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stand myself, I have written neither for profit nor for fame. I have employed my poetical compositions and publications simply as the instruments of that sympathy between myself and others which the ardent and unbounded love I cherished for my kind incited me to acquire. I expected all sorts of stupidity and insolent contempt from those . . .
"These compositions (excepting the tragedy of The Cenci, which was written rather to try my powers than to unburden my full heart) are insufficiently . commendation than perhaps they deserve, even from their bitterest enemies; but they have not attained any corresponding popularity. As a man, I shrink from notice and regard; the ebb and flow of the world vexes me; I desire to be left in peace. Persecution, contumely, and calumny, have been heaped upon me in profuse measure; and domestic conspiracy and legal oppression have violated in my person the most sacred rights of nature and humanity. The bigot will say it was the recompense of my errors; the man of the world will call it the result of my imprudence; but never upon one head . . . "Reviewers, with some rare exceptions, are a most stupid and malignant race. As a bankrupt thief turns thief-taker in despair, so an unsuccessful author turns critic. But a young spirit panting for fame, doubtful of its powers, and certain only of its aspirations, is ill qualified to assign its true value to the sneer of this world. He knows not that such stuff as this is of the abortive and monstrous births which time consumes as fast as it produces. He sees the truth and falsehood, the merits and demerits, of his case inextricably entangled . . . No personal offence should have drawn from me this public comment upon such stuff...
The offence of this poor victim [Keats] seems to have consisted solely in his intimacy with Leigh Hunt, Mr. Hazlitt, and some other enemies of despotism and superstition. My friend Hunt has a very hard skull to crack, and will take a deal of killing. I do not know much of Mr. Hazlitt, but..
I knew personally but little of Keats; but on the news of his situation I wrote to him, suggesting the propriety of trying the Italian climate, and inviting him to join me. Unfortunately he did not allow me"
NOTES showing the state of other editions, and including minor variations beyond what has been already noted.
viii. 9 Galignani follows Shelley, 1821, except in this line. ix. 9 nor 18391,2.
xii. 6 its 18392.
xiv. 9 around 18391,2.
xv. 7 they 18391,2.
xxii. 4 with omit 18391,2.
xxxiv. 4 sang 18391,2.
xlvi. 8 a 18392.
The poets alluded to are, in xxviii. 7 and xxx. 2, Byron ; xxx. 8, Moore; xxxv. 1, Hunt.
See FRAGMENTS, iii. 430.
CONTEMPORARY RECORDS :
Mrs. Shelley's Note (18391, iii. 150): "There is much in the Adonais which seems now more applicable to Shelley himself than to the young and gifted poet whom he mourned. The poetic view he takes of death, and the lofty scorn he displays toward his calumniators, are as a prophecy on his own destiny, when received among immortal names, and the poisonous breath of critics has vanished into emptiness before the fame he inherits."
Shelley (from Baths of San Giuliano) to Mr. and Mrs. Gisborne, June 5, 1821: “I have been engaged these last days in composing a poem on the death of Keats, which will shortly be finished; and I anticipate the pleasure of reading it to you, as some of the very few persons who will be interested in it and understand it. It is a highly wrought piece of art, and perhaps better, in point of composition, than anything I have written." Essays and Letters, ii. 293.
Shelley (from Pisa) to Ollier, June 8, 1821: "You may announce for publication a poem entitled Adonais. It is a lament on the death of poor Keats, with some interposed stabs on the assassins of his peace and of his fame; and will be preceded by a criticism on Hyperion, asserting the due claims which that fragment gives him to the rank which I
have assigned him. My poem is finished and consists of about forty Spenser stanzas. I shall send it to you either printed at Pisa, or transcribed in such a manner as it shall be difficult for the reviser to leave such errors as assist the obscurity of the Prometheus. But in case I send it printed, it will be merely that mistakes may be avoided; [so] that I shall only have a few copies struck off in the cheapest
If you have interest enough in the subject, I could wish that you inquired of some of the friends and relatives of Keats respecting the circumstances of his death, and could transmit me any information you may be able to collect, and especially as to the degree in which, as I am assured, the brutal attack in the Quarterly Review excited the disease by which he perished." Shelley Memorials, pp. 155, 156.
Shelley (from Pisa) to John Gisborne, June 16, 1821 : "As it is, I have finished my Elegy; and this day I send it to the press at Pisa. You shall have a copy the moment it is completed. I think it will please you. I have dipped my pen in consuming fire for his destroyers; otherwise the style is calm and solemn.' Mrs. Shelley, Essay and Letters, ii. 296.
