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lend, June29th, 1822.
Mt Dear * *,—Pray thank Moore for his obliging message. I wish I could as easily convey ray sense of his genius and character. I should have written to him on the subject of my late letter, but that I doubted how far I was justified in doing so ; although, indeed, Lord Byron made no secret of his communication to me. It seems to me that things have now arrived at such a crisis as requires every man plainly to utter his sentiments on the inefficacy of the existing religion, no less than political systems, for restraining and guiding mankind. Let us see the truth, whatever that may be. The destiny of man can scarcely be Bo degraded, that he was born only to die; and if
when the fellow brought down two old muskets, and we prepared our pistols, which he no sooner saw we were determined to use, than he called our servant to the beach, and desiring him to hold the paper about a yard from him, he suffered two gentlemen who were bathing near the place to explain who and what we were. Upon this, the fellow's tone changed from presumption to the most cowardly fawning, and we proceeded to Maaaa unmolested. Slept at Massa, about three miles inland.
■' Friday, June1th. "Left Massa at half-past five—a dead calm, the atmosphere hot and oppressive. At eight a creese sprung up, which enabled us to lie up to Magra Point. Beat round the point and reached home at half-past two.
"Wednesday, June \-2th. "Launched the little boat, which answered our wishes and expectations. She is 85 lbs. English weight, and stows easily on board. Bailed In the evening, but were becalmed In the offing, and left there with a long ground-swell, w hich made Jane little better than dead. Hoisted out our little boat and brought her on shore. Her landing attended by the whole village.
"Thursday, June 13/*. "Fine. At nine, saw a vessel between the straits of Porto Venere, like a man-of-war brig. She proved to be the BolIrart with Roberts and Trelawnyon board, who sro taking her round to Livorno. On meeting them we were saluted by six guns. Bailed together to try the vessels—in speed no chance with her, but I think we keep as good a wind. She Is tho most beautiful craft I ever saw, and will do more for her size. She costs Lord Byron sFlbu clear off and ready for sea, with provisions and conveniences of every kind.
'* Wednesday, June ]'.»/ft. *' Fine. The swell continues, and I am now the more persuaded that the moon Influences the tides here, particularly the new moon, on the first week before she makes her appearance. Took the ballast out and hauled the boat on tho beach. Cleaned and greased her.
"Thursday, June 20/*. "Fine. Shelley hears from Hunt that he is arrived at Genoa: having sailed from England on the 13th May. "Saturday, June tid. "Calm. Heat overpowering, but in the shade refreshed by the sea-breeze. At seven launched our boat with all her ballast in. She floats three inches lighter than before. This difference is caused, I Imagine, by her planks having dried while on shore.
"Thursday, June nth. "Fine. The heat Increases dally, and prayers are offering for rain. At Parma It is now so excessive, that the labourers are forbidden to work in the fields after ten and before five, fearful of an epidemic"
such should be the case, delusions, especially the gross and preposterous ones of the existing religion, can scarcely be supposed to exalt it If every man said what he thought, it could not subsist a day. But all, more or less, Bubdue themselves to the element that surrounds them, and contribute to the evils they lament by the hypocrisy that springs from them.
England appears to be in a desperate condition, Ireland still worse; and no class of those who subsist on the public labour will be persuaded that their claims on it must be diminished. But the government must content itself with leas in taxes, the landholder must submit to receive less rent, and the fundholder a diminished interest, or they will all get nothing. I once thought to study these affairs, and write or act in them. I am glad that my good genius said, refrain. I see little public virtue, and I foresee that the contest will be one of blood and gold, two elements which however much to my taste in my pockets and my veins, I have an objection to out of them.
Lord Byron continues at Leghorn, and has just received from Genoa a most beautiful little yacht, which he caused to be built there. He has written two new cantos of Don Juan, but I have not seen them. I have just received a letter from Hunt, who has arrived at Genoa. As soon as I hear that he has sailed, I shall weigh anchor in my little schooner, and give him chase to Leghorn, when I must occupy myself in some arrangements for him with Lord Byron. Between ourselves, I greatly fear that this alliance will not succeed; for I, who could never have been regarded as more than tho link of the two thunderbolts, cannot now consent to be even that; and how long the alliance may continue, I will not prophesy. Pray do not hint my doubts on the subject to any one, or they might do harm to Hunt; and they may be groundless.
I still inhabit this divine bay, reading Spanish dramas, and sailing, and listening to the most enchanting music. We have some friends on a visit to us, and my only regret is that the summer must ever pass, or that Mary has not the same predilection for this place that I have, which would induce me never to Bhift my quarters.
