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Full text of "Letters from Percy Bysshe Shelley to Elizabeth Hitchener"

LETTERS 

TO 

ELIZABETH KITCHENER. 



Digitized by tine Internet Arciiive 

in 2008 witii funding from 

IVIicrosoft Corporation 



Iittp://www.arcliive.org/details/frompercyletters02slielricli 



LETTERS 



FROM 



PERCY BYSSHE SHELLEY 



TO 



ELIZABETH KITCHENER. 



IN TWO VOLUMES. 

VOL II. 



1890 

London : Privately Printed. 
(Not for Sale.) 



" Shelley's letters are essentially and unmistakably 
the production of a poet, and compare with other 
celebrated letters precisely as his poems compare with 
other poetry. They do not, any more than his 
metrical compositions, represent every kind of 
excellence; but, like the latter, they have a high, 
rare, and peculiar excellence of their own." 



CONTENTS. 

Vol. II. 

LETTER XXV. ^"^^^ 

Keswick, Cumberland. 
Tuesday^ J th January, 1812 . . 3 
LETTER XXVI. 

Keswick, Cumberland. 
Monday, 20th January, 1812 . . 16 
LETTER XXVII. 

Keswick, Cumberland. 
Sunday, 26ih January, 1812 . -2 

LETTER XXVIII. 

Keswick, Cumberland. 

Wednesday, 2gth January, 1^12 . 44 

LETTER XXIX. 

Whitehaven. 

Monday, p-d February, 1812 . 57 

LETTER XXX. 

Sackville St., Dublin. 

Thursday, i^th February, 18 12 . 62 



viii CONTENTS. 

PAGE 
LETTER XXXI. 

Sackville St., Dublin. 

Fi-iday, i^th February, 1812 . . 64 

LETTER XXXII. 

Sackville St., Dublin. 

Thursday, 2.0th February, 18 1 2 , 78 

LETTER XXXIII. 

Sackville St., Dublin. 

Monday, 2^h February, 1812 . . 79 

LETTER XXXIV. 

Sackville St., Dublin. 

Thursday, 2*]th February, i8l2 . 85 

LETTER XXXV. 

Grafton St., Dublin. 

Tuesday, \oth March, 1812 . . 94 

LETTER XXXVI. 

Grafton St., Dublin. 

Saturday, 14th March, 181 2 , . 103 

LETTER XXXVII. 

Nantgwillt, Rhayader. 

Saturday, iSth Apri/, 1S12 , - 113 



CONTENTS. ix 

PACE 
LETTER XXXVIII. 

Nantgwillt, Rhayader. 

Wednesday^ 2<^th April, i8l2 . . 120 

LETTER XXXIX. 

Nantgwillt, Rhayader. 

Wednesday, 2^th April, 1812 . . 124 

LETTER XL. 

Nantgwillt, Rhayader. 

Friday, ist May, 1812 . . .126 

LETTER XLI. 

Nantgwillt, Rhayader. 

Thursday, *jth May, 1812 . '31 

LETTER XLII. 

Nantgwillt, Rhayader. 

Tuesday, 2nd June, 1812 . . , 139 

LETTER XLIII. 

Cwm Elan. 

Saturday, 6th June, 1812 . . . 141 

LETTER XLIV. 

Cwm Elan. 

Thursday, l it h June, 18 1 2 . 144 



X CONTENTS. 

PAGE 
LETTER XLV. 

Cwm Elan. 

Thursday^ \%th Jime, 1812 . . 147 

APPENDIX. 

Harriet Shelley to Elizabeth Kitchener. 
Dublin. 
Wednesday, \%th March, 1812 . . 151 



ERRATA. 
Vol. I. 

Page. Line. 
44 22 For When is now Nature 

Read Where is now Nature. 
52 8 For consider it merely 

Read consider it nearly. 
71 7 For Captain P[ilford's] 

Read Captain P[il/old's]. 
84 4 For the comma after answer'va.'s.^xX. a/ull 

stop. 
95 I For necessity of answering 

Read necessity of annexing. 
107 7 Delete \not\ 

107 23 Insert / at the commencement of the line. 

119 8 For Glendover 

Read Glendoveer. 
135 16 For beneficient purposes 

Read beneficent purposes. 
139 5 For perfections in its object 

Read perfection in its object. 



Vol. II. 

Page. Line. 

23 2 For his month 

Read this month. 
42 8 and 9 For Do not feel 

Read Do feel. 
87 4 For becauses the recourses 

Read because the recourses. 
89 22 Y or the Abbi Earner s 

Read the Abbe Barnel's. 
95 15 For villainous effrontry 

Read villainotis effrontery, 
107 1 3 For entirely il Ifounded 

Read entirely ill-founded. 
109 3 For 2/^rj' much ashamed 

Read z/^ry rmich alarmed. 
117 17 For M^ rate of three 

Read ^A^ t-jiIc of three. 
120 4 For with langour 

Read wzV^ languor. 
122 5 For 71/r.y. Pilford 

Read ;»/r.y. Pz^^/aT. 
124 17 Y or seem at last 

Read j^<?;« «^ /ie«j^. 

133 7 Y or Mrs. Pilford^ strain 

Read i^r^. Pilfold's brain. 
139 4 For <j:«^ endearing 

Read more endearing. 
142 18 Yor cnrtai our exertions 

Read curtail our exertions. 
142 23 For rt.? M^^ wiz^A ^^ 

Read as they might be. 
150 3 For Mrs. P\ilford^s brain. 

Read Mrs. P{ilfold]'s brain. 



LETTERS. 



LETTERS TO 
ELIZABETH KITCHENER. 

LETTER XXV. 

Keswick, Cumberland. 

\Tuesday\ Jan. 7, 18 1 2. 

I HAVE delayed writing to you for 
two days : I wronged myself more than 
you. I have been partly unwilling to 
break in on some writings I am engaged 
in; partly in depression. Believe me 
with what pleasure I return to you. 

My dearest friend. I have thought 
of you, and this moment am resolved 
no longer to think with you. Do not 
fear: I shall not be prisoned. I am 
yet but a viper in the egg, they say : I 
have all the venom, but I cannot sting. 

VOL. II. B 



4 LETTERS TO 

Besides, they shall not get at me : they 
cannot. I shall refer to Blackstone: 
he will tell me what points are criminal, 
and what innocent, in the eye of the 
law. I do not therefore anticipate a 
prison : I need not tell you I do not 
fear it. — But yes, I do. It would cur- 
tail much of our Harriet's happiness ; 
it would excite too vividly your sym- 
pathy, and might obviate my performance 
of many acts of usefulness which, if I 
have liberty, I can effect. Godwin yet 
lives : if Government, at one time, could 
have destroyed any man, Godwin would 
have ceased to be. Thomas Paine died 
a natural death : his writings were far 
more violently in opposition to Govern- 
ment than mine perhaps ever will 
be. I desire to establish on a lasting 
basis the happiness of human-kind. 
Popular insurrections and revolutions I 
look upon with discountenance. If 
such things must be^ I will take the side 
of the people ; but my reasonings shall 



ELIZABETH HITCHENER. 5 

endeavour to ward it from the hearts of 
the rulers of the earth, deeply as I 
detest them. How does Sir Thomas 
Burdett continue to live ? Certainly, if 
Mr. Percival could have killed him, I 
do believe he indubitably would have 
done so. No, my dearest friend, fear 
not that I shall be destroyed. They 
cannot, they dare not : I do not dispute 
that they would if they could. 

