« НазадПродовжити »
The tyrant of the Chersonese
Was freedom's best and bravest friend ;
0, that the present hour would lend
On Şuli's rock and Parga's shore
Such as the Doric mothers bore;
They have a king who buys and sells :
The only hope of courage dwells;
Our virgins dance beneath the shade-
But, gazing on each glowing maid,
Where nothing save the waves and I
There, swan-like, let me sing and die :
AN ITALIAN EVENING ON THE BANKS OF THE BRENTA.
(From Childe Harold.]
While, on the other hand, meek Dian's crest
A single star is at her side, and reigns
The odorous purple of a new-born rose,
Filled with the face of heaven, which from afar
With a new colour as it gasps away,
MIDNIGHT SCENE IN ROME-THE COLISEUM.
And dwell the tuneless birds of night, amidst
PERCY BYSSHE SHELLEY, eldest son of Sir Timothy Shelley, was born A.D. 1792. From the family residence, Field Place, in Sussex, he was sent to Eton at the age of thirteen, and thence to Oxford, whence he was expelled in consequence of a tract opposed to Christianity which had been brought before the notice of the college-authorities. At eighteen he contracted an unfortunate and ill-assorted marriage; and at the end of three years he and his wife separated by mutual consent. Her lamentable death, some years afterwards, filled him with sorrow and remorse. After travelling about var parts of England, and a brief residence in Ireland, where he wrote a vehement political pamphlet, Shelley went abroad. In 1816 he resided on the Lake of Geneva, where he formed an intimacy with Lord Byron, by which the poetic taste of the latter was much improved. In 1818 he visited Italy, where he passed almost the whole of his remain. ing life. He perished on the 4th of July 1822, his boat on the gulf of Spezzia having been upset by a sudden tempest. His remains, with those of his friend Mr. Williams, were washed on shore; where, a pyre having been built, they were consumed by fire, in the presence of Lord Byron, Mr. Leigh Hunt, and Mr. Trelawney. Shel. ley's heart was preserved, and buried at Rome, near the pyramid of Caius Cestius, and not far from the remains of Keats, to whose poetic genius he had offered a tribute in the poem entitled “ Adonais.”
Shelley was but twenty-nine years of age when he perished. The number of poems which he published during his brief literary career, in spite of calamity, ill-health, and a hectic habit of body amounting to constant disease, attest an extraordinary vigour and industry; while the character of them proves that by few modern writers was he equalled in originality. In him an imagination equally expansive and soaring was combined with a logical subtlety not less remarkable; the faculty of judgment being perhaps the only one wanting to make his intellectual conformation poetically complete. His poetry is to a high degree abstract, abiding almost constantly in the region of speculation and imagination. As a consequence, it is frequently obscure, though written with a scholarly precision, correctness, and pointedness of language. It is unquestionably too remote from human sympathies, and over-brightened with a superfluity of metaphors. These defects are least felt in his lyrical pieces, many of which cannot be surpassed for imaginative sweetness, beauty, and harmony. In early youth his taste had been in a large measure formed by the works of Wordsworth, Coleridge, and Southey; but in maturer life his models were chiefly the Greek poets, especially Æschylus and Sophocles, and, among the moderns, Calderon and Goethe. Had he lived to mix more with his fellow. men, his poetry would probably bave freed itself from one of its defects, viz. the exaggerated degree in which its character is vision. ary, and acquired a self-possession and collected strength, for which its brilliancy and buoyancy are not adequate substitutes.
There is, however, a blight upon Shelley's poetry, for which he was responsible as a man not less than as an author. In his case, as in that of others among our modern poets,—who lived long enough to repudiate many of their early errors,-philosophical speculation, undirected by any sacred authority to which they could confide their Faith and Conscience, had resulted in infidelity. To Shelley, however, there belonged besides an audacity especially his own. Disposed to look on the whole visible world with an enraptured admiration, his precipitance and self-confidence left his mind no sphere for veneration. The consequence was, that at a period when his proper place was that of a learner, he set himself up for a teacher; and committed himself, in some cases with a blasphemous nakedness of language, to statements, both respecting revealed religion and moral philosophy, which he afterwards regretted; though he had learned but in part to see how fatal such views must prove to that which he so ardently desired, viz, the regeneration of society. The disposition of Shelley was in several respects as richly endowed as his genius. He was unsensual and disinterested; abounding in aspirations and generous affections; burning with zeal for the welfare of his fellow-men, and not immoderately anxious for their praise. Gifts so high, and yet so frustrated, make his example & yet more significant as well as a sadder warning.
(From the Revolt of Islam.]
Heartless and false, I turn’d from all to be,
What wert thou then? A child most infantine,
To overflow with tears, or converse fraught
She moved upon this earth a shape of brightness,
As mine own shadow was this child to me,
Knew I what solace for that loss was left,
Once she was dear, now she was all I had