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The path to power is steep and rough,

And tempests reign above.

I would not climb the imperial throne;
'Tis built on ice which fortune's sun

Thaws in the height of noon.
Then farewell, king, yet were I one,

Care would not come so soon,
Would he and I were far away
Keeping flocks on Himelay!


O thou immortal deity
Whose throne is in the depth of human thought,

I do adjure thy power and thee
By all that man may be, by all that he is not,

By all that he has been and yet must be !

He wanders, like a day-appearing dream,

Through the dim wildernesses of the mind; Through desert woods and tracts, which seem

Like ocean, homeless, boundless, unconfined.




“ HERE lieth One whose name was writ on water!" But ere the breath that could erase it blew,

Death, in remorse for that fell slaughter,
Death, the immortalizing winter flew
Athwart the stream, and time's monthless torrent

A scroll of crystal, blazoning the name
Of Adonais !


The rude wind is singing

The dirge of the music dead,
The cold worms are clinging

Where kisses were lately fed.


What art thou, Presumptuous, who profanest

The wreath to mighty poets only due, Even whilst like a forgotten moon thou wanest ?

Touch not those leaves which for the eternal few, Who wander o'er the paradise of fame,

In sacred dedication ever grew,-
One of the crowd thou art without a name.
Ah, friend, 'tis the false laurel that I wear ;

Bright though it seem, it is not the same
As that which bound Milton's immortal hair ;

Its dew is poison and the hopes that quicken Under its chilling shade, though seeming fair,

Are flowers which die almost before they sicken.


WHEN soft winds and sunny skies
With the green earth harmonize,




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 sea-weed 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 for ever 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.*

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

* 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 reasaning. Yet I believe no mistake was made.

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