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By this connexion he had two children, the young. In short, seduction, which term could have no est of whom, born in 1815, is since dead. Con- meaning in a rational society, has now a most sistent with his own views of marriage and its tremendous one; the fictitious merit attached to institution, Shelley paid his addresses to another chastity has made that a forerunner to the most lady, Miss Godwin, with whom, in July, 1814, he terrible ruins, which in Malabar would be a pledge fled, accompanied by Miss Jane Claremont, her of honor and homage. If there is any énormous sister-in-law, to Uri, in Switzerland, from whence, and desolating crime of which I should shudder after a few days' residence, they suddenly quitted, to be accu
cused, it is seduction. I need not say how suspecting they were watched by another lodger; I admire “Love,” and little as a British public they departed for Paris on foot, and there found seems to appreciate its merit, in not permitting it that the person to whom they had confided a large to emerge from a first edition, it is with satisfactrunk of clothes, had absconded with them: this tion I find, that justice had conceded abroad what hastened their return to England. A child was bigotry has denied at home. I shall take the libthe fruit of this expedition. Shortly after they erty of sending you any little publication I may again quitted England, and went to Geneva, Como give to the world. Mrs. S. joins with myself in and Venice. In a few months they revisited Eng- hoping, if we come to London this winter, we may land, and took up their abode in Bath, from whence be favored with the personal friendship of one Shelley was suddenly called by the unexpected whose writings we have learnt to esteem. suicide of his wife, who destroyed herself on the “Yours, very truly, PERCY BYSSHE SHELLEY." 10th November, 1816. Her fate hung heavy on the mind of her husband, who felt deep self-re A circumstance arose out of his first marriage proach that he had not selected a female of a higher which attracted a good deal of notice from the order of intellect, who could appreciate better the public. As we have already mentioned, there were feelings of one constituted as he was. Both were two children left, whom the Lord Chancellor El. entitled to compassion, and both were sufferers by don took away from their father by one of his own this unfortunate alliance. Shortly after the death arbitrary decrees, because the religious sentiments of his first wife, Shelley, at the solicitation of her of Shelley were avowedly heterodox. No immor. father, married Mary Wolstonecraft Godwin, ality of life, no breach of parental duty was daughter of the celebrated authoress of the Rights tempted to be proved; it was sufficient that the of Woman; and went to reside at Great Marlow father did not give credit to religion as established in Buckinghamshire. That this second hymen by act of parliament, to cause the closest ties of was diametrically opposed to his own sentiments nature to be rent asunder, and the connexion of will be apparent from the following letter, address- father and child to be for ever broken. This desed to Sir James Lawrence, on the perusal of one potism of a law-officer has since been displayed in of that gentleman's works :
another case, where immorality of the parent was
the alleged cause. Had the same law-officer, un“Lymouth, Barnstaple, Devon, August 17, 1812.
happily for England, continued to preside, no doubt “Sir, I feel peculiar satisfaction in seizing the the political sentiments of the parent would by opportunity which your politeness places in my and by furnish an excuse for such a monstrous power, of expressing to you personally (as I may tyranny over the rights of nature. say) a high acknowledgment of my sense of your Shelley for ever sought to make mankind and talents and principles, which, before I conceived things around him in harmony with a better state it possible that I should ever know you, I sincerely of moral existence. He was too young and inexentertained. Your “ Empire of the Nairs," which perienced when he first acted upon this principle I read this spring, succeeded in making me ato perceive the obstacles which opposed the properfect convert to its doctrines. I then retained gress of his views, arising out of the usages and no doubts of the evils of marriage; Mrs. Wolstone-customs which rule mankind, and which, from the craft reasons too well for that; but I had been dull nature of things, it takes a long time to overcome. enough not to perceive the greatest argument Ardent in the pursuit of the good he sought, he against it, until developed in the “ Nairs,” viz. was always ready to meet the consequences of his prostitution both legal and illegal.
actions; and if any condemn them for their mis. "I am a young man, not of age, and have been taken views, they ought to feel that charity should married a year to a woman younger than myself. forbid their arraigning motives, when such proofs Love seems inclined to stay in the prison, and my of sincerity were before them. The vermin who, only reason for putting him in chains, whilst con- under the specious title of " reviewers," seek in vinced of the unholiness of the act, was a know- England to crush every bud of genius that appears ledge, that in the present state of society, if love out of the pale of their own party, fell mercilessly is not thus villanously treated, she, who is most upon the works of Shelley. The beauty and proloved, will be treated worse by a misjudging world. fundity which none but the furious zealots of a
faction could deny—these were passed over in a Their boat had been built for Mr. Shelley at Genoa sweeping torrent of vulgar vituperation by the by a captain in the navy. It was twenty-four feet servile and venal Quarterly.
