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The rose that drinks the fountain dew

In the pleasant air of noon,
Grows pale and blue with altered hue—

In the gaze of the nightly moon;
For the planet of frost, so cold and bright,
Makes it wan with her borrowed light.

Such is my heart—roses are fair,
And that at best a withered blossom;

But thy false care did idly wear

Its withered leaves in a faithless bosom!

And fed with love, like air and dew,

Its growth


Tuet die—the dead return not—Misery

Sits near an open grave and calls them over, A Youth with hoary hair and haggard eye—

They are names of kindred, friend and lover, Which he so feebly calls—they all are gone! Fond wretch, all dead, those vacant names alone, This most familiar scene, my pain— These tombs alone remain.

Misery, my sweetest friend—oh! weep no more!

Thou wUt not be consoled—I wonder not! For I have seen thee from thy dwelling's door

Watch the calm sunset with them, and this spot Was even as bright and calm, but transitory, And now thy hopes are gone, thy hair is hoary; This most familiar scene, my pain— These tombs alone remain.

ON F. G.

Her voice did quiver as we parted,

Yet knew I not that heart was broken I'rum which it came, and I departed Heeding not the words then spoken. Misery—0 Misery, This world is all too wide for thee.


Honey from silkworms who can gather, Or silk from the yellow bee!

The grass may grow in winter weather As soon as hate in me.

Hate men who cant, and men who pray,
And men who rail like thee;

An equal passion to repay
They are not coy like me.

Or seek some slave of power and gold,
To be thy'dear heart's mate;

Thy love will move that bigot cold,
Sooner than me thy hate.

A passion like the one I prove

Cannot divided be;
I hate thy want of truth and lov —

How should I then hate thee 1

December, 1817.


I Met a traveller from an antique land
Who said: Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Near them, on the sand,
Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
Tell that its Bculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these 1 ifeless things,
The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed;
And on the pedestal these words appear:
"My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!"
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare,
The lone and level sands stretch far away.

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The very illness that oppressed, and the aspect of death which had approached so near Shelley, appears to have kindled to yet keener life the Spirit of Poetry in his heart. The restless thoughts kept awake by pain clothed themselves in verse. Much was composed during this year. The "Revolt of Islam," written and printed, was a great effort—" Rosalind and Helen" was begun— and the fragments and poems I can trace to the same period, show how full of passion and reflection were his solitary hours.

In addition to such poems as have an intelligible aim and shape, many a stray idea and transitory emotion found imperfect and abrupt expression, and then again lost themselves in silence. As he never wandered without a book, and without implements of writing, I find many such in his manuscript books, that scarcely bear record; while some of them, broken and vague as they are, will appear valuable to those who love Shelley's mind, and desire to trace its workings. Thus in the same book that addresses « Constantia, Singing," I find these lines :—

My spirit like a charmed bark doth swim
Upon the liquid waves of thy sweet singing,

Fax away into the regions dim

Of rapture—as a boat with swift sails winging
Its WBy adown some many-winding river.

And this apostrophe to Music:

No, Music, thou art not the God of Love,
Unless Love feeds upon its own sweet self,
Till it becomes all music murmurs of.

In another fragment he calls it—

The silver key of the fountain of tears,

Where the Bpirit. drinks till the brain is wild;

Softest grave of a thousand fears,

Where their mother, Care, like a drowsy child,
Is laid asleep in flowers.

And then again this melancholy trace of the sad thronging thoughts, which were the well whence he drew the idea of Athanase, and express the restless, passion-fraught emotions of one whose sensibility, kindled to too intense a life, perpetually preyed upon itself:

To thirst and And no fill—to wail and wander
With short unsteady steps—to pause and ponder-
To feel the blood run through the veins and tingle
Where busy thought and blind sensation mingle;
To nurse the image of unfelt caresses
Till dim imagination just possesses
The half created shadow.

In the next page I find a calmer sentiment, better fitted to Bustain one whose whole being was Ioto:

Wealth and dominion fade into the mass
Of the great sea of human right and wrong,
When onoe from our possession they must poos;
But love, though misdirected, is among
The things which are immortal, and surpass
All that frail stuff which will be—or which was.

In another book, which contains some passionate outbreaks with regard to the great injustice that he endured this year, the poet writes:

My thoughts arise and fade in solitude,
The verse that would invest them melts away
Like moonlight in the heaven of spreading day:
How beautiful they were, how firm they stood.
Flecking the starry sky like woven pearl!

He had this year also projected a poem on the subject of Otho, inspired by the pages of Tacitus. I find one or two stanzas only, which were to open the subject:—

Thou wert not, Cassius, and thou couldst not be.
Last of the Romans, though thy memory claim
From Brutus his own glory—and on thee
Rests the full splendour of his sacred fame:

Nor he who dared make the foul tyrant quail,
Amid hie cowering senate with thy name,
Though thou and he were groat—it will avail
To thine own fame that Otho's should not fail.

