Page images
PDF
EPUB
[blocks in formation]
[graphic][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]

CHAPTER V.

LIFE AT MARLÓW, AND JOURNEY TO ITALY.

Amid the torturing distractions of the Chancery suit about his children, and the still more poignant anguish of his own heart, and with the cloud of what he thought swiftcoming death above his head, Shelley worked steadily, during the summer of 1817, upon his poem of Laon and Cythna. Six months were spent in this task. “ The poem,” to borrow Mrs. Shelley's words, “was written in

. his boat, as it floated under the beech-groves of Bisham, or during wanderings in the neighbouring country, which is distinguished for peculiar beauty." Whenever Shelley

. could, he composed in the open air. The terraces of the Villa Cappuccini at Este, and the Baths of Caracalla were the birthplace of Prometheus. The Cenci was written on the roof of the Villa Valsovano at Leghorn. The Cascine of Florence, the pine-woods near Pisa, the lawns above San Giuliano, and the summits of the Euganean Hills, witnessed the creation of his loveliest lyrics; and his last great poem, the Triumph of Life, was transferred to paper in his boat upon the Bay of Spezia.

If Alastor had expressed one side of Shelley's nature, his devotion to Ideal Beauty, Laon and Cythna was in a far profounder sense representative of its author. All his previous experiences and all his aspirations-his pas

« EelmineJätka »