Miss Adams — I cannot pardon her 
for racking you with these fears : friend 
of my soul, cast them off. A beam of 
the house may destroy you : but I live 
in hopes that it will not. I feel assured 
that you are at Hurst in safety. If I 
did not think so, I could defy the 
Bishops themselves to paint a hell so 
red where I would not go to meet you. 

Harriet has written to you to-day. She 
has informed you of our plans. In a 
month I shall have completed a tale 
illustrative of the causes of the failure 
of the French Revolution to benefit 



6 LETTERS TO 

mankind. At the conclusion of that 
month we think of going to Dublin* 
where I shall print it; in May, to 
receive your visit in Wales — fifty miles 
nearer than Cumberland. 

In fact, my friend, at this Keswick, 
though the face of the country is lovely, 
the people are detestable. The manu- 
facturers, with their contamination, have 
crept into the peaceful vale, and 
deformed the loveliness of Nature 
with human taint. The debauched 
servants of the great families who 
resort contribute to the total extinction 
of morality. Keswick seems more like 
a suburb of London than a village of 
Cumberland. Children are frequently 
found in the river, which the unfortunate 
women employed in the manufactory 
destroy. Wales is very different, and 
there you shall visit us. The distance 
is somewhat shorter, the scenery quite 
as beautiful. 

Southey says Expediency ought to 



ELIZABETH HITCHENER. 7 

[be] made the ground of politics, but 
not of morals. I urged that the most 
fatal error that ever happened in the 
world was the separation of political 
and ethical science; that the former 
ought to be entirely regulated by the 
latter, as whatever was a right criterion 
of action for an individual must be 
so for a society, which was but an 
assemblage of individuals; "that politics 
were morals comprehensively enforced." 
Southey did not think the reasoning 
conclusive. He has a very happy 
knack, when truth goes against him, 
of saying : " Oh ! when you are as old 
as I am, you will think with me." This 
talent he employed in the above instance. 
If a thing exists, there can always be 
shown reasons for its existence. If 
there cannot, it still may exist, but can 
never be the subject of mortal faith. 

You will see in my Hubert Cauvin 
(the name of the tale) that I have 
spoken of expediency, insincerity, 



8 LETTERS TO 

mystery; adherence to which I do 
not consider the remotest occasion of 
violence and blood in the French 
Revolution. Indeed, their fatal effects 
are to be traced in every one instance 
of human life where vice and misery 
enter into the features of the por- 
traiture. 

I do not think so highly of Southey 
as I did. It is to be confessed that, to 
see him in his family, to behold him in 
his domestic circle, he appears in a most 
amiable light. I do not mean that he 
is or can be the great character which 
once I linked him to : his mind is 
terribly narrow, compared to it. Once 
he was this character, — everything you 
can conceive of practised virtue. Now 
he is corrupted by the world, contami- 
nated by Custom; it rends my heart 
when I think what he might have been ! 
Wordsworth and Coleridge I have yet 
to see. 

I now send you some poetry : the 



ELIZABETH HITCHENER. 9 

subject is not fictitious. It is the over- 
flowings of the mind this morning. 

MOTHER AND SON. 



She was an aged woman ; and the years 
Which she had numbered on her 

toilsome way 
Had bowed her natural powers to 

decay. 
She was an aged woman ; yet the ray 
Which faintly glimmered through her 

starting tears, 
Pressed into light by silent misery, 
Hath soul's imperishable energy. 

She was a cripple, and incapable 
To add one mite to gold-fed luxury : 
And therefore did her spirit dimly 
feel 
That poverty, the crime of tainting 
stain. 
Would merge her in its depths, never to 
rise again. 



lo LETTERS TO 

II. 

One only son's love had supported her. 
She long had struggled with infirmity, 
Lingering to human life-scenes ; for 

to die, 
When fate has spared to rend some 
mental tie, 
Would many wish, and surely fewer dare. 
But, when the tyrant's bloodhounds 

forced the child 
For his curst power unhallowed arms to 
wield — 
Bend to another's will — become a 
thing 
More senseless than the sword of 
battlefield- 
Then did she feel keen sorrow's 
keenest sting ; 
And many years had passed ere comfort 
they would bring. 

III. 

For seven years did this poor woman 
live 



ELIZABETH HITCHENER. 1 1 

In unparticipated solitude. 

Thou mightst have seen her in the 

forest rude 
Picking the scattered remnants of its 

wood. 
If human, thou mightst then have 

learned to feel. 
The gleanings of precarious charity 
Her scantiness of food did scarce supply. 
The proofs of an unspeaking sorrow 

dwelt 
Within her ghastly hoUowness of eye : 
Each arrow of the season's change 

she felt. 
Yet still she groans, ere yet her race 

were run, 
One only hope : it was — once more to 

see her son. 

IV. 

It was an eve of June, when every star 
Spoke peace from heaven. — 

She rested on the moor. 'Twas such 
an eve 



12 LETTERS TO 

When first her soul began indeed to 
grieve : 
Then he was there ; now he is very far. 
The sweetness of the balmy evening 
A sorrow o'er her aged soul did fling, 
Yet not devoid of rapture's mingled 
tear : 
A balm was in the poison of the sting. 

The aged sufferer for many a year 
Had never felt such comfort. She 
suppressed 
A sigh — and, turning round, clasped 
William to her breast ! 

V. 

And, though his form was wasted by 
the woe 
Which tyrants on their victims love 

to wreak, 
Though his sunk eyeballs and his 

faded cheek 
Of slavery's violence and scorn 
did speak, 
Yet did the aged woman's bosom glow. 
The vital fire seemed reillumed within 



ELI Z ABE TH HITCHENER. 1 3 

By this sweet unexpected welcoming. 
Oh consummation of the fondest 
hope 
That ever soared on fancy's wildest 
wing ! 
O tenderness that found'st so sweet a 
scope ! 
Prince who dost pride thee on thy 
mighty sway, 
When thou canst feel such love, thou 
shalt be great as they ! 

VI. 

Her son, compelled, the country's foes 
had fought. 
Had bled in battle ; and the stern 

control 
Which ruled his sinews and coerced 

his soul 
Utterly poisoned life's unmingled 
bowl, 
And unsubduable evils on him brought. 
He was the shadow of the lusty child 
Who, when the time of summer season 
smiled, 



14 LETTERS TO 

Did earn for her a meal of honesty, 
And with affectionate discourse beguiled 
The keen attacks of pain and 
poverty ; 
Till Power, as envying her this only joy, 
From her maternal bosom tore the 
unhappy boy. 