Twill wrong thee not—thou wouldBt, if thou couldst feel.
Abjure such envious fame—great Otho died
'Like thee—ho sanctified his country's steel,
At oncethe tyrant and tyrannicide,
In his own blood—a deed it was to buy
Tears from all men—though full of gentle pride,
Such pride as from impetuous love may spring.
That will not be refused its offering.

I insert here also the fragment of a song, though I do not know the date when it was written,—but it was early :—


Yet look on me—take not thine eyes away,

Which feed upon the love within mine own, Which is indeed but the reflected ray

Of thine own beauty from my spirit thrown.

Yet speak to me—thy voice is as the tone

Of my heart's echo, and I think I hear That tbou yet lovest me; yet thou alone

Like one before a mirror, without care

Of aught but thine own features, imaged there;

And yet I wear out life in watching thee; A toil so sweet at times, and thou indeed

Art kind when I am sick, and pity me.

He projected also translating the Hymns of Homer; his version of several of the shorter ones remain, as well as that to Mercury, already published in the Posthumous Poems. H is readings this year were chiefly Greek. Besides the Hymns of Homer and the Iliad, he read the Dramas of iEschylus and Sophocles, the Symposium of Plato, and Arrian's Historia Indica. In Latin, Apuleius alone is named. In English, the Bible was his

constant study; he read a great portion of it aloud in the evening. Among these evening readings, I find also mentioned the Fairy Queen, and other modern works, the production of his contemporaries, Coleridge, Wordsworth, Moore, and Byron.

His life was now spent more in thought than action—he had lost the eager spirit which believed it could achieve what it projected for the benefit of mankind. And yet in the converse of daily life Shelley was far from being a melancholy man. Ho was eloquent when philosophy, or politics, or taste, were the subjects of conversation. He was playful—and indulged in the wild spirit that mocked itself and others—not in bitterness, but in sport. The Author of " Nightmare Abbey" seized on some points of his character and some habits of his life when he painted Scythrop. He was not addicted to "port or madeira," but in youth he had read of " Illuminati and Eleutherachs," and believed that he possessed the power of operating an immediate change in the minds of men and the state of society. These wild dreams had faded ; sorrow and adversity had struck home ; but he struggled with despondency as he did with physical pain. There are few who remember him sailing paper boats, and watching the navigation of his tiny craft with eagerness— or repeating with wild energy the "Ancient Mariner," and Southey's "Old Woman of

Berkeley," but those who do, will recollect that

it was in such, and in the creations of his own fancy, when that was most daring and ideal, that he sheltered himself from the storms and disappointments, the pain and sorrow, that beset his life, ADVERTISEMENT




The story of Rosalind and Helen is, undoubtedly, not an attempt in the highest style of poetry. It is in no degree calculated to excite profound meditation; and if, by interesting the affections and amusing the imagination, it awaken a certain ideal melancholy favourable to the reception of more important impressions, it will produce in the reader all that the writer experienced in the composition. I resigned myself, as I wrote, to the impulse of tho feelings which moulded the conception of the story; and this impulse determined the pauses of a measure, which only pretends to he regular, inasmuch as it corresponds with, and expresses, the irregularity of the imaginations which inspired it.

I do not know which of the few scattered poena I left in England will be selected by my bookseller to add to this collection. One, which I sent from Italy, was written after a day'sexcursion among those lovely mountains which surround what was once the retreat,and where is now the sepulchre, of Petrarch. If any one is inclined to condemn the insertion of the introductory lines, which image forth the sudden relief of a state of deep despondency by tho radiant visions disclosed by the sudden burst of an Italian sunrise in* autumn, on the highest peak of those delightful mountains, I can only offer as my excuse, that they were not erased at the request of a dear friend, with whom added years of intercourse only add to my apprehension of its value, and who would have had more right than any one to complain, that she has not been able to extinguish in me the very power of delineating sadness.

Naples, Dee. 20,1818.

SCENE.—The Shore of the Lake a/Como.

Rosalind, Helen, and her Child.

Come hither, my sweet Rosalind.
'Tis long since thou and I have met:
And yet mcthinks it were unkind
Those moments to forget.
Come, sit by me. I see thee stand
By this lone lake, in this far land,
Thy loose hair in the light wind flying,
Thy sweet voice to each tone of even
United, and thine eyes replying
To the hues of yon fair heaven.
Come, gentle friend! wilt sit by me!
And be as thou wert wont to be
Ere we were disunited t
None doth behold us now: the power
That led us forth at this lone hour
Will be but ill requited
If thou depart in scorn: oh ! come,
And talk of our abandoned home.
Remember, this is Italy,
And we arc exiles. Talk with me
Of that our land, whose wilds and floods,
Barren and dark although they be,
Were dearer than these chesnut woods;

Those heathy paths, that inland stream,
And the blue mountains, shapes which i
Like wrecks of childhood's sunny dream:
Which that we have abandoned now,
Weighs on the heart like that remorse
Which altered friendship leaves. I seek
No more our youthful intercourse.
That cannot be I Rosalind, speak, [come,

Speak to me. Leave me not,—When morn did
When evening fell upon our common home,
When for one hour we parted,—do not frown;
I would not chide thee, though thy faith is broken ,
But turn to me. Oh ! by this cherished token
Of woven hair, which thou wilt not disown,
Turn, as 'twere but the memory of me,
And not my scorned self who prayed to thee.


