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FEELINGS OF A REPUBLICAN ON THE
FALL OF BONAPARTE.
Like thou, shouldst dance and revel on the grave
And stifled thee, their minister. I know
Too late, since thou and France are in the dust,
That Virtue owns a more eternal foe
Than force or fraud : old Custom, legal Crime,
NOTE ON THE EARLY POEMS. BY THE EDITOR.
The 'remainder of Shelley's Poems will be voyage up the Thames, in the autumn of 1815. arranged in the order in which they were written. He had been advised by a physician to live as Of course, mistakes will occur in placing some of much as possible in the open air ; and a fortnight the shorter ones; for, as I have said, many of of a bright warm July was spent in tracing the these were thrown aside, and I never saw them Thames to its source. He never spent a season till I had the misery of looking over his writings, more tranquilly than the summer of 1815. He after the liand that traced them was dust ; and had just recovered from a severe pulmonary attack; some were in the liands of others, and I never saw the weather was warm and pleasant. He lived them till now. The subjects of the poems are near Windsor Forest, and his life was spent under often to me an unerring guide ; but on other its shades, or on the water ; meditating subjects occasions, I can only guess, by finding them in the
Hitherto, he had chiefly aimed at pages of the same manuscript book that contains extending his political doctrines; and attempted poems with the date of whose composition I am so to do by appeals, in prose essays, to the people, fully conversant. In the present arrangement all exhorting them to claim their rights ; but he had his poetical translations will be placed together at now begun to feel that the time for action was not the end of the volume.
ripe in England, and that the pen was the only The loss of his early papers prevents my being instrument where with to prepare the way for able to give any of the poetry of his boyhood Of better things. the few I give as early poems, the greater part In the scanty journals kept during those years, were published with “ Alastor ;" some of them I find a record of the books that Shelley read were written previously, some at the same period. during several years. During the years of 1814 The poem beginning, “ Oh, there are spirits in the and 1815, the list is extensive. It includes in air," was addressed in idea to Coleridge, whom he | Greek ; Homer, Hesiod, Theocritus—the histories never knew; and at whose character he could only of Thucydides and Herodotus, and Diogenes guess imperfectly, through his writings, and Laertius. In Latin ; Petronius, Suetonius, some accounts he heard of him from some who knew of the works of Cicero, a large proportion of those him well. He regarded his change of opinions as of Seneca and Livy. In English ; Milton's Poems, rather an act of will than conviction, and believed Wordsworth's Excursion, Southey's Madoc and that in his inner heart he would be haunted by Thalaba, Locke on the Human Understanding, what Shelley considered the better and holier Bacon's Novum Organum. In Italian, Ariosto, aspirations of his youth The summer evening Tasso, and Alfieri. In French, the Rêveries d'un that suggested to him the poem written in the Solituire of Rousseau. To these may be added churchyard of Lechdale, occurred during his severalmodern books of travels. He real few novels.
POEMS WRITTEN IN MDCCCXVI.
HYMN TO INTELLECTUAL BEAUTY.
THERE late was One, within whose subtle being, The awful shadow of some unseen Power
It visits with inconstant glance [shower, When, with the Lady of his love, who then
Each human heart and countenance ;
Like clouds in starlight widely spread,
Like memory of music fled,
Like aught that for its grace may be
With thine own hues all thou dost shine upon
Ask why the sunlight not for ever While the faint stars were gathering overhead. Weaves rainbows o'er yon mountain river ; “ Is it not strange, Isabel,” said the youth, Why aught should fail and fade that once is shown; “ I never saw the sun! We will walk here
Why fear and dream and death and birth To-morrow; thou shalt look on it with me."
Cast on the daylight of this earth
Such gloom ; why man has such a scope
No voice from some sublimer world hath ever That stroke. The lady died not, nor grew wild, To sage or poet these responses given : But year by year lived on--in truth I think
Therefore the names of Demon, Ghost, and Her gentleness and patience and sad smiles,
Frail spells, whose uttered charın might not avail If madness 'tis to be unlike the world.
From all we hear and all we see,
[to sever, For but to see her were to read the tale
Doubt, chance, and mutability. Woven by some subtlest bard, to make hard hearts Thy light alone, like mist o'er mountains driven, Dissolve away in wisdom-working grief ;
Or music by the night wind sent
Through strings of some still instrument,
Love, Hope, and Self-esteem, like clouds, depart Day's ruddy light. The tomb of thy dead self
And come, for some uncertain moments lent. Which one vexed ghost inhabits, night and day,
Man were immortal and omnipotent,
Keep with thy glorious train firm state within his “ Inheritor of more than earth can give,
Thou messenger of sympathies (heart. Passionless calm and silence unreproved,
That wax and wane in lovers' eyes ; Whether the dead find, oh, not sleep! but rest,
Thou, that to human thought art nourishment, Aud are the uncomplaining things they seem,
Like darkness to a dying flame !
Depart not as thy shadow came :
Like life and fear, a dark reality.
