Obrazy na stronie
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in the navy, and had afterwards entered the army ; was called on that shore. The gales and squalls, he had spent several years in India, and his love that hailed our first arrival, surrounded the bay for adventure and manly exercises accorded with with foam ; the howling wind swept round our Shelley's taste. It was their favourite plan to exposed house, and the sea roared unremittingly, build a boat such as they could manage themselves, so that we almost fancied ourselves on board ship. and, living on the sea-coast, to enjoy at every

At other times sunshine and calm invested sea hour and season the pleasure they loved best. and sky, and the rich tints of Italian heaven Captain Roberts, R.N., undertook to build the bathed the scene in bright and ever-varying tints. boat at Genoa, where he was also occupied in

The natives were wilder than the place. Our building the Bolivar for Lord Byron. Ours was

near neighbours, of Sant' Arenzo, were more like to be an open boat, on a model taken from one of

savages than any people I ever before lived among. the royal dock-yards. I have since heard that there Many a night they passed on the beach, singing or was a defect in this model, and that it was never

rather howling, the women dancing about among sea-worthy. In the month of February, Shelley the waves that broke at their feet, the men leaning and his friend went to Spezia to seek for houses against the rocks and joining in their loud wild for us. Only one was to be found at all suitable; chorus. We could get no provisions nearer than however, a trifle such as not finding a house Sarzana, at a distance of three miles and a half could not stop Shelley ; the one found was to

off, with the torrent of the Magra between ; and serve for all. It was unfurnished ; we sent our

even there the supply was very deficient. Had furniture by sea, and with a good deal of precipi- we been wrecked on an island of the South Seas, tation, arising from his impatience, made our

we could scarcely have felt ourselves further from removal. We left Pisa on the 26th of April.

civilisation and comfort ; but where the sun shines The bay of Spezia is of considerable extent, and the latter becomes an unnecessary luxury, and we divided by a rocky promontory into a larger and

had enough society among ourselves. Yet I consmaller one. The town of Lerici is situated on

fess housekeeping became rather a toilsome task, the eastern point, and in the depth of the smaller especially as I was suffering in my health, and

could not exert myself actively. bay, which bears the name of this town, is the village of Sant' Arenzo. Our house, Casa Magni, At first the fatal boat had not arrived, and was was close to this village ; the sea came up to the expected with great impatience. On Monday, door, a steep hill sheltered it behind. The pro- May 12th, it came. Williams records the longprietor of the estate on which it was situated was wished-for fact in his journal: “ Cloudy and threatinsane ; he had begun to erect a large house at ening weather. M. Maglian called, and after the summit of the hill behind, but his malady dinner and while walking with him on the terrace, prevented its being finished, and it was falling we discovered a strange sail coming round the into ruin. He had, and this to the Italians had point of Porto Venere, which proved at length to seemed a glaring symptom of very decided mad be Shelley's boat. She had left Genoa on Thursness, rooted up the olives on the hill side, and day last, but had been driven back by the prevailplanted forest trees ; these were mostly young, ing bad winds. A Mr. Heslop and two English but the plantation was more in English taste than seamen brought her round, and they speak most I ever elsewhere saw in Italy; some fine walnut highly of her performances. She does indeed and ilex trees intermingled their dark massy excite my surprise and admiration. Shelley and foliage, and formed groups which still haunt my I walked to Lerici, and made a stretch off the memory, as then they satiated the eye, with a land to try her ; and I find she fetches whatever sense of loveliness. The scene was indeed of she looks at. In short, we have now a perfect unimaginable beauty ; the blue extent of waters, plaything for the summer.”—It was thus that shortthe almost land-locked bay, the near castle of sighted mortals welcomed he having disLerici, shutting it in to the east, and distant Porto guised his grim form in a pleasing mask! The time of Venere to the west ; the varied forms of the pre- the friends was now spent on the sea ; the weather cipitous rocks that bound in the beach, over which became fine, and our whole party often passed the there was only a winding rugged foot-path towards evenings on the water, when the wind promised Lerici, and none on the other side ; the tideless pleasant sailing. Shelley and Williams made sea leaving no sands nor shingle, -- formed a longer excursions ; they sailed several times to picture such as one sees in Salvator Rosa's land Massa ; they had engaged one of the seamen who scapes only: sometimes the sunshine vanished brought her round, a boy, by name Charles Vivian; when the scirocco raged—the ponente, the wind and they had not the slightest apprehension of

danger. When the weather was unfavourable, was calm and clear, and a fine breeze rising at they employed themselves with alterations in the twelve they weighed for Leghorn ; they made the rigging, and by building a boat of canvas and run of about fifty miles in seven hours and a half: reeds, as light as possible, to have on board the the Bolivar was in port, and the regulations of other, for the convenience of landing in waters the health-office not permitting them to go on too shallow for the larger vessel. When Shelley shore after sunset, they borrowed cushions from was on board, he had his papers with him ; and the larger vessel, and slept on board their much of the “ Triumph of Life” was written as boat. he sailed or weltered on that sea which was soon

They spent a week at Pisa and Leghorn. The to engulf him.