Is it a dream, or do I see

And hear frail Helen? I would flee

Thy tainting touch ; but former years

Arise, and bring forbidden tears;

And my o'crburthened memory

Seeks yet its lost repose in thee.

I share thy crime. I cannot choose

But weep for thee : mine own strange grief

But seldom stoops to such relief;

Nor ever did I love thee less,
Though mourning o'er thy wickedness
Even with a sister's woe. I knew
What to the evil world is due,
And therefore sternly did refuse
To link me with the infamy
Of one so lost as Helen. Now
Bewildered by my dire despair,
Wondering I blusb,and weep that thou
Shouldst love me still,—thou only !—There,
Let us sit on that grey stone,
Till our mournful talk be done.


Alas! not there; I cannot bear

The murmur of this lake to hear.

A sound from thee, Rosalind dear,

Which never yet I heard elsewhere

But in our native land, recurs,

Even here where now we meet. It stirs

Too much of suffocating sorrow!

In the dell of yon dark chesnut wood

Is a stone seat, a solitude

Less like our own. The ghost of peace

Will not desert this spot. To-morrow,

If thy kind feelings should not cease,

We may sit here.


Thou lead, my sweet, And I will follow.


'Tis Fenici's seat
Where you are going! This is not the way,
Mama ; it leads behind those trees that grow
Close to the little river.


Yes ; I know; I was bewildered. Kiss me, and be gay, Dear boy, why do you sob!


I do not know:
But it might break any one's heart to see
You and the lady cry so bitterly.


It is a gentle child, my friend. Go home,
Henry, and play with Lilla till I come.
We only cried with joy to see each other;
We are quite merry now—Good night.

The boy
Lifted a sudden look upon his mother,
And in the gleam of forced and hollow joy
Whichlightenedo'er her face, laughed with the glee
Of light and unsuspecting infancy,
And whispered in her ear, " Bring home with you
That sweet, strange lady-friend." Then off he

But stopped, and beckoned with a meaning smile,
Where the road turned. Pale Rosalind the while,
Hiding her face, stood weeping silently.

In silence then they took the way
Beneath the forest's solitude.
It was a vast and antique wood,
Through which they took their way;

And the grey shades of evening

O'er that green wilderness did fling

Still deeper solitude.

Pursuing still the path that wound

The vast and knotted trees around,

Through which slow shades were wandering,

To a deep lawny dell they came,

To a stone seat beside a spring,

O'er which the colnmned wood did frame

A roofless temple, like the fane

Where, ere new creeds could faith obtain,

Man's early race once knelt beneath

The overhanging deity.

O'er this fair fountain hung the sky,

Now spangled with rare stars. The snake,

The pale snake, that with eager breath

Creeps here his noontide thirst to slake,

Is beaming with many a mingled hue,

Shed from yon dome's eternal blue,

When he floats on that dark and lucid flood

In the light of his own loveliness;

And the birds that in the fountain dip

Their plumes, with fearless fellowship

Above and round him wheel and hover.

The fitful wind is heard to stir

One solitary leaf on high;

The chirping of the grasshopper

Fills every pause. There is emotion

In all that dwells at noontide here:

Then, through the intricate wild wood,

A maze of life and light and motion

Is woven. But there is stillness now;

Gloom, and the trance of Nature now:

The snake is in his cave asleep;

The birds are on the branches dreaming;

Only the shadows creep;

Only the glow-worm is gleaming;

Only the owls and the nightingales

Wake in this dell when day-light fails,

And grey shades gather in the woods;

And the owls have all fled far away

In a merrier glen to hoot and play,

For the moon is veiled and sleeping now.

The accustomed nightingale still broods

On her accustomed bough,

But she is mute; for her false mate

Has fled and left her desolate.

This silent spot tradition old

Had peopled with the spectral dead.

For the roots of the speaker's hair felt cold

And stiff, as with tremulous lips he told

That a hellish shape at midnight led

The ghost of a youth with hoary hair,

And sate on the seat beside him there,

Till a naked child came wandering by,

When the fiend would change to a lady fair!

A fearful tale! The truth was worse:

For here a sister and a brother

Had solemnised a monstrous curse,

Meeting in this fair solitude:

For beneath yon very sky,

Had they resigned to one another

Body and soul. The multitude,

Tracking them to the secret wood,

Tore limb from limb their innocent child.

And stabbed and trampled on its mother;

But the youth, for God's most holy grace,

A priest saved to burn in the market-place.

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