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his speculations, and stamps with reality his plead. | when I consider contemporary productions of the
ings for the human race.

same apparent pretensions, I own I was filled with
The poem, bold in its opinions and uncompro-

confidence. I felt that it was in many respects a mising in theirexpression, met with many censurers,

genuine picture of my own mind.' I felt that the not only among those who allow of no virtue but

sentiments were true, not assumed. And in this such as supports the cause they espouse, but even

have I long believed that my power consists ; in among those whose opinions were similar to his sympathy and that part of the imagination which own. I extract a portion of a letter written in

relates to sentiment and contemplation. I am answer to one of these friends ; it best details the formed, if for anything not in common with the impulses of Shelley's mind and his motives : it was

herd of mankind, to apprehend minute and remote written with entire unreserve; and is therefore a

distinctions of feeling, whether relative to external precious monument of his own opinion of his

nature or the living beings which surround us,

and to communicate the conceptions which result
powers, of the purity of his designs, and the ardour
with which he clung, in adversity and through the

from considering either the moral or the material
valley of the shadow of death, to views from which

universe as a whole. Of course, I believe these
he believed the permanent happiness of mankind faculties, which perhaps comprehend all that is
must eventually spring.

sublime in man, to exist very imperfectly in my
own mind. But when you advert to my chancery

paper, a cold, forced, unimpassioned, insignificant
"Marlon, Dec. 11, 1817.

piece of cramped and cautious argument ; and to
“ I have read and considered all that you say the little scrap about Mandeville, which expressed
aboutmy general powers, and the particular instance my feelings indeed, but cost scarcely two minutes'
of the Poem in which I have attempted to develop thought to express, as specimens of my powers,
them. Nothing can be more satisfactory to me

more favourable than that which grew as it were
than the interest which your admonitions express. from the agony and bloody sweat' of intellectual
But I think you are mistaken in some points with travail ; surely I must feel that in some manner,
regard to the peculiar nature of my powers, what either I am mistaken in believing that I have
ever be their amount. I listened with deference any talent at all, or you in the selection of the
and self-suspicion to your censures of the Revolt specimens of it.
of Islam ;' but the productions of mine which you " Yet after all, I cannot but be conscious in
commend hold a very low place in my own esteem; much of what I write, of an absence of that tran-
and this reassured me, in some degree at least. quillity which is the attribute and accompaniment
The poem was produced by a series of thoughts of power. This feeling alone would make your
which filled my mind with unbounded and sustained most kind and wise admonitions, on the subject of
enthusiasm. I felt the precariousness of my life, the economy of intellectual force, valuable to me.
and I engaged in this task, resolved to leave some And if I live, or if I see any trust in coming years,
record of myself. Much of what the volume con doubt not but that I shall do something, whatever it
tains was written with the same feeling, as real, may be, which a serious and earnest estimate of
though not so prophetic, as the communications of my powers will suggest to me, and which will be
i dying man. I never presumed indeed to con in every respect accommodated to their utmost
sider it anything approaching to faultless ; but limits,"

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PROMETHEUS UNBOUND;

A Lyrical Drama.

IN FOUR ACTS.

Audisne hæc Amphiarae, sub terram abdite ?

cessors,

PREFACE.

hy the purest and the truest motives to the best any

noblest ends. The Greek tragic writers, in selecting as their sub This Poem was chiefly written upon the mountainous ject any portion of their national history or mythology, ruing of the Baths of Caracalla, among the flowery employed in their treatment of it a certain arbitrary glades, and thickets of odoriferous blossoming trees, discretion. They by no means conceived themselves which are extended in ever-winding labyrinths npon bound to adhere to the common interpretation, or to its immense platforms and dizzy arches suspended in imitate in story, as in title, their rivals and prede- the air. The bright blue sky of Rome, and the effect

Such a syatem would have amounted to a of the vigorous awakening of spring in that divinest resignation of those claims to preference over their climate, and the new life with which it drenches the competitors which incited the composition. The spirits even to intoxication, were the inspiration of Agamemnonian story was exlibited on the Athenian this drama, theatre with as many variations as dramas.

