Percy Shelley: Poems

Adonais: Extras


[Published by Dr. Garnett, "Relics of Shelley", 1862.]


...the expression of my indignation and sympathy. I will allow myself

a first and last word on the subject of calumny as it relates to me.

As an author I have dared and invited censure. If I understand myself,

I have written neither for profit nor for fame. I have employed my

poetical compositions and publications simply as the instruments of

that sympathy between myself and others which the ardent and unbounded

love I cherished for my kind incited me to acquire. I expected all

sorts of stupidity and insolent contempt from those...

...These compositions (excepting the tragedy of "The Cenci", which was

written rather to try my powers than to unburthen my full heart) are

insufficiently...commendation than perhaps they deserve, even from

their bitterest enemies; but they have not attained any corresponding

popularity. As a man, I shrink from notice and regard; the ebb and

flow of the world vexes me; I desire to be left in peace. Persecution,

contumely, and calumny have been heaped upon me in profuse measure;

and domestic conspiracy and legal oppression have violated in my

person the most sacred rights of nature and humanity. The bigot will

say it was the recompense of my errors; the man of the world will call

it the result of my imprudence; but never upon one head...

...Reviewers, with some rare exceptions, are a most stupid and

malignant race. As a bankrupt thief turns thieftaker in despair, so an

unsuccessful author turns critic. But a young spirit panting for fame,

doubtful of its powers, and certain only of its aspirations, is ill

qualified to assign its true value to the sneer of this world. He

knows not that such stuff as this is of the abortive and monstrous

births which time consumes as fast as it produces. He sees the truth

and falsehood, the merits and demerits, of his case inextricably

entangled...No personal offence should have drawn from me this public

comment upon such stuff...

...The offence of this poor victim seems to have consisted solely in

his intimacy with Leigh Hunt, Mr. Hazlitt, and some other enemies of

despotism and superstition. My friend Hunt has a very hard skull to

crack, and will take a deal of killing. I do not know much of Mr.

Hazlitt, but...

...I knew personally but little of Keats; but on the news of his

situation I wrote to him, suggesting the propriety of trying the

Italian climate, and inviting him to join me. Unfortunately he did not

allow me...


And ever as he went he swept a lyre

Of unaccustomed shape, and ... strings

Now like the ... of impetuous fire,

Which shakes the forest with its murmurings,

Now like the rush of the aereal wings _5

Of the enamoured wind among the treen,

Whispering unimaginable things,

And dying on the streams of dew serene,

Which feed the unmown meads with ever-during green.


And the green Paradise which western waves _10

Embosom in their ever-wailing sweep,

Talking of freedom to their tongueless caves,

Or to the spirits which within them keep

A record of the wrongs which, though they sleep,

Die not, but dream of retribution, heard _15

His hymns, and echoing them from steep to steep,



And then came one of sweet and earnest looks,

Whose soft smiles to his dark and night-like eyes

Were as the clear and ever-living brooks _20

Are to the obscure fountains whence they rise,

Showing how pure they are: a Paradise

Of happy truth upon his forehead low

Lay, making wisdom lovely, in the guise

Of earth-awakening morn upon the brow _25

Of star-deserted heaven, while ocean gleams below.

His song, though very sweet, was low and faint,

A simple strain--


A mighty Phantasm, half concealed

In darkness of his own exceeding light, _30

Which clothed his awful presence unrevealed,

Charioted on the ... night

Of thunder-smoke, whose skirts were chrysolite.

And like a sudden meteor, which outstrips

The splendour-winged chariot of the sun, _35

... eclipse

The armies of the golden stars, each one

Pavilioned in its tent of light--all strewn

Over the chasms of blue night--