The Complete Poetical Works, by Percy Bysshe Shelley

Poems Written in 1822.

Table of Contents

  1. The Zucca.
  2. The Magnetic Lady to Her Patient.
  3. Notes;
  4. Lines: ‘When the Lamp is Shattered’.
  5. To Jane: The Invitation.
  6. To Jane: The Recollection.
  7. The Pine Forest of the Cascine Near Pisa.
  8. With a Guitar, to Jane.
  9. To Jane: ‘The Keen Stars Were Twinkling’.
  10. A Dirge.
  11. Lines Written in the Bay of Lerici.
  12. Lines: ‘We Meet Not As We Parted’.
  13. The Isle.
  14. Fragment: To the Moon.
  15. Epitaph.
  16. Note on Poems of 1822, by Mrs. Shelley.

The Zucca.


Summer was dead and Autumn was expiring,

And infant Winter laughed upon the land

All cloudlessly and cold; — when I, desiring

More in this world than any understand,


Wept o’er the beauty, which, like sea retiring,

Had left the earth bare as the wave-worn sand

Of my lorn heart, and o’er the grass and flowers

Pale for the falsehood of the flattering Hours.


Summer was dead, but I yet lived to weep


The instability of all but weeping;

And on the Earth lulled in her winter sleep

I woke, and envied her as she was sleeping.

Too happy Earth! over thy face shall creep

The wakening vernal airs, until thou, leaping


From unremembered dreams, shalt . . . see

No death divide thy immortality.


I loved — oh, no, I mean not one of ye,

Or any earthly one, though ye are dear

As human heart to human heart may be; —


I loved, I know not what — but this low sphere

And all that it contains, contains not thee,

Thou, whom, seen nowhere, I feel everywhere.

From Heaven and Earth, and all that in them are,

Veiled art thou, like a . . . star.


By Heaven and Earth, from all whose shapes thou flowest,

Neither to be contained, delayed, nor hidden;

Making divine the loftiest and the lowest,

When for a moment thou art not forbidden

To live within the life which thou bestowest;


And leaving noblest things vacant and chidden,

Cold as a corpse after the spirit’s flight

Blank as the sun after the birth of night.


In winds, and trees, and streams, and all things common,

In music and the sweet unconscious tone


Of animals, and voices which are human,

Meant to express some feelings of their own;

In the soft motions and rare smile of woman,

In flowers and leaves, and in the grass fresh-shown,

Or dying in the autumn, I the most


Adore thee present or lament thee lost.


And thus I went lamenting, when I saw

A plant upon the river’s margin lie

Like one who loved beyond his nature’s law,

And in despair had cast him down to die;


Its leaves, which had outlived the frost, the thaw

Had blighted; like a heart which hatred’s eye

Can blast not, but which pity kills; the dew

Lay on its spotted leaves like tears too true.


The Heavens had wept upon it, but the Earth


Had crushed it on her maternal breast

. . .


I bore it to my chamber, and I planted

It in a vase full of the lightest mould;

The winter beams which out of Heaven slanted

Fell through the window-panes, disrobed of cold,


Upon its leaves and flowers; the stars which panted

In evening for the Day, whose car has rolled

Over the horizon’s wave, with looks of light

Smiled on it from the threshold of the night.


The mitigated influences of air


And light revived the plant, and from it grew

Strong leaves and tendrils, and its flowers fair,

Full as a cup with the vine’s burning dew,

O’erflowed with golden colours; an atmosphere

Of vital warmth enfolded it anew,

And every impulse sent to every part


The unbeheld pulsations of its heart.


Well might the plant grow beautiful and strong,

Even if the air and sun had smiled not on it;

For one wept o’er it all the winter long


Tears pure as Heaven’s rain, which fell upon it

Hour after hour; for sounds of softest song

Mixed with the stringed melodies that won it

To leave the gentle lips on which it slept,

Had loosed the heart of him who sat and wept.


