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CHAPTER VII.

The Shelleys go to Leghorn ; "The Cenci”; they winter in

Florence, where the cold hurts Shelley; "Ode to the

West Wind” composed; in the beginning of 1820 they go

to Pisa for milder climate ; friendship with the Gisbornes ;

onslaught in The Quarterly Review ; Shelley assaulted at

l'isa ; “The Cloud”; “Ode to a Skylark” written at the

Gisbornes' home, Casa Ricci near Leghorn ; " Letter to

Maria Gisborne"; "The Sensitive Plant”; 1820 a year

of political ferment among the southern Latin races ; “Odc

10 Naples ” and “Ode to Liberty"; at San Giuliano the

“Witch of Atlas” is composed ; “Edipus Tyrannus or

Swellfoot the Tyrant"; Claire Clairmont secedes from

the household ; Medwin becomes an inmate ; the inun.

dation at San Giuliano; residence at Pisa ; acquaintance

with Francesco Pacchiani ; Prince Mavrocordatos ; friend.

ship with the Williamses commences; Emilia Viviani, the

inspirer of “ Epipsychidion"; Shelley boats on the Pisan

Canal; the Shelleys return to San Giuliano; “The Boat

on the Serchio"; death of Keats, and composition of

“ Adonais”; piratical republication of “Queen Mab”;

Shelley meets Byron at Ravenna ; " Hellas " ; autumn of

1821 finds the Shelleys back at Pisa ; first acquaintance

with Captain Trelawny; his descriptions of Shelley at this

time; the scheme of the joint ownership of a yacht; the

Shelleys and the Williamses leave Pisa for Casa Magni

near Lerici ; the schooner Don Juan ; apparition of

Allegra and of Shelley's self; on the 1st July, 1882, Shelley

and Williams leave for Leghorn in the Don Juan, renamed

Ariel; Shelley meets Leigh Hunt ; Shelley, Williams,

and Vivian return on the 8th of July ; Ariel capsized, and

the three occupants drowned; cremation of Shelley's body;

the burial of his heart and ashes in Rome; conclusion

INDEX.

• 193

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NOTE.

IT

is unnecessary, in a note to a biography which

naturally is based upon all prior records of the poet with whom it deals, to mention the authorities whose writings have been read or consulted. But a special acknowledgment of indebtedness is due to Professor Edward Dowden, whose two comprehensive volumes on Shelley form the completest and most reliable record extant, and at the same time constitute the worthiest monument wherewith the poet's memory has yet been honoured.

LIFE OF SHELLEY.

CHAPTER I.

THERE

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HERE are certain luminaries in whose flames

critics delight to singe their wings. Goethe and Heine, Shelley and Rossetti have been and will remain stars to fascinate, perplex, and overcome many a criticmoth. And of all good poets, perhaps, nay assuredly, there is none who in his genius and personality is at once so perplexing and fascinating as Shelley. He is worshipped, and he is not less ardently abhorred; he is upheld as a demi-god, and abjured as a sweet-voiced demon; his teachings are preached with fervour from the house-tops, and are denounced with equal vehemence from neighbouring summits. One admirer gives us a picture of the poet which is so affecting as to make it seem sacrilege to look with critical eyes upon aught which the latter did or said ; another gives us a Real Shelley, the caricature of an apparition. There are among us many who look upon all admirers of the poet as the only true children of redemption; there are others who regard the author of “The Revolt of Islam" as one of the most potent latter-day vicars of the devil. To the immense majority of people all this is mere empty clamour.

They know that they love certain poems, certain wonderful lyrics, but they do not expect to find the author thereof either an incarnation of the principle of evil, or a new Son of God. The people are so much wiser than those who would instruct them. “We know the 'Skylark,' the Cloud,' the 'Sensitive Plant' by heart, and we admire and revere the beauty, and noble thought enshrined in Prometheus Unbound' and 'Alastor,' and what we want to know about the author are those facts which are beyond dispute. As for the colouring of the latter, we can do that for ourselves." This is what the popular sentiment amounts to in the instance of Shelley. So much has been written about him that his real personality threatens to vanish completely from the view of the present and of coming generations. What also is feared by some, at least, who have the fame of the poet deeply at heart, is that the rare bloom of his genius will altogether disappear in the mists of conjecture and dispute which now prevail; the poet will fade, and the

; socialist.philosopher will arise ; the singer will become

: the political or sectarian stalking-horse. Instead of “Adonais,” and an unparalleled lyric voice, there will be the Vegetarian and Irish pamphlets and much wearisome bluster and counter-fury.

Only sixty-five years have elapsed since, with all its extraordinary power and promise, a brilliant life ceased suddenly amid a brief turmoil of wind and sea. Yet already is there a Shelley myth, which, perhaps, even the efforts of the most intelligent students have not wholly made clear; it is certain that if the poet had lived in remote days, the transmitted records of

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