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as. The beauty of tlw place seemed unearthly in its excess; the distance we were nt from all signs of civilization, the sea at our feet, its murmurs or its roaring for ever in our ears,— all these things led the mind to brood over strange thoughts, and, lifting it from ever] -day life, caused it to be familiar with the unreal. A sort if spell surrounded us, and each day, as the voyagers did not return, we grew 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 agonizing 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 we lost were cast on shore; but by the quarantine laws of the coast, we were not permitted to have possession of them—the laws, with respect to every tiling 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 representation could alter the law. At length, through the kind and unwearied exertions of Mr. Dawkins, our Charge1 d'Affaires at Florence, we gained permission to receive the ashes after the bodies were consumed. Nothing could equal the zeal of Trelawny in carrying our wishes into effect. He was indefatigable in his exertions, and full of forethought and sagacity in his arrangements. It was a fearful task: he stood before us at last, his hands scorched and blistered by the flames of the funeral pyre, and by touching the burnt relics 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 was a crown of glory to the world—whose love had been the source of happiness, peace, and good,—to be buried with him 1
The concluding stanzas of the Adonais pointed out where the remains ought to be deposited; in addition to which our heloved child lay buried in the cemetery at Kome. Thither Shelley's ashes were conveyed, and they rest beneath one of the antique weed-grown towers that recur at intervals ill the circuit of the massy ancient wail of Rome. He selected the hallowed place himself; there is the
And gray walls moulder round, on which dull Time
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 nnsolaced 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 thunder-storm, 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 "Adonais?"
* Captain Roberts watched the vessel with his glass from the top of the light-house of Leghorn, on its homeward track. They were off Viareggio, at some distance from shore, when a storm was driven over the sea. It enveloped them and •everal larger vessels in darkness When the cloud passed
The breath, whose might I have invoked in song,
(inward, 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 the spot where the boat disappeared, caused it to be found, through the exertions of Trelawny for that effect. It had gone down in ten-fathom water; it had not capsized, and, except such things as had floated from her, every thing was four1 * 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 seaworthy and her shattered planks now lie rotting on the shore of on* »f the Ionian islands, on which she was wrecked.
Putbkt, May 1st, 1889.
VOl. IT. 15
TO THE VOLUME OF POSTHUMOUS POEMS.
PUBLISHED IN 1824.
In nobil sangne, vita umile e queta,
It had been my wish, on presenting the public with the 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 Shellet felt for him, and the enthusiastic affection with which Leigh Hust clings to his friend's memory, seemed to point him out as the person best calculated for such an undertaking. His absence from this country, which prevented our mutual explanation, has unfortunately rendered my scheme 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 whioh I edit has not been honoured by its insertion.
The comparative solitude in which Shellet 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 anc physical state of mankind, was the chief reason why he, like ether 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 teemed to close as quickly over his memory as the murderous >ea above bis 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 I lie 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 Ithuriel's spear, was alone sufficient to disclose the falsehood of the tale which his enemies whispered in 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. He 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; he knew every plant by its name, and was familiar with the history and habits of every production of the earth; 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 lake, 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 his spirits; those beautiful and affecting "Lines, written in dejection at Naples," were composed at Mch 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 'ovoliest