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afterwards we lost at Rome, written under the idea that we might suddenly be forced to cross the sea, so to preserve him. This poem, as well as the one previously quoted, were not written to exhibit the pangs of distress to the public ; they were the spontaneous outbursts of a man who brooded over his wrongs and woes, and was impelled to shed the grace of his genius over the uncontrollable emotions of his heart:—

The billows on the beach are leaping around it,

The bark is weak and frail.
The sea looks black, and the clouds that bound it

Darkly strew the gale.
Come with me, thou delightful child.
Come with me, though the wave is wild.
And the winds are loose, we must not stay,
Or the slaves of law may rend thee away.

They have taken thy brother and sister dear,

They have made them unfit for thee;
They have withered the smile and dried the tear,

Which should have been sacred to me.
To a blighting faith and a cause of crime
They have bound them slaves in youthly time,
And they will curse my name and thee.
Because we fearless are and free.

Come tbou, beloved as thou art,

Another aleepeth still,
Near thy sweet mother's anxious heart,

Which thou with joy wilt fill;
With fairest smiles of wonder thrown
On that which is indeed our own.
And which in distant lands will be
The dearest playmate unto thee.

Fear not the tyrants will rule for ever,

Or the priests of the evil faith;
They stand on the brink of that raging river.

Whose waves thoy have tainted with death.
It is fed from the depth of a thousand dells,
Around them it foams and rages and swells;
And their swords and their sceptres I floating see,
Like wrecks on the surge of eternity.

Rest, rest, shriek not, thou gentle child!

The rocking of the boat thou fearest.
And the cold spray and the clamour wild?

There sit between us two, thou dearest;
Me and thy mother—well we know
The storm at which thou tremblest so.
With all its dark and hungry graves,
Less cruel than the savage slaves
Wbo bunt thee o'er these sheltering waves.

This hour will in thy memory

Be a dream of days forgotten;
We soon shall dwell by the azure sea

Of serene and golden Italy,

Or Greece, the Mother of the free.
And 1 will teach thine infant tonguo
To call upon their heroes old
In tbeir own language, and will mould
Thy growing spirit in the flame
Of Grecian lore; that by such name
A patriot's birthright thou mayst claim.

I ought to observe that the fourth verse of this effusion is introduced in Rosalind and Helen.

When afterwards this child died at Rome, he wrote, apropos of the English burying-ground in that city, " This spot is the repository of a sacred loss, of which the yearnings of a parent's heart are now prophetic ; he is rendered immortal by love, as his memory is by death. My beloved child lies buried here. I envy death the body far less than the oppressors the minds of those whom they have torn from me. The one can only kill the body, the other crushes the affections."

In this new edition I have added to the poems of this year, " Peter Bell the Third." A critique on Wordsworth's Peter Bell reached us at Leghorn, which amused Shelley exceedingly and suggested this poem.

I need scarcely observe that nothing personal to the Author of Peter Bell is intended in this poem. No man ever admired Wordsworth's poetry moro ;—he read it perpetually, and taught others to appreciate its beauties. This poem is, like all others written by Shelley, ideal. He conceived the idealism of a poet—a man of lofty and creative genius,—quitting the glorious calling of discovering and announcing the beautiful and good, to support and propagate ignorant prejudices and pernicious errors ; imparting to the unenlightened, not that ardour for truth and spirit of toleration which Shelley looked on as the sources of the moral improvement and happiness of mankind ; but false and injurious opinions, that evil was good, and that ignorance and force were the best allies of purity and virtue. His idea was that a man gifted even as transcendantly as the Author of Peter Bell, with the highest qualities of genius, must, if he fostered such errors, bo infected with dulness. This poem was written, as a warning—not as a narration of the reality. He was unacquainted personally with Wordsworth or with Coleridge, (to whom he alludes in the fifth part of the poem,) and therefore, I repeat, his poem is purely ideal ;—it contains something of criticism on the compositions of these great poets, but nothing injurious to the men themselves.