Farewell.—Believe me ever your affectionate friend, P- B- Shelley.
Pisa, July i.ltn.
Yoc will probably see Williams before I can*
disentangle myself from the affairs with which I
•• Monday. July 1st.
* « Calm and clear. Rose at 4 to get the top-sails
altered. At 12 a line breeze from the westward tempted am now surrounded. I return to Leghorn to-night, and shall urge him to sail with the first fair wind, without expecting me. I have thus the pleasure of contributing to your happiness when deprived of every other, and of leaving you no other rabject of regret, bnt the absence of one scarcely worth regretting. I fear you are solitary and melancholy at Villa Magni, and, in the intervals of the greater and more serious distress in which I am compelled to sympathise here, I figure to myself the countenance which had been the source of such consolation to me, shadowed by a veil of sorrow.
How soon those hours passed, and how slowly they return, to pass so soon again, perhaps for ever, in which we have lived together so intimately, so happily! Adieu, my dearest friend! I only write these lines for the pleasure of tracing what will meet your eyes. Mary will tell you all the news. S.
Pisa, July 4, 1821.
Mi Dearest Mart,—J have received both your letters, and shall attend to the instructions they convey. I did not think of buying the Bolivar; Lord B. wishes to sell her, but I imagine would prefer ready money. I have as yet made no inquiries about houses near Pugnano—I have no moment of time to spare from Hunt's affairs; I
us to weigh for Leghorn. At 2 stretched across to Lerici to pick up Roberts; and at half-past found ourselves In the offing, with a side wind. At half-past 9 arrived at Leghorn—a run of forty-five to fifty miles in seven hours and a half. Anchored astern the Bolivar, from which we procured cushions and made up for ourselves a bed on board, not being able to get on shore after sunset, on account of the health-office being shut at that hour.
•' Tuetday, 2d.
•' Fine weather. We heard this morning that the Bolivar was about to sail for Genoa, and that Lord Byron was quitting Tuscany, on account of Count Gambia's family having again been exiled thence. This, on reaching the shore, I found really.to be the case; for they had just left the police-office, having there received the order. Met Lord Byron at Dunn's, and took leave of him. Was introduced to Mr. Leigh Hunt, and called on Mrs. Hunt Shopped and strolled about all day. Met Lieutenant Maraham, of the Rochefort, an old school-fellow and shipmate.
"Fine strong sea-breeze.
•• Thurtday, 41*.
"Fine. Processions of priests and religiosl have for several days been active in their prayers for rain; but the gods are either angry, or nature is too powerful."
am detained unwillingly here, and you will probably see Williams in the boat before me,—but that will be decided to-morrow.
Things are in the worst possible situation with respect to poor Hunt. I find Marianne in a desperate state of health, and on our arrival at Pisa sent for Vacca. He decides that her case is hopeless, and that although it will be lingering, must inevitably end fatally. This decision he thought proper to communicate to Hunt; indicating at the same time, with great judgment and precision, the treatment necessary to be observed for availing himself of the chance of his being deceived. This intelligence has extinguished the last spark of poor Hunt's spirits, low enough before. The children are well and much improved.
Lord Byron is at this moment on the point of leaving Tuscany. The Gambas have been exiled, and he declares his intention of following their fortunes. His first idea was to sail to America, which was changed to Switzerland, then to Genoa, and last to Lucca. Everybody is in despair and everything in confusion. Trelawny was on the point of sailing to Genoa for the purpose of transporting the Bolivar overland to the lake of Geneva, and had already whispered in my ear his desire that I should not influence Lord Byron against this terrestrial navigation. He next received orders to weigh anchor and set sail for Lerici. He is now without instructions, moody and disappointed. But it is the worst for poor Hunt, unless the present storm should blow over. He places his whole dependence upon the scheme of a journal, for which every arrangement has been made. Lord Byron must of course furnish the requisite funds at present, as I cannot; but he seems inclined to depart without the necessary explanations and arrangements due to such a situation as Hunt's. These, in spite of delicacy, I must procure ; he offers him the copyright of the Vision of Judgment for the first number. This offer, if sincere, is more than enough to set up the journal, and, if sincere, will set everything right.
How arc you, my best Mary! Write especially how is your health and how your spirits are, and whether you are not more reconciled to staying at Lerici, at least during the summer.
You have no idea how I am hurried and occupied; I have not a moment's leisure, but will write by next post Ever, dearest Mary, Yonrs affectionately, S.
I have found the translation of the Symposium.