want of rain was severely felt in the country. The The heats set in, in the middle of June ; the weather continued sultry and fine. I have heard days became excessively hot, but the sea breeze that Shelley all this time was in brilliant spirits. cooled the air at noon, and extreme heat always Not long before, talking of presentiment, he had put Shelley in spirits : a long drought had pre said the only one that he ever found infallible, ceded the heat, and prayers for rain were being was the certain advent of some evil fortune put up in the churches, and processions of relics when he felt peculiarly joyous. Yet if ever fate for the same effect took place in every town. At whispered of coming disaster, such inaudible, but this time we received letters announcing the not unfelt, prognostics hovered around us. The arrival of Leigh Hunt at Pisa. Shelley was very beauty of the place seemed unearthly in its excess: eager to see him. I was confined to my room

the distance we were at from all signs of civilisaby severe illness, and could not move; it was

tion, the sea at our feet, its murmurs or its roaring agreed that Shelley and Williams should go to

for ever in our ears,-all these things led the mind Leghorn in the boat. Strange that no fear of

to brood over strange thoughts, and, lifting it danger crossed our minds ! Living on the sea

from every-day life, caused it to be familiar with shore, the ocean became as a plaything: as a

the unreal. A sort of spell surrounded us, and child may sport with a lighted stick, till a spark

each day, as the voyagers did not return, we grew inflames a forest and spreads destruction over all, restless and disquieted, and yet, strange to say, 80 did we fearlessly and blindly tamper with

not fearful of the most apparent danger, and make a game of the terrors of the

danger. Our Italian neighbours even trusted themselves as far as Massa in the skiff ; and the The spell snapped, it was all over ; an interval running down the line of coast to Leghorn, gave of agonising doubt—of days passed in miserable no more notion of peril than a fair-weather inland journeys to gain tidings, of hopes that took firmer navigation would have done to those who had root, even as they were more baseless—were never seen the sea. Once, some months before, changed to the certainty of the death that eclipsed Trelawny had raised a warning voice as to the all happiness for the survivors for evermore. difference of our calm bay, and the open sea beyond ; but Shelley and his friend, with their

There was something in our fate peculiarly one sailor boy, thought themselves á match for harrowing. The remains of those we lost were the storms of the Mediterranean, in a boat which

cast on shore ; but by the quarantine laws of the they looked upon as equal to all it was put of them—the laws, with respect to everything

coast, we were not permitted to have possession to do.

cast on land by the sea, being, that such should On the 1st of July they left us. If ever shadow be burned, to prevent the possibility of any remnant of future ill darkened the present hour, such was bringing the plague into Italy; and no representaover my mind when they went. During the tion could alter the law. At length, through the whole of our stay at Lerici, an intense presenti- kind and unwearied exertions of Mr. Dawkins, ment of coming evil brooded over my mind, our Chargé d'Affaires at Florence, we gained and covered this beautiful place, and genial permission to receive the ashes after the bodies summer, with the shadow of coming misery-I had were consumed. Nothing could equal the zeal of vainly struggled with these emotions—they seemed | Trelawny in carrying our wishes into effect. He accounted for by my illness, but at this hour of was indefatigable in his exertions, and full of separation they recurred with renewed violence. forethought and sagacity in his arrangements. I did not anticipate danger for them, but a vague It was a fearful task : he stood before us at last, expectation of evil shook me to agony, and I could his hands scorched and blistered by the flames of scarcely bring myself to let them go. The day the funeral pyre, and by touching the burnt relics

we

were

ocean.

as he placed them in the receptacles prepared for fitness, which those less nearly allied may regard the purpose. And there, in compass of that small with complacency. A year before, he had poured case, was gathered all that remained on earth of into verse all such ideas about death as give it a him whose genius and virtue were a crown of glory of its own. He had, as it now seems, almost glory to the world — whose love had been the anticipated his own destiny ; and when the mind source of happiness, peace, and good, - to be figures his skiff' wrapped from sight by the thunderburied with him!

storm, as it was last seen upon the purple sea ; The concluding stanzas of the Adonais pointed

and then, as the cloud of the tempest passed away, out where the remains ought to be deposited ; in

no sign remained of where it had been"-who addition to which our beloved child lay buried in

but will regard as a prophecy the last stanza of

the “ Adonais ?” the cemetery at Rome. Thither Shelley's ashes were conveyed, and they rest beneath one of the The breath, whose might I have invoked in song antique weed-grown towers that recur at intervals Descends on me; my spirit's bark is driven,

Far from the shore, far from the trembling throng, in the circuit of the massy ancient wall of Rome.

