Adonais eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 147 pages of information about Adonais.

[7] See p, 96 as to Shelley’s under-rating of Keats’s age.  He must have supposed that Keats was only about twenty years old at the date when Endymion was completed.  The correct age was twenty-two.

[8] The passages to which Shelley refers begin thus:  ’And then the forest told it in a dream;’ ‘The rosy veils mantling the East;’ ’Upon a weeded rock this old man sat.’

[9] I do not find in Shelley’s writings anything which distinctly modifies this opinion.  However, his biographer, Captain Medwin, avers that Shelley valued all the poems in Keats’s final volume; he cites especially Isabella and The Eve of St. Agnes.

[10] In books relating to Keats and Shelley the name of this gentleman appears repeated, without any explanation of who he was.  In a MS. diary of Dr. John Polidori, Byron’s travelling physician (my maternal uncle), I find the following account of Colonel Finch, whom Polidori met in Milan in 1816:  ’Colonel Finch, an extremely pleasant, good-natured, well-informed, clever gentleman, spoke Italian extremely well, and was very well read in Italian literature.  A ward of his gave a masquerade in London upon her coming of age.  She gave to each a character in the reign of Queen Elizabeth to support, without the knowledge of each other; and received them in a saloon in proper style as Queen Elizabeth.  He mentioned to me that Nelli had written a Life of Galileo, extremely fair, which, if he had money by him, he would buy, that it might be published.  Finch is a great admirer of architecture in Italy.  Mr. Werthern, a gentleman most peaceable and quiet I ever saw, accompanying Finch, whose only occupation [I understand this to mean the occupation of Wethern, but possibly it means of Finch] is, when he arrives at a town or other place, to set about sketching, and then colouring, so that he has perhaps the most complete collection of sketches of his tour possible.  He invited me (taking me for an Italian), in case I went to England, to see him; and, hearing I was English, he pressed me much more,’ The name ‘Werthern’ is not distinctly written:  should it be ‘Wertheim’?

[11] ‘Envy’ refers no doubt to hostile reviewers.  ‘Ingratitude’ refers to a statement of Colonel Finch that Keats had ’been infamously treated by the very persons whom his generosity had rescued from want and woe.’  It is not quite clear who were the persons alluded to by Finch.  Keats’s brother George (then in America) was presumably one:  he is, however, regarded as having eventually cleared himself from the distressing imputation.  I know of no one else, unless possibly the painter Haydon may be glanced at:  as to him also the charge appears to be too severe and sweeping.

[12] Shelley wrote another letter on 16 June—­to Miss Clairmont, then in Florence.  It contains expressions to nearly the same purport.  ’I have received a most melancholy account of the last illness of poor Keats; which I will neither tell you nor send you, for it would make you too low-spirited.  My Elegy on him is finished.  I have dipped my pen in consuming fire to chastise his destroyers; otherwise the tone of the poem is solemn and exalted.  I send it to the press here, and you will soon have a copy.’

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Adonais from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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