No poem contains more of Shelley's peculiar views, with regard to the errors into which many of the wisest have fallen, and of the pernicious effects of certain opinions on society. Much of it is beautifully written—and though, like the burlesque drama of Swellfoot, it must be looked on as a plaything, it has so much merit and poetry—so much of himself in it, that it cannot fail to interest greatly, and by right belongs to the world for whose instruction and benefit it was written.




A Sensitive Plant in a garden grew,
And the young winds fed it with silver dew,
And it opened its fan-like leaves to the light,
And closed them beneath the kisses of night.

And the Spring arose on the garden fair,
And the Spirit of Love fell everywhere;
And each flower and herb on Earth's dark breast
Kose from the dreams of its wintry rest.

But none ever trembled and panted with bliss
In the garden, the field, or the wilderness,
Like a doe in the noontide with love's sweet want,
As the companionless Sensitive Plant.

The snowdrop, and then the violet,
Arose from the ground with warm rain wet,
And their breath was mixed with fresh odour, sent
From the turf, like the voice and the instrument.

Then the pied windflowers and the tulip tall,
And narcissi, the fairest among them all,
Who gaze on their eyes in the stream's recess,
Till they die of their own dear loveliness.

And the Naiad-like lily of the vale,
Whom youth makes so fair and passion so pale,
That the light of its tremulous bells is seen
Through their pavilions of tender green;

And the hyacinth purple, and white, and blue,
Which flung from its bells a sweet peal anew
Of music so delicate, soft, and intense,
It was felt like an odour within the sense;

And the rose like a nymph to the bath addrest,
Which unveiled the depth of her glowing breast,
Till, fold after fold, to the fainting air
The soul of her beauty and love lay bare;

And tho wand-like lily, which lifted up,

As a Mienad, its moonlight-coloured cup,

Till the fiery star, which is its eye,

Gazed through the clear dew on the tender sky;

And the jessamine faint, and the sweet tuberose,
The sweetest flower for scent that blows;
And all rare blossoms from every clime
Grew in that garden in perfect prime.

And on the stream whose inconstant bosom
Was pra iikt, under boughs of embowering blossom,
With golden and green light, slanting through
Their heaven of many a tangled hue,

Broad water-lilies lay tremulously,

And starry river-buds glimmered by,

And around them the soft stream didglide and dance

With a motion of sweet sound and radiance.

And the sinuous paths of lawn and of moss,
Which led through the garden along and across.
Some open at once to the sun and the breeze.
Some lost among bowers of blossoming trees,

Were all paved with daisies and delicate bells,
As fair as the fabulous asphodels,
And flowrets which drooping as day drooped too,
Fell into pavilions, white, purple, and blue,
To roof the glow-worm from the evening dew.

And from this undefiled Paradise
The flowers (as an infant's awakening eyes
Smile on its mother, whose singing sweet
Can first lull, and at last must awaken it).

When Heaven's blithe winds had unfolded them,
As mine-lamps enkindle a hidden gem,
Shone smiling to Heaven, and every one
Shared joy in the light of the gentle sun;

For each one was interpenetrated
With the light and the odour its neighbour shed,
Like young lovers whom youth and love make dear,
Wrapped and filled by their mutual atmosphere.

But the Sensitive Plant, which could give small fruit
Of the love which it felt from the leaf to the root,
Received more than all, it loved more than ever,
Where none wanted but it,could belongto the giver—

For the sensitive Plant has no bright flower;
Radiance and odour are not its dower;
It loves, even like Love, its deep heart is full,
It desires what it has not, the beautiful!