Had loosed his heart, and shook the leaves and flowers

On which he wept, the while the savage storm

Waked by the darkest of December’s hours

Was raving round the chamber hushed and warm;

The birds were shivering in their leafless bowers,


The fish were frozen in the pools, the form

Of every summer plant was dead

Whilst this. . . .

. . .

[Published by Mrs. Shelley, “Posthumous Poems”, 1824, and dated ‘January, 1822.’ There is a copy amongst the Boscombe manuscripts.]

_7 lorn Boscombe manuscript; poor edition 1824.

_23 So Boscombe manuscript; Dim object of soul’s idolatry edition 1824.

_24 star Boscombe manuscript; wanting edition 1824.

_38 grass fresh Boscombe manuscript; fresh grass edition 1824.

_46 like Boscombe manuscript; as edition 1824.

_68 air and sun Boscombe manuscript; sun and air edition 1824.

The Magnetic Lady to Her Patient.


‘Sleep, sleep on! forget thy pain;

My hand is on thy brow,

My spirit on thy brain;

My pity on thy heart, poor friend;


And from my fingers flow

The powers of life, and like a sign,

Seal thee from thine hour of woe;

And brood on thee, but may not blend

With thine.


‘Sleep, sleep on! I love thee not;

But when I think that he

Who made and makes my lot

As full of flowers as thine of weeds,

Might have been lost like thee;


And that a hand which was not mine

Might then have charmed his agony

As I another’s — my heart bleeds

For thine.


‘Sleep, sleep, and with the slumber of


The dead and the unborn

Forget thy life and love;

Forget that thou must wake forever;

Forget the world’s dull scorn;

Forget lost health, and the divine


Feelings which died in youth’s brief morn;

And forget me, for I can never

Be thine.


‘Like a cloud big with a May shower,

My soul weeps healing rain


On thee, thou withered flower!

It breathes mute music on thy sleep

Its odour calms thy brain!

Its light within thy gloomy breast

Spreads like a second youth again.


By mine thy being is to its deep



‘The spell is done. How feel you now?’

‘Better — Quite well,’ replied


The sleeper. —‘What would do

You good when suffering and awake?

What cure your head and side? —’

‘What would cure, that would kill me, Jane:

And as I must on earth abide

Awhile, yet tempt me not to break


My chain.’


[Published by Medwin, “The Athenaeum”, August 11, 1832. There is a copy amongst the Trelawny manuscripts.]

_1, _10 Sleep Trelawny manuscript, 1839, 2nd edition; Sleep on 1832, 1839, 1st edition.

_16 charmed Trelawny manuscript; chased 1832, editions 1839.

_21 love]woe 1832.

_42 so Trelawny manuscript ‘Twould kill me what would cure my pain 1832, editions 1839.

_44 Awhile yet, cj. A.C. Bradley.

Lines: ‘When the Lamp is Shattered’.


When the lamp is shattered

The light in the dust lies dead —

When the cloud is scattered

The rainbow’s glory is shed.


When the lute is broken,

Sweet tones are remembered not;

When the lips have spoken,

Loved accents are soon forgot.


As music and splendour


Survive not the lamp and the lute,

The heart’s echoes render

No song when the spirit is mute:—

No song but sad dirges,

Like the wind through a ruined cell,


Or the mournful surges

That ring the dead seaman’s knell.


When hearts have once mingled

Love first leaves the well-built nest;

The weak one is singled


To endure what it once possessed.

O Love! who bewailest

The frailty of all things here,

Why choose you the frailest

For your cradle, your home, and your bier?


Its passions will rock thee

As the storms rock the ravens on high;

Bright reason will mock thee,

Like the sun from a wintry sky.

From thy nest every rafter


Will rot, and thine eagle home

Leave thee naked to laughter,

When leaves fall and cold winds come.

[Published by Mrs. Shelley, “Posthumous Poems”, 1824. There is a copy amongst the Trelawny manuscripts.]

_6 tones edition 1824; notes Trelawny manuscript.

_14 through edition 1824; in Trelawny manuscript.

_16 dead edition 1824; lost Trelawny manuscript.

