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in tbe navy, and had afterwards entered the army; he had spent several years in India, and his love for adventure and manly exercises accorded with Shelley's taste. It was their favourite plan to build a boat such as they could manage themselves, and, living on the sea-coast, to enjoy at every hour and season the pleasure they loved best. Captain Roberts, R.N., undertook to build the boat at Genoa, where he was also occupied in building the Bolivar for Lord Byron. Ours was to be an open boat, on a model taken from one of the royal dock-yards. I have since heard that there was a defect in this model, and that it was never sea-worthy. In the month of February, Shelley and his friend went to Spezia to seek for houses for us. Only one was to be found at all suitable; however, a trifle such as not finding a house could not stop Shelley ; the one found was to serve for all. It was unfurnished ; we sent our furniture by sea, and with a good deal of precipitation, arising from his impatience, made our removal. We left Pisa on the 26th of April.
The bay of Spezia is of considerable extent, and divided by a rocky promontory into a larger and smaller one. The town of Lerici is situated on the eastern point, and in the depth of the smaller bay, which bears the name of this town, is the village of Sam' Arenzo. Our house, Casa Magni, was close to this village; the sea came up to the door, a steep hill sheltered it behind. The proprietor of the estate on which it was situated was insane; he had begun to erect a large house at the summit of the hill behind, but his malady prevented its being finished, and it was falling into ruin. He had, and this to the Italians had seemed a glaring symptom of very decided madness, rooted up tho olives on the hill side, and planted forest trees; these were mostly young, but the plantation was more in English taste than I ever elsewhere saw in Italy ; some fine walnut and ilex trees intermingled their dark massy foliage, and formed groups which still haunt my memory, as then they satiated the eye, with a sense of loveliness. The scene was indeed of unimaginable beauty ; the blue extent of waters, the almost land-locked bay, the near castle of Lerici, shutting it in to the east, and distant Porto Venere to the west; the varied forms of the precipitous rocks that bound in the beach, over which there was only a winding rugged foot-path towards Lerici, and none on the other side ; the tideless sea leaving no sands nor shingle, — formed a picture such as one sees in Salvator Rosa's landscapes only: sometimes the sunshine vanished when the scirocco raged—the ponentc, the wind!
was called on that shore. The gales and squalls, that hailed our first arrival, surrounded the bay with foam; the howling wind swept round our exposed house, and the sea roared unremittingly, so that we almost fancied ourselves on board ship. At other times sunshine and calm invested sea and sky, and the rich tints of Italian heaven bathed the scene in bright and ever-varying tints.
The natives were wilder than the place. Our near neighbours, of Sant' Arenzo, were more liko savages than any people I ever before lived among. Many a night they passed on the beach, singing or rather howling, the women dancing about among the waves that broke at their feet, the men leaning against the rocks and joining in their loud wild chorus. We could get no provisions nearer than Sarzana, at a distance of three miles and a half off, with tho torrent of the Magra between ; and even there the supply was very deficient. Had we been wrecked on an island of the South Seas, we could scarcely have felt ourselves further from civilisation and comfort; but where the sun shines the latter becomes an unnecessary luxury, and wo had enough society among ourselves. Yet I confess housekeeping became rather a toilsome task, especially as I was suffering in my health, and could not exert myself actively.
At first the fatal boat had not arrived, and was expected with great impatience. On Monday, May 12th, it came. Williams records the longwished-for fact in his journal: " Cloudy and threatening weather. M. Maglian called, and after dinner and while walking with him on the terrace, we discovered a strange sail coming round the point of Porto Venere, which proved at length to be Shelley's boat. She had left Genoa on Thursday last, but had been driven back by the prevailing bad winds. A Mr. Heslop and two English seamen brought her round, and they speak most highly of her performances. She does indeed excite my surprise and admiration. Shelley and I walked to Lerici, and made a stretch off the land to try her ; and I find she fetches whatever she looks at. In short, we have now a perfect plaything for the summer."—It was thus that shortsighted mortals welcomed death, he having disguised hisgriraform in a pleasingmask! Thetimcof the friends was now spent on the sea; the weather became fine, and our whole party often passed tho evenings on the water, when the wind promised pleasant sailing. Shelley and Williams made longer excursions; they sailed several times to Massa; they had engaged one of the seamen who brought her round, a boy, by name Charles Vivian; and they had not the slightest apprehension of danger. When the weather was unfavourable, they employed themselves with alterations in the rigging, and by building a boat of canvas and reeds, as light as possible, to have on board the other, for the convenience of landing in waters too shallow for the larger vessel. When Shelley was on board, he had his papers with him ; and much of the "Triumph of Life" was written as he sailed or weltered on that sea which was soon to engulf him.