Whose sails were never to the tempest given ; The vignette of the title page, is taken from a

The massy earth and sphered skies are riven! sketch made on the spot by Captain Roberts. He I am borne darkly, fearfully, afar; selected the hallowed place himself ; there is the

Whilst burning through the inmost veil of Heaven,

The soul of Adonais, like a star,
Sepulchre,

Beacons from the abode where the Eternal are.
O, not of him, but of our joy !-

Captain Roberts watched the vessel with his glass

from the top of the light-house of Leghorn, on its homeAnd grey walls moulder round, on which dull Time

ward track. They were off Via Reggio, at some distance Feeds like slow fire upon a hoary brand;

from shore, when a storm was driven over the sea. It And one keen pyramid, with wedge sublime,

enveloped them and several larger vessels in darkness. Pavilioning the dust of him who planned

When the cloud passed onward, Roberts looked again, This refuge for his memory, doth stand

and saw every other vessel sailing on the ocean except Like flame transformed to marble; and beneath

their little schooner, which had vanished. From that A field is spread, on which a newer band

time he could scarcely doubt the fatal truth; yet we Have pitched in Heaven's smile their camp of death, fancied that they might have been driven towards Elba, Welcoming him we lose with scarce extinguished breath.

or Corsica, and so be saved. The observation made as to

the spot where the boat disappeared, caused it to be Could sorrow for the lost, and shuddering found, through the exertions of Trelawny, for that effect. anguish at the vacancy left behind, be soothed It had gone down in ten fathom water; it had not capsized, by poetic imaginations, there was something in

and, except such things as had floated from her, every

thing was found on board exactly as it had been placed Shelley's fate to mitigate pangs, which yet alas !

when they sailed. The boat itself was uninjured. Roberts could not be so mitigated; for hard reality brings possessed himself of her, and decked her, but she proved too miserably home to the mourner, all that is lost not sea-worthy, and her shattered planks now lie rotting of happiness, all of lonely unsolaced struggle that

on the shore of one of the Ionian islands, on which she

was wrecked. remains. Still though dreams and hues of poetry cannot blunt grief, it invests his fate with a sublime Putney, May 1st, 1839.

PREFACE

TO THE VOLUME OF POSTHUMOUS POEMS,

PUBLISHED IN 1824.

In nobil sangue, vita umile e queta,
Ed in alto intelletto un puro core;
Frutto senile in sul giovenil fiore,
E in aspetto pensoso, anima lieta-PETRARCA.

to me,

It had been my wish, on presenting the public with him was to love him; and his presence, like Ithuriel's the Posthumous Poems of SHELLEY, to have accom spear, was alone sufficient to disclose the falsehood of panied them by a biographical notice : as it appeared the tale which bis enemies whispered in the ear of the

that at this moment a narration of the events of ignorant world. my husband's life would come more gracefully from His life was spent in the contemplation of nature, in other hands than mine, I applied to LEIGH Hunt. arduous study, or in acts of kindness and affection. He The distinguished friendship that Shelley felt for him, was an elegant scholar and a profound metaphysician : and the enthusiastic affection with which Leigh Hunt without possessing much scientific knowledge, he was clings to his friend's memory, seemed to point him out unrivalled in the justness and extent of his observaas the person best calculated for such an undertaking. tions on natural objects ; he knew every plant by its His absence from this country, which prevented our name, and was familiar with the history and habits of mutual explanation, has unfortunately rendered my every production of the earth; he could interpret scheme abortive. I do not doubt but that on some without a fault each appearance in the sky, and the other occasion be will pay this tribute to his lost varied phenomena of beaven and earth filled him with friend, and sincerely regret that the volume which I deep emotiou. He made his study and reading-room edit bas not been honoured by its insertion.

of the shadowed copse, the stream, the lake, and The comparative solitude in which Shelley lived, the waterfall. Ill health and continual pain preyed was the occasion that he was personally known to few; upon

his
powers;

and the solitude in which we lived, and his fearless enthusiasm in the cause which he con particularly on our first arrival in Italy, although sidered the most sacred upon earth, the improvement congenial to his feelings, must frequently bave of the moral and physical state of mankind, was the weighed upon his spirits; those beautiful and affecting chief reason why he, like other illustrious reformers, “ Lines, written in dejection at Naples,' were comwas pursued by hatred and calumny. No man was posed at such an interval; but when in health, his ever more devoted than he, to the endeavour of making spirits were buoyant and youthful to an extraordinary those around him happy; no man ever possessed friends degiee. more unfeignedly attached to him. The ungrateful Such was his love for nature, that every page of his world did not feel his loss, and the gap it made seemed poetry is associated in the minds of his friends with to close as quickly over his memory as the murderous the loveliest scenes of the countries which he inhabited. sea above his living frame. Hereafter men will lament In early life he visited the most beautiful parts of this that his transcendent powers of intellect were extin country and Ireland. Afterwards the Alps of Switzer. guished before they had bestowed on them their choicest land became his inspirers. “ Prometheus Unbound treasures. To his friends his loss is irremediable : the was written among the deserted and flower-grown ruins wise, the brave, the gentle, is gone for ever ! He is to of Rome; and when he made his home under the Pisan then as a bright vision, whose radiant track, left behind hills, their roofless recesses barboured him as he comin the memory, is worth all the realities that srciety posed “The Witch of Atlas," Adonais," and can afford.

Before the critics contradict me, let them * Hellas." In the wild but beautiful Bay of Spezia, appeal to any one who had ever known him : to see the winds and waves which he loved became his play

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