_23 choose edition 1824; chose Trelawny manuscript.

_25-_32 wanting Trelawny manuscript.

To Jane: The Invitation.

Best and brightest, come away!

Fairer far than this fair Day,

Which, like thee to those in sorrow,

Comes to bid a sweet good-morrow


To the rough Year just awake

In its cradle on the brake.

The brightest hour of unborn Spring,

Through the winter wandering,

Found, it seems, the halcyon Morn


To hoar February born,

Bending from Heaven, in azure mirth,

It kissed the forehead of the Earth,

And smiled upon the silent sea,

And bade the frozen streams be free,


And waked to music all their fountains,

And breathed upon the frozen mountains,

And like a prophetess of May

Strewed flowers upon the barren way,

Making the wintry world appear


Like one on whom thou smilest, dear.

Away, away, from men and towns,

To the wild wood and the downs —

To the silent wilderness

Where the soul need not repress


Its music lest it should not find

An echo in another’s mind,

While the touch of Nature’s art

Harmonizes heart to heart.

I leave this notice on my door


For each accustomed visitor:—

‘I am gone into the fields

To take what this sweet hour yields; —

Reflection, you may come to-morrow,

Sit by the fireside with Sorrow. —

You with the unpaid bill, Despair —


You, tiresome verse-reciter, Care —

I will pay you in the grave —

Death will listen to your stave.

Expectation too, be off!


To-day is for itself enough;

Hope, in pity mock not Woe

With smiles, nor follow where I go;

Long having lived on thy sweet food,

At length I find one moment’s good


After long pain — with all your love,

This you never told me of.’

Radiant Sister of the Day,

Awake! arise! and come away!

To the wild woods and the plains,


And the pools where winter rains.

Image all their roof of leaves,

Where the pine its garland weaves

Of sapless green and ivy dun

Round stems that never kiss the sun;


Where the lawns and pastures be,

And the sandhills of the sea; —

Where the melting hoar-frost wets

The daisy-star that never sets,

And wind-flowers, and violets,


Which yet join not scent to hue,

Crown the pale year weak and new;

When the night is left behind

In the deep east, dun and blind,

And the blue noon is over us,


And the multitudinous

Billows murmur at our feet,

Where the earth and ocean meet,

And all things seem only one

In the universal sun.

[This and the following poem were published together in their original form as one piece under the title, “The Pine Forest of the Cascine near Pisa”, by Mrs. Shelley, “Posthumous Poems”, 1824; reprinted in the same shape, “Poetical Works”, 1839, 1st edition; republished separately in their present form, “Poetical Works”, 1839, 2nd edition. There is a copy amongst the Trelawny manuscripts.]

_34 with Trelawny manuscript; of 1839, 2nd edition.

_44 moment’s Trelawny manuscript; moment 1839, 2nd edition.

_50 And Trelawny manuscript; To 1839, 2nd edition.

_53 dun Trelawny manuscript; dim 1839, 2nd edition.

To Jane: The Recollection.


Now the last day of many days,

All beautiful and bright as thou,

The loveliest and the last, is dead,

Rise, Memory, and write its praise!


Up — to thy wonted work! come, trace

The epitaph of glory fled —

For now the Earth has changed its face,

A frown is on the Heaven’s brow.


We wandered to the Pine Forest


That skirts the Ocean’s foam,

The lightest wind was in its nest,

The tempest in its home.

The whispering waves were half asleep,

The clouds were gone to play,


And on the bosom of the deep

The smile of Heaven lay;

It seemed as if the hour were one

Sent from beyond the skies,

Which scattered from above the sun


A light of Paradise.


We paused amid the pines that stood

The giants of the waste,

Tortured by storms to shapes as rude

As serpents interlaced;


And, soothed by every azure breath,

That under Heaven is blown,

To harmonies and hues beneath,

As tender as its own,

Now all the tree-tops lay asleep,


Like green waves on the sea,

As still as in the silent deep

The ocean woods may be.


