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gled among weeds, and the boat upset ; a wetting was all the harm done except that the intense cold of his drenched clothes made Shelley faint. Once I went down with him to the mouth of the Arno, where the stream, then high and swift, met the tideless sea and disturbed its sluggish waters ; it was a waste and dreary scene ; the desert sand stretched into a point surrounded by waves that broke idly though perpetually around ; it was a scene very similar to Lido, of which he had said,
“I love all waste
“Our little boat was of greater use, unaccompanied by any danger, when we removed to the baths. Some friends [the Williamses] lived at the village of Pugnano, four miles off, and we went to and fro to see them, in our boat, by the canal, which, fed by the Serchio, was, though an artificial, a full and picturesque stream, making its way under verdant banks, sheltered by trees that dipped their boughs into the murmuring waters. By day, multitudes of ephernera darted to and fro on the surface ; at night, the fireflies came out among the shrubs on the banks ; the cicale at noonday kept up their hum ; the aziola cooed in the quiet evening. It was a pleasant summer, bright in all but Shelley's health and inconstant spirits ; yet he enjoyed himself greatly, and became more and more attached to the part of the country where chance appeared to cast us. Sometimes he projected taking a farm, situated on the height of one of the near hills, surrounded by chestnut and pine woods, and overlooking a wide extent of country; or of settling still further in the maritime Apennines, at Massa. Several of his slighter and unfinished poems were inspired by these scenes, and by the companions around us. It is the nature of that poetry, however, which overflows from the soul, oftener to express sorrow and regret than joy ; for it is when oppressed by the
It was very
weight of life, and away from those he loves, that the poet has recourse to the solace of expression in verse.
“Still Shelley's passion was the ocean ; and he wished that our summers, instead of being passed among the hills near Pisa, should be spent on the shores of the sea. difficult to find a spot. We shrank from Naples from a fear that the heats would disagree with Percy ; Leghorn had lost its only attraction, since our friends who had resided there were returned to England ; and Monte Nero being the resort of many English, we did not wish to find ourselves in the midst of a colony of chance travellers. No one then thought it possible to reside at Viareggio, which latterly has become a summer resort. The low lands and bad air of Maremma stretch the whole length of the western shores of the Mediterranean, till broken by the rocks and hills of Spezia. It was a vague idea ; but Shelley suggested an excursion to Spezia, to see whether it would be feasible to spend a summer there. The beauty of the bay enchanted him no house to suit us —
but the notion took root, and many circumstances, enchained as by fatality, occurred to urge him to execute it.
“ He looked forward this autumn with great pleasure to the prospect of a visit from Leigh Hunt. When Shelley visited Lord Byron at Ravenna, the latter had suggested his coming out, together with the plan of a periodical work, in which they should all join. Shelley saw a prospect of good for the fortunes of his friend, and pleasure in his society, and instantly exerted himself to have the plan executed. He did not intend himself joining in the work ; partly from pride, not wishing to have the air of acquiring readers for his poetry by associating it with the compositions of more popular writers; and, also, because he might feel shackled in the free expression of his opinions, if any friends were to be compromised ; by those opinions, carried even to their utmost extent, he wished to live and die, as being in his conviction not only true, but such as alone would conduce to the moral improvement and happiness of mankind. The sale of the work might, meanwhile, either really or supposedly, be injured by the free expression of his thoughts, and this evil he resolved to avoid.”
326 Dirge for the Year. Text : ii. 4 dead-cold 18392.
Rossetti, under the impression that “this lyric must be conceived as spoken by two voices, one of them condoling the death of the year, the other predicting her return to life,” distributes the lines into successive
responses by means of inverted commas. 328 From the Arabic. Medwin, Life, ii. 178 : “We seldom
read new works of fiction, but made an exception in favor of Antar [By Terick Hamilton, 1819–20] which we borrowed from Byron, and found greatly interesting. . . . His Lines from the Arabic were almost a translation from a translation in that Oriental
fiction." 328 Song. MS. Harvard. 331 To Night. TEXT : i. 1 over all editions.
