. The first entrance to Rome opened to him a scene of remains of antique grandeur that far surpassed his expectations; and the unspeakable beauty of Naples and its environs added to the impression he received of the transcendent and glorious beauty of Italy. As I have said, he wrote long letters during the first year of our residence in this country, and these, when published, will be the best testimonials of his appreciation of the harmonious and beautiful in art and nature, and his delicate taste in discerning and describing them.
"Our winter was spent at Naples. Here he wrote the fragments of Marenghi and The Woodman and the Nightingale, which he afterwards threw aside. At this time Shelley suffered greatly in health. He put himself under the care of a medical man, who promised great things, and made him endure severe bodily pain, without any good results. Constant and poignant physical suffering exhausted him; and though he preserved the appearance of cheerfulness, and often greatly enjoyed our wanderings in the environs of Naples, and our excursions on its sunny sea, yet many hours were passed when his thoughts, shadowed by illness, became gloomy, and then he escaped to solitude, and in verses, which he hid from fear of wounding me, poured forth morbid but too natural bursts of discontent and sadness. One looks back with unspeakable regret and gnawing remorse to such periods; fancying that had one been more alive to the nature of his feelings, and more attentive to soothe them, such would not have existed and yet enjoying, as he appeared to do, every sight or influence of earth or sky, it was difficult to imagine that any melancholy he showed was aught but the effect of the constant pain to which he was a martyr.
66 We lived in utter solitude—and such is often not the nurse of cheerfulness; for then, at least with those who have been exposed to adversity, the mind broods over its sorrows too intently; while the society of the enlightened, the witty,
and the wise, enables us to forget ourselves by making us the sharers of the thoughts of others, which is a portion of the philosophy of happiness. Shelley never liked society in numbers, it harassed and wearied him; but neither did he like loneliness, and usually when alone sheltered himself against memory and reflection, in a book. But with one or two whom he loved, he gave way to wild and joyous spirits, or in more serious conversation expounded his opinions with vivacity and eloquence. If an argument arose, no man ever argued better- he was clear, logical, and earnest, in supporting his own views; attentive, patient, and impartial, while listening to those on the adverse side. Had not a wall of prejudice been raised at this time between him and his countrymen, how many would have sought the acquaintance of one, whom to know was to love and to revere ! how many of the more enlightened of his contemporaries have since regretted that they did not seek him! how very few knew his worth while he lived, and of those few, several were withheld by timidity or envy from declaring their sense of it. But no man was ever more enthusiastically loved — more looked up to as one superior to his fellows in intellectual endowments and moral worth, by the few who knew him well, and had sufficient nobleness of soul to appreciate his superiority. His excellence is now acknowledged; but even while admitted, not duly appreciated. For who, except those who were acquainted with him, can imagine his unwearied benevolence, his generosity, his systematic forbearance? And still less is his vast superiority in intellectual attainments sufficiently understood his sagacity, his clear understanding, his learning, his prodigious memory; all these, as displayed in conversation, were known to few while he lived, and are now silent in the tomb :
"Ahi orbo mondo ingrato,
Gran cagion hai di dever pianger meco;
203 Sonnet: To the Nile. Keats to his brothers, February 16, 1818: "The Wednesday before last Shelley, Hunt, and I, wrote each a sonnet on the river Nile; some
day you shall read them all." Lord Houghton, Life and Letters of Keats, i. 98, 99. Shelley's sonnet was supposed to be Ozymandias until this was published. TEXT: 5 fields of loosening snow depend intermediate MS. reading cancelled. Forman gives a facsimile of the MS.
204 The Past. TEXT: ii. 5 ghostly Rossetti.
205 On a Faded Violet. Shelley, (from Pisa) to Miss Sophia Stacey, March 7, 1820: "I promised you what I cannot perform a song on singing: there are only two subjects remaining. I have a few old stanzas on one which, though simple and rude, look as if they were dictated by the heart. And so - if you tell no one whose they are, you are welcome to them. [Here follows the poem.] Pardon these dull verses from one who is dull - but who is not the less, ever yours, P. B. S. When you come to Pisa, contrive to see us." Forman, iii. 150. TEXT: 18392 follows 18391.
