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what will be most inviting to you, you will give much, though you may receive but little, pleasure.

But whilst I write this with more desire than hope, yet some of that, perhaps the project may fall into your designs. It is intolerable to think of your being buried at Livorno. The success assured by Mr. Reveley's talents requires another scene. You may have decided to take this summer to consider—and why not with us at Naples, rather than at Livorno ?

I could address with respect to Naples, the words of Polypheme in Theocritus, to all the friends I wish to see, and you especially :

'Εξένθοις, Γαλάτεια, και εξενθοϊσα λάθοιο,
"Ωσπερ εγώ νύν ώδε καθήμενος, oικάδ' άπενθείν.

Most sincerely yours,


318. To LEIGH HUNT 2


May 29, 1819. MY DEAR FRIEND,

I inscribe with your name, from a distant country, and after an absence whose months have seemed years, this the latest of my literary efforts.

Those writings which I have hitherto published, have been little else than visions which impersonate my own apprehensions of the beautiful and the just. I can also perceive in them the literary defects incidental to youth and impatience; they are dreams of what ought to be, or may be. The drama which I now present to you is a sad reality. I lay aside the presumptuous attitude of an instructor,


Come, O Galatea; and having come, forget, as do I, now sitting here, to return home.”—Mrs. Shelley's translation.

2 Shelley's dedication to “ The Cenci,” which he had begun after completing the first three acts of “ Prometheus Unbound.”


Dedication of “ The Cenci "


and am content to paint, with such colours as my own heart furnishes, that which has been.

Had I known a person more highly endowed than yourself with all that it becomes a man to possess, I had solicited for this work the ornament of his name. One more gentle, honourable, innocent and brave; one of more exalted toleration for all who do and think evil, and yet himself more free from evil; one who knows better how to receive, and how to confer a benefit, though he must ever confer far more than he can receive; one of simpler, and, in the highest sense of the word, of purer life and manners I never knew : and I had already been fortunate in friendships when your name was added to the list.

In that patient and irreconcileable enmity with domestic and political tyranny and imposture, which the tenor of your life has illustrated, and which, had I the health and talents, should illustrate mine, let us, comforting each other in our task, live and die. All happiness attend you !

Your affectionate friend,




June 8, 1819. MY DEAR FRIEND,

Yesterday, after an illness of only a few days, my little William died. 1 There was no hope from the moment of the attack. You will be kind enough to tell all my friends, so that I need not write to them. It is a great exertion


1 The entry in Clare Clairmont's diary, Monday, June 7, at noonday," probably denotes the hour of William Shelley's death. He was interred in the English burial-ground at Rome, near the Porta San Paolo. On Thursday, June 10, Shelley, Mary and Clare left Rome for Leghorn.-Dowden's “ Shelley,” II, 268-9.

to me to write this, and it seems to me as if, hunted by calamity as I have been, that I should never recover any cheerfulness again.

If the things Mary desired to be sent to Naples have not been shipped, send them to Livorno.

We leave this city for Livorno to-morrow morning, where we have written to take lodgings for a month. I will then write again.

Yours ever affectionately,



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