long, eight in the beam, schooner-rigged, with During his residence at Great Marlow, he com- gaft topsails, etc. and drew four feet water. On posed his Revolt of Islam. In 1817 he left Eng. Monday, the 8th of July, at the same hour, they land, never to return to it, and directed his steps got under weigh to return home, having on board to Italy, where he resided partly at Venice, partly a quantity of household articles, four hundred dolat Pisa near his friend Byron, and on the neigh- lars, a small canoe, and some books and manu. boring coast. In the month of June 1822 he was scripts. At half past twelve they made all sail out temporarily a resident in a house situated on the of the harbor with a light and favorable breeze, Gulf of Lerici. Being much attached to sea-ex-steering direct for Spezia. I had likewise weighed cursions, he kept a boat, in which he was in the anchor to accompany them a few miles out in habit of cruising along the coast. On the 7th of Lord Byron's schooner, the Bolivar; but there was July, he set sail from Leghorn, where he had been some demur about papers from the guard-boat; to meet Mr. Leigh Hunt, who had just then ar- and they, fearful of losing the breeze, sailed withrived in Italy, intending to return to Lerici. But out me. I re-anchored, and watched my friends, he never reached that place; the boat in which till their boat became a speck on the horizon, he set sail was lost in a violent storm, and all on which was growing thick and dark, with heavy board perished. The following particulars of that clouds moving rapidly, and gathering in the southmelancholy event are extracted from the work of west quarter. I then retired to the cabin, where I Mr. Leigh Hunt, entitled “ Lord Byron and some had not been half an hour, before a man on deck of his Contemporaries.”
told me a heavy squall had come on. We let go
another anchor. The boats and vessels in the roads " In June 1822, I arrived in Italy, in consequence were scudding past us in all directions to get into of the invitation to set up a work with my friend harbor ; and in a moment, it blew a hard gale from and Lord Byron. Mr. Shelley was passing the sum- the south-west, the sea, from excessive smoothness, mer season at a house he had taken for that pur. foaming, breaking, and getting up into a very pose on the Gulf of Lerici; and on hearing of my heavy swell. The wind, having shifted, was now arrival at Leghorn, came thither, accompanied by directly against my friends. I felt confident they Mr. Williams, formerly of the 8th Dragoons, who would be obliged to bear off for Leghorn; and was then on a visit to him. He came to welcome being anxious to hear of their safety, stayed on his friend and family, and see us comfortably set- board till a late hoạr, but saw nothing of them. tled at Pisa. He accordingly went with us to that The violence of the wind did not continue above city, and after remaining in it a few days, took an hour; it then gradually subsided; and at eight leave on the night of the 7th July, to return with o'clock, when I went on shore, it was almost a Mr. Williams to Lerici, meaning to come back to calm. It, however, blew hard at intervals during us shortly. In a day or two the voyagers were the night, with rain, and thunder and lightning. missed. The afternoon of the 8th had been stormy, The lightning struck the mast of a vessel close to with violent squalls from the south-west. A night us, shivering it to splinters, killing two men, and succeeded, broken up with that tremendous thun-wounding others. From these circumstances, beder and lightning, which appals the stoutest sea- coming greatly alarmed for the safety of the voyman in the Mediterranean, dropping its bolts in agers, a note was dispatched to Mr. Shelley's house all directions more like melted brass, or liquid pil- at Lerici, the reply to which stated that nothing lars of fire, than any thing we conceive of light- had been heard of him and his friend, which augning in our northern climate. The suspense and mented our fears to such a degree, that couriers anguish of their friends need not be dwelt upon. were dispatched on the whole line of coast from A dreadful interval took place of more than a Leghorn to Nice, to ascertain if they had put in week, during which every inquiry and every fond anywhere, or if there had been any wreck, or inhope were exhausted. At the end of that period dication of losses by sea. I immediately started our worst fears were confirmed. The following for Via Reggio, having lost sight of the boat in narrative of the particulars is from the pen of Mr. that direction. My worst fears were almost conTrelawney, a friend of Lord Byron's, who had not firmed on my arrival there, by news that a small long been acquainted with Mr. Shelley, but enter. canoe, two empty water-barrels, and a bottle, had tained the deepest regard for him :
been found on the shore, which things I recognized "• Mr. Shelley, Mr. Williams (formerly of the as belonging to the boat. I had still, however, 8th Dragoons), and one seaman, Charles Vivian, warm hopes that these articles had been thrown left Villa Magni near Lerici, a small town situate overboard to clear them from useless lumber in in the Bay of Spezia, on the 30th of June, at twelve the storm; and it seemed a general opinion that o'clock, and arrived the same night at Leghorn. they had missed Leghorn, and put into Elba or
