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Oh that I once again were mad !-
And yet, dear Rosalind, not so,
For I would live to share thy woe.
Sweet boy ! did I forget thee too ?
Alas! we know not what we do
When we speak words !

No memory more
Is in my mind of that sea-shore.
Madness came on me, and a troop

Of misty shapes did seem to sit
Beside me on a vessel's poop,

And the clear north wind was driving it. Then I heard strange tongues, and saw strange flowers; And the stars, methought, grew unlike ours; And the azure sky and the stormless sea

Made me believe that I had died, And waked in a world which was to me

Drear hell, though heaven to all beside. Then a dead sleep fell on my mind ;

Whilst animal life many long years

Had rescued from a chasm of tears.
And, when I woke, I wept to find
That the same lady, bright and wise,
With silver locks and quick brown eyes,
The mother of my Lionel,

Had tended me in my distress, -
And died some months before. Nor less
Wonder, but far more peace and joy,

Brought in that hour my lovely boy.
For through that trance my soul had well
The impress of thy being kept,.
And, if I waked or if I slept,
No doubt, though memory faithless be,
Thy image ever dwelt on me;
And thus, O Lionel ! like thee
Is our sweet child. 'Tis sure most strange
I knew not of so great a change
As that which gave him birth who now
Is all the solace of my woe.

That Lionel great wealth had left

By will to me—and that, of all,

The ready lies of law berest

My child and me—might well befall.
But let me think not of the scorn
Which from the meanest I have borne
When, for my child's beloved sake,

I mixed with slaves, to vindicate
The very laws themselves do make.

Let me not say scorn is my fate,
Lest I be proud, suffering the same
With those who live in deathless fame.

She ceased. “Lo where red morning through the wood

Is burning o'er the dew !” said Rosalind.
And with these words they rose, and towards the flood

Of the blue lake, beneath the leaves, now wind

With equal steps and fingers intertwined.
Thence to a lonely dwelling—where the shore

Is shadowed with steep rocks, and cypresses
Cleave with their dark-green cones the silent skies,
And with their shadows the clear depths below,
And where a little terrace, from its bowers

Of blooming myrtle and faint lemon-flowers,
Scatters its sense-dissolving fragrance o'er

The liquid marble of the windless lake, And where the aged forest's limbs look hoar,

Under the leaves which their green garments make-
They come. 'Tis Helen's home; and clean and white,

Like one which tyrants spare on our own land
In some such solitude ; its casements bright
Shone through their vine-leaves in the morning sun,

And even within 'twas scarce like Italy.
And, when she saw how all things there were planned

As in an English home, dim memory
Disturbed poor Rosalind : she stood as one

Whose mind is where his body cannot be. Till Helen led her where her child yet slept,

And said : “Observe—that brow was Lionel's,
Those lips were his, and so he ever kept

One arm in sleep, pillowing his head with it.
You cannot see his eyes, - they are two wells

Of liquid love. Let us not wake him yet.”
But Rosalind could bear no more, and wept

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A shower of burning tears, which fell upon
His face; and so his opening lashes shone
With tears unlike his own, as he did leap
In sudden wonder from his innocent sleep.
So Rosalind and Helen lived together

Thenceforth; changed in all else, yet friends again, Such as they were when o'er the mountain heather

They wandered in their youth, through sun and rain. And after many years (for human things

Change even like the ocean and the wind)

Her daughter was restored to Rosalind;
And in their circle thence some visitings
Of joy 'mid their new calm would intervene.
A lovely child she was, of looks serene,
And motions which o'er things indifferent shed

The grace and gentleness from whence they came. And Helen's boy grew with her, and they fed

From the same flowers of thought, until each mind

Like springs which mingle in one flood became; And in their union soon their parents saw

The shadow of the peace denied to them.
And Rosalind—for, when the living stem

Is cankered in its heart, the tree must fall-
Died ere her time. And with deep grief and awe
The pale survivors followed her remains,
Beyond the region of dissolving rains,

Up the cold mountain she was wont to call
Her tomb. And on Chiavenna's precipice
They raised a pyramid of lasting ice ;
Whose polished sides, ere day had yet begun,
Caught the first glow of the unrisen sun,
The last, when it had sunk. And through the night

The charioteers of Arctos wheeled round

Its glittering point, as seen from Helen's home;

Whose sad inhabitants each year would come,
With willing steps climbing that rugged height,

And hang long locks of hair, and garlands bound
With amaranth flowers, which, in the clime's despite,
Filled the frore air with unaccustomed light,
Such flowers as in the wintry memory bloom
Of one friend left adorned that frozen tomb.

