Percy Bysshe Shelley eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 212 pages of information about Percy Bysshe Shelley.
(Shelley Memorials, page 121.  Garnett’s Relics of Shelley, pages 49, 190.  Collected Letters, page 147, in Moxon’s Edition of Works in one volume 1840.) It is clear that, though he bore scurrilous abuse with patience, he was prepared if needful to give blow for blow.  On the 11th of June, 1821, he wrote to Ollier:—­“As yet I have laughed; but woe to those scoundrels if they should once make me lose my temper!” The stanzas on the “Quarterly” in “Adonais”, and the invective against Lord Eldon, show what Shelley could have done if he had chosen to castigate the curs.  Meanwhile the critics achieved what they intended.  Shelley, as Trelawny emphatically tells us, was universally shunned, coldly treated by Byron’s friends at Pisa, and regarded as a monster by such of the English in Italy as had not made his personal acquaintance.  On one occasion he is even said to have been knocked down in a post-office by some big bully, who escaped before he could obtain his name and address; but this is one of the stories rendered doubtful by the lack of precise details.


Residence at Pisa.

On the 26th of January, 1820, the Shelley’s established themselves at Pisa.  From this date forward to the 7th of July, 1822, Shelley’s life divides itself into two periods of unequal length; the first spent at Pisa, the baths of San Giuliano, and Leghorn; the second at Lerici, on the Bay of Spezia.  Without entering into minute particulars of dates or recording minor changes of residence, it is possible to treat of the first and longer period in general.  The house he inhabited at Pisa was on the south side of the Arno.  After a few months he became the neighbour of Lord Byron, who engaged the Palazzo Lanfranchi it order to be near him; and here many English and Italian friends gathered round them.  Among these must be mentioned in the first place Captain Medwin, whose recollections of the Pisan residence are of considerable value, and next Captain Trelawny, who has left a record of Shelley’s last days only equalled in vividness by Hogg’s account of the Oxford period, and marked by signs of more unmistakable accuracy.  Not less important members of this private circle were Mr. and Mrs. Edward Elleker Williams, with whom Shelley and his wife lived on terms of the closest friendship.  Among Italians, the physician Vacca, the improvisatore Sgricci, and Rosini, the author of “La Monaca di Monza”, have to be recorded.  It will be seen from this enumeration that Shelley was no longer solitary; and indeed it would appear that now, upon the eve of his accidental death, he had begun to enjoy an immunity from many of his previous sufferings.  Life expanded before him:  his letters show that he was concentrating his powers and preparing for a fresh flight; and the months, though ever productive of poetic masterpieces, promised a still more magnificent birth in the future.

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Percy Bysshe Shelley from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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