How calm it was! — the silence there

By such a chain was bound


That even the busy woodpecker

Made stiller by her sound

The inviolable quietness;

The breath of peace we drew

With its soft motion made not less


The calm that round us grew.

There seemed from the remotest seat

Of the white mountain waste,

To the soft flower beneath our feet,

A magic circle traced —


A spirit interfused around

A thrilling, silent life —

To momentary peace it bound

Our mortal nature’s strife;

And still I felt the centre of


The magic circle there

Was one fair form that filled with love

The lifeless atmosphere.


We paused beside the pools that lie

Under the forest bough —


Each seemed as ’twere a little sky

Gulfed in a world below;

A firmament of purple light

Which in the dark earth lay,

More boundless than the depth of night,


And purer than the day —

In which the lovely forests grew,

As in the upper air,

More perfect both in shape and hue

Than any spreading there.


There lay the glade and neighbouring lawn,

And through the dark green wood

The white sun twinkling like the dawn

Out of a speckled cloud.

Sweet views which in our world above


Can never well be seen,

Were imaged by the water’s love

Of that fair forest green.

And all was interfused beneath

With an Elysian glow,


An atmosphere without a breath,

A softer day below.

Like one beloved the scene had lent

To the dark water’s breast,

Its every leaf and lineament


With more than truth expressed;

Until an envious wind crept by,

Like an unwelcome thought,

Which from the mind’s too faithful eye

Blots one dear image out.


Though thou art ever fair and kind,

The forests ever green,

Less oft is peace in Shelley’s mind,

Than calm in waters, seen.

[Published by Mrs. Shelley, “Poetical Works”, 1839, 2nd edition. See the Editor’s prefatory note to the preceding.]

_6 fled edition. 1824; dead Trelawny manuscript, 1839, 2nd edition.

_10 Ocean’s]Ocean 1839, 2nd edition.

_24 Interlaced, 1839; interlaced; cj. A.C. Bradley.

_28 own; 1839 own, cj. A.C. Bradley.

_42 white Trelawny manuscript; wide 1839, 2nd edition

_87 Shelley’s Trelawny manuscript; S—‘s 1839, 2nd edition.]

The Pine Forest of the Cascine Near Pisa.

Dearest, best and brightest,

Come away,

To the woods and to the fields!

Dearer than this fairest day


Which, like thee to those in sorrow,

Comes to bid a sweet good-morrow

To the rough Year just awake

In its cradle in the brake.

The eldest of the Hours of Spring,


Into the Winter wandering,

Looks upon the leafless wood,

And the banks all bare and rude;

Found, it seems, this halcyon Morn

In February’s bosom born,


Bending from Heaven, in azure mirth,

Kissed the cold forehead of the Earth,

And smiled upon the silent sea,

And bade the frozen streams be free;

And waked to music all the fountains,


And breathed upon the rigid mountains,

And made the wintry world appear

Like one on whom thou smilest, Dear.

Radiant Sister of the Day,

Awake! arise! and come away!


To the wild woods and the plains,

To the pools where winter rains

Image all the roof of leaves,

Where the pine its garland weaves

Sapless, gray, and ivy dun


Round stems that never kiss the sun —

To the sandhills of the sea,

Where the earliest violets be.

Now the last day of many days,

All beautiful and bright as thou,


The loveliest and the last, is dead,

Rise, Memory, and write its praise!

And do thy wonted work and trace

The epitaph of glory fled;

For now the Earth has changed its face,


A frown is on the Heaven’s brow.

We wandered to the Pine Forest

That skirts the Ocean’s foam,

The lightest wind was in its nest,

The tempest in its home.


The whispering waves were half asleep,

The clouds were gone to play,

And on the woods, and on the deep

The smile of Heaven lay.

It seemed as if the day were one


Sent from beyond the skies,

Which shed to earth above the sun

A light of Paradise.

We paused amid the pines that stood,

The giants of the waste,


Tortured by storms to shapes as rude

With stems like serpents interlaced.

How calm it was — the silence there

By such a chain was bound,

That even the busy woodpecker


Made stiller by her sound

The inviolable quietness;

The breath of peace we drew

With its soft motion made not less

The calm that round us grew.