The heats set in, in the middle of June; the dayB became excessively hot, but the sea breeze cooled the air at noon, and extreme heat always put Shelley in spirits: a long drought had preceded the heat, and prayers for rain were being put up in the churches, and processions of relics for the same effect took place in every town. At this time we received letters announcing the arrival of Leigh Hunt at Pisa. Shelley was very eager to see him. I was confined to my room by severe illness, and could not move; it was agreed that Shelley and Williams should go to Leghorn in the boat. Strange that no fear of danger crossed our minds! Living on the seashore, the ocean became as a plaything: as a child may sport with a lighted stick, till a spark inflames a forest and spreads destruction over all, so did we fearlessly and blindly tamper with danger, and make a game of the terrors of the ocean. Our Italian neighbours even trusted themselves as far as Massa in the skiff; and the running down the line of coast to Leghorn, gave no more notion of peril than a fair-weather inland navigation would have done to those who had never seen the sea. Once, some months before, Trelawny had raised a warning voice as to the difference of our calm bay, and the open sea beyond ; but Shelley and his friend, with their one sailor boy, thought themselves a match for the storms of the Mediterranean, in a boat which they looked upon as equal to all it was put to do.
On the 1st of July they left us. If ever shadow of future ill darkened the present hour, such was over my mind when tiny went. During the whole of our stay at Leriei, an intense presentiment of coming evil brooded over my mind, and covered this beautiful place, and genial Runii.icr, with the shadow of coming misery—1 had vainly struggled with these emotions—they seemed accounted for by my illness, but at this hour of separation they recurred with renewed violence. 1 did not anticipate danger for them, but a vague expectation of evil shook me to agony, and I coLld scarcely bring myself to let them go. The day
was calm and clear, and a fine breeze rising ai twelve they weighed for Leghorn; they made the run of about fifty miles in seven hours and a half: the Bolivar was in port, and the regulations of the health-office not permitting them to go on shore after sunset, they borrowed cushions from the larger vessel, and slept on board their boat.
They Bpent a week at Pisa and Leghorn. The want of rain was severely felt in the country. The weather continued sultry and fine. I haTe heard that Shelley all this time was in brilliant spirits. Not long before, talking of presentiment, he had said the only one that he ever found infallible, was the certain advent of some evil fortune when he felt peculiarly joyous. Yet if ever fate whispered of coming disaster, such inaudible, but not unfelt, prognostics hovered around us. The beauty of the place seemed unearthly in ib excess: the distance we were at from all signs of mutation, the sea at our feet, its murmurs or its roiiins: for ever in our ears,—all these things led the mind to brood over strange thoughts, and, liftiii; it from every-day life, caused it to be familiar with the unreal. A sort of spell surrounded us, aad each day, as the voyagers did not return, we pre* restless and disquieted, and yet, strange to say, we were not fearful of the most apparent danger.
The spell snapped, it was all over; an interval of agonising doubt—of days passed in miserable journeys to gain tidings, of hopes that took firmer root, even as they were more baseless—were changed to the certainty of the death that eclipsed all happiness for the survivors for evermore.
There was something in our fate peculiarly harrowing. The remains of those wc lost were cast on shore ; but by the quarantine laws of the coast, we were not permitted to have |wi»«woo of them—the laws, with respect to everytliini cast on land by the sea, being, that such should be burned, to prevent the possibility of any remnant bringing the plague into Italy; and no reprewottion could alter the law. At length, through thr kind and unwearied exertions of Mr. Pi»k"* our Charge d'Amiires at Florence, we E»ineJ permission to receive the ashes after the bout* were consumed. Nothing could equal the ««l TM Trelawny in carrying our wishes into elf-it. U' was indefatigable in his exertions, and Ml w forethought and sagacity in his arrangi-nx'"1' It was a fearful task : he sti>od before us al U-i. his hands scorched and blistered by the flames of the funeral pyre, and by touching the burnt rel» as he placed them in the receptacles prepared for the purpose. And there, in compass of that small case, was gathered all that remained on earth of him whose genius and virtue were a crown of glory to the world — whose love had been the source of happiness, peace, and good, — to be buried with him!
The concluding stanzas of the Adonais pointed out where the remains ought to be deposited; in addition to which our beloved child lay buried in the cemetery at Rome. Thither Shelley's ashes were conveyed, and they rest beneath one of the antique weed-grown towers that recur at intervals in the circuit of the massy ancient wall of Rome. The vignette of the title page, is taken from a sketch made on the spot by Captain Roberts. He selected the hallowed place himself; there is the
And grey walls moulder round, on which dull Time Feeds like slow fire upon a hoary brand; And one keen pyramid, with wedge sublime. Pavilioning the dust of him who planned This refuge for bis memory, doth stand Like flame transformed to marble; and beneath A field is spread, on which a newer band Have pitched in Heaven's smile their camp of death. Welcoming him we lose with scarce extinguished breath.