The imagery which I have employed will be found, I have presumed to employ a similar license. The in inany instances, to have been drawn from the opera. “ Prometheus Unbound of Æschylus supposed the tions of the human mind, or from those external actions reconciliation of Jupiter with his victim as the price of by which they are expressed. This is unusual in modern the disclosure of tho danger threatened to his empiro poetry, although Dante and Shakspeare are full of by the consummation of his marriage with Thetis. instances of the same kind : Dante indeed more than Thetis, according to this view of the subject, was given any other poet, and with greater success. But the in marriage to Peleus, and Prometheus, by the permis- Greek poets, as writers to whom no resource of awakension of Japiter, delivered from his captivity by Hercules. ing the sympathy of their contemporaries was unknown, Had I framed my story on this model, I should have were in the habitual use of this power; and it is the done no more than have attempted to restore the lost study of their works (since a higher merit would prodrama of Æschylus; an ambition, which, if my pre. bably be denied me), to which I am willing that my ference to this inode of treating the subject had incited readers should impute this singularity. me to cherish, the recollection of the high comparison One word is duo in candour to the degree in which such an attempt would challenge might well abate.

the study of contemporary writings may have tinged But, in truth, I was averse from a catastrophe so feeble my composition, for such has been a topic of cevsuro as that of reconciling the Champion with the Oppressor with regard to poems far more popular, and, indeed, of mankind. The moral interest of the fable, which more deservedly popular, than mine. It is impossible is so powerfully sustained by the sufferings and endur that any one who inhabits the same age with such ance of Prometheus, would be annibilated if we could writers as those who stand in the foremost ranks of our conceive of him as unsaying his high language and own, can conscientiously assure himself that his language quailing before his successful and perfidious adversary. and tone of thought may not have been modified by The only imaginary being resembling in any degree the study of the productions of those extraordinary Prometheus, is Satan: and Prometheus is, in my judg- / intellects. It is true, that, not the spirit of their ment, a more poetical character than Satan, because, genius, but the forms in which it has manifested itself

, in addition to courage, and majosty, and firm and are due less to the peculiarities of their own winds patient opposition to omnipotent force, he is susceptible than to the peculiarity of the moral and intellectual of being described as exempt from the taints of ambi condition of the minds among which they have been tion, envy, revenge, and a desire for personal aggran- produced. Thus a number of writers possess the disement, which, in the Hero of Paradiso Lost, interfere form, whilst they want the spirit of those whom, it is with the interest. The character of Satan engenders alleged, they initate; because the former is the endowin the mind a pernicious casuistry which leads us to ment of the age in which they live, and the latter weigh his faults with his wrongs, and to excuse the must be the uncommunicated lightning of their own former because the latter exceed all measure. In the mind. minds of those who consider that magnificent fiction The peculiar style of intense and comprehensive with a religious feeling, it engenders something worse. imagery which distinguishes the modern literature of But Prometheus is, as it were, the type of the highest England, has not been, as a general power, the product perfection of moral and intellectual bature, impelled of the imitation of any particular writer. The mass of

U L

capabilities remains at every period materially the same; | another, the creations, of their age. From this sub-
the circumstances which awaken it to actiou perpetually jection the loftiest do not escape. There is a similarity
change. If England were divided into forty republics, between Homer and Hesiod, between Æschylus and
each equal in population and extent to Athens, there Euripides, between Virgil and Horace, between Dante
is no reason to suppose but that, under institutions not and Petrarch, between Shakspeare and Fletcher,
more perfect than those of Athens, each would produce between Dryden aud Pope; each bas a generic resen-
philosophers and poets equal to those who (if we uscept blance under which their specific distinctions are
Shakspearo) have never been surpassed. We owe the arranged. If this similarity be the result of imitation,
great writers of the golden age of our literature to that I am willing to confess that I have imitated.
fervid awakening of the public mind which shook to Let this opportunity be conceded to me of acknow.
dust the oldest and most oppressive form of the Christian ledging that I have, what a Scotch philosopher charac-
Teligion. We owe Milton to the progress and develop teristically terins, “a passion for reforming the world :"
ment of the same spirit: the sacred Milton was, let it what passion incited him to write and publish his book,
ever be remembered, a republican, and a bold inquirer he omits to explain. For my part, I had rather be
into morals and religion. The great writers of our damned with Plato and Lord Bacon, than go to heaven
own age are, we have reason to suppose, the companions with Paley and Malthus. But it is a mistake to sup-
and forerunners of some unimagined change in our pose that I dedicate my poetical compositions solely to
social condition, or the opinions which cement it. The the direct enforcement of reform, or that I consider
cloud of mind is discharging its collected lightwing, and them in any degree as containing a reasoned system on
the equilibrium between institutions and opinions is the theory of human life. Didactic poetry is my abhor-
now restoring, or is about to be restored.

