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There our tent shall be the willow,
Because they once were sweet, shall lull
Ha! thy frozen pulses flutter
Thou art murmuring-thou art weeping
Is thine icy bosom leaping,
While my burning heart lies sleeping?
Kiss me-oh! thy lips are cold!
They are soft, but chill and dead;
Hasten to the bridal bed
Underneath the grave 'tis spread:
We may rest, and none forbid.
Clasp me, till our hearts be grown
Like two shadows into one;
Till this dreadful transport may
Like a vapour fade away
In the sleep that lasts alway.
We may dream in that long sleep
Thou mayst dream of her with me.
Let us laugh and make our mirth
At the shadows of the earth;
As dogs bay the moonlight clouds
All the wide world, beside us,
Show like multitudinous
Puppets passing from a scene;
What but mockery can they mean
Where I am-where thou hast been?
NOTE ON POEMS OF 1818, BY MRS. SHELLEY.
WE often hear of persons disappointed by a first visit to Italy. This was not Shelley's case. The aspect of its nature, its sunny sky, its majestic storms, of the luxuriant vegetation of the country, and the noble marble-built cities, enchanted him. The sight of the works of art was full enjoyment and wonder. He had not studied pictures or statues before; he now did so with the eye of taste, that referred not to the rules of schools, but to those of nature and truth. The first entrance to Rome opened to him a scene of remains of antique grandeur that far surpassed his expectations; and the unspeakable beauty of Naples and its environs added to the impression he received of the transcendent and glorious beauty of Italy.
Our winter was spent at Naples. Here he wrote the fragments of Marenghi and the Woodman and the Nightingale, which he afterwards threw aside. At this time, Shelley suffered greatly in health. He put himself under the care of a medical man, who promised great things, and made him endure severe bodily pain, without any good results. Constant and poignant physical suffering exhausted him; and though he preserved the appearance of cheerfulness, and often greatly enjoyed our wanderings in the environs of Naples, and our excursions on its sunny sea, yet many hours were passed when his thoughts, shadowed by illness, became gloomy,-and then he escaped to solitude, and in verses, which he hid from fear of wounding me, poured forth morbid but too natural bursts of discontent and sadness. One looks back with unspeakable regret and gnawing remorse to such periods; fancying that, had one been more alive to the nature of his feelings, and more attentive to soothe them, such would not have existed. And yet, enjoying as he appeared to do every sight or influence of earth or sky, it was difficult to imagine that any melancholy he showed was aught but the effect of the constant pain to which he was a martyr.
We lived in utter solitude. And such is often not the nurse of cheerfulness; for then, at least with those who have been exposed to adversity, the mind broods over its sorrows too intently; while the society of the enlightened, the witty, and the wise, enables us to forget ourselves by making us the sharers of the thoughts of others, which is a portion of the philosophy of happiness. Shelley never liked society in numbers,-it harassed and wearied him; but neither did he like loneliness, and usually, when alone, sheltered himself against memory and reflection in a book. But, with one or two whom he loved, he gave way to wild and joyous spirits, or in more serious conversation expounded his opinions with vivacity and eloquence. If an argument arose, no man ever argued better. He was clear, logical, and earnest, in supporting his own views; attentive, patient, and impartial, while listening to
those on the adverse side. Had not a wall of prejudice been raised at this time between him and his countrymen, how many would have sought the acquaintance of one whom to know was to love and to revere! How many of the more enlightened of his contemporaries have since regretted that they did not seek him! how very few knew his worth while he lived! and, of those few, several were withheld by timidity or envy from declaring their sense of it. But no man was ever more enthusiastically loved-more looked up to, as one superior to his fellows in intellectual endowments and moral worth, by the few who knew him well, and had sufficient nobleness of soul to appreciate his superiority. His excellence is now acknowledged; but, even while admitted, not duly appreciated. For who, except those who were acquainted with him, can imagine his unwearied benevolence, his generosity, his systematic forbearance? And still less is his vast superiority in intellectual attainments sufficiently understood his sagacity, his clear understanding, his learning, his prodigious memory. All these, as displayed in conversation, were known to few while he lived, and are now silent in the tomb:
"Ahi orbo mondo ingrato!
Gran cagion hai di dover pianger meco,
Chè quel ben ch' era in te perdut' hai seco."
POEMS WRITTEN IN 1819.
THE MASQUE OF ANARCHY.
As I lay asleep in Italy,
There came a voice from over the sea,
I met Murder on the way-
All were fat; and well they might
For one by one, and two by two,
He tossed them human hearts to chew,
Which from his wide cloak he drew.
Next came Fraud, and he had on,
Like Lord Eldon, an ermine gown.
His big tears, for he wept well,
And the little children who
Round his feet played to and fro,
Thinking every tear a gem,
Had their brains knocked out by them.
Clothed with the bible as with light,
Like Sidmouth next, Hypocrisy
And many more Destructions played
In this ghastly masquerade,—
All disguised, even to the eyes,
Like bishops, lawyers, peers, or spies.
Last come Anarchy; he rode
On a white horse splashed with blood;
And he wore a kingly crown;
With a pace stately and fast
And a mighty troop around
With their trampling shook the ground,
Waving each a bloody sword
For the service of their lord.
And with glorious triumph they
Rode through England, proud and gay,
Drunk as with intoxication
Of the wine of desolation.
O'er fields and towns, from sea to sea,
Passed the pageant swift and free,
And each dweller, panic-stricken,
For with pomp to meet him came,
"We have waited, weak and lone,
For thy coming, Mighty One!
Our purses are empty, our swords are cold; Give us glory, and blood, and gold."
Lawyers and priests, a motley crowd,
Then all cried with one accord,
"Thou art King, and Law, and Lord;
Anarchy, to thee we bow,
Be thy name made holy now!"
And Anarchy the skeleton
Bowed and grinned to every one