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reprint of “ Alastor, or the Spirit of Solitude :”—the difficulty with which a copy can be obtained is the cause of its republication. Many of the Miscellaneous Poems, written on the spur of the occasion, and never retouched, I found among his manuscript books, and have carefully copied. I have subjoined, whenever I have been able, the date of their composition.
I do not know whether the critics will reprehend the insertion of some of the most imperfect among them ; but I frankly own that I have been more actuated by the fear lest any monument of his genius should escape me, than the wish of presenting nothing but what was complete to the fastidious reader. I feel secure that the Lovers of SHELLEY's Poetry (who know how more than any poet of the present day every line and word he wrote is instinct with peculiar beauty) will pardon and thank me: I consecrate this volume to them.
The size of this collection has prevented the insertion of any prose pieces. They will hereafter appear in a separate publication.
MARY W. SHELLEY.
LONDON, June 1st, 1824.
HYMNS OF HOMER.
HYMN TO MERCURY.
SING, Muse, the son of Maia and of Jove,
The Herald-child, king of Arcadia
Having been interwoven, modest May
Shadowed the cavern where the lovers lay In the deep night, unseen by Gods or Men, And white-armed Juno slumbered sweetly then.
Now, when the joy of Jove had its fulfilling,
And Heaven's tenth moon chronicled her relief, She gave to light a babe all babes excelling,
A schemer subtle beyond all belief;
A night-watching, and door-waylaying thief, Who ’mongst the Gods was soon about to thieve, And other glorious actions to achieve.
The babe was born at the first peep
He began playing on the lyre at noon, And the same evening did he steal away
Apollo's herds ;—the fourth day of the moon
On which him bore the venerable May,
From her immortal limbs he leaped full soon,
Out of the lofty cavern wandering
He found a tortoise, and cried out—"A treasure !” (For Mercury first made the tortoise sing)
The beast before the portal at his leisure
Moving his feet in a deliberate measure
A useful god-send are you to me now,
King of the dance, companion of the feast, Lovely in all your nature ! Welcome, you
Excellent plaything! Where, sweet mountain beast, Got you that speckled shell ? Thus much I know,
You must come home with me and be my guest;
“ Better to be at home than out of door;
So come with me, and though it has been said That you alive defend from magic power,
I know you will sing sweetly when you're dead."
Lifting it from the grass on which it fed,