Could sorrow for the lost, and shuddering anguish at the vacancy left behind, be soothed by poetic imaginations, there was something in Shelley's fate to mitigate pangs, which yet alas! could not be so mitigated; for hard reality brings too miserably home to the mourner, all that is lost of happiness, all of lonely unsolaced struggle that remains. Still though dreams and hues of poetry cannot blunt grief, it invests his fate with a sublime
fitness, which those less nearly allied may regard with complacency. A year before, he had poured into verse all such ideas about death as give it a glory of its own. He had, as it now seems, almost anticipated his own destiny; and when the mind figures his skiff wrapped from sight by the thunderstorm, as it was last seen upon the purple sea; and then, as the cloud of the tempest passed away, no sign remained of where it had been*—who but will regard as a prophecy the last stanza of the w Adonais 1"
The breath, whose might I have invoked in song. Descends on me; my spirit's bark is driven, Far from the shore, far from the trembling throng, Whoso sails were never to the tempest given; The massy earth and sphered skies are riven t I am borne darkly, fearfully, afar; Whilst burning through the inmost veil of Heaven, The soul of Adonais, like a star. Beacons from the abode where the Eternal arc.
* Captain Roberts watched the vessel with his glass from the top of the light-house of Leghorn, on its homeward track. They were off Via Jteggio, at some distance from shore, when a storm was driven over the sea. It enveloped them and several larger vessels in darkness. When the cloud passed onward, Roberts looked again, and saw every other vessel sailing on the ocean except their little schooner, which had vanished. From that time he could scarcely doubt the fatal truth; yet we fancied that they might have been driven towards Elba, or Corsica, and so be saved. The observation made as to tho spot where the boat disappeared, caused It to be found, through the exertions of Trelawny, for that effectIt had gone down In ten fathom water; It had not capsized, and, except such things as had floated from her, everything was found on board exactly as it had been placed when they sailed. The boat itself was uninjured. Roberts possessed himself of her, and decked her, but she proved not sea-worthy, and her shattered planks now lie rotting on the shore of one of the Ionian islands, on which she was wrecked.
Putney, May 1st, 1839.
TO THE VOLUME OF POSTHUMOUS POEMS,
PITULISIIED IN 1821.
In nobll tongue, vita umile c queta,
Ed In alto intclletto un puro core;
Frutto senile in sul giovcnil fiore,
E in aspetto pcnaoBO, anima lieta—Petramm.
It bad been my wish, on presenting the public with tbe Posthumous Poems of Shelley, to have accompanied them by a biographical notice: as it appeared to me, that at this moment a narration of the events of my husband's life would come more gracefully from other hands than mine, I applied to Leigh Hunt. The distinguished friendship that Shelley feltforhim, aud the enthusiastic affection with which Leigh Hunt clings to his friend's memory, seemed to point him out a* the person best calculated for such an undertaking. His absence from this country, which prevented our mutual explanation, has unfortunately rendered my wbeme abortive. I do not doubt but that on some other occasion he will pay this tribute to his lost friend, and sincerely regret that the volume which I edit has not been honoured by its insertion.
The comparative solitude in which Shelley lived, was the occasion that he was personally known to few; and his fearless enthusiasm in the cause which he considered the most sacred upon earth, the improvement of the moral and physical state of mankind, was the chief reason why he, like other illustrious reformers, was pursued by hatred and calumny. No man was ever more devoted than he, to the endeavour of making those around him happy; no man ever possessed friends more unfeignedly attached to him. The ungrateful world did not feel his loss, and the gap it made seemed to close as quickly over his memory as the murderous *ea above his living frame. Hereafter men will lament that his transcendent powers of intellect were extinguished-before they had bestowed on them their choicest treasures. To his friends his loss is irremediable: the wise, the brave, the gentle, is gone for ever! He is to them as a bright vision, whose radiant track, left behind in the memory, is worth all the realities that society can afford. Before the critics contradict me, let them appeal to any one who had ever known him: to see
him was to love him; and his presence, like Ithuricl's spear, was alone sufficient to disclose the falsehood of tbe tale which his enemies whispered iu the ear of the ignorant world.
His life was spent in the contemplation of nature, in arduous study, or in acts of kindness and affection. Ho was an elegant scholar and a profound metaphysician: without possessing much scientific knowledge, he was unrivalled in the justness and extent of his observations on natural objects; ho knew every plant by its name, and was familiar with the history and habits of every production of the earth j he could interpret without a fault each appearance in the sky, and the varied phenomena of heaven and earth filled him with deep emotion. He made his study and reading-room of the shadowed copse, the stream, the hike, and the waterfall. Ill health and continual pain preyed upon his powers; and the solitude in which we lived, particularly on our first arrival in Italy, although congenial to his feelings, must frequently have weighed upon bis spirits; those beautiful and affecting "Lines, written in dejection at Naples," were composed at such an interval; but when in health, his spirits were buoyant and youthful to an extraordinary degree.
Such was his love for nature, that every page of his poetry is associated in the minds of his friends with the loveliest scenes of the countries which he inhabited. In early life he visited the most beautiful parts of this country and Ireland. Afterwards the Alps of Switzerland became his inspirers. "Prometheus Unbound" was written among the deserted and flower-grown ruins of Rome; and when he made his home under the Pisan hills, their roofless recesses harboured him as he composed "The Witch of Atlas," "Adonais," and 11 Hellas." In the wild but beautiful Bay of Spczia, the winds and waves which he loved became his play