VII. 

And now cold charity's unwelcome dole 
Was insufficient to support the pair ; 
And they would perish rather than 

would bear 
The law's stern slavery, and the 
insolent stare 
With which law loves to rend the poor 

man's soul — 
The bitter scorn, the spirit-sinking noise 
Of heartless mirth which women, men, 

and boys, 
Wake in this scene of legal misery. 

The facts are real : that recorded in 
the last fragment of a stanza is literally 



ELIZABETH HITCHENER. 15 

true. The poor man said : " None of 
my family ever came to parish^ and I 
would starve first. I am a poor man ; 
but I could never hold my head up after 
that." 

Adieu, my dearest friend. Think of 
the poetry which I have inserted as a 
picture of my feelings, not a specimen 
of my art. I shall write to you soon 
again. Your letters give me perpetual 
food forthoughtand discussion. Southey 
has got off more hardly than he other- 
wise would have done, in consequence 
of them. Not that I ever will abet 
expediency, either in morals or politics. 
I never will do ill that good may come, 
— at least, so far. 

Adieu. Harriet desires her love* 
My dearest friend, adieu. 

Your eternal 

Percy B. S. 

I find you begin to doubt the eternity 
of the soul : I do not. — More of that 
hereafter. 



i6 LETTERS TO 



LETTER XXVI. 

[Keswick, Cumberland, 

Monday, 2.0 January, i8i2.] 

It is now a whole week since I have 
addressed my friend, my dearest friend, 
the partner of my thoughts. But the 
thought of you has enhvened and ani- 
mated my intermediate employments; 
has added pleasure to the pleasure 
which I have received ; and has con- 
tributed, with my dear Harriet's love, 
to disarm a terrible headache which I 
have had. I have been obliged, by an 
accession of nervous attack, to take a 
quantity of laudanum, which I did very 
unwillingly and reluctantly, and which 
I should not have done, had I been 
alone. I am now quite recovered. 
When the mind is at ease, illness does 
not continue long. 



ELIZABETH HITCH EN ER. 17 

I have something to tell you. God- 
win has answered my letters, and he 
is now n\y friend. He shall be yours : 
share with me this acquisition, more 
valuable than the gifts of princes. His 
letters are like his writings, the mirror 
of a firm and elevated mind. They are 
the result of the experience of ages, 
which he condenses for my instruc- 
tion. It is with awe and veneration 
that I read the letters of this veteran in 
persecution and independence. He 
remains unchanged. I have no soul- 
chilling alteration to record of his 
character: the unmoderated enthu- 
siasm of humanity still characterizes 
him. He preserves those principles of 
extensive and independent action which 
alone can give energy and vigour. Like 
Southey he does not change. The age 
of the body has [not] induced the age 
of the soul : though his shell is mould- 
ering, the spirit within seems in no 
wise to participate in the decay. I 



l8 LETTERS TO 

have unfolded to him the leading traits 
of my character, and the leading events 
of my life. I have certainly won his 
good opinion. He says : "At present 
I feel for you all those motives of 
interest that can be crowded into the 
case of a young man I never saw. 
First, you appear to be in some degree 
the pupil of my writings ; and I feel so 
far as if I were in a measure responsible 
for your conduct. Secondly, from your 
account of what you have done (though 
nothing you have written has fallen in 
my way), I cannot but conclude that you 
possess extraordinary powers. Thirdly, 
as a man of family born to a consider- 
able fortune, it is of the more import- 
ance how you conduct yourself; for 
money is one of the means a man may 
possess of being extremely useful to 
his species." 

But you shall see his letters \ perhaps 
shall see himself. Oh if he would come 
to Wales, and meet you ! I think he 



E LIZ ABE TH HITCHENER. \ 9 

is old : but age, with Godwin, must be 
but the perfecting of his abilities ; but 
the fruit of that blossom that unfolded 
itself so beautifully in adolescence. — 
Adieu to Godwin. 

Now to Southey. He has lost my 
good opinion. No private virtues can 
compensate for public language like this. 
The following passage is Southey's 
writing: the Ed\inburgh\ An[nuar\ 
Register. "We are not displeased at 
the patriotic expedient to which the 
worthy Sir Francis " (italics in original) 
" has thus recourse ; as it seems to show 
how contemptible are the Burdettite 
and Wardleite members, whose nature 
is debased by the vile views of faction, 
and whose unmanly feelings and un- 
generous hearts forbid their sympathy 
in a case which — to the everlasting 
honour of the country be it related — so 
deeply interests " (speaking of Spain) 
** with keen solicitude the fond bosoms 
of a people " — (now mark this dis- 



20 LETTERS TO 

gusting abominable flattery, and hor- 
rible lie — I can't contain myself) — 
*'who, in duly appreciating his tran- 
scendent virtues, prove themselves de- 
serving the best monarch that ever 
adorned a throne." — Now what think 
you of this ? I can only exclaim with 
Bolingbroke, " Poor human nature ! " 

We have now serious thoughts of im- 
mediately going to Ireland. Southey's 
conversation has lost its charm ; ex- 
cept it be the charm of horror at so 
hateful a prostitution of talents. I 
hasten to go to Ireland. I am now 
writing an Address to the poor Irish 
Catholics. Part of it will be in the 
following strain. — " Think of your 
children, and your children's children ; 
and take great care (for it all rests 
with you) that, whilst one tyranny is 
destroyed, another, more fierce and 
terrible, does not spring up. Take 
care of smooth-faced men who talk 
indeed of freedom, but who will cheat 



ELIZABETH HITCHENER. 21 

you into slavery. Can there be worse 
slavery than depending for the safety 
of your souls on another man? Is 
one man more favoured than another 
by God ? No : if God makes any 
distinction, they are favoured accord- 
ing to the good they do, not according 
to the rank or profession they hold. 
God loves a poor man as well as a 
priest (Jesus Christ has said as much), 
he has given him a soul as much to 
himself. The worship that a good 
being must love is that of a simple 
affectionate heart that shows its purity 
in good doings, and not in ceremonies, 
confessions, masses, burials, wonders, 
and processions. Take care that you 
are not led away by these things. 
Doubt everything that leads you not 
to love and charity with all men ; and 
think of the word * Heretic ' as of a 
word invented by some selfish knave 
for the ruin and misery of the world, 
to answer his own paltry and narrow 



22 LETTERS TO 

ambition." — You shall see the pam- 
phlet when it comes out : it will be 
cheaply printed, and printed in large 
sheets to be stuck about the walls of 
Dublin. I am eager and earnest to be 
there, and that you were with me. 