It seemed that from the remotest seat

Of the white mountain’s waste

To the bright flower beneath our feet,

A magic circle traced; —

A spirit interfused around,


A thinking, silent life;

To momentary peace it bound

Our mortal nature’s strife; —

And still, it seemed, the centre of

The magic circle there,


Was one whose being filled with love

The breathless atmosphere.

Were not the crocuses that grew

Under that ilex-tree

As beautiful in scent and hue


As ever fed the bee?

We stood beneath the pools that lie

Under the forest bough,

And each seemed like a sky

Gulfed in a world below;


A purple firmament of light

Which in the dark earth lay,

More boundless than the depth of night,

And clearer than the day —

In which the massy forests grew


As in the upper air,

More perfect both in shape and hue

Than any waving there.

Like one beloved the scene had lent

To the dark water’s breast


Its every leaf and lineament

With that clear truth expressed;

There lay far glades and neighbouring lawn,

And through the dark green crowd

The white sun twinkling like the dawn


Under a speckled cloud.

Sweet views, which in our world above

Can never well be seen,

Were imaged by the water’s love

Of that fair forest green.


And all was interfused beneath

With an Elysian air,

An atmosphere without a breath,

A silence sleeping there.

Until a wandering wind crept by,


Like an unwelcome thought,

Which from my mind’s too faithful eye

Blots thy bright image out.

For thou art good and dear and kind,

The forest ever green,

But less of peace in S—‘s mind,


Than calm in waters, seen..

[This, the first draft of “To Jane: The Invitation, The Recollection”, was published by Mrs. Shelley, “Posthumous Poems”, 1824, and reprinted, “Poetical Works”, 1839, 1st edition. See Editor’s Prefatory Note to “The Invitation”, above.]

With a Guitar, to Jane.

Ariel to Miranda:— Take

This slave of Music, for the sake

Of him who is the slave of thee,

And teach it all the harmony


In which thou canst, and only thou,

Make the delighted spirit glow,

Till joy denies itself again,

And, too intense, is turned to pain;

For by permission and command


Of thine own Prince Ferdinand,

Poor Ariel sends this silent token

Of more than ever can be spoken;

Your guardian spirit, Ariel, who,

From life to life, must still pursue


Your happiness; — for thus alone

Can Ariel ever find his own.

From Prospero’s enchanted cell,

As the mighty verses tell,

To the throne of Naples, he


Lit you o’er the trackless sea,

Flitting on, your prow before,

Like a living meteor.

When you die, the silent Moon,

In her interlunar swoon,

Is not sadder in her cell

Than deserted Ariel.

When you live again on earth,

Like an unseen star of birth,

Ariel guides you o’er the sea


Of life from your nativity.

Many changes have been run

Since Ferdinand and you begun

Your course of love, and Ariel still

Has tracked your steps, and served your will;


Now, in humbler, happier lot,

This is all remembered not;

And now, alas! the poor sprite is

Imprisoned, for some fault of his,

In a body like a grave; —


From you he only dares to crave,

For his service and his sorrow,

A smile today, a song tomorrow.

The artist who this idol wrought,

To echo all harmonious thought,


Felled a tree, while on the steep

The woods were in their winter sleep,

Rocked in that repose divine

On the wind-swept Apennine;

And dreaming, some of Autumn past,


And some of Spring approaching fast,

And some of April buds and showers,

And some of songs in July bowers,

And all of love; and so this tree —

O that such our death may be! —


Died in sleep, and felt no pain,

To live in happier form again:

From which, beneath Heaven’s fairest star,

The artist wrought this loved Guitar,

And taught it justly to reply,


To all who question skilfully,

In language gentle as thine own;

Whispering in enamoured tone

Sweet oracles of woods and dells,

And summer winds in sylvan cells;


For it had learned all harmonies

Of the plains and of the skies,

Of the forests and the mountains,

And the many-voiced fountains;