rence ; nothing can be equally well expressed in prose
As to imitation, poetry is a mimetic art. It creates, that is not tedious and supererogatory in verse. My
but it creates by combination and representation. purpose has hitherto been simply to familiarise the
Poetical abstractions are beautiful and new, not highly refined imagination of the more select classes
imcause the portions of which they are composed had of poetical readers with beautiful idealisms of moral
no previous existence in the mind of man, or in nature, excellence ; aware that until the mind can love, and
but because the whole produced by their combination admire, and trust, and hope, and endure, reasoned
has some intelligible and beautiful analogy with those principles of moral conduct are seeds cast upon the
sources of emotion and thought, and with the contem. high way of life, whicb the unconscious passenger tram-
porary coudition of them : one great poet is a master ples into dust, although they would bear the barvest
piece of nature, which another not only ought to study of his happiness. Should I live to accomplish what I
but must study. He might as wisely and as easily purpose, that is, produce a systematical history of what
determine that his mind should no longer be the mirror appear to me to be the genuine elements of human
of all that is lovely in the visible universe, as exclude society, let not the advocates of injustice and supersti-
from his contemplation the beautiful which exists in tion fatter themselves that I should take Æschylus
the writings of a great contemporary. The pretence rather than Plato as my model.
of doing it would be a presumption in any but the The having spoken of myself with unaffected free-
greatest ; the effect, even in him, would be strained, dom will need little apology with the candid ; and let
tianatural, and ineffectual. A poet is the combined the uncandid consider that they injure me less than
product of such internal powers as modify the nature their own hearts and minds by misrepresentation.
of others; and of such external influences as excite Whatever talents a person may possess to amuse and
and sustain these powers; lie is not one, but both. instruct others, be they ever so inconsiderable, he is
Every man's mind is, in this respect, inodified by all yet bound to exert them : if his attempt be ineffectual,
the objects of nature and art ; by every word and every let the punishment of an unaccomplished purpose have
Buguestion which he ever admitted to act upon his con been sufficient; let none trouble themselves to heap
schou18.1088 ; it is the mirror upon which all forms are the dust of oblivion upon his efforts ; the pile they
reflected, and in which they compose one form. Poets, raise will betray his grave, which might otherwise bave
Dot otherwise than philosophers, painters, sculptors, been unknown.
and musicians, are, in one sense, the creators, and, in

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DRAMATIS PERSONÆ.

PROMETHEUS.
DEMOGORGON.
JUPITER
The EARTH.
ORAX.
AKLIO.
MERCURY
nance LRS.

Asta,
PANTHRA,

Oceanide.
Ione,
The PHANTASM OP JUPITER,
The SPIRIT OF THE EARTH.
The SPIRIT OP THE MOON.
SPIRITS OF THE Hot Rs.
SPIRITS. ECHOES. FAUNA.
FURIES.

ACT I.
SCENE, a Ravine of Icy Rocks in the Indian Caucasus. Not exultation, for I hate no more,

PROMETHEL'S is discovered bound to the Precipice. PAN As then ere misery made me wise. The curse
THEA and Ions are seated at his feet. Time, Night.

Once breathed on thee I would recall. Ye During the Scene, Morning slowly breaks.

Mountains,
PROMETHEUS.