My true and dear friend, why should 
we be separated ? When may we 
unite ? What might we not do, if 
together ! If two hearts, panting for 
the happiness and liberty of man- 
kind, were joined by union and 
proximity, as they are by friendship 
and sympathy. How Harriet and 
her sister long to see you ! and how 
/ long to see you, never to part with 
you again ! How I could tell to 
you a thousand feelings and thoughts 
to which letters are inadequate ! how 
plans, that now die away unformed, 
might then be elicited and modified ! 
We might write, and talk, and hypo- 
thesize, theorize, and reason ! Oh let 
the time come ! It may and will 



ELIZABETH HITCHENER. 23 

neither be to-day nor to-morrow, nor 
his month nor next : but write of it 
in your next, I entreat you. The ties 
that bind you to Hurst are not eternal ; 
and it will be worth while to consider, 
since you are destined to move in an 
eccentric and comprehensive orbit, how 
far your duties at H. are compatible 
with these, or how far they are to be 
neglected if a wider field is exhibited. 

Have you any idea of marrying ? I 
do not think, from several things you 
have said on that subject, that you 
have. It does not appear to me that 
there is any friend sufficiently dear to 
you. — I might have omitted this ques- 
tion. I will do as much: I will 
answer it. You have not. — Then you 
shall live with us, — at least, some time 
hence. This time shall be indefinite 
now. Harriet is above the littleness 
of jealousy, of which you at first sus- 
pected her. She will see this letter; 
and already feels for you the same 



24 LETTERS TO 

kind of affection that I do, though not 
with the same intensity. 

Certainly, any one who got hold of 
this letter would think I was a Bed- 
lamite. Well, you do not; and my 
reputation for madness is too well- 
established to gain any firmness or 
addition from this letter. 

I have received your note from 
Brighton (I make more differences 
between acquaintances, and friends or 
dear friends, than between notes, 
letters, and volumes). What bears 
and monkeys should I suppose were 
your associates, if you did not add to 
their happiness ! or rather would they 
not be stones, petrifactions ? You 
certainly tell me truism when you 
egotize at all. This is owing to your 
want of vanity, or rather want of self- 
sufficiency, — a little more of which I 
wish to make you have. I love you 
to talk of yourself: it is more to me 
than all you can say on any other 



ELIZABETH HITCHENER. 25 

subject. Not but what everything that 
you say gives me the greatest pleasure. 

I have heard from my uncle, who is 
going to send me ;£^5o. — Despairing 
of his power to do so, I had previously 
written to request the D[uke] of Nor- 
folk to lend me ;£"ioo : so, if the Duke 
complies, we shall be very rich. I 
shall likewise make money in Ireland, 
All the money I get shall be squeezed 
out of the rich. The poor cannot 
understand, and would not buy, my 
poems : therefore I shall print them 
expensively. My metaphysics will be 
also printed expensively, — the first edi- 
tion, that is (I am vain enough to hope 
for a second). The Address to the 
Irish shall be printed very cheap, and 
I shall wilfully lose money by it. I 
shall distribute [it] throughout Ireland, 
either personally or by means of book- 
sellers. The novel will be printed 
cheaply. 

How do you get on about money? 



26 LETTERS TO 

This is a vile question to mention 
in our correspondence ; but tell me. 
Pecuniary obligations are things too 
silly to be named among us : I never 
feel these things. I have reasons for 
my insensibility. It all depends on 
love of fame, and fear of infamy; 
which, but for the opportunities which 
the one gives and the other takes away 
of being beneficent, are entitled to our 
completest contempt. Answer this. 

Here follow a few stanzas which 
may amuse you. I was once rather 
fond of the Devil. 

I. 

The Devil went out a-walking one day, 

Being tired of staying in Hell. 
He dressed himself in his Sunday array; 
And the reason that he was dressed so 

gay 
Was to cunningly pry 
Whether under the sky 
The affairs of Earth went well. 



ELIZABETH HITCHENER, 27 

11. 

He poked his hot nose into corners so 
small 
One would think that the innocents 
there, 
Poor creatures ! were just doing nothing 

at all, 
But settling some dress, or arranging 
some ball : 
The Devil saw deeper there. 



III. 

He peeped in each hole, to each 
chamber stole. 
His promising live-stock to view. 
Grinning applause 
He just shows his claws : 
And Satan laughed in the mirth of his soul 
That they started with fright 
From his ugly sight 
Whose works they delighted to do. 



28 LETTERS TO 

IV. 

A Parson with whom, in the house of 
prayer, 
The Devil sate side by side, 
Bawled out that, if the Devil were 
[there], 
His presence he couldn't abide. 
« Ha ha ! " thought Old Nick, 
" That's a very stale trick : 
For, without the Devil, 
O favourite of evil. 
In thy carriage thou wouldst not 
ride ! " 

V. 
He saw the Devil [ ? a Lawyer] a viper 
slay 
Under his brief-covered table : 
It reminded the Devil marvellously 
Of the story of Cain and Abel. 

VI. 
Satan next saw a brainless king ; 
Many imps he saw near there on the 
wing : 



ELIZABETH HITCHENER. 29 

In a house as hot as his own. 
They flapped the black pennon, and 
twisted the sting, 
Close to the very throne. 

VII. 
" Ah ah 1 " cried Satan, " the pasture 
is good ! 
My cattle will here thrive better than 
others ! 
They will have for their food 
News of human blood : 
They will drink the groans of the dying 

and dead, 
And supperless never will go to bed, 
Which will make 'em as fat as their 
brothers." 

VIII. 

The Devil was walking in the Park, 
Dressed like a Bond Street beau : 
Nor, although his visage was rather 

dark, 
And his mouth was wide, his chin 

came out, 



so LETTERS TO 

And something like Castlereagh was 
his snout, 
He might be called so-so. 

XII. 

Why does the Devil grin so wide, 
And show the horse teeth within? — 

Nine-and-ninety on each side, 
By the clearest reckoning ! 

Here the poetry ends. The fact is, 
he saw the Prince reviewing a regiment 
of hussars. 

Well, is not this trifling? A most 
teazing thing, if you are not in a laugh- 
ing mood. But I can laugh or weep 
with you. 

Well, write soon. We are not going 
to Ireland this week or next, but soon, 
I hope. 

I have changed the shape of my 
paper, because I am afraid they make 
you pay double ; and you are a very 
naughty girl if you do this. 



ELIZABE TH HITCHENER. 3 1 

Harriet will write soon : she sends 
her love to you. By the bye, tell Mrs. 
Adams that I love her, and will see 
her whenever I come to Sussex. Do 
not make your seal so large, for you 
destroy a great deal of what I value. 
Yours beyond this being 
Most itnperishably^ 

P. B. S. 

You have said no more of the im- 
mortality of the soul. Do you not 
believe it? I do; but I cannot tell 
you why in a letter — at least, not 
clearly. You will want some feelings 
which are to me cogent and resistless 
arguments. Do not consider it a 
gloomy subject ; do not think me pre- 
judiced. We will reason, and abide 
by the result. I shall get Godwin's 
opinion of this when I can. 



32 LETTERS TO 



LETTER XXVII. 

Keswick, [Cumberland. 

Sunday\Jan. 26, 181 2. 