Helen, whose spirit was of softer mould,

Whose sufferings too were less, Death slowlier led
Into the peace of his dominion cold :
She died among her kindred, being old.

And know that, if love die not in the dead
As in the living, none of mortal kind
Are blessed as now Helen and Rosalind.


Rosalind and Helen was begun at Marlow, and thrown aside-till I found it; and, at my request, it was completed. Shelley had no care for any of his poems that did not emanate from the depths of his mind, and develop some high or abstruse truth. When he does touch on human life and the human heart, no pictures can be more faithful, more delicate, more subtle, or more pathetic. He never mentioned love but he shed a grace borrowed from his own nature, that scarcely any other poet has bestowed, on that passion. When he spoke of it as the law of life, which inasmuch as we rebel against we err and injure ourselves and others, he promulgated that which he considered an irrefragable truth. In his eyes it was the essence of our being, and all woe and pain arose from the war made against it by selfishness, or insensibility, or mistake. By reverting in his mind to this first principle, he discovered the source of many emotions, and could disclose the secret of all hearts; and his delineations of passion and emotion touch the finest chords of our nature,

Rosalind and Helen was finished during the summer of 1818, while we were at the Baths of Lucca.



Count Maddalo is a Venetian nobleman of ancient family and of great fortune, who, without mixing much in the society of his countrymen, resides chiefly at his magnificent palace in that city. He is a person of the most consummate genius, and capable, if he would direct his energies to such an end, of becoming the redeemer of his degraded country. But it is his weakness to be proud: he derives, from a comparison of his own extraordinary mind with the dwarfish intellects that surround him, an intense apprehension of the nothingness of human life. His passions and his powers are incomparably greater than those of other men; and, instead of the latter having been employed in curbing the former, they have mutually lent each other strength. His ambition preys upon itself, for want of objects which it can consider worthy of exertion. I say that Maddalo is proud, because I can find no other word to express the concentred and impatient feelings which consume him; but it is on his own hopes and affections only that he seems to trample, for in social life no human being can be more gentle, patient, and unassuming, than Maddalo. He is cheerful, frank, and witty. His more serious conversation is a sort of intoxication; men are held by it as by a spell. He has travelled much, and there is an inexpressible charm in his relation of his adventures in different countries.

Julian is an Englishman of good family ; passionately attached to those philosophical notions which assert the power of man over his own mind, and the immense improvements of which, by the extinction of certain moral superstitions, human society may yet be susceptible. Without concealing the evil in the world, he is for ever speculating how good may be made superior. He is a complete infidel, and a scoffer at all things reputed holy; and Maddalo takes a wicked pleasure in drawing out his taunts against religion. What Maddalo thinks on these matters is not exactly known. Julian, in spite of his heterodox opinions, is conjectured by his friends to possess some good qualities. How far this is possible the pious reader will determine. Julian is rather serious.

Of the Maniac I can give no information. He seems, by his own account, to have been disappointed in love. He was evidently a very cultivated and amiable person when in his right senses. His story, told at length, might be like many other stories of the same kind : the unconnected exclamations of his agony will perhaps be found a sufficient comment for the text of every heart.

The meadows with fresh streams, the bees with thyme,
The goats with the green leaves of budding Spring,
Are saturated not-nor Love with tears. - VIRGIL'S GALLUS.

I RODE one evening with Count Maddalo
Upon the bank of land which breaks the flow
Of Adria towards Venice. A bare strand
Or hillocks heaped from ever-shifting sand,
Matted with thistles and amphibious weeds
Such as from earth's embrace the salt ooze breeds,
Is this; an uninhabited sea-side,
Which the lone fisher, when his nets are dried,
Abandons. And no other object breaks
The waste, but one dwarf tree, and some few stakes
Broken and unrepaired ; and the tide makes
A narrow space of level sand thereon,-
Where 'twas our wont to ride while day went down.
This ride was my delight. I love all waste
And solitary places; where we taste
The pleasure of believing what we see
Is boundless, as we wish our souls to be :
And such was this wide ocean, and this shore
More barren than its billows. And, yet more
Than all, with a remembered friend I love
To ride as then I rode ;—for the winds drove
The living spray along the sunny air
Into our faces; the blue heavens were bare,
Stripped to their depths by the awakening north;
And from the waves sound like delight broke forth,
Harmonizing with solitude, and sent

Into our hearts aerial merriment.

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