The light winds, which from unsustaining wings
Shed the music of many murmurings;
The beams which dart from many a star
Of the flowers whose hues they bear afar;

The plumed insects swift and free,
Like golden boats on a sunny sea,
Laden with light and odour, which pass
Over the gleam of the living grass;

The unseen clouds of the dew, which lie
Like fire in the flowers till the sun rides high,
Then wander like spirits among the spheres,
Each cloud faint with the fragrance it bears;

The quivering vapours of dim noontide,
W hich, like a sea o'er the warm earth glide,
In which every sound, and odour, and beam,
Move, as reeds in a single stream;

Each and all like ministering angels were
For the Sensitive Plant sweet joy to bear,
Whilst the lagging hours of the day went by
Like windless clouds o'er a tender sky.

And when evening descended from heaven above,
And the Earth was all rest, and the air was all love,
And delight, though less bright, was far more deep,
And the day's veil fell from the world of sleep,

And the beasts, and the birds, and the insects were In an ocean of dreams without a sound; [drowned Whose waves nevermark, though they ever impress The light sand which paves it, consciousness;

(Only overhead the sweet nightingale

Ever sang more sweet as the day might fail,

And snatches of its Elysian chant

Were mixed with the dreams of the Sensitive Plant.)

The Sensitive Plant was the earliest
Up-gathered into the bosom of rest;
A sweet child weary of its delight,
The feeblest and yet the favourite,
Cradled within the embrace of night.


There was a Power in this sweet place,
A n Eve in this Eden ; a ruling grace
Which to the flowers, did they waken or dream,
Was as God is to the starry scheme.

A Lady, the wonder of her kind,
Whose form was upborne by a lovely mind,
Which, dilating, had moulded her mien and motion
Like a sea-flower unfolded beneath the ocean,

Tended the garden from morn to even:
And the meteors of that sublunar heaven,
Like the lamps of the air when night walks forth,
Laughed round her footsteps up from the Earth!

She had no companion of mortal race,
But her tremulous breath and her flushing face
Told whilst the morn kissed the sleep from her eyes,
That her dreams were less slumber than Paradise:

As if some bright Spirit for her sweet sake

Had deserted heaven while the stars were awake,

As if yet around her he lingering were,

Though the veil of daylight concealed him from her.

Her step seemed to pity the grass it prest:
You might hear, by the heaving of her breast,
That the coming and the going of the wind
Brought pleasure there and left passion behind.

And wherever her airy footstep trod,
Her trailing hair from the grassy sod
Erased its light vestige, with shadowy sweep,
Like a sunny storm o'er the dark green deep.

I doubt not the flowers of that garden sweet
Rejoiced in the sound of her gentle feet;
1 doubt not they felt the spirit that came
From her glowing fingers through all their frame.

She sprinkled bright water from the stream
On those that were faint with the sunny beam;
And out of the cups of the heavy flowers
She emptied the rain of the thunder showers.

She lifted their heads with her tender hands,
And sustained them with rods and osier bands;
If the flowers had been her own infants, she
Could never have nursed them more tenderly.

And all killing insects and gnawing worms,
And things of obscene and unlovely forms,
She bore in a basket of Indian woof,
Into the rough woods far aloof,

In a basket, of grasses and wild flowers full,
The freshest her gentle hands could pull
For the poor banished insects, whose intent,
Although they did ill, was innocent.

But the bee and the beamlike ephemeris,
Whose path is the lightning's, and soft moths that

kiss Tlic sweet lips of the flowers, and harm not, did she Make her attendant angels be.

And many an antenatal tomb,
Where butterflies dream of the life to come,
She left clinging round the smooth and dark
Edge of the odorous cedar bark.

This fairest creature from earliest spring
Thus moved through the garden ministering
All the sweet season of summer tide,
And ere the first leaf looked brown—she died!


Three days the flowers of the garden fair,
Like stars when the noon is awakened, were,
Or the waves of the Baise, ere luminous
She floats up through the smoke of Vesuvius.

And on the fourth, the Sensitive Plant
Felt the sound of the funeral chant,
And the steps of the bearers, heavy and slow,
And the sobs of the mourners, deep and low;

The weary sound and the heavy breath,
And the silent motions of passing death,
And the smell, cold, oppressive, and dank,
Sent through the pores of the coffin plank;

The dark grass, and the flowers among the grass,
Were bright with tears as the crowd did pass;
From their sighs the wind caught a mournful tone,
And sate in the pines and gave groan for groan.

