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NOTE ON POEMS OF 1817, BY Hate men who cant, and men who pray,
MRS. SHELLEY And men who rail like thee;
The very illness that oppressed, and the An equal passion to repay
aspect of death which had approached so They are not coy like me.
near Shelley, appear to have kindled to
yet keener life the Spirit of Poetry in his III
heart. The restless thoughts kept awake by pain clothed themselves in
verse. Or seek some slave of power and gold,
Much was composed during this year. To be thy dear heart's mate,
The Revolt of Islam, written and printed, Thy love will move that bigot cold was a great effort-Rosalind and Helen Sooner than me thy hate.
was begun-and the fragments and poems
I can trace to the same period show how IV
full of passion and reflection were his
solitary hours. A passion like the one I prove
In addition to such poems as have an Cannot divided be;
intelligible aim and shape, many a stray I hate thy want of truth and love--- idea and transitory emotion found imperHow should I then hate thee? fect and abrupt expression, and then
again lost themselves in silence. As he never wandered without a book and with
out implements of writing, I find many OZYMANDIAS
such, in his manuscript books, that
scarcely bear record; while some of them, I met a traveller from an antique land broken and vague as they are, will appear Who said: Two vast and trunkless legs valuable to those who love Shelley's mind, of stone
and desire to trace its workings. Stand in the desert. Near them, on
He projected also translating the Hymns the sand,
of Homer; his version of several of the Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose shorter ones remains, as well as that to frown,
Mercury already published in the PostAnd wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold
humous Poems. His readings this year command,
were chiefly Greek. Besides the Hymns Tell that its sculptor well those passions Dramas of Æschylus and Sophocles, the
of Homer and the Iliad, he read the read
Symposium of Plato, and Arrian's Historia Which yet survive, stamped on these Indica. In Latin, Apuleius alone is lifeless things,
named. In English, the Bible was his The hand that mocked them and the constant study; he read a great portion of heart that fed :
it aloud in the evening. Among these And on the pedestal these words appear: evening readings I find also mentioned the "My name is Ozymandias, king of Faerie Queen; and other modern works, kings :
the production of his contemporaries, Look on my works, ye Mighty, and Coleridge, Wordsworth, Moore, and Byron. despair !”
His life was now spent more in thought
than action-he had lost the eager spirit Nothing beside remains. Round the
which believed it could achieve what it decay
projected for the benefit of mankind. or that colossal wreck, boundless and And yet in the converse of daily life Shelley bare
was far from being a melancholy man. The lone and level sands stretch far He was eloquent when philosophy or away.
politics or taste were the subjects of conversation. He was playful; and indulged over his wrongs and woes, and was in the wild spirit that mocked itself and impelled to shed the grace of his genius others- not in bitterness, but in sport. over the uncontrollable emotions of his The author of Nightmare Abbey seized on heart. I ought to observe that the fourth some points of his character and some verse of this effusion is introduced in habits of his life when he painted Scythrop. Rosalind and Helen. When afterwards He was not addicted to "port or madeira," this child died at Rome, he wrote, à propos but in youth he had read of Illuminati of the English burying-ground in that and Eleutherarchs," and believed that he city: “ This spot is the repository of a possessed the power of operating an im- sacred loss, of which the yearnings of a mediate change in the minds of men and parent's heart are now prophetic; he is the state of society. These wild dreams rendered immortal by love, as his memory had faded; sorrow and adversity had is by death. My beloved child lies buried struck home; but he struggled with de- here. I envy death the body far less than spondency as he did with physical pain. the oppressors the minds of those whom There are few who remember him sailing they have torn from me. The one can paper boats, and watching the navigation only kill the body, the other crushes the of his tiny craft with eagerness -- or re- affections." peating with wild energy The Ancient Mariner, and Southey's Old Woman of Berkeley; but those who do will recol- POEMS WRITTEN IN 1818 lect that it was in such, and in the creations of his own fancy when that was most
TO THE NILE daring and ideal, that he sheltered himself Month after month the gathered rains from the storms and disappointments, the pain and sorrow, that beset his life.