Whose many-voiced Echoes, through the mist MONARCH of Gods and Dæmons, and all Spirits Of cataracts, flung the thunder of that spell ! But One, who throng those bright and rolling worlds Ye icy Springs, stagnant with wrinkling frost, Which Thou and I alone of living things

Which vibrated to hear me, and then crept Behold with sleepless eyes! regard this Earth Shuddering through India ! Thou serenest Air, Made multitudinous with thy slaves, whom thou Through which the Sun walks burning without Requitest for knee-worship, prayer, and praise,

beams! And toil, and hecatombs of broken hearts,

And ye swift Whirlwinds, who on poised wings With fear and self-contempt and barren hope. Hung mute and moveless o'er yon bushed abyss, Whilst me, who am thy foe, eyeless in hate, As thunder, louder than your own, made rock Hast thou made reign and triumph, to thy scorn,

The orbed world ! If then my words had power, O’er mine own misery and thy vain revenge. Though I am changed so that aught evil wish Three thousand years of sleep-unsheltered hours, Is dead within ; although no memory be And moments aye divided by keen pangs

Of what is hate, let them not lose it now! Till they seemed years, torture and solitude, What was that cursel for ye all heard me speak. Scorn and despair,—these are mine empire. More glorious far than that which thou surveyest FIRST VOICE: (from the mountains.) From thine unenvied throne, O, Mighty God!

Thrice three hundred thousand years Almighty, had I deigned to share the shame

O'er the Earthquake's couch we stood: Of thine ill tyranny, and hung not here

Oft, as men convulsed with fears,
Nailed to this wall of eagle-batlling mountain,

We trembled in our multitude.
Black, wintry, dead, unmeasured; without herb,
Insect, or beast, or shape or sound of life.

SECOND voice: (from the springs.)
Ah me, alas! pain, pain ever, for ever!

Thunderbolts had parched our water,

We had been stained with bitter blood, No change, no pause, no hope! Yet I endure. I ask the Earth, have not the mountains felt?

And had run mute, 'mid shrieks of slaughter, I ask yon Heaven, the all-beholding Sun,

Through a city and a solitude.
Has it not seen? The Sea, in storm or calm,
Heaven's ever-changing Shadow, spread below,

THIRD VOICE: (from the air.)
Have its deaf waves not heard my agony?

I had clothed, since Earth uprose, Ah me! alas, pain, pain ever, for ever!

Its wastes in colours not their own;

And oft had my serene repose The crawling glaciers pierce me with the spears

Been cloven by many a rending groan. Of their moon-freezing crystals; the bright chains Eat with their burning cold into my bones.

FOURTH VOICE: (from the whirlwinds.) Heaven's winged hound, polluting from thy lips We had soared beneath these mountains His beak in poison not his own, tears up

Unresting ages ; nor had thunder,
My heart; and shapeless sights come wandering by, Nor yon volcano's flaming fountains,
The ghastly people of the realm of dream,

Nor any power above or under
Mocking me:and the Earthquake-fiends are charged Ever made us mute with wonder.
To wrench the rivets from my quivering wounds
When the rocks split and close again behind :

FIRST VOICE.
While from their loud abysses howling throng

But never bowed our snowy crest
The geni of the storm, urging the rage,

As at the voice of thine unrest.
Of whirlwind, and afflict me with keen hail.
And yet to me welcome is day and night,

SECOND VOICE.
Whether one breaks the hoar frost of the morn,
Or starry, dim, and slow, the other climbs

Never such a sound before
The leaden-coloured east; for then they lead

To the Indian waves we bore. The wingless, crawling hours, one among whom A pilot asleep on the howling sea -As some dark Priest hales the reluctant viccin

Leaped up from the deck in agony,
Shall drag thee, cruel King, to kiss the blood And heard, and cried, " Ah, woe is me!".
From these pale feet, which then might trample thee

And died as mad as the wild waves be.
If they disdained not such a prostrate slave.
Disdain! Ah no! I pity thee. What ruin

THIRD VOICE.
Will hunt thee undefended through the wide By such dread words from Earth to Heaven
Heaven!

My still realm was never riven:
How will thy soul, cloven to its depth with terror, When its wound was closed, there stood
Gape like a hell within! I speak in grief,

Darkness o'er the day like blood.

FOCRTH VOICE.

THE EARTH.

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PROX ETHEUS. And we shrank back: for dreams of ruin

And what art thou,
To frozen caves our flight pursuing

O melancholy Voice!
Made us keep silence-thus-and thus-
Though silence is as hell to us.

THE EARTII.