206 Lines Written among the Euganean Hills. "I do not know which of the few scattered poems I left in England will be selected by my bookseller to add to this collection. One, which I sent from Italy, was written after a day's excursion among those lovely mountains which surround what was once the retreat, and where is now the sepulchre, of Petrarch. If any one is inclined to condemn the insertion of the introductory lines, which image forth the sudden relief of a state of deep despondency by the radiant visions disclosed by the sudden burst of an Italian sunrise in autumn, on the highest peak of those delightful mountains, I can only offer as my excuse, that they were not erased at the request of a dear friend, with whom added years of intercourse only add to my apprehension of its value, and who would have had more right than any one to complain, that she has not been able to extinguish in me the very power of delineating sadness. — Naples, December 20, 1818." Shelley, Preface to Rosalind and Helen, 1819.
Shelley (from Leghorn) to Peacock, April 6, 1819: "By the by, have you seen Ollier? I never hear from him, and am ignorant whether some verses I sent him from Naples, entitled, I think, Lines on the Euganean Hills, have reached him in safety or not.” Mrs. Shelley, Essays and Letters, ii. 213.
"It was at I Capuccini that he etched though it appears that he did not complete the poem till his stay at Naples." Medwin, MS. note in a copy of his Life, quoted by Dowden, ii. 233.
"Others, as, for instance, Rosalind and Helen and Lines written among the Euganean Hills, I found among his papers by chance; and with some difficulty urged him to complete them." Mrs. Shelley, 18391, I. xi.
The lines on Byron were interpolated after the poem was sent to the publisher, as is shown by Mr. Frederick Locker-Lampson's copy of Rosalind and Helen.
TEXT: 43 Rossetti's emendation is a correction.
54 Sea-mew's Rossetti.
115 Palgrave's emendation is plainly wrong.
175 Forman's emendation destroys the highly imaginative unity of the figure, and substitutes a mere mixed metaphor therefor.
218 Misery. See Mrs. Shelley's Note on Shelley at Naples, above, p. 503. On this Medwin comments: “Had she been able to disentangle the threads of the mystery, she would have attributed his feelings to more than purely physical causes. Among the verses which she had probably never seen till they appeared in print was the Invocation to Misery, an idea taken from Shakespeare — making love to Misery, betokening his soul lacerated to rawness by the tragic event above detailed - the death of his unknown adorer."
Life, i. 330, 331. He refers to a story, previously told by him in The Angler in Wales, ii. 194, related by Shelley to him and Byron, that "the night before his departure from London in 1814 , he re
ceived a visit from a married lady, young, handsome, and of noble connections, and whose disappearance from the world of fashion, in which she moved, may furnish to those curious in such inquiries a clue to her identity; " and he goes on to describe how, in spite of Shelley's entreaty and unknown to him, this lady followed him to the continent, kept near him, and at Naples, in this year, met him, told her wandering devotion, and there died. (Life, i. 324-329.) Medwin ascribes to this incident the next poem, and also the lines On a Faded Violet. Rossetti (i. 90) says he is
assured on good authority" that Medwin's connecting Misery with these events is "not correct." Lady Shelley says: "Of this strange narrative it will be sufficient to say here that not the slightest allusion to it is to be found in any of the family documents." (Shelley Memorials, p. 92.) Rossetti connects with the story Shelley's letter to Peacock, May, 1820, in which he refers to his health as affected "by certain moral causes," and also his letter to Ollier, December 15, 1819, in which he expresses his intention to "write three other poems [besides Julian and Maddalo] the scenes of which will be laid at Rome, Florence, and Naples, but the subjects of which will be all drawn from dreadful or beautiful realities, as that of this was." Miss Clairmont asserted that she knew the lady's name and had seen her. At Naples there died a little girl who was to some extent in Shelley's charge, and of whom he wrote with feeling. Dowden (ii. 252, 253), suggests some connection between the two incidents.
TEXT: i. 1 by Rossetti, Forman.
iv. 4 We will Forman.
vi. 2 Thine arm shall be my Rossetti, Forman, Dowden. Mrs. Shelley's reading seems right, in poetic feeling.
viii. 5 Forman's conjecture is prosaic.
x. 2 lovers Rossetti.
xi. 3 even Rossetti.