Percy Shelley: Poems

Rosalind And Helen: Note

"Rosalind and Helen" was begun at Marlow, and thrown aside--till I

found it; and, at my request, it was completed. Shelley had no care

for any of his poems that did not emanate from the depths of his mind,

and develop some high or abstruse truth. When he does touch on human

life and the human heart, no pictures can be more faithful, more

delicate, more subtle, or more pathetic. He never mentioned Love but

he shed a grace borrowed from his own nature, that scarcely any other

poet has bestowed on that passion. When he spoke of it as the law of

life, which inasmuch as we rebel against we err and injure ourselves

and others, he promulgated that which he considered an irrefragable

truth. In his eyes it was the essence of our being, and all woe and

pain arose from the war made against it by selfishness, or

insensibility, or mistake. By reverting in his mind to this first

principle, he discovered the source of many emotions, and could

disclose the secrets of all hearts, and his delineations of passion

and emotion touch the finest chords of our nature.

"Rosalind and Helen" was finished during the summer of 1818, while we

were at the Baths of Lucca.