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SUMMER AND WINTER
It was a bright and cheerful afternoon,
It was a winter such as when birds die
A PORTAL as of shadowy adamant
Stands yawning on the highway of the life Which we all tread, a cavern huge and gaunt;
Around it rages an unceasing strife Of shadows, like the restless clouds that haunt The
gap of some cleft mountain, lifted high Into the whirlwinds of the upper sky.
And many passed it by with careless tread,
Not knowing that a shadowy [ ] Tracks every traveller eren to where the dead
Wait peacefully for their companion new; But others, by more curious humour led,
Pause to examine,-these are very few, And they learn little there, except to know That shadows follow them where'er they go.
YE hasten to the dead! What seek ye there,
Thou vainly curious Mind which wouldest guess Whence thou didst come, and whither thou mayest
go, And that which never yet was known wouldst
know, O, whither hasten ye, that thus ye press With such swift feet life's green and pleasant path, Seeking alike from happiness and woe A refuge in the cavern of gray death? [you O heart, and mind, and thoughts! what thing do Hope to inherit in the grave below?
LINES TO A REVIEWER.
Alas! good friend, what profit can you see
NOTE ON THE POEMS OF 1820.
BY THE EDITOR.
We spent the latter part of the year 1819 in Florence, where Shelley passed several hours daily in the Gallery, and made various notes on its ancient works of art. His thoughts were a good deal taken up also by the project of a steamboat, undertaken by a friend, an engineer, to ply between Leghorn and Marseilles, for which he supplied a sum of money. This was a sort of plan to delight Shelley, and he was greatly disappointed when it was thrown aside.
There was something in Florence that disagreed excessively with his health, and he suffered far more pain than usual; so much so that we left it sooner than we intended, and removed to Pisa, where we had some friends, and, above all, where we could consult the celebrated Vaccà, as to the cause of Shelley's sufferings. He, like every other medical man, could only guess at that, and gave little hope of immediate relief; he enjoined him to abstain from all physicians and medicine, and to leave his complaint to nature. As he had vainly consulted medical men of the highest repute in England, he was easily persuaded to adopt this advice. Pain and ill-health followed him to the end, but the residence at Pisa agreed with him better than any other, and there in consequence we remained.
In the spring we spent a week or two near Leghorn, borrowing the house of some friends, who were absent on a journey to England. It was on a beautiful summer evening, while wandering among the lanes, whose myrtle hedges were
the bowers of the fire-flies, that we heard tho carolling of the skylark, which inspired one of the most beautiful of his poems. He addressed the letter to Mrs. Gisborne from this house, which was hers; he had made his study of the work. shop of her son, who was an engineer. Mrs. Gisborne had been a friend of my father in her younger dnys. She was a lady of great accomplishments, and charming from her frank and affectionate nature. She had the most intense love of knowledge, a delicate and trembling sensibility, and preserved freshness of mind, after a life of considerable adversity. As a favourite friend of my father we had sought her with eagerness, and the most open and cordial friendship was established between us.
We spent the summer at the baths of San Giuliano, four miles from Pisa. These baths were of great use to Shelley in soothing his nervous irritability. We made several excursions in the neighbourhood. The country around is fertile, and diversified and rendered picturesque by ranges of near bills and more distant mountains. The peasantry are a handsome, intelligent race, and there was a gladsome sunny heaven spread over us, that rendered homo :ind every sceno we visited cheerful and bright. During some of the hottest days of August, Shelley made a solitary journey on foot to the summit of Monte San Pelegrinoma mountain of some height, on the top of which there is a chapel, the object, during certain days in the year, of many pilgrimages. The excursion delighted him while it lasted, though he exerted himself too much, and the effect was considerable lassitude and weakness on his return. During the expedition he conceived the idea and wrote, in the three days immediately succeeding to his return, The Witch of Atlas. This poem is peculiarly characteristic of his tastes--wildly fanciful, full if brilliant imagery, and discarding human interest and passion, to revel in the fantastic ideas that his imagination suggested.
The surpassing excellence of The Cenci had made me greatly desire that Shelley should increase his popularity, by adopting subjects that would more suit the popular taste than a poem conceived in the abstract and dreamy spirit of