While yet a boy I sought for ghosts, and sped The chainless winds still corne and ever came
Thro’manya listening chamber,cave,and ruin, To drink their odours, and their mighty swinging
And starlight wood, with fearful steps pursuing To hear-an oM and solemn harmony: Hopes of high talk with the departed dead. Thine earthly rainbows stretched across the sweep I called on poisonous names with which our youth Of the ethereal waterfall, whose veil
I was not lieard, I saw them not ; (is fed : Robes some unsculptured image ; the strange sleep When musing deeply on the lot
Which, when the voices of the desert fail, of life, at that sweet time when winds are wooing Wraps all in its own deep eternity ;All vital things that wake to bring
Thy caverns echoing to the Arve's commotion News of birds and blossoming,
A loud, lone sound, no other sound can tame; Sudden, thy shadow fell on me ;
Thou art pervaded with that ceaseless motion, I shrieked, and clasped my hands in ecstacy! Thou art the path of that unresting sound
Dizzy Ravine! and when I gaze on thee, I vowed that I would dedicate my powers
I seem as in a trance sublime and strange To thee and thine : have I not kept the vow? To muse on my own separate fantasy,
With beating heart and streaming eyes, even My own, my human mind, which passively 'I call the phantoms of a thousand hours [now Now renders and receives fast influencings, Each from liis voiceless grave: they have in visioned Holding an unremitting interchange
Of studious zeal or love's delight [bowers With the clear universe of things around ;
Outwatched with me the envious night : One legion of wild thoughts, whose wandering wings They know that never joy illumed my brow, Now float above thy darkness, and now rest
Unlinked with hope that thou wouldst free Where that or thou art no unbidden guest,
In the still cave of the witch Poesy,
Seeking among the shadows that pass by Wouldst give whate'er these words cannot express. Ghosts of all things that are, some shade of thee,
Some phantom, some faint image ; till the breast The day becomes more solemu and serene From wluich they fled recalls them, thou art there!
When noon is past : there is a harmony
In autumn, and a lustre in its sky,
Visit the soul in sleep,—that death is slumber,
And that its shapes the busy thoughts outnumber Of nature on my passive youth
Of those who wake and live. I look on bigh; Descenderi, to my onward life supply
Has sume unknown omnipotence unfurled
The veil of life and death? or do I lie
In dream, and does the mightier world of sleep
Its circles ! For the very spirit fails,
Mount Blanc appears, - still, spowy, and serene
Its subject mountains their unearthly forms
And wind amoug the accuinulated steeps ;
A desert peopled by the storms alone, Flows through the mind, and rolls its rapid waves, Save when the eagle brings some hunter's bone, Now dark—now glittering-now reflecting gloom And the wolf tracks her there—how hideously Now lending splendour, where from secret springs Its shapes are heaped around! rude, bare, and high, The source of human thought its tribute brings Ghastly, and scarred, and riven. Is this the scene Of waters,--with a sound but half its own, Where the old Earthquake-demon taught her young Such as a feeble brook will oft assume
Ruin? Were these their toys ? or did a sea In the wild woods, among the mountains lone, Of fire envelop once this silent snow? Where waterfalls around it leap for ever,
None can reply--all seems eternal now, Where woods and winds contend, and a vast river The wilderness has a mysterious tongue Over its rocks ceaselessly bursts and raves. Which teaches awful doubt, or faith so mild,
So solemn, so serene, that man may be
But for such faith with nature reconciled ; Thus thou, Ravipe of Arve-dark, deep Ravine Thou hast a voice, great Mountain, to repeal Thou many-coloured, many-voiced vale,
Large codes of fraud and woe ; not understood, Over whose pines and crays and caverns sail By all, but which the wise, and great, and good, Fast clouds, shadows, and sunbeams; awful scene, Interpret or make felt, or deeply feel. Where Power in likeness of the Arve comes down From the ice-gulfs that gird his secret throne, Bursting through these dark mountains like the flame The fields, the lakes, the forests, and the streams, Of lightning through the tempest ; thou dost lie, Ocean, and all the living things that dwell The giant brood of pines around thee clinging, Within the dvedal earth"; lightning, and rain, Children of elder time, in whose devotion, Earthquake, and fiery flood, and hurricane,
LINES WRITTEN IN THE VALE OF CU AMOUNI.