Shelley (from Baths of San Giuliano) to Mr. and Mrs. Gisborne, July 13, 1821: "A thousand thanks for your maps; in return for which I send you the only copy of Adonais the printer has yet delivered. I wish I could say, as Glaucus could, in the exchange for the arms of Diomede, ἑκατόμβοι evveaßolov." Mrs. Shelley, Essays and Letters, ii. 298.
Shelley (from Baths of San Giuliano) to Mr. and Mrs. Gisborne, July 19, 1821: "I am fully repaid for the painful emotions from which some verses of my poem sprung, by your sympathy and approbation - which is all the reward I expect and as much as I desire. It is not for me to judge whether, in the high praise your feelings assign me, you are right or wrong. The poet and the man are two different natures; though they exist together, they may be unconscious of each other, and incapable of deciding on each other's powers and efforts by any reflex act. The decision of the cause, whether or no I am a poet, is removed from the present time to the hour when our posterity shall assemble ; but
the court is a very severe one, and I fear that the verdict will be, Guilty-death'!" Mrs. Shelley, Essays and Letters, ii. 298, 299.
Shelley (from Ravenna) to Peacock, August 10, [?] 1821: "I have sent you by the Gisbornes a copy of the Elegy on Keats. The subject, I know, will not please you ; but the composition of the poetry, and the taste in which it is written, I do not think bad. You and the enlightened public will judge." Peacock, Works, iii. 475.
Shelley (from Pisa) to Medwin, Angust 22, 1821: “I am happy to hear that Adonais pleased you; I was considering how I could send you a copy :— nor am I less flattered by your friend Sir John's approbation." Trelawny, Records,
Shelley (from Pisa) to Hunt, August 26, 1821: “Before this you will have seen Adonais. Lord Byron-I suppose from modesty on account of his being mentioned in it — did not say a word of Adonais, though he was loud in his praise of Prometheus." Hunt, Lord Byron, etc., i. 406.
Shelley (from Pisa) to Horace Smith, September 14, 1821: "I am glad you like Adonais, and, particularly, that you do not think it metaphysical, which I was afraid it was. I was resolved to pay some tribute of sympathy to the unhonored dead, but I wrote, as usual, with a total ignorance of the effect that I should produce. Mrs. Shelley, Essays and Letters, ii. 330.
Shelley (from Pisa) to Ollier, September 25, 1821: “The Adonais, in spite of its mysticism, is the least imperfect of my compositions, and, as the image of my regret and honor for poor Keats, I wish it to be so. I shall write to you, probably, by next post, on the subject of that poem, and should have sent the promised criticism for the second edition, had I not mislaid, and in vain sought for, the volume that contains Hyperion." Shelley Memorials, p. 159.
Shelley (from Pisa) to Ollier, no date: “I send you a sketch for a frontispiece to the poem Adonais. Pray let it be put into the engraver's hands immediately, as the poem is already on its way to you, and I should wish it to be ready for its arrival. The poem is beautifully printed, and — what
is of more consequence- correctly; indeed it was to obtain this last point that I sent it to the press at Pisa." Rossetti, Adonais, 1891, p. 32.
Shelley (from Pisa) to John Gisborne, October 22, 1821 : "I should like very much to hear what is said of my Adonais, and you would oblige me by cutting out, or making Ollier cut out, any respectable criticism on it, and sending it me; you know I do not mind a crown or two in postage." Mrs. Shelley, Essays and Letters, ii. 333.
Shelley (from Pisa) to Ollier, November 11, 1821: "Do not forget my other questions. I am especially curious to hear the fate of Adonais. I confess I should be surprised if that poem were born to an immortality of oblivion." Shelley Memorials, p. 160.
Shelley (from Pisa) to Severn, November 29, 1821: “I send you the Elegy on poor Keats and I wish it were better worth your acceptance. You will see, by the preface, that it was written before I could obtain any particular account of his last moments; all that I still know, was communicated to me by a friend who had derived his information from Colonel Finch; I have ventured to express, as I felt, the respect and admiration which your conduct towards him demands.
"In spite of his transcendent genius, Keats never was, nor ever will be, a popular poet; and the total neglect and obscurity in which the astonishing remnants of his mind still lie, was hardly to be dissipated by a writer, who, however he may differ from Keats in more important qualities, at least resembles him in that accidental one, a want of popularity.
"I have little hope, therefore, that the poem I send you will excite any attention, nor do I feel assured that a critical notice of his writings would find a single reader. But for these considerations, it had been my intention to have collected the remnants of his compositions, and to have published them with a Life and Criticism. Has he left any poems or writings of whatsoever kind, and in whose possession are they? Perhaps you would oblige me by information on this point." Shelley Memorials, p. 152.
Shelley (from Pisa) to Peacock, January 11, 1822: "You