The clearest echoes of the hills,


The softest notes of falling rills,

The melodies of birds and bees,

The murmuring of summer seas,

And pattering rain, and breathing dew,

And airs of evening; and it knew


That seldom-heard mysterious sound,

Which, driven on its diurnal round,

As it floats through boundless day,

Our world enkindles on its way. —

All this it knows, but will not tell


To those who cannot question well

The Spirit that inhabits it;

It talks according to the wit

Of its companions; and no more

Is heard than has been felt before,


By those who tempt it to betray

These secrets of an elder day:

But, sweetly as its answers will

Flatter hands of perfect skill,

It keeps its highest, holiest tone


For our beloved Jane alone.

[Published by Medwin, “The Athenaeum”, October 20, 1832; “Frazer’s Magazine”, January 1833. There is a copy amongst the Trelawny manuscripts.]

_12 Of more than ever]Of love that never 1833.

_46 woods Trelawny manuscript, 1839, 2nd edition; winds 1832, 1833, 1839, 1st edition.

_58 this Trelawny manuscript, 1839, 2nd edition; that 1832, 1833, 1839, 1st edition.

_61 thine own Trelawny manuscript, 1839, 2nd edition; its own 1832, 1833, 1839, 1st edition.

_76 on Trelawny manuscript, 1839, 2nd edition; in 1832, 1833, 1839, 1st edition.

_90 Jane Trelawny manuscript; friend 1832, 1833, editions 1839.

To Jane: ‘The Keen Stars Were Twinkling’.


The keen stars were twinkling,

And the fair moon was rising among them,

Dear Jane!

The guitar was tinkling,


But the notes were not sweet till you sung them



As the moon’s soft splendour

O’er the faint cold starlight of Heaven

Is thrown,


So your voice most tender

To the strings without soul had then given

Its own.


The stars will awaken,

Though the moon sleep a full hour later,



No leaf will be shaken

Whilst the dews of your melody scatter



Though the sound overpowers,


Sing again, with your dear voice revealing

A tone

Of some world far from ours,

Where music and moonlight and feeling

Are one.

[Published in part (lines 7-24) by Medwin (under the title, “An Ariette for Music. To a Lady singing to her Accompaniment on the Guitar”), “The Athenaeum”, November 17, 1832; reprinted by Mrs. Shelley, “Poetical Works”, 1839, 1st edition. Republished in full (under the title, To —.), “Poetical Works”, 1839, 2nd edition. The Trelawny manuscript is headed “To Jane”. Mr. C.W. Frederickson of Brooklyn possesses a transcript in an unknown hand.]

_3 Dear *** 1839, 2nd edition.

_7 soft]pale Fred. manuscript.

_10 your 1839, 2nd edition.; thy 1832, 1839, 1st edition, Fred. manuscript.

_11 had then 1839, 2nd edition; has 1832, 1839, 1st edition; hath Fred. manuscript.

_12 Its]Thine Fred. manuscript.

_17 your 1839, 2nd edition; thy 1832, 1839, 1st edition, Fred. manuscript.

_19 sound]song Fred. manuscript.

_20 your dear 1839, 2nd edition; thy sweet 1832, 1839, 1st edition; thy soft Fred. manuscript.

A Dirge.

Rough wind, that moanest loud

Grief too sad for song;

Wild wind, when sullen cloud

Knells all the night long;


Sad storm whose tears are vain,

Bare woods, whose branches strain,

Deep caves and dreary main —

Wail, for the world’s wrong!

[Published by Mrs. Shelley, “Posthumous Poems”, 1824.]

_6 strain cj. Rossetti; stain edition 1824.

Lines Written in the Bay of Lerici.

She left me at the silent time

When the moon had ceased to climb

The azure path of Heaven’s steep,

And like an albatross asleep,


Balanced on her wings of light,

Hovered in the purple night,

Ere she sought her ocean nest

In the chambers of the West.