Corsica, as nothing more was heard for eight days. " It was thought that the whole of these melan. This state of suspense becoming intolerable, I re-choly operations might have been performed in turned from Spezia to Via Reggio, where my worst one day: but the calculation turned out to be er. fears were confirmed by the information that two roneous. Mr. Williams's remains were commenced bodies had been washed on shore, one on that with. Mr. Trelawney and Captain Shenley were night very near the town, which, by the dress and at the tower by noon, with proper persons to assist, stature, I knew to be Mr. Shelley's. Mr. Keats's and were joined shortly by Lord Byron and my. last volume of “ Lamia,” “ Isabella,” etc. being self. A portable furnace and a tent had been preopen in the jacket pocket, confirmed it beyond a pared. “ Wood," continues Mr. Trelawney, “ we doubt. The body of Mr. Williams was subsequent. found in abundance on the beach, old trees and ly found near a tower on the Tuscan shore, about parts of wrecks. Within a few paces of the spot four miles from his companion. Both the bodies where the body lay, there was a rude-built shed were greatly decomposed by the sea, but identified of straw, forming a temporary shelter for soldiers beyond a doubt. The seaman, Charles Vivian, was at night, when performing the coast-patrol duty. not found for nearly three weeks afterwards :-his The grave was at high-water mark, some eighteen body was interred on the spot on which a wave paces from the surf, as it was then breaking, the had washed it, in the vicinity of Massa. distance about four miles and a half from Via
" • After a variety of applications to the Luc- Reggio. The magnificent bay of Spezia is on the chese and Tuscan governments, and our ambassa- right of this spot, Leghorn on the left, at equal dor at Florence, I obtained, from the kindness and distances of about twenty-two miles. The head. exertions of Mr. Dawkins, an order to the officer lands, projecting boldly and far into the sea, form commanding the tower of Migliarino (near to a deep and dangerous gulf, with a heavy swell which Lieutenant Williams had been cast, and and a strong current generally running right into buried in the sand), that the body should be at my it. A vessel embayed in this gulf, and overtaken disposal. I likewise obtained an order to the same by one of the squalls so common upon the coast effect to the commandant at Via Reggio, to deliver of it, is almost certain to be wrecked. The loss up the remains of Mr. Shelley, it having been de- of small craft is great; and the shallowness of the cided by the friends of the parties that the bodies water, and breaking of the surf, preventing apshould be reduced to ashes by fire, as the readiest proach to the shore, or boats going out to assist
, mode of conveying them to the places where the the loss of lives is in proportion. It was in the deceased would have wished to repose, as well as centre of this bay, about four or five miles at sea, of removing all objections respecting the quaran. in fifteen or sixteen fathom water, with a light tine laws, which had been urged against their dis- breeze under a crowd of sail, that the boat of our interment. Every thing being prepared for the friends was suddenly taken clap aback by a sudden requisite purposes, I embarked on board Lord By- and very violent squall; and it is supposed that in ron's schooner with my friend Captain Shenley, attempting to bear up under such a press of can. and sailed on the 13th of August. After a tedious vas, all the sheets fast, the hands unprepared, and passage of eleven hours, we anchored off Via Reg. only three persons on board, the boat filled to lee. gio, and fell in with two small vessels, which I ward, and having two tons of ballast, and not behad hired at Leghorn some days before for the ing decked, went down on the instant; not giving purpose of ascertaining, by the means used to re-them a moment to prepare themselves by even cover sunken vessels, the place in which my taking off their boots, or seizing an our. Mr. friend's boat had foundered. They had on board Williams was the only one who could swim, and the captain of a fishing-boat, who, having been he but indifferently. The spot where Mr. Wilovertaken in the same squall
, had witnessed the liams's body lay was well adapted for a man of sinking of the boat, without (as he says) the pos- his imaginative cast of mind, and I wished his resibility of assisting her. After dragging the bot- mains to rest undisturbed; but it was willed other. tom, in the place which he indicated, for six days wise. Before us was the sea, with islands ; behind without finding her, I sent them back to Leghorn, us the Apennines; beside us, a large tract of thick and went on shore. The major commanding the wood, stunted and twisted into fantastic shapes by town, with the captain of the port, accompanied the sea-breeze.—The heat was intense, the sand me to the governor. He received us very cour. being so scorched as to render standing on it pain. teously, and did not object to the removal of our ful.” friends remains, but to burning them, as the latter “Mr. Trelawney proceeds to describe the disinwas not specified in the order. However, after terment and burning of Mr. Williams's remains some little explanation, he assented, and we gave Calumny, which never shows itself grosser than the necessary directions for making every prepa- in its charges of want of refinement, did not spare ration to commence our painful undertaking next even these melancholy ceremonies. The friend morning.'”