[ Written by Harriet. ^ 

My dear Madam, 

Your letter has given me great pain, 
when I think that one so amiable should 
be made the sport of an unfeeling and 
prejudiced woman. I had loved this 
Anne, for T thought her amiable and 
sensible : but how often are we deceived 
in children ! You are unhappy, my dear 
friend, about her ; and what can we do 
to restore your felicity? Would that you 
were here ! How do I every day hate 
the foolish customs of society that 
shackle all our projects ! 

You beg me to pardon you for com- 
mitting a very slight error : it is now 
your turn to pardon 7ne. I have sent 



ELIZABETH HITCHENER. 33 

you a letter which I am afraid will add 
to your melancholy : yet it is true what 
I have said, and now I am quite angry 
that I sent it. Yet I was afraid you 
might hear the circumstance much more 
dreadful than it really was. But do not, 
my dear Madam, suffer yourself to be 
alarmed at it ; for now all is quiet and 
tranquil, nor do we expect any more 
alarms, and, if we have (which is not at 
all likely), we are well guarded. I hope 
you will not let it prey upon you, but 
endeavour to forget it as soon as read : 
and indeed, if you have not read it 
before you receive this, let me beg of 
you to burn it unopened. 

Percy is ^v^iting to Captain Pilfold : 
he means to put him right in respect to 
what my aunt has told him. He has 
therefore made me fill up this large sheet. 
I wish he had done it himself, as to a 
certainty it would be much more enter- 
taining than this. He is much better 
than he has been for some time ; and I 



34 LETTERS TO 

hope as he gets stronger, he will out- 
grow his nervous complaints. 

Next week we think of going to 
Ireland: therefore you had better 
direct your next letter to the Post 
Office, Dublin. I need not tell [you] 
I wish we were there ; though I have 
never been on the sea, therefore I do 
not know what an effect it may have 
upon me, — though now I can bear the 
journey better than if I were you know 
what; which I do not expect will be 
the case for some time, — years perhaps. 
But now adieu to that subject. 

I am reading a new thing written 
after the Revolution ; but there are 
none of the great characters mentioned, 
therefore I am quite disappointed. 
Southey has lent them to us. 

I shall write again to-morrow as I 
have a great deal to say. In the mean- 
time believe me 

Your most affectionate sincere friend, 
H. S. 



ELIZABETH BITCHENER. 35 

[Written Ify Sheliey.^ 
My dearest Friend, 

I eagerly answer your letter. It 
contains very bad news. I grieve at 
human nature; but am so far from 
despairing that I can readily trace all 
that is evil, even in the youngest, to the 
sophistications of society. It will not 
appear surprising that some original 
taint of our nature has been adopted as 
an opinion by the unthinking, when 
they perceive how very early depraved 
dispositions are exhibited. But, when 
it is considered what exhaustless pains 
dire taken by nurses and parents to make 
wrong impressions on the infant mind, 
I cannot be surprised at the earliest 
traits of evil and mistake. I truly 
sympathize with your WTongs. These, 
are, however, of such a nature as will so 
frequently occur that we must strive to 
consider them with unfeelingness, and let 
conscious rectitude inspire an honour- 
able pride which shall infuse elevated 



36 LETTERS TO 

tranquillity into the soul. I did not 
expect this return of kindness from 
Anne. She is a character who will now 
mingle in the mass of common life : the 
seeds which you have sown will spring 
up among tares and brambles. The 
dreary intercourse of daily life will blast 
the suckers ere they even attain adoles- 
cency. Here is an addition to that daily 
load of disappointment which weighs 
upon the mind, and checks the passion- 
ateness of hope. I will, however, cling 
to those who are deservedly now the 
landing-places of my expectancy ; and, 
when they fail, human nature will be to 
me an unweeded garden, and the face 
of Earth hold no monster so heartless 
and unnatural as Man. 

Think not for one moment that I 
have doubted you. The confidence 
that I have in the purity and immutable- 
ness of your principles surpasses even 
that which I possess in my own. These 
expressions are blasphemous to love 



ELIZABETH HITCHENER. 37 

and friendship. Think of them as of 
the ebullitions of a train of fleeting 
thought, as of the cloud which moment- 
arily obscures the moon, then sails into 
the azure of night. 

Harriet has told you of a circumstance 
which has alarmed her. I consider it 
as a complete casual occurrence which, 
having met with once, we are more 
likely not to meet with again. The 
man evidently wanted to rifle my 
pockets : my falling within the house 
defeated his intention. There is 
nothing in this to alarm you. I was 
afraid you might see it in the news- 
paper, and fancy that the blow had 
injured me. 

Dismiss all fears of assassins and spies 
and prisons. Let me have your con- 
fident hopes of safety and success, as 
well as the earnest good wishes which I 
fancy I hear you breathing to fill the 
sails of our packet, and be like ministrant 
angels to us. All is now prepared for 



3(1 L£TT£JtS TO 



jf»»% 



£^ per- 



m 1M& 1 



jtBirattL Asto 



of tSKSflf 



ELIZABETH HITCHENER, 39 

thin forms flitting through the vaulted 
chamels. Perhaps the Captain will 
come, and my aunt and the little 
things : perhaps you will bring the 
dear little Americans, and my mother 
Mrs. Adams. Perhaps Godwin >\'ill 
come : I shall try to induce him. — 
These castles are somewhat aerial at 
present ; but I hope it is not a crime, 
in this mortal life, to solace ourselves 
with hopes. Mine are always rather 
visionary. In the basis of this scheme, 
however, — if you and I live— we will not 
be disappointed. 

I hear from my uncle that Sir B. 
[ysshe] Shelley is not likely to live long 
— that he will soon die. He ?is a 
complete atheist, and builds all his 
hopes on annihilation. He has acted 
very ill to three wives. He is a bad 
man. I never had respect for him : I 
always regarded him as a curse on 
society. I shall not grieve at his death. I 
will not wear mourning : I will not 



40 LETTERS TO 

attend his funeral. I shall think of 
his departure as of that of a hard-hearted 
reprobate. I will never countenance 
a lying estimation of my own feelings. 

I have the vanity to think that you 
will be pleased with my Address to the 
Irish. It is intended to familiarize to 
uneducated apprehensions ideas of 
liberty, benevolence, peace^ and tolera- 
tion. It is secretly intended also as a 
preliminary to other pamphlets to 
shake Catholicism on its basis, and to 
induce Quakerish and Socinian prin- 
ciples of politics, without objecting to 
the Christian religion, — which would 
be no good to the vulgar just now, and 
cast an odium over the other principles 
which are advanced. 

The volume of poetry will be, I 
fear, an inferior production : it will be 
only valuable to philosophical and 
reflecting minds who love to trace the 
early state of human feelings and 
opinions, — who can make allowances 



ELIZABETH HITCHENER, 41 

for some bad versification. None is 
more qualified than yourself, my friend, 
to come to a right judgment on this 
score ; though a consideration of your 
partiality for the author will prevent 
him from thinking you infaUible in 
things that regarded his mental powers : 
— Hubert I have told you of. 

