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Hate men who cant, and men who pray,
And men who rail, like thee;
An equal passion to repay
They are not coy like me.
Or seek some slave of power and gold
To be thy dear heart's mate;
A passion like the one I prove
I hate thy want of truth and love-
NOTE ON POEMS OF 1817, BY MRS. SHELLEY.
THE very illness that oppressed, and the aspect of death which had approached so near, Shelley, appear to have kindled to yet keener life the Spirit of Poetry in his heart. The restless thoughts kept awake by pain clothed themselves in verse. Much was composed during this year. The Revolt of Islam, written and printed, was a great effort-Rosalind and Helen was begun-and the fragments and poems I can trace to the same period show how full of passion and reflection were his solitary hours.
In addition to such poems as have an intelligible aim and shape, many a stray idea and transitory emotion found imperfect and abrupt expression, and then again lost themselves in silence. As he never wandered without a book and without implements of writing, I find many such, in his manuscript books, that scarcely bear record; while some of them, broken and vague as they are, will appear valuable to those who love Shelley's mind, and desire to trace its workings.
He projected also translating the Hymns of Homer; his version of several of the shorter ones remains, as well as that to Mercury already published in the Posthumous Poems. His readings this year were chiefly Greek. Besides the Hymns of Homer and the Iliad, he read the Dramas of Eschylus and Sophocles, the Symposium of Plato, and Arrian's Historia Indica. In Latin, Apuleius alone is named. In English, the Bible was his constant study; he read a great portion of it aloud in the evening. Among these evening readings, I find also mentioned the Faery Queen; and other modern works, the production of his contemporaries, Coleridge, Wordsworth, Moore, and Byron.
His life was now spent more in thought than action-he had lost the eager spirit which believed it could achieve what it projected for the benefit of mankind. And yet in the converse of daily life Shelley was far from being a melancholy man. He
was eloquent when philosophy or politics or taste were the subjects of conversation. He was playful; and indulged in the wild spirit that mocked itself and others—not in bitterness, but in sport. The author of Nightmare Abbey seized on some points of his character and some habits of his life when he painted Scythrop. He was not addicted to "port or madeira," but in youth he had read of "Illuminati and Eleutherarchs," and believed that he possessed the power of operating an immediate change in the minds of men and the state of society. These wild dreams had faded; sorrow and adversity had struck home; but he struggled with despondency as he did with physical pain. There are few who remember him sailing paper boats, and watching the navigation of his tiny craft with eagerness-or repeating with wild energy The Ancient Mariner, and Southey's Old Woman of Berkeley; but those who do will recollect that it was in such, and in the creations of his own fancy when that was most daring and ideal, that he sheltered himself from the storms and disappointments, the pain and sorrow, that beset his life. No words can express the anguish he felt when his elder children were torn from him. In his first resentment against the Chancellor, on the passing of the decree, he had written a curse, in which there breathes, besides haughty indignation, all the tenderness of a father's love, which could imagine and fondly dwell upon its loss and the consequences.
At one time, while the question was still pending, the Chancellor had said some words that seemed to intimate that Shelley should not be permitted the care of any of his children, and for a moment he feared that our infant son would be torn from us. He did not hesitate to resolve, if such were menaced, to abandon country, fortune, everything, and to escape with his child; and I find some unfinished stanzas addressed to this son, whom 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. 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, àpropos 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 tan only kill the body, the other crushes the affections."
POEMS WRITTEN IN 1818.
PASSAGE OF THE APENNINES.
LISTEN, listen, Mary mine,
To the whisper of the Apennine.
It bursts on the roof like the thunder's roar;
Or like the sea on a northern shore,
Heard in its raging ebb and flow
By the captives pent in the cave below.
Is a mighty mountain dim and grey
And the Apennine walks abroad with the storm.
4 May 1818.
ON A DEAD VIOLET.
The odour from the flower is gone
Which like thy kisses breathed on me;
The colour from the flower is flown
Which glowed of thee and only thee!
A shrivelled, lifeless, vacant form,
And mocks the heart, which yet is warm,
I weep-my tears revive it not;
I sigh-it breathes no more on me:
Its mute and uncomplaining lot
Is such as mine should be.
WILT thou forget the happy hours
Heaping over their corpses cold
Blossoms and leaves instead of mould?
And leaves, the hopes that yet remain.
Forget the dead, the past? Oh yet
There are ghosts that may take revenge for it!
Regrets which glide through the spirit's gloom,
That joy, once lost, is pain.
LIFT not the painted veil which those who live
Call Life; though unreal shapes be pictured there,
And it but mimic all we would believe
With colours idly spread. Behind, lurk Fear
Their shadows o'er the chasm sightless and drear.
I knew one who had lifted it :-he sought,
For his lost heart was tender, things to love,
Upon this gloomy scene, a spirit that strove
LINES WRITTEN AMONG THE EUGANEAN HILLS.
MANY a green isle needs must be
Never thus could voyage on-
Death from the o'er-brimming deep,
O'er the unreposing wave
To the haven of the grave.
What if there no friends will greet?
In friendship's smile, in love's caress?
That from bitter words did swerve
On the beach of a northern sea
One white skull and seven dry bones,