She left me, and I stayed alone


Thinking over every tone

Which, though silent to the ear,

The enchanted heart could hear,

Like notes which die when born, but still

Haunt the echoes of the hill;


And feeling ever — oh, too much! —

The soft vibration of her touch,

As if her gentle hand, even now,

Lightly trembled on my brow;

And thus, although she absent were,


Memory gave me all of her

That even Fancy dares to claim:—

Her presence had made weak and tame

All passions, and I lived alone

In the time which is our own;


The past and future were forgot,

As they had been, and would be, not.

But soon, the guardian angel gone,

The daemon reassumed his throne

In my faint heart. I dare not speak


My thoughts, but thus disturbed and weak

I sat and saw the vessels glide

Over the ocean bright and wide,

Like spirit-winged chariots sent

O’er some serenest element


For ministrations strange and far;

As if to some Elysian star

Sailed for drink to medicine

Such sweet and bitter pain as mine.

And the wind that winged their flight


From the land came fresh and light,

And the scent of winged flowers,

And the coolness of the hours

Of dew, and sweet warmth left by day,

Were scattered o’er the twinkling bay.


And the fisher with his lamp

And spear about the low rocks damp

Crept, and struck the fish which came

To worship the delusive flame.

Too happy they, whose pleasure sought


Extinguishes all sense and thought

Of the regret that pleasure leaves,

Destroying life alone, not peace!

[Published from the Boscombe manuscripts by Dr. Garnett, “Macmillan’s Magazine”, June, 1862; reprinted, “Relics of Shelley”, 1862.]

_11 though silent Relics 1862; though now silent Mac. Mag. 1862.

_31 saw Relics 1862; watched Mac. Mag. 1862.

Lines: ‘We Meet Not As We Parted’.


We meet not as we parted,

We feel more than all may see;

My bosom is heavy-hearted,

And thine full of doubt for me:—


One moment has bound the free.


That moment is gone for ever,

Like lightning that flashed and died —

Like a snowflake upon the river —

Like a sunbeam upon the tide,


Which the dark shadows hide.


That moment from time was singled

As the first of a life of pain;

The cup of its joy was mingled

— Delusion too sweet though vain!


Too sweet to be mine again.


Sweet lips, could my heart have hidden

That its life was crushed by you,

Ye would not have then forbidden

The death which a heart so true


Sought in your briny dew.


. . .

. . .

. . .

Methinks too little cost


For a moment so found, so lost!

[Published by Dr. Garnett, “Relics of Shelley”, 1862.]

The Isle.

There was a little lawny islet

By anemone and violet,

Like mosaic, paven:

And its roof was flowers and leaves


Which the summer’s breath enweaves,

Where nor sun nor showers nor breeze

Pierce the pines and tallest trees,

Each a gem engraven; —

Girt by many an azure wave


With which the clouds and mountains pave

A lake’s blue chasm.

[Published by Mrs. Shelley, “Posthumous Poems”, 1824.]

Fragment: To the Moon.

Bright wanderer, fair coquette of Heaven,

To whom alone it has been given

To change and be adored for ever,

Envy not this dim world, for never


But once within its shadow grew

One fair as —

[Published by Dr. Garnett, “Relics of Shelley”, 1862.]


These are two friends whose lives were undivided;

So let their memory be, now they have glided

Under the grave; let not their bones be parted,

For their two hearts in life were single-hearted.

[Published by Mrs. Shelley, “Posthumous Poems”, 1824.]

Note on Poems of 1822, by Mrs. Shelley.

This morn thy gallant bark

Sailed on a sunny sea:

’Tis noon, and tempests dark

Have wrecked it on the lee.

Ah woe! ah woe!

By Spirits of the deep

Thou’rt cradled on the billow

To thy eternal sleep.

Thou sleep’st upon the shore

Beside the knelling surge,

And Sea-nymphs evermore

Shall sadly chant thy dirge.

They come, they come,

The Spirits of the deep —

While near thy seaweed pillow

My lonely watch I keep.

From far across the sea

I hear a loud lament,

By Echo’s voice for thee

From Ocean’s caverns sent.

O list! O list!

The Spirits of the deep!