Southey regrets our going. The 
Calverts were much against it ; nay, all 
of them violently, except Mrs. 
C[alvert], who wishes us success 
heartily. We shall have success : I 
am perfectly confident of the impossi- 
bility of failure. Let your pure spirit 
animate our proceedings. Oh that 
you were with us ! You have said you 
are not handsome ; but, though the 
sleekness of your skin, the symmetry 
of your form, might not attract the 
courtiers of Dublin Castle, yet that 
tongue of energy, and that eye of fire, 
would awe them into native insignifi- 
cance, and command the conviction of 



42 LETTERS TO 

those whose hearts vibrate in unison 
with justice and benevolence. 

Dinner surprised me in the midst of 
my letter. I have since seen yours to 
Harriet. Oh, my dearest friend, do 
not suffer the little ingratitude of one 
of the vipers of the world to sting you 
too severely ! Do not feel. . . Yes, 
do not feel, that I may feel with you ; 
that every vibration of your nerves 
may be assimilated to mine, mine to 
yours. Dare all ! 

You have mistaken Harriet : she is 
not pregnant. It was a piece of good 
fortune which I could not expect. I 
can truly imagine your hopes and 
feelings concerning the possibility of 
this circumstance. I hope to have a 
large family of children : it will bind 
you and me closer, and Harriet. I, 
who believe in the omnipotence of 
education, have no fears for their 
eventual well-being. 

Harriet has filled up most of this 



ELIZABETH HITCHENER. 43 

letter, whilst I have been writing to the 
Captain. Do not consider this as a 
letter: I owe you one now. You 
shall have full payment. 

I am now, as Harriet can tell you, 
quite recovered from the little nervous 
attack I mentioned. Do not alarm 
yourself either about murderers, spies, 
government, prisons, or nerves. I 
must (as I said) have hopes, and those 
very confident ones, from you^ to fill 
the sails of our packet to Dublin. 

The post-woman waits ; and there- 
fore, my dearest friend, I bid you 
adieu. Happiness and hope attend 
my dearest friend until we meet at the 
Post-office, Dublin ! 

Your P. B. S. 

I have made a strong, though vulgar 
appeal to the feelings of the post- 
master, as to my veracity about the 
single sheet.* 

* [The letter is addressed outside to Miss 
Hitchener, along with the words : ** Single 
sheet, by God ! ^\ 



44 LETTERS TO 



LETTER XXVIII. 

Keswick, £Ci;mberland.] 
Wednesday \_ January 29, 18 12.] 

On Monday we depart for Ireland. 
This is probably the last letter 
you will receive from Keswick. We 
are staying at Calvert's, and our 
;^ioo has arrived. Prospects appear 
fair ; but I have learned to doubt of the 
result of all human enterprises, whilst 
my language and my countenance 
express the confidence of enthusiasm, 
and my heart rebels against the dismal 
suggestions of possible evil. 

I do not ask you 7uherefore you are 
unhappy, my dearest friend, because I 
sympathize with every feeling which the 
unkindness of ingratitiide excites in 
you. But I tell you to subdue it, for 
our sakes, and for the sake of that 
world to which I will suppose that you 



ELIZABETH HITCHENER. 45 

are destined to be an ornament and a 
glory. Your present state is isolated 
and friendless ; even worse, daily ingra- 
titude and unexpected duplicity cut you 
to the heart. You suffer the severities 
of ill fortune ; and all the dreary inter- 
course of daily life is unmingled by 
consolation, save the infrequent post- 
days. And what can letters do ? They 
can tell you that you are beloved ; can 
prove to you that I am yours ; but this 
only at intervals. With what bitter 
force will ingratitude and duplicity 
recur ! This is more than duty 
demands : for a devotement like yours 
some recompence is to be expected. 
I will find one for you — though here a 
corner of self comes in. Come and 
live with us. You are not one to start 
at this. *' What will the world say ? " 
What they please, precisely. Those 
who know anything of our public and 
private character will believe any scandal 
as soon as Sir F. Burdett's friends 



46 LETTERS TO 

would give credit to the story of his 
keeping five mistresses in Tottenham 
Court Road. This is one of the 
Morning Post stories. Nor will the 
world's whispers affect our usefulness. 
In what manner ? Who will credit 
that, when I made a Scotch marriage 
with a woman who is handsome, any 
criminality, of the nature of infidelity, 
can be attached to me ? Who will 
believe, when they read our publications, 
but that our conduct is in some degree 
regulated by such impressions, and re- 
peated endeavours to counteract general 
demoralization? And, supposing after 
all that they did believe this, are we 
answerable for their silly notions? 
Is our usefulness and happiness, 
which latter must in some degree 
conduce to the former, to be sacri- 
ficed to opinion? Is expediency to 
be the rule of our conduct? Ought 
minds unisonous in reason and feel- 
ing to be separated by the influences 



ELIZABETH HITCHENER. 47 

which others may draw from their 
conduct ? 

Let us attempt to form this Paradise, 
and defy the destroyers. Calm consistent 
reasoning will defeat the most terrible. 
Besides, you may be eminently useful : 
the union of our minds will be much 
more efficacious than a state of separate 
endeavour. I shall excite you to action ; 
you will excite me to just speculation. 
We should mutually correct each other's 
weaknesses, and confirm our powers. 
Harriet, Eliza, and Percy, all join to 
entreat that you will attempt to come — 
to consider the point without having 
decided against us previously. How 
extensive might not be your usefulness, 
how improved and confirmed your 
speculations of justness ! What admir- 
able and excellent greatness might you 
not add to the grandeur and firmness 
of your present character ! And I — how 
firm and collected should /not become ! 
I should possibly gain the advantage in 



48 LETTERS TO 

the exchange of qualities ; but my 
powers are such as would augment 
yours. I perceive in you the embryon 
of a mighty intellect which may one 
day enlighten thousands. How desir- 
ous ought I not to be, if I conceive 
that the one spark which glimmers 
through mine should kindle a blaze by 
which nations may rejoice ! 

Am I not earnest that you should 
come ? — But consider this point. 
We have enough money for all of us. 
There is no doubt but that you could 
do more good with us than at Hurst. 
Explain your plan to your father: tell 
him that your considerations of useful- 
ness lead you to join yourself with us. 
I will not insult your confidence by 
supposing that you can fear [but] that 
you will be independent amongst us. 
Whenever you come, you have nothing 
to do but to throw yourself into the 
mail, and, at the end of your journey, I 
shall be waiting for you. 



ELIZABETH HITCHENER. 49 

In the summer we shall see you. 
Can you make up your mind never to 
leave us ? How consummate then 
might not our publications be ; how 
directed by the close analysis of reason- 
ing, how animated by the emanations 
of your warmer heart ! Have you no 
money ? Write and say so. If not, 
we can easily spare some : we shall 
have superfluity in DubHn. 