of the deceased, though they took no pains to pub
lish the proceeding, were accused of wishing to philosophy. He loved to study in the open air, in make a sensation; of doing a horrible and unfeel the shadow of the wood, or by the side of the ing thing, etc. The truth was, that the nearest water-fall
. In short, he was a singular illustration connexions, both of Mr. Shelley and Mr. Williams, of the force of natural genius, bursting the bonds wished to have their remains interred in regular of birth and habit, and the conventional ties of the places of burial; and that for this purpose they circle in which he was born, and soaring high, could be removed in no other manner. Such being under the direction of his own spirit, chartless and the case, it is admitted that the mourners did not alone. He steered by his own ideas of justice; refuse themselves the little comfort of supposing hence he was ever at war with things which reathat lovers of books and antiquity, like Mr. Shel. son and right had no hand in establishing,-radiley and his friend, would not have been sorry to cally wrong in themselves perhaps, or to be changed foresee this part of their fate. Among the mate. for the better, but by usage become second nature rials for burning, as many of the gracefuller and to society, or at least to that far larger proportion more classical articles as could be procured, -of it which lives by custom alone. He had no frankincense, wine, etc.—were not forgotten. value for what the mass of men estimate as desi.
* The proceedings of the next day, with Mr. rable; a seat in the senate he declined, though he Shelley's remains, exactly resembled those of the might have enriched himself by its acceptance. foregoing, with the exception of there being two He seemed to commit the mistake of others before assistants less. On both days, the extraordinary him, in dreaming of the perfectibility of man. An beauty of the flame arising from the funeral pile anecdote is related of him that, at a ball of fashion was noticed. Mr. Shelley's remains were taken where he was a leading character, and the most to Rome, and deposited in the Protestant burial- elegant ladies of the crowd expected the honor of ground, near those of a child he had lost in that being led out by him, he selected a friendless girl city, and of Mr. Keats. It is the cemetery he for a partner who was scorned by her companions, speaks of in the preface to his Elegy on the death having lain under the imputation of an unlucky of his young friend, as calculated to “ make one mishap some time preceding. in love with death, to think that one should be The books in which he commonly read were buried in so sweet a place.”—The generous reader the Greek writers; in the tragedians particularly, will be glad to hear, that the remains of Mr. Shel. he was deeply versed. The Bible was a work of ley were attended to their final abode by some of great admiration with him, and his frequent study. the most respectable English residents in Rome. For the character of Christ and his doctrines he He was sure to awaken the sympathy of gallant had great reverence, the axiom of the founder of and accomplished spirits wherever he went, alive Christianity being that by which he endeavored to or dead. The remains of Mr. Williams were taken shape his course in despite of all obstacles. In peto England. Mr. Williams was a very intelligent, cuniary matters he was liberal. Uncharitable in. good-hearted man, and his death was deplored by deed must that man have been who doubted the friends worthy of him.”
excellence of his intentions, or charged him with Shelley was thirty years old when he died. He wilful error: who then shall judge a being of whom was tall and slender in his figure, and stooped a this may be said, save his Creator-who that lives little in the shoulders, though perfectly well-made in the way he sees others live, without regard to The expression of his features was mild and good. the mode being right or wrong, shall charge him His complexion was fair, and his cheeks colored with crime, who tries to reconcile together his life His
eyes were large and lively; and the whole and his aspirations after human perfectibility ? turn of his face, which was small, was graceful Shelley had his faults as well as other men, but on and full of sensibility. He was subject to attacks the whole it appears that his deviations from the of a disorder which forced him to lie down (if in vulgar routine form the great sum of the charges the open air, upon the ground) until they were made against him. His religious sentiments were over; yet he bore them kindly and without a mur- between him and his God. mur. His disposition was amiable, and even the The writings of Shelley are too deep to be popuword“ pious” has been applied to his conduct as lar, but there is no reader possessing taste and regarded others, to his love of nature, and to his judgment, who will not do homage to his pen. He ideas of that power which pervades all things. was a poet of great power: he felt intensely, and He was very fond of music; frugal in all but his his works everywhere display the ethereal spirit charities, often to considerable self-denial, and of genius of a rare order-abstract, perhaps, but loved to do acts of generosity and kindness. He not less powerful; his is the poetry of intellect, was a first-rate scholar; and besides the languages not that of the Lakers; his theme is the high one of antiquity, well understood the German, Ital- of intellectual nature and lofty feeling, not of wagian and French tongues. He was an excellent oners or idiot children. His faults in writing are metaphysician, and was no slight adept in natural obvious, but equally so are his beauties. He is too