Percy Shelley: Poems

Rosalind And Helen: Advertisement

The story of "Rosalind and Helen" is, undoubtedly, not an attempt in

the highest style of poetry. It is in no degree calculated to excite

profound meditation; and if, by interesting the affections and amusing

the imagination, it awakens a certain ideal melancholy favourable to

the reception of more important impressions, it will produce in the

reader all that the writer experienced in the composition. I resigned

myself, as I wrote, to the impulses of the feelings which moulded the

conception of the story; and this impulse determined the pauses of a

measure, which only pretends to be regular inasmuch as it corresponds

with, and expresses, the irregularity of the imaginations which

inspired it.

I do not know which of the few scattered poems I left in England will

be selected by my bookseller to add to this collection. One ("Lines

written among the Euganean Hills".--Editor.), which I sent from Italy,

was written after a day's excursion among those lovely mountains which

surround what was once the retreat, and where is now the sepulchre, of

Petrarch. If any one is inclined to condemn the insertion of the

introductory lines, which image forth the sudden relief of a state of

deep despondency by the radiant visions disclosed by the sudden burst

of an Italian sunrise in autumn on the highest peak of those

delightful mountains, I can only offer as my excuse, that they were

not erased at the request of a dear friend, with whom added years of

intercourse only add to my apprehension of its value, and who would

have had more right than any one to complain, that she has not been

able to extinguish in me the very power of delineating sadness.

Naples, December 20, 1818.