The torpor of the year when feeble dreams Of man flies far in dread ; his work and dwelling Visit the hidden buds, or dreamless sleep
Vanish, like smoke before the tempest's stream, Holds every future leaf and flower,-the bound And their place is not known. Below, vast caves With which from that detested trance they leap ; Shine in the rushing torrent's restless gleam, The works and ways of man, their death and birth, Which from those secret chasms in tumult welling And that of him, and all that his may be ;
Meet in the Vale, and one majestic River, All things that move and breathe with toil and sound The breath and blood of distant lands, for ever Are born and die, revolve, subside, and swell. Rolls its loud waters to the ocean waves, Power dwells apart in its tranquillity,
Breathes its swift vapour's to the circling air. Remote, serene, and inaccessible : And this, the naked countenance of earth, On which I gaze, even these primeval mountains, Mont Blanc yet gleams on high:—the power is there, Teach the adverting mind. The glaciers creep,
The still and solemn power of many sights Like snakes that watch their prey,from their farfoun And many sounds, and much of life and death. Slowly rolling on ; there, many a precipice [tains, In the calm darkness of the mooniess nights, Frost and the Sun in scorn of mortal power In the lone glare of day, the snows descend Have piled-dome, pyramid, and pinnacle, Upon that Mountain ; none beholds them there, A city of death, distinct with many a tower
Nor when the flakes burn in the sinking sun, (tend And wall impregnable of beaming ice.
Or the star-beams dart through them:- Winds con. Yet not a city, but a flood of ruin
Silently there, and heap the snow, with breath Is there, that from the boundaries of the sky Rapid and strong, but silently! Its home Rolls its perpetual stream ; vast pines are strewing The voiceless lightning in these solitudes Its destined path, or in the mangled soil
Keeps innocently, and like vapour broods Branchless and shattered stand ; the rocks, drawn Over the snow. The secret strength of things, From yon remotest waste, have overthrown (down Which governs thought, and to the infinite donie The limits of the dead and living world,
Of heaven is as a law, inhabits thee ! Never to be reclaimed. The dwelling-place
And what were thou, and earth, and stars, and sea, Of insects, beasts, and birds, becomes its spoil ; If to the human mind's imaginings Their food and their retreat for ever gone,
Silence and solitude were vacancy ! So much of life and joy is lost. The race
SWITZERLAND, June 23, 1816.
NOTE ON POEMS OF 1816. BY THE EDITOR.
SHELLEY wrote little during this year.
The * The poem entitled · Mont Blanc,' is written Poem entitled the “Sunset" was written in the by the author of the two letters from Cliamouni spring of the year, while still residing at Bishopsa , and Vevai. It was composed under the immediate gate. He spent the summer on the shores of the impression of the deep and powerful feelings exLake of Geneva. “ The Hymn to Intellectual cited by the objects which it attempts to describe ; Beauty" was conceived during his voyage round and as an undisciplined overflowing of the soul, the lake with Lord Byron. He occupied himself rests its claim to approbation on an attempt to during thuis voyage, by reading the Nouvelle Héloïse imitate the untameable wildness and inaccessible for the first time. The reading it on the very spot solemnity from which those feelings sprang." where the scenes are laid, added to the interest ; This was an eventful year, and less time was and he was at once surprised and charmed by given to study than usual. In the list of his readthe passionate eloquence and earnest enthralling ing I find, in Greek : Theocritus, the Prometheus interest that pervadles this work. There was some of Æschylus, several of Plutarch's Lives and the thing in the character of Saint-Preux, in his works of Lucian. In Latin : Lucretius, Pliny's abnegation of self, and in the worship he paid to Letters, the Annals and Germany of Tacitus. In Love, that coincided with Shelley's own disposi- | French : the History of the French Revolution, tion ; and, though differing in many of the views, by Lacretelle. He read for the first time, this and shocked by others, yet the effect of the whole year, Montaigne's Essays, and regarded them ever was fascinating and delightful.
after as one of the most delightful and instructive “Mont Blanc" was inspired by a view of that books in the world. The list iscanty in English mountain and its surrounding peaks and valleys, works-- Locke's Essay, Political Justice, and as he lingered on the Bridge of Arve on his way | Coleridge's Lay Sermon, form nearly the whole. through the Valley of Chamouni. Shelley makes It was his frequent habit to read aloud to me in the following memtion of this poem in his publica- the evening ; in this way we read, this year, the tion of the History of Six Weeks' Tour, and Let New Testament, Paradise Lost, Spenser's Fairy ters from Switzerland :
Queen, an' non Quixote.
For none than he a purer heart could have, He knew not. Though his life day after day,
Was failing, like an unreplenished stream,
Shone, softly burning ; though his lips did seem
Like reeds which quiver in impetuous floods ; Just, innocent, with varied learning fed ;
And through his sleep, and o'er each waking hour, And such a glorious consolation find
Thoughts after thoughts, unresting multitudes, In others' joy, when all their own is dead : Were driven within him by some secret power, He loved, and laboured for his kind in grief, Which hade them blaze, and live, and roll afar, And yet, unlike all others, it is said
Like lights and sounds, from haunted tower to tower, That from such toil he never found relief.
O'er castled mountains borne, when tempest's war Although a child of fortune and of power,
Is levied by the night-contending winds,
And the pale dalesmen watch with eager ear;
What was this grief, which ne'er in other minds
A mirror found,- he knew not-none could know; Yet even in youth did he not e'er abuse
But on whoe'er might question him he turned The strength of wealth or thought, to consecrate The light of his frank eyes, as if to show