MS. Harvard. 333 To Text : iii. 5 for 1824, 18391,2. 334 Mutability. Text : ii. 2 too 18391,2.
MS. Boscombe. 335 The Fugitives. Text : ii. 13 and omit 18391,2. iii. 1-5 Rossetti distributes these lines into five
speeches divided by the “and.” iv. 12 cling 18392 338 Lines written on Hearing the News of the Death of Napo
leon. Text: i. 8 more 18391,2. 339 Sonnet : Political Greatness. MS. Harvard. 341 Epithalamium, Medwin, Life, ii. 116 : “During the
spring he [Williams] had written a play, taken from the interweaving of two stories in Boccaccio, and Shelley had assisted him in the work, and supplied him with an epithalamium for music, since incorrectly printed and which I give in its original form.” Text:
17 Lest || Let, 1847. 342 Another Version. From the Trelawny MS. of Williams's
play, The Promise, or a Year, a Month, and a Day.
Williams Journal (no date): “Went in the summer to Pugnano — passed the first three months (of 1821] in writing a play entitled The Promise, or a Year, a
Month and a Day. S. tells me if they accept it, he has great hopes of its success before an audience." Fortnightly Review, June, 1878.
Shelley (from Pisa) to Medwin, August 22, 1821 : “Williams's play, if not a dramatic effort of the highest order, is one of the most manly, spirited and natural pieces of writing I ever met with. It is full of observation both of nature and of human nature ; the theatrical effect and interest seems to be strong and well kept up. I confess that I was surprised at his success, and shall be still more so if it is not universally acknowledged on the stage. It is worth fifty such things as Cornwall’s Mirandola.” Trelawny,
Records, ii. 41. 343 Evening : Ponte al Mare, Pisa. Text: Ponte a Mare, Pisa, 1824, 18391,2, Forman.
i. 6 silent 18391, iv. 2 Cinereous Rossetti, Forman, Dowden. The ori
ginal reading is restored in the text, on poetical grounds : in this word, which is in perfect sympathy with the text and is obviously dictated by its preceding words, the description reaches its climax, and it is not maintained that it was not written by Shelley ; in the Boscombe MS. the word “cine
substitutes a trait of color for the cumulative effect of mass, to which the description has been ascending, and the change in the quality of the broad sky scene seems a deterioration. This is another instance in which a variation in a single MS. does not necessarily show that it was the poet's de
liberate choice. MS. Boscombe.
9 or || and 18391,2
far, far Forman conj. The line is very well as
in Shelley's melody which is one of the master-signs of
his genius. 347 Remembrance. Shelley to Mrs. Williams (no date] :
“Dear Jane, – If this melancholy old song suits any of your tunes, or any that humor of the moment may dictate, you are welcome to it. Do not say it is mine to any one, even if you think so ; indeed, it is from the torn leaf of a book out of date. How are you today, and how is Williams ? Tell him that I dreamed of nothing but sailing and fishing up coral. Your ever
affectionate P. B. S.” Rossetti, Note on the poem. TEXT : i. 5–7 Dowden follows 1824, 18391,2.
ii. 2 her 18391,2, Rossetti, Dowden.
5 to-morrow Rossetti.
MSS. Harvard, Houghton, Trelawny.
leaf of Adonais by Shelley, is the more fine
POEMS WRITTEN IN 1822
Mrs. Shelley's Note, 18391, iv. 225-236 :
“This morn thy gallant bark
Sailed on a sunny sea 'Tis
noon, and tempests dark
Ah woe, ah woe!
“Thou sleepst upon the shore
Beside the knelling surge, And sea-nymphs evermore Shall sadly chant thy dirge.
They come, they come, The spirits of the deep ! While near thy sea-weed pillow My lonely watch I keep.