The garden, once fair, became cold and foul,
Like the corpse of her who had been its soul:
Which at first was lovely as if in sleep,
Then slowly changed, till it grew a heap
To make men tremble who never weep.

Swift summer into the autumn flowed,
And frost in the mist of the morning rode,
Though the noon-day sun looked clear and bright,
Mocking the spoil of the secret night.

The rose-leaves, like flakes of crimson snow,
Paved the turf and the moss below.
The lilies were drooping, and white, and wan,
Like the head and the skin of a dying man.

And Indian plants, of scent and hue
The sweetest that ever were fed on dew,
Leaf after leaf, day by day,
Were massed into the common clay.

And the leaves, brown, yellow, and grey, and red,
And white with the whiteness of what is dead,
Like troops of ghosts on the dry wind past;
Their whistling noise made the birds aghast.

And the gusty winds waked the winged seeds
Out of their birth-place of ugly weeds,
Till they clung round many a sweet flower's stem,
Which rotted into the earth with them.


The water-blooms under the rivulet
Fell from the stalks on which they were set;
And the eddies drove them here and there,
As the winds did those of the upper air.

Then the rain came down, and the broken stalks
Were bent and tangled across the walks;
And the leafless net-work of parasite bowers
Massed into ruin, and all sweet flowers.

Between the time of the wind and the snow,

All loathliest weeds began to grow,

Whose coarse leaves were splashed with many a

speck, Like the water-snake's belly and the toad's back.

And thistles, and nettles, and darnels rank,
And the dock, and henbane, and hemlock dank,
Stretch'd out its long and hollow shank,
And stifled the air till the dead wind stank.

And plants, at whose names the verse feels loath,
Filled the place with a monstrous undergrowth,
Prickly, and pulpous, and blistering, and blue,
Livid, and starred with a lurid dew.

And agarics and fungi, with mildew and mould,
Started like mist from the wet ground cold;
Pale, fleshy, as if the decaying dead
With a spirit of growth had been animated!

Spawn, weeds, and filth, a leprous scum,
Made the running rivulet thick and dumb,
And at its outlet, flags huge as stakes
Dammed it up with roots knotted like water-

And hour by hour, when the air was still,
The vapours arose which have strength to kill:
At morn they were seen, at noon they were felt,
At night they were darkness no star could melt

And unctuous meteors from spray to spray
Crept and flitted in broad noon-day
Unseen; every branch on which they alit
By a venomous blight was burned and bit.

The Sensitive Plant, like one forbid,
Wept, and the tears within each lid
Of its folded leaves which together grew,
Were changed to a blight of frozen glue.

For the leaves soon fell, and the branches toon
By the heavy axe of the blast were hewn;
The sap shrank to the root through every pore,
As blood to a heart that will beat no more.

For Winter came: the wind was his whip;
One choppy finger was on his lip:
He had torn the cataracts from the hills,
And they clanked at his girdle like manacles;

His breath was a chain which without a sound
The earth, and the air, and the water bound;
He came, fiercely driven in his chariot-throne
By the tenfold blasts of the arctic zone.

Then the weeds which were forms of living death,
Fled from the frost to the earth beneath:
Their decay and sudden flight from frost
Was but like the vanishing of a ghost!

And under the roots of the Sensitive Plant
The moles and the dormice died for want:
The birds dropped stiff from the frozen air,
And were caught in the branches naked and

First there came down a thawing rain,
And its dull drops froze on the boughs again,
Then there steamed up a freezing dew
Which to the drops of the thaw-rain grew;

And a northern whirlwind, wandering about
Like a wolf that had smelt a dead child out,
Shook the boughs thus laden, and heavy and stiff,
And snapped them off with his rigid griff.

