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Of female friends, sisters-in-law and cousins.
And there is he with his eternal puns,
Which beat the dullest brain for smiles, like duns
Thundering for money at a poet's door;
Alas! it is no use to say, "I'm poor!"
Or oft in graver mood, when he will look
Things wiser than were ever read in book,
Except in Shakespeare's wisest tenderness.-
You will see Hogg, and I cannot express
His virtues, though I know that they are great,
Because he locks, then barricades the gate
Within which they inhabit; of his wit
And wisdom you'll cry out when you are bit.
He is a pearl within an oyster shell,
One of the richest of the deep. And there
Is English Peacock, with his mountain fair,
Turned into a Flamingo, that shy bird
That gleams i' the Indian air;-have you not
When a man marries, dies, or turns Hindoo,
His best friends hear no more of him? — but
Will see him, and will like him too, I hope,
With the milk-white Snowdonian Antelope
Matched with this cameleopard; his fine wit
Makes such a wound, the knife is lost in it;
A strain too learnèd for a shallow age,
Too wise for selfish bigots; let his page
Which charms the chosen spirits of the time,
224 read, Boscombe MS. || said, Mrs. Shelley, transcript, 1824. 240 this, Mrs. Shelley, 1824 || the, Mrs. Shelley, transcript; his, Mrs. Shelley, 18391.
244 time, Boscombe MS., Mrs. Shelley, transcript || age, Mrs. Shelley, 1824.
Fold itself up for the serener clime
Of years to come, and find its recompense
In that just expectation. Wit and sense,
Virtue and human knowledge; all that might
Make this dull world a business of delight,
Are all combined in Horace Smith. And these,
With some exceptions, which I need not tease
Your patience by descanting on, are all
You and I know in London.
My thoughts, and bid you look upon the night.
As water does a sponge, so the moonlight
Fills the void, hollow, universal air.
What see you? — unpavilioned heaven is fair
Whether the moon, into her chamber gone,
Leaves midnight to the golden stars, or wan
Climbs with diminished beams the azure steep;
Or whether clouds sail o'er the inverse deep,
Piloted by the many-wandering blast,
And the rare stars rush through them dim and
All this is beautiful in every land.
But what see you beside?—a shabby stand
Of Hackney coaches-a brick house or wall
Fencing some lonely court, white with the scrawl
Of our unhappy politics; or worse-
A wretched woman reeling by, whose curse
Mixed with the watchman's, partner of her trade,
You must accept in place of serenade, -
245 the, Mrs. Shelley, transcript || a, Mrs. Shelley, 1824. 247 expectation, Mrs. Shelley, 1824 || reputation, Mrs. Shelley, transcript.
Or yellow-haired Pollonia murmuring
To Henry, some unutterable thing.
I see a chaos of green leaves and fruit
Built round dark caverns, e en to the root
Of the living stems that feed them-in whose
There sleep in their dark dew the folded flowers ;
Beyond, the surface of the unsickled corn
Trembles not in the slumbering air, and borne
In circles quaint and ever changing dance,
Like winged stars, the fireflies flash and glance,
Pale in the open moonshine, but each one
Under the dark trees seems a little sun,
A meteor tamed, a fixed star gone astray
From the silver regions of the milky way;
Afar the Contadino's song is heard,
Rude, but made sweet by distance — and a bird
Which cannot be the Nightingale, and yet
I know none else that sings so sweet as it
At this late hour; and then all is still.
Now Italy or London, which you will!
Next winter you must pass with me; I'll have My house by that time turned into a grave Of dead despondence and low-thoughted care, And all the dreams which our tormentors are; Oh! that Hunt, Hogg, Peacock and Smith were there,
With every thing belonging to them fair!
272, 273 Mrs. Shelley, 18392 || omit, Mrs. Shelley, transcript, 1824, 18391.
276 that, Mrs. Shelley, transcript || who, Mrs. Shelley, 1824. 288 the, Mrs. Shelley, transcript || a, Mrs. Shelley, 1824. 296 Boscombe MS., Mrs. Shelley, transcript.
We will have books, Spanish, Italian, Greek;
And ask one week to make another week
As like his father, as I'm unlike mine,
Which is not his fault, as you may divine.
Though we eat little flesh and drink no wine,
Yet let's be merry: we'll have tea and toast;
Custards for supper, and an endless host
Of syllabubs and jellies and mince-pies,
And other such lady-like luxuries,—
Feasting on which we will philosophize!
And we'll have fires out of the Grand Duke's wood,
To thaw the six weeks' winter in our blood.
And then we'll talk ;- what shall we talk about?
Oh! there are themes enough for many a bout
Of thought-entangled descant; -as to nerves -
With cones and parallelograms and curves
I've sworn to strangle them if once they dare
To bother me when you are with me there.
And they shall never more sip laudanum,
From Helicon or Himeros ;- well, come,
And in despite of God and of the devil,
We'll make our friendly philosophic revel
Outlast the leafless time; till buds and flowers
Warn the obscure inevitable hours
Sweet meeting by sad parting to renew ;-
"To-morrow to fresh woods and pastures new."
301 Mrs. Shelley, transcript || omit, Mrs. Shelley, 1824, 18391,2. 317 well, come, Mrs. Shelley, 18392 || we'll come, Mrs. Shelley, transcript, 1824, 18391.
318 despite of God, Mrs. Shelley, transcript || despite of . . . Mrs. Shelley, 1824, spite of . Mrs. Shelley, 18391.
319 We'll, Mrs. Shelley, 18391,2.
transcript || Will, Mrs. Shelley, 1824,
EPODE I a
I STOOD within the city disinterred;
And heard the autumnal leaves like light footfalls Of spirits passing through the streets; and heard The Mountain's slumberous voice at intervals Thrill through those roofless halls; The oracular thunder penetrating shook
The listening soul in my suspended blood; I felt that Earth out of her deep heart spokeI felt, but heard not. Through white columns glowed
The isle-sustaining Ocean-flood,
A plane of light between two Heavens of azure: Around me gleamed many a bright sepulchre Of whose pure beauty, Time, as if his pleasure Were to spare Death, had never made erasure; But every living lineament was clear
As in the sculptor's thought; and there The wreaths of stony myrtle, ivy and pine, Like winter leaves o'ergrown by moulded snow, Seemed only not to move and grow
Because the crystal silence of the air Weighed on their life; even as the Power divine, Which then lulled all things, brooded upon mine.
Then gentle winds arose,
With many a mingled close
Ode to Naples. Published by Mrs. Shelley, 1824. Composed at the Baths of San Giuliano, near Pisa, August 17-25.