Will you well consider this? Oh, 
my dearest friend, when I think of the 
uncertainty and transitoriness of human 
life and its occupations, when I consider 
its fleeting prospects and its fluctuating 
principles, how desirous am I to crowd 
into its sphere as much usefulness as 
possible ! We have but a certain time 
allotted us in which to do its business : 
how much does it become us to improve 
and multiply this time ; and to regard 
every hour neglected, mis-spent, or un- 
improved, as so much lost to the cause 
of virtue, liberty, and happiness ! 



50 LETTERS TO 

I hope to be compelled to [have] 
recourse to laudanum no more. My 
health is re-established, and I am now 
strong in hope and nerve. Your hopes 
must go with us : I must have no horrible 
forebodings. Everybody is not killed 
that goes to Dublin. Perhaps many 
are now on the road for the very same 
purpose as that which we propose. 

As to what you say of the Duke of 
Norfolk, it is quite unfounded. The 
D[uke] is a deist. The Duke is far 
from the best of the English noblemen : 
he is not a moral man, but certainly is 
not attached to Catholicism. He de- 
sires and votes for Reform, though he 
has not virtue enough to begin it in 
his own person. He is in every respect 
a character of mediocrity. Depend 
upon it, I have nothing to fear either 
from him or his emissaries. The Duke 
is as [little] my friend as he is yours : 
he merely desires to gratify his own 
family, his own borough-interest. 



ELIZABETH HITCHENER. 51 

" Passive virtue is " not " your sphere 
of action : '* most active you ought to 
be. Come, come to Ireland. Arrange 
your affairs, give up school. It is a 
noble field. Energies like yours ought 
to be unconfined. Write for what 
money you want. You do not fear the 
journey ; the hatred of the world is 
despicable to you. Come, come, — and 
share with us the noblest success, or the 
most glorious martyrdom. — Here is 
an appeal to the feelings of a noble 
mind ! I ought to be ashamed of my- 
self. Consider merely the considera- 
tions of usefulness^ and put out of the 
question all foolish rant of persuasion. 
Yet come : it is right that you should 
come. Assert your freedom — the free- 
dom of Truth and Nature. 

You will hear from me again. Adieu, 
my dearest friend. I shall write, before 
we leave K[eswick], again. 

Yours 



52 LETTERS TO 

{Written by Harriet.^ 
Why is my dear friend unhappy, and 
why are you not with us ? Why will 
you suffer the opinion of the world to 
keep you from us ? Would it not be 
better to leave the world to itself, and 
come and be happy whilst it is in your 
power? Remember, life is short. 
What shall I say to bring you to us ? 
Is there nothing we can urge to shake 
you ? Why are we separated ? Should 
we not be more useful all together? 
You would, by your arguments, 
countenance ours : as you are older 
than I am, therefore people would not 
think what I say so foolish. Then 
why will you not join us ? I am well 
convinced that, if you were in Ireland, 
you might do as much good as Percy. 
Indeed I am hurt at the idea of your 
being unhappy ; and why would you 
be the slave of a world that has per- 
secuted you, and which continues to 
wound you in every way it can ? 



ELIZABETH HITCHENER. 53 

my friend, what I say may have 
no weight. I know I am much 
younger than yourself, and that your 
judgment is much ^superior to mine. 
You have seen more of the world than 
myself. Yet, if you knew how ardent 
we are to have you near us, I am sure 
you would comply. I cannot wait till 
the summer : you must come to us in 
Ireland. 

1 am Irish : I claim kinship with 
them. I have done with the English : 
I have witnessed too much of John 
Bull, and I am ashamed of him. Till 
I am disappointed in the brothers and 
sisters of my affection, I will claim 
kindred with those brave sons of the 
ocean ; and, when I am deceived in 
them, it will be enough. 

I have never told you of my sister. 
'Tis well : words can never sufficiently 
express her kindness and goodness to 
me. She is my more than mother. 
What do I not owe to her gentle care ? 



54 LETTERS TO 

Everything. When you see her, you 
will form your judgment of her. I 
did think, before I was acquainted 
with you, that she was the best and 
most superior woman in the world. I 
do not say I have changed my 
opinion : that remains fixed. I have 
only so far changed it as to think there 
are some like her; but, as to being 
better, that I cannot think. She begs 
me to tell you that she is no lover of 
forms and ceremonies. She has long 
loved and admired you, my dear 
friend : so do not call her " Miss 
Westbrook." She is your sister, and 
mine. How oft have I blessed that 
Providence who has given me such a 
treasure ! Did you but know her as I 
do, you would not wonder at my love 
for her. Her amiable qualities gain her 
friends in all who have the happiness 
of knowing her. But I will say no 
more, as I am unable to do her 
justice. 



ELIZABETH HITCHENER. 55 

I know not if you have bad weather 
in Sussex. Here it is so uncertain you 
never know if the morrow will be 
fine. All this week has been very stormy, 
and last night and to-day it has never 
ceased. 

We are spending the last week with 
our amiable friends [the] Cal verts. 
We are so much indebted to them ! 
They have been extremely kind and 
attentive. She is a most amiable 
woman, and I wish you were here to 
see her. She saw us reading your last 
letter, at which she was very much sur- 
prised, the length was so uncommon. 

You will think of us next Monday 
night : then we set sail. 'Twill be 
either pleasure or not : I suspect we 
shall be very sick. We will write from 
the Isle of Man, if you do not hear 
from us before. 

There seems to be sad work in 
Ireland ; but I hope Percy will escape 
all prosecutions. 



56 LETTERS TO 

I hope we shall hear from you again 
soon. When we do not hear from you 
it is quite a blank. 

I must now say adieu. I hope you will 
put the most favourable constructions 
on what we have said. Keep up your 
spirits, and believe me ever 

Your sincere, affectionate friend, 

H. S. 



ELIZABETH HITCHENER. S7 



LETTER XXIX. 

[Whitehaven, 
Monday, February yd, i8l2.] 

My Dearest Friend, 

We are now at Whitehaven — 
which is a miserable manufacturing 
sea-port town. I write to you a short 
letter to inform you of our safety, and 
that the wind which will fill the sails of 
our packet to-night is favourable and 
fresh. Certainly it is laden with some 
of your benedictions, or with the 
breath of the disembodied virtuous 
who smile upon our attempt. We set 
off to-night at twelve o'clock, and 
arrive at the Isle of Man, whence you 
will hear from us to-morrow morning ; 
thence we proceed, when the wind 



58 LETTERS TO 

serves, to Dublin. We may be 
detained some days in the Island; if 
the weather is fine, we shall not regret 
it ; at all events, we shall escape this 
filthy town and horrible inn. 

