The Complete Works of Percy Bysshe Shelley — Volume 1 eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 571 pages of information about The Complete Works of Percy Bysshe Shelley Volume 1.
of intellectual travail; surely I must feel that, in some manner, either I am mistaken in believing that I have any talent at all, or you in the selection of the specimens of it.  Yet, after all, I cannot but be conscious, in much of what I write, of an absence of that tranquillity which is the attribute and accompaniment of power.  This feeling alone would make your most kind and wise admonitions, on the subject of the economy of intellectual force, valuable to me.  And, if I live, or if I see any trust in coming years, doubt not but that I shall do something, whatever it may be, which a serious and earnest estimate of my powers will suggest to me, and which will be in every respect accommodated to their utmost limits.

[Shelley to Godwin.]

***

PRINCE ATHANASE.

A FRAGMENT.

(The idea Shelley had formed of Prince Athanase was a good deal modelled on “Alastor”.  In the first sketch of the poem, he named it “Pandemos and Urania”.  Athanase seeks through the world the One whom he may love.  He meets, in the ship in which he is embarked, a lady who appears to him to embody his ideal of love and beauty.  But she proves to be Pandemos, or the earthly and unworthy Venus; who, after disappointing his cherished dreams and hopes, deserts him.  Athanase, crushed by sorrow, pines and dies.  ’On his deathbed, the lady who can really reply to his soul comes and kisses his lips’ ("The Deathbed of Athanase").  The poet describes her [in the words of the final fragment, page 164].  This slender note is all we have to aid our imagination in shaping out the form of the poem, such as its author imagined. [Mrs. Shelley’s Note.])

[Written at Marlow in 1817, towards the close of the year; first published in “Posthumous Poems”, 1824.  Part 1 is dated by Mrs. Shelley, ‘December, 1817,’ the remainder, ‘Marlow, 1817.’  The verses were probably rehandled in Italy during the following year.  Sources of the text are (1) “Posthumous Poems”, 1824; (2) “Poetical Works” 1839, editions 1st and 2nd; (3) a much-tortured draft amongst the Bodleian manuscripts, collated by Mr. C.D.  Locock.  For (1) and (2) Mrs. Shelley is responsible.  Our text (enlarged by about thirty lines fro the Bodleian manuscript) follows for the most part the “Poetical Works”, 1839; verbal exceptions are pointed out in the footnotes.  See also the Editor’s Notes at the end of this volume, and Mr. Locock’s “Examination of Shelley Manuscripts in the Bodleian Library”, Oxford:  Clarendon Press, 1903.]

PART 1.

There was a youth, who, as with toil and travel,
Had grown quite weak and gray before his time;
Nor any could the restless griefs unravel

Which burned within him, withering up his prime
And goading him, like fiends, from land to land. 5
Not his the load of any secret crime,

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