descend No words can express the anguish he Drenching yon secret Æthiopian dells, felt when his elder children were torn And from the desert's ice-girt pinnacles from him. In his first resentment Where Frost and Heat in strange against the Chancellor, on the passing
embraces blend of the decree, he had written a curse, On Atlas, fields of moist snow half in which there breathes, besides haughty depend. indignation, all the tenderness of a father's Girt there with blasts and meteors love, which could imagine and fondly
Tempest dwells dwell upon its loss and the consequences. By Nile's aerial urn, with rapid spells
At one time, while the question was still pending, the Chancellor had said Urging those waters to their mighty end. some words that seemed to intimate that O'er Egypt's land of Memory floods are Shelley should not be permitted the care
level of any of his children, and for a moment And they are thine O Nile—and well he feared that our infant son would be
thou knowest torn from us. He did not hesitate to That soul-sustaining airs and blasts of evil resolve, if such were menaced, to abandon And fruits and poisons spring where'er country, fortune, everything, and to escape
thou flowest. with his child; and I find some unfinished Beware ( Man - for knowledge must stanzas addressed to this son, whom after
to thee wards we lost at Rome, written under the Like the great flood to Egypt, ever be. idea that we might suddenly be forced to cross the sea, so to preserve him. This poem, as well as the one previously quoted, PASSAGE OF THE APENNINES were not written to exhibit the pangs of distress to the public; they were the spon- Listen, listen, Mary mine, taneous outbursts of a man who brooded To the whisper of the Apennine,
It bursts on the roof like the thunder's As twilight to the western star, roar,
'Thou, beloved, art to me. Or like the sea on a northern shore, Heard in its raging ebb and flow
O Mary dear, that you were here ; By the captives pent in the cave below. The Castle echo whispers “ Here!” The Apennine in the light of day Is a mighty mountain dim and gray,
ON A FADED VIOLET Which between the earth and sky doth
lay; But when night comes, a chaos dread The odour from the flower is gone On the dim starlight then is spread,
Which like thy kisses breathed on me; And the Apennine walks abroad with The colour from the flower is flown the storm.
Which glowed of thee and only thee !
A shrivelled, lifeless, vacant form,
It lies on my abandoned breast,
And mocks the heart which yet is warm, Wilt thou forget the happy hours
With cold and silent rest.
I sigh,-it breathes no more on me ; remain.
Is such as mine should be.
Forget the dead, the past? O yet
LINES There are ghosts that may take revenge for it,
WRITTEN AMONG THE Memories that make the heart a tomb,
EUGANEAN HILLS Regrets which glide through the spirit's
OCTOBER, 1818 gloom,
MANY a green isle needs must be
Never thus could voyage on
Day and night, and night and day,
Drifting on his dreary way,
Big with clouds, hangs heavily,
And behind the tempest fleet Voice the sweetest ever heard !
Hurries on with lightning feet, And your brow more ...
Riving sail, and cord, and plank, Than the sky
Till the ship has almost drank Of this azure Italy.
Death from the o'er-brimming deep ; Mary dear, come to me soon,
And sinks down, down, like that sleep I am not well whilst thou art sar; When the dreamer seems to be As sunset to the spherèd moon, Weltering through eternity ;
And the dim low line before
In the waters of wide Agony : Of a dark and distant shore
To such a one this morn was led, Still recedes, as ever still
My bark by soft winds piloted : Longing with divided will,
'Mid the mountains Euganean But no power to seek or shun,
I stood listening to the pæan, He is ever drifted on
With which the legioned rooks did hail O'er the unreposing was
The sun's uprise majestical ; To the haven of the grave.
Gathering round with wings all hoar, What, if there no friends will greet ; Thro' the dewy mist they soar What, if there no heart will meet Like gray shades, till the eastern heaven His with love's impatient beat ; Bursts, and then, as clouds of even, Wander wheresoe'er he may,
Flecked with fire and azure, lie Can he dream before that day
In the unfathomable sky, To find refuge from distress
So their plumes of purple grain, In friendship's smile, in love's caress ? Starred with drops of golden rain, Then 'twill wreak him little woe Gleam above the sunlight woods, Whether such there be or no :
As in silent multitudes Senseless is the breast, and cold, On the morning's fitful gale Which relenting love would fold ; Thro' the broken mist they sail, Bloodless are the veins and chill And the vapours cloven and gleaming Which the pulse of pain did fill ; Follow down the dark steep streaming, Every little living nerve
Till all is bright, and clear, and still,
Beneath is spread like a green sea
Ocean's nursling, Venice lies,
Amphitrite's destined halls,
Lo! the sun upsprings behind,
Broad, red, radiant, half reclined
On the level quivering line
As within a furnace bright,
Shine like obelisks of fire,
From the altar of dark ocean
To the sapphire-tinted skies ;
As to pierce the dome of gold
Where Apollo spoke of old.
Sun-girt City, thou has been
Earth can spare ye : while like flowers,
Those who alone thy towers behold
Lo, the sun floats up the sky