They raise a wail of sorrow,

While I forever weep.

With this last year of the life of Shelley these Notes end. They are not what I intended them to be. I began with energy, and a burning desire to impart to the world, in worthy language, the sense I have of the virtues and genius of the beloved and the lost; my strength has failed under the task. Recurrence to the past, full of its own deep and unforgotten joys and sorrows, contrasted with succeeding years of painful and solitary struggle, has shaken my health. Days of great suffering have followed my attempts to write, and these again produced a weakness and languor that spread their sinister influence over these notes. I dislike speaking of myself, but cannot help apologizing to the dead, and to the public, for not having executed in the manner I desired the history I engaged to give of Shelley’s writings. (I at one time feared that the correction of the press might be less exact through my illness; but I believe that it is nearly free from error. Some asterisks occur in a few pages, as they did in the volume of “Posthumous Poems”, either because they refer to private concerns, or because the original manuscript was left imperfect. Did any one see the papers from which I drew that volume, the wonder would be how any eyes or patience were capable of extracting it from so confused a mass, interlined and broken into fragments, so that the sense could only be deciphered and joined by guesses which might seem rather intuitive than founded on reasoning. Yet I believe no mistake was made.)

The winter of 1822 was passed in Pisa, if we might call that season winter in which autumn merged into spring after the interval of but few days of bleaker weather. Spring sprang up early, and with extreme beauty. Shelley had conceived the idea of writing a tragedy on the subject of Charles I. It was one that he believed adapted for a drama; full of intense interest, contrasted character, and busy passion. He had recommended it long before, when he encouraged me to attempt a play. Whether the subject proved more difficult than he anticipated, or whether in fact he could not bend his mind away from the broodings and wanderings of thought, divested from human interest, which he best loved, I cannot tell; but he proceeded slowly, and threw it aside for one of the most mystical of his poems, the “Triumph of Life”, on which he was employed at the last.

His passion for boating was fostered at this time by having among our friends several sailors. His favourite companion, Edward Ellerker Williams, of the 8th Light Dragoons, had begun his life in the 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 dockyards. I have since heard that there was a defect in this model, and that it was never seaworthy. 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 San Terenzo. 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 the olives on the hillside, 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 landlocked 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 footpath 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 sirocco raged — the ‘ponente’ 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 San Terenzo were more like 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 the 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 farther from civilisation and comfort; but, where the sun shines, the latter becomes an unnecessary luxury, and we 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, 12th May, it came. Williams records the long-wished-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 short-sighted mortals welcomed Death, he having disguised his grim form in a pleasing mask! The time of the friends was now spent on the sea; the weather became fine, and our whole party often passed the 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 days 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 Genoa. 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 sea-shore, 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 they went. During the whole of our stay at Lerici, an intense presentiment of coming evil brooded over my mind, and covered this beautiful place and genial summer with the shadow of coming misery. I had vainly struggled with these emotions — they seemed accounted for by my illness; but at this hour of separation they recurred with renewed violence. I did not anticipate danger for them, but a vague expectation of evil shook me to agony, and I could scarcely bring myself to let them go. The day was calm and clear; and, a fine breeze rising at 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 spent a week at Pisa and Leghorn. The want of rain was severely felt in the country. The weather continued sultry and fine. I have 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 its excess: the distance we were at 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 everyday life, caused it to be familiar with the unreal. A sort of 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 — was 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 law with respect to everything 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 Charge 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 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. He selected the hallowed place himself; there is

‘the sepulchre,

Oh, not of him, but of our joy! —

. . .

And gray 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 his 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 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 (Captain Roberts watched the vessel with his glass from the top of the lighthouse of Leghorn, on its homeward track. They were off Via Reggio, 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 onwards, 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, 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 seaworthy, and her shattered planks now lie rotting on the shore of one of the Ionian islands, on which she was wrecked.)— who but will regard as a prophecy the last stanza of the “Adonais”?

‘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

Whose sails were never to the tempest given;

The massy earth and sphered skies are riven!

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 are.’

Putney, May 1, 1839.

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