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burned,* as a precaution against plague; and Trelawny, seconded by Mr Dawkins, the English Consul at Florence, obtained permission to superintend the burning, and carry it out in a manner consonant to the feelings of the survivors. This process was executed with the body of Williams on the 15th of August, -on the 16th with Shelley's. A furnace was provided, of iron bars and strong sheet iron, with fuel, and frankincense, wine, salt, and oil, the accompaniments of a Grecian cremation : the volume of Keats was burned along with the body.t Byron and Leigh Hunt, with the Health-Officer, and a guard of soldiers, attended the poet's obsequies. It was a glorious day, and a splendid prospect—the cruel and calm sea before, the Apennines behind. A curlew wheeled close to the pyre, screaming, and would not be driven away: the flame arose golden and towering. The corpse had now turned a dark indigo colour. “The only portions that were not consumed,” says Trelawny,
were some fragments of bones, the jaw, and the skull; but what surprised us all was that the heart remained entire. In snatching this relic from the fiery furnace, my hand was severely burnt." The ashes were coffered, and soon afterwards buried in the Protestant Cemetery in Rome. This was done at first under the direction of Consul Freeborn, and with the usual rites, for the authorities were urgent for immediate action : but Trelawny, shortly visiting the spot, found that Shelley's grave lay amid many others,—so he exhumed the ashes, and redeposited them, with no further consultation of the authorities, in a plot of ground selected and purchased by himself. He planted six young cypresses and four laurels by Shelley's grave, and had his own dug close beside, with a stone which remains (and long may it remain) uninscribed. He added the quotation from Shakspeare to the inscription upon Shelley's grave, which runs exactly as follows :
* This is distinctly stated both by Mrs. Shelley and by Lady Shelley. Yet Trelawny shows quite as clearly that the burning of the bodies was only allowed after some solicitation, and was an unprecedented proceeding." We are to understand that summary burning, as for instance in a lime-kiln, would have been the ordinary Italian plan; and that the “unprecedented". thing was the removal of the once hastily interred bodies, the ceremonial cremation after the classic pattern, and the delivery of the ashes to the surviving relatives,
+ Captain Trelawny has no recollection of this detail ; and he of course is the au. thority for all matters connected with the cremation. Still, it seems difficult to disregard the statement in the Shelley Memorials (p. 200), probably derived from Leigh Hunt: “The copy of Keats was lent by Leigh Hunt, who told Shelley to keep it till he could give it to him again with his own hands. As the lender would receive it from no one else, it was burnt with the body.” A letter from Mr. Browning (Hunt's Correspondence, vol. ii. p. 266) also makes it plain that Hunt did give this account of the matter.
PERCY BYSSHE SHELLEY
"Nothing of him that doth fade
But doth suffer a sca-change
Though buried in the Protestant Cemetery, Shelley is not strictly in the same enclosed ground with his son William and Keats, but in a space immediately adjoining. He is in the new cemetery, they are in the old one. Further burials in the old cemetery were discontinued about this period, because the College of Fine Arts in Rome objected (and reasonably) that the frequent planting of cypresses and other trees in that enclosure would obscure the view of the pyramid of Caius Cestius.
I will here only add that Mary Shelley returned to England (whither she had been preceded by Mrs. Williams) in the autumn of 1823, died in February 1851, and is interred at Bournemouth. Not far off, at Christchurch, her
son has erected a sumptuous monument to her and his illustrious father's memory. His own seat, Boscombe, is in the same vicinity. This son, Percy Florence, succeeded to the baronetcy on the death of Sir Timothy in April 1844. Godwin had died in 1836.
XXXI.-ANECDOTES AND EXCERPTS. I find myself little inclined or qualified to dilate at this point upon Shelley's character and genius, or upon the loss which the world and English literature suffered in his death. If his writings do not speak for themselves to the reader's intellect and heart, and if the record of so lofty, beautiful, and pure a life--one so steeped in every noblest enthusiasm, and developing into every noblest performance-is not sufficient, the biographer may well despair of supplementing these. I at any rate feel an oppressive sense of incompetence, of the meagreness and futility of verbal estimate, as I stand within the mighty shadow, and reflect what terms might be wanted to express it. Reverence and love, and a passionate tribute of admiration, may best beseem the biographer: and these are not the qualities which find their most apt expression in analytic words-rather in silence and absorption of spirit.
As regards the poems, the only observation I wish to add here is that their astonishing beauty of musical sound-admitted on all hands as one of their quite exceptional excellences—is combined with, perhaps partly dependent on, an indifference, uncommon in degree among finished poetical writers, to mere correctness of rhyming structure. The precise attention I have had to bestow on this point has brought the fact very forcibly before me—has revealed a looseness of rhyming very much greater than I had before observed in my less technical readings of Shelley. Now, as Shelley himself opined,“ the canons of taste are to be sought in the most admirable works of art ;” and the combination, in his poems, of inexactitude of rhyming with almost unrivalled music of sound, impresses it strongly upon my mind that this may after all be the right way to attain the highest forms of verbal harmony in poetry-of course, given the true and great master. I will not enlarge upon the point; but simply append a list of loose rhymes to be found upon five pages taken absolutely at random ; a list selected with a purpose would exhibit a still stronger case :-“Lot, thought-alone, shone-afar, war -stood, flood-evil, revel-strong, among-none, groan-drove, love-sinecure, fewer-count, front, account-require, Oliveroff, enough-down, one-promotion, motion—amid, pyramidfloors, alligators-river, ever, wheresoever-harmony, sky-thee, thee (twice over)-low, how-fail (rhymeless)-despair, dearaccept not, reject not.”