When winter had gone and spring came baek,
The Sensitive Plant was a leafless wreck;
But the mandrakes, and toadstools, and docks, aw

darnels, Rose like the dead from their ruined chamett. CONCLUSION.

Whether the Sensitive Plant, or that
Which within its boughs like a spirit sat,
Ere its outward form had known decay,
Now felt this change, I cannot say.

Whether that lady's gentle mind,
No longer with the form combined
Which scattered love, as stars do light,
Found sadness, where it left delight,

I dare not guess; but in this life
Of error, ignorance and strife,
Where nothing is, but all things seem,
And we the shadows of the dream,

It is a modest creed, and yet
Pleasant, if one considers it,
To own that death itself must be,
Like all the rest, a mockery.

That garden sweet, that lady fair,
And all sweet shapes and odours there,
In truth have never passed away:
Tis we, 'tis ours, are changed ! not they.

For love, and beauty, and delight,
There is no death nor change ; their might
Exceeds our organs, which endure
No light, being themselves obscure.


Tis the terror of tempest. The rags of the sail Are flickering in ribbons within the fierce gale: From the stark night of vapours the dim rain is

driven, And when lightning is loosed like a deluge from

heaven, She sees the black trunks of the water-spouts spin, And bend, as if heaven was ruining in, Which they seemed to sustain with their terrible

mass As if ocean had sunk from beneath them : they

pass To their graves in the deep with an earthquake of

sound, And the waves and the thunders, made silent

around, Leave the wind to its echo. The vessel, now tossed Through the low trailing rack of the tempest, is

lost In the skirts of the thunder-cloud: now down the

sweep Of the wind-cloven wave to the chasm of the deep It sinks, and the walls of the watery vale Whose depths of dread calm are unmoved by the

gale, Dim mirrors of ruin, hang gleaming about; W hile the surf, like a chaos of stars, like a rout Of death-flames, like whirlpools of fire-flowing

iron, With splendour and terror the black ship environ;

Or like sulphur-flakes hurled from a mine of pale
In fountains spout o'er it. In many a spire [fire,
The pyramid-billows, with white points of brine,
In the cope of the lightning inconstantly shine,
As piercing the sky from the floor of the sea.

The great ship seems splitting I it cracks as a tree,
While an earthquake is splintering its root, ere the

blast Of the whirlwind that stript it of branches has

past. The intense thunder-balls which are raining from

heaven Have shattered its mast, and it stands black and

riven. The chinks suck destruction. The heavy dead hulk On the living sea rolls an inanimate bulk, Like a corpse on the clay which is hung'ring to

fold Its corruption around it. Meanwhile, from the

hold, One deck is burst up from the waters below, And it splits like the ice when the thaw-breezes

blow O'er the lakes of the desert! Who sit on the other! Is that all the crew that lie burying each other, Like the dead in a breach, round the foremast 1

Are those Twin tigers, who burst, when the waters arose, In the agony of terror, their chains in the hold (What now makes them tame, is what then made

them bold) Who crouch, side by side, and have driven, like a

crank, The deep grip of their claws through the vibrating Are these all 1 [plank t

Nine weeks the tall vessel had lain On the windless expanse of the watery plain, Where the death-darting sun cast no shadow at

noon, And there seemed to be fire in the beams of the

moon, Till a lead-coloured fog gathered up from the deep, Whose breath was quick pestilence; then, the cold

sleep Crept, like blight through the ears of a thick field

of corn, O'er the populous vessel. And even and morn, With their hammocks for coffins the seamen

aghast Like dead men the dead limbs of their comrades

cast Down the deep, which closed on them above and

around, And the sharks and the dog-fish their grave-clothes

unbound, And were glutted like Jews with this manna rained

down From God on their wilderness. One after one The mariners died; on the eve of this day, When the tempest was gathering in cloudy array, But seven remained. Six the thunder had smitten, And they lie black as mummies on which Time has

written His scorn of the embalmer; the seventh, from the

deck An oak splinter pierced through his breast and his

back, And hung out to the tempest, a wreck on the wreck.

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