Its glittering point, as seen from Helen’s home,
Whose sad inhabitants each year would come, 1305
With willing steps climbing that rugged height,
And hang long locks of hair, and garlands bound
With amaranth flowers, which, in the clime’s despite,
Filled the frore air with unaccustomed light:
Such flowers, as in the wintry memory bloom 1310
Of one friend left, adorned that frozen tomb.
Helen, whose spirit was of softer mould,
Whose sufferings too were less, Death slowlier led
Into the peace of his dominion cold:
She died among her kindred, being old. 1315
And know, that if love die not in the dead
As in the living, none of mortal kind
Are blest, as now Helen and Rosalind.
NOTES: 63 from there]from thee edition 1819. 366 fell]ran edition 1819. 405-408 See Editor’s Note on this passage. 551 Where]When edition 1819. 572 Ay, overflowing]Aye overflowing edition 1819. 612 dear]clear cj. Bradley. 711 gore editions 1819, 1839. See Editor’s Note. 932 Where]When edition 1819. 1093-1096 See Editor’s Note. 1168-1171] See Editor’s Note. 1209 rescue]rescued edition 1819. See Editor’s 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.