It will, I think, be more to the purpose of a true presentation of Shelley's character if, instead of perorating upon it, I cite here a few out of the many illustrative anecdotes; and these I shall cull with the sole object of such illustration, and in the words (mostly condensed) of the narrators-careless whether the impression produced by them be grave or mirthful : I will also add two estimates of Shelley's genius given by pre-eminent living poets, and of enduring value when the mere exercitations of critics shall have vanished from record. Shelley's personality was especially self-consistent—a solid rock of native genuineness, giving forth varied but not in harmonious manifestations. No one ought to be surprised at singularities, oddities, or semiabsurdities, in these phases of character; and anybody whose sympathy is with men, and not with such substitutes as
“humanity," the "poet soul,” or the like cheap abstractions, will feel the greatness in Shelley even more conceivable, instead of less so, when he has thoroughly explored the by-ways of his nature. The little that Mrs. Shelley has written concerning her husband shows a love and admiration of his personal character of which only a small part should be set down to the score of conjugal affection ; and the unconventional nature of Trelawny, oscillating between violence and romance, seems to have entered into Shelley's more sympathetically than that of any other biographer. To Hogg and Peacock, valuable as were their acumen and opportunities, Mr. Thornton Hunt demurs as writers of Shelley's life in any complete sense; and his remark on his father in the same capacity appears to me particularly right. Leigh Hunt " was scarcely suited to comprehend the strong instincts, indomitable will, and complete unity of idea, which distinguished Shelley: accordingly we have from my! father a very doubtful portrait, seldom advancing beyond details which are at once exaggerated and explained away by qualifications.”—I now proceed to the anecdotes, to which I append the names of the several narrators, and the date, actual or approximate, to which the circumstances pertain. The flavour of an anecdote is very volatile, and seldom uninjured by transfer into a different vehicle of words.
Shelley in boyhood “had a wish to educate some child, and often talked seriously of purchasing a little girl for that purpose. A tumbler who came to the back door to display her wonderful feats attracted him, and he thought she would be a good subject for the purpose : but all these wild fancies came to nought. He did not consider that board and lodging would be indispensable.” (Miss Shelley, circa 1807).
" If mercy to beasts be a criterion of a good man, numerous instances of extreme tenderness would demonstrate his worth. We were walking one afternoon in Bagley Wood : on turning a comer, we suddenly came upon a boy who was driving an ass. It was very young and very weak, and was staggering beneath a most disproportionate load of faggots; and he was belabouring its lean ribs angrily and violently with a short, thick, heavy cudgel. At the sight of cruelty Shelley was instantly transported far beyond the usual measure of excitement: he sprang forward, and was about to interpose with energetic and indignant vehemence. I caught him by the arm, and to his present annoyance held him back, and with much difficulty persuaded him to allow me to be the advocate of the dumb animal. [Ensues a dialogue between Hogg and the boy, in which the latter is put to shame). Shelley was satisfied with the result of our conversation. Although he reluctantly admitted that the acrimony of humanity might often aggravate the sufferings of the oppressed by provoking the oppressor, I always observed that the impulse of generous indignation, on witnessing the infliction of pain, was too vivid to allow him to pause.” (Hogg, circa 1810). _“I wish you to look out for a home for me and Mary and William, and the kitten who is now en pension." (Shelley, from Mont Alègre, to Peacock in England, 1816).-—“The Grotta del Cane we saw, because other people see it; but would not allow the dog to be exhibited in torture, for our curiosity. The poor little animals stood moving their tails in a slo and dismal manner, as if perfectly resigned to their condition—a cur-like emblem of voluntary servitude. The effect of the vapour, which extinguishes a torch, is to cause suffocation at last.” (Shelley, 1819).
“It now seems an incredible thing, and altogether inconceivable, when I consider the gravity of Shelley, and his invincible repugnance to the comic, that the monkey tricks of the schoolboy could have still lingered ; but it is certain that some slight vestiges still remained. The metaphysician of eighteen actually attempted once or twice to electrify the son of his scout-a boy like a sheep, by name James; who roared aloud with ludicrous and stupid terror whenever Shelley affected to bring by stealth any part of his philosophical apparatus near to him." (Hogg, circa 1810).-It may be imagined that Shelley was of a melancholy cast of mind. On the contrary, he was naturally full of playfulness, and remarkable for the fineness of his ideas; and I have never met any one in whom the brilliance of wit and humour was more conspicuous. In this respect he fell little short of Byron; and perhaps it was one of the great reasons why Byron found such a peculiar charm in his conversation.” (Medwin, circa 1821).—“ Shelley, like other students, would, when the spell that bound his faculties was broken, shut his books, and indulge in the wildest flights of mirth and folly. We talked and laughed, and shrieked and shouted, as we emerged from under the shadows of the melancholy pines. The old man I had met in the morning gathering pine-cones