I am the Earth,

Thy mother; she within whose stony veins,
The tongueless Caverns of the craggy hills To the last fibre of the lottiest tree
Cried, " Misery!" then; the hollow Heaven replied, Whuse thin leares trembled in the frozen air,
“ Misery!" And the Ocean's purple waves, Joy ran, as blood within a living frame,
Climbing the land, howled to the lashing winds, When thou didst from her bosom, like a cloud
And the pale nations heard it, “ Misery!" Of glory, arise, a spirit of keen joy!

And at thy voice her pining sons uplifted
PROMETHEUS.

Their prostrate bruws from the polluting dust,
I hear a sound of voices: not the voice

And our almighty Tyrant with fierce dread
Which I gave forth. Mother, thy sons and thou Grew pale, until his thunder chained thee here.
Scorn him, without whose all-enduring will Then, see those million worlds which burn and roll i
Beneath the fierce omnipotence of Jove,

Around us: their inhabitants beheid
Both they and thou had vanished, like thin mist My sphered light wane in wide Heaven; the sea
Unrolled on the morning wind. Know ye not ne,, was lifted by strange tempest, and new fire
The Titan! He who made his agony

From earthquake-rifted movntains of bright snow
The barrier to your else all-conquering foe!

Shook its portentous hair beneath Heaven's frown,
Oh, rock-embosomed lawns, and snow-fed streams, Lightning and Inundation rexed the plains;
Now seen athwart frore vapours, deep below, Blue thistles bloomed in cities; foodless toads
Through whose o'ershadowing woods I wandered within voluptuous chambers panting crawled;
With Asia, drinking life from her loved eyes; [once When Plague had fallen on man, and beast, and
Why scorns the spirit which informs ye, now

worm,
To commune with me! me alone, who checked, And Famine; and black blight on herb and tree;
As one who checks a fiend-drawn charioteer, And in the corn, and vines, and meadow-grass,
The falsehood and the force of him who reigns Teemed ineradicable poisonous weeds
Supreme, and with the groans of pining slaves Draining their growth, for my wan breast was dry
Fills your dim glens and liquid wildernesses:

With grief; and the thin air, my breath, was stained
Why answer ye not, still? 'Brethren!

With the contagion of a mother's hate

Breathed on her child's destroyer; aye, I heard
They dare not. Thy curse, the which, if thou rememberest not,

Yet my innumerable seas and streams,

Mountains, and caves, and winds, and yon wide air,
Who dares! for I would hear that curse again. And the inarticulate people of the dead,
Ha! what an awful whisper rises up!

Preserve, a treasured spell. We meditate
"Tis scarce like sound: it tingles through the frame In secret joy and hope those dreadful words
As lightning tingles, hovering ere it strike. But dare not speak them.
Speak, Spirit! from thine inorganic voice
I only know that thou art moving near

PROMETHEUS.
And love. How cursed I him?

Venerable mother!
All else who live and suffer take from thee
How canst thou hear,

Some comfort;flowers, and fruits, and happy sounds,
Who knowest not the language of the dead!

And love, though fleeting; these may not be mine
But mine own words, I pray, deny me not.

THE EARTH.

PROMETHEUS.

THE EARTH.

PROMETHEUS.

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Thou art a living spirit; speak as they.

THE EARTH.

THE EARTH.

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I dare not speak like life, lest Heaven's fell King
Should hear, and link me to some wheel of pain
More torturing than the one whereon I roll.
Subtle thou art and good; and though the Gods
Hear not this voice, yet thou art more than God
Being wise and kind: earnestly hearken now.

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They shall be told. Ere Babylon was dust,
The Magus Zoroaster, my dead child,
Met his own image walking in the garden.
That apparitior, sole of men, he saw.
For know there are two worlds of life and death:
One that which thou beholdest ; but the other
Is underneath the grave, where do inhabit
The shadows of all forms that think and live
Till death unite them and they part no more;
Dreams and the light imaginings of men,
And all that faith creates or love desires,
Terrible, strange, sublime and beauteous shapes.
There thou art, and dost hang, a writhing shade,
'Mid whirlwind-peopled mountains; all the gods
Are there, and all the powers of nameless worlds,
Vast, sceptred phantoms; heroes, men, and beasts;
And Demogorgon, a tremendous gloom ;
And he, the supreme Tyrant, on his throne
Of burning gold. Son, one of these shall utter

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