Now do you not think of us with 
other feelings than those of hope and 
confidence. I know that belief is not 
a voluntary action of the mind, but I 
think your confidence would not be 
groundless. To give you an idea of 
the perfect fearlessness with which 
Harriet and Eliza accompany my 
attempt, — they think of no incon- 
veniences but those of a wet night and 
sea-sickness, which, in fact, we find to 
be the only real ones. Assassination, 
either by private or public menace, 
appears to me to be the phantom of a 
mind whose affectionate friendship has 
outran the real state of the case. 
Assure yourself that such things are 
now superannuated and unfeasible. 
Give me, as I have before said, the 



ELIZABETH HITCHENER. 59 

confidence of your hope, the sanguine- 
ness of your certainty, joined to that 
concern for welfare which we mutually 
felt. For, my friend, wrong me not by 
thinking that, in this bustle of present 
events, and enthusiastic anticipation of 
future, you are forgotten or unheeded, 
or lightly remembered. No : your 
cooperation and presence is wanting to 
perfect the present; and with the 
certainty of hope do I conceive of 
you in the future as a friend, and dear 
friend, who will form the foreground of 
the future which my fancy designs. 

We felt regret at leaving Keswick. 
I passed Southey's house without one 
sting. He is a man who may be 
amiable in his private character, 
stained and false as is his public one. 
He may be amiable ; but, if he is, 
my feelings are liars, and I have 
been so long accustomed to trust to 
them in these cases, that the opin- 
ion of the world is not the likeliest 



6o LETTERS TO 

criminator to impeach their credi- 
bihty. 

But we left the Calverts. I hope 
some day to show you Mrs. Calvert ; 
I shall not forget her, but will preserve 
her memory as another flower to 
compose a garland which I intend to 
present Xo you. Assure yourself that it 
is a fragrant one ; that, if it breathes 
not of heaven, I am an imposter, and 
a silly gardener that picks weeds where 
roses grow. 

I confess that I cannot expect you 
will come to us 7iow. If you do, it 
will be a piece of good fortune for 
which my mind will be unprepared, 
but which it will hail with more delight 
than the magi did "the day-spring 
from on high." But in the summer, 
when you come to us, — if you depart 
I shall say you are "the deaf adder 
that stoppeth her ears, and harkeneth 
not to the voice of the charmer." I stop 
the wheels of the former sentence for a 



ELIZABETH HITCH ENER. 6i 

minute, just to say that I do not even 
allegorize myself by thy " charmer." 

I entreat you, do not allow the ingra- 
titude of that little viper Anne to dis- 
turb you : nor think it anything like an 
appearance of "original sin." I do 
not tell you, by the former, to staunch 
the beating arteries of your heart of 
sensibility : turn the channel to some 
better and some greater object — " the 
welfare of general man," even sympa- 
thize with me in Dublin. Of the latter, 
I will give you a reason hereafter : in- 
deed, I believe that I have given you 
many already. 

Well, adieu. Harriet and Eliza, in 
excellent spirits, bid you an affectionate 
adieu. 

Pray, what are you to be called when 

you come to us? for EHza's name is 

" Eliza," and " Miss Hitchener " is too 

long, too broad, and too deep. — Adieu. 

Your 

P. B. Shelley. 



62 LETTERS TO 



LETTER XXX. 

Dublin, 
\Thursday\ February 13^/^, 18 12. 

My Dearest Friend, 

Last night we arrived safe in 
this city. It was useless to have 
written to you before. Now I have 
only time for a line to tell you of our 
safety. We were driven by a storm 
quite to the north of Ireland, and 
yesterday was the end of our journey 
thence. Expect to hear more ; all is 
well. 

Your affectionate 

P. B. Shelley. 



ELIZABETH HITCHENER. 63 

[ Written by Harriet.^ 
I have no time : — the day after to- 
morrow. Direct to us — 
Mr. Dunn's, 

No. 7 Sackville Street, 
Dublin. 
Write soon. 



64 LETTERS TO 



LETTER XXXI. 

Dublin, 

7 Sackville Street, 
\^F7'iday] February 14, 1812. 

Mr. Dunn's, Woollen Draper. 

At length I can write to you. I have 
been anxiously desirous to put matters 
in train for my enterprise : this has en- 
gaged me. How eagerly do I fly to 
you ! 

My dearest friend, think not that 
you were forgotten yesterday : you were 
the boldest foreground in the picture of 
my fancy. I have read all your letters. 
They came at breakfast yesterday, after 
I had sent my hasty guarantee of our 
safety. Now I have read them. What 
feelings have they excited ! The words 



ELIZABETH HITCHENER. 65 

gratitude^ sympathy^ and ?wpe^ are surely 
too unimpassioned to express them. 
At length, however, you are free from 
anxiety for our safety, as here we have 
nothing to apprehend but Government, 
which will not, assure yourself, dare to 
be so barefacedly offensive as to attack 
my Address : it will breathe the spirit of 
peace, toleration, and patience. In 
short, in a few posts it will be sent to 
you. 

I shall continue to write to you as 
freely as from Keswick : whether our 
letters be inspected or not I cannot telL 
If they are, this I know — that their 
hatred to me will not thereby become 
stronger, or their conviction of my dis- 
con^enfedness ciesLveT ; as my name, which 
will be prefixed to the Address, will 
show that my deeds are not deeds of 
darkness, nor my counsels those of mys- 
tery and fear. Dread nothing for me. 
The course of my conduct in Ireland 
(as shall the entire course of my life) 



66 LETTERS TO 

shall be marked by openness and sin- 
cerity. The peace and toleration which 
I recommend can make no good men 
my enemies : I should blush to call a 
bad man my friend. 

Your letter, my friend, has added 
energy to my hopes, — tenfold activity 
to my exertions here. We will meet 
you in Wales, and never part again. 
You shall not cross the Channel alone : 
it will not do. In compliance with 
Harriet's earnest solicitations, I en- 
treated you instantly to come and join 
our circle ; to resign your school, — all, 
everything, — for us and the Irish cause. 
This could not be done, I now see 
plainly. Consistently with the duties 
which you have imposed upon yourself 
— duties which I ought to have re- 
spected — it could not be done. But 
the warmth of our hearts ran away with 
the coolness of our heads : forgive the 
fault of friendship. — But summer will 
come. 



ELIZABETH HITCHENER. 67 

The ocean rolls between us. O 
thou ocean, whose multitudinous billows 
ever lash Erin's green isle, on whose 
shores this venturous arm would plant 
the flag of liberty, roll on ! And, with 
each wave whose echoings die, amid 
thy melancholy silentness shall die a 
moment too — one of those moments 
which part my friend and me ! I could 
stand upon thy shores, O Erin, and 
could count the billows that, in their 
unceasing swell, dash on thy beach, 
and every wave might seem an instru- 
ment in Time the giant's grasp to burst 
the barriers of Eternity. Proceed, thou 
giant, conquering and to conquer ! 
March on thy lonely way ! The na- 
tions fall beneath thy noiseless foot- 
step: pyramids that for millenniums 
have defied the blast, and laughed at 
lightnings, thou dost crush to nought. 
Yon monarch in his solitary pomp is 
but the f'ungus of a winter day that thy 
light footstep presses into dust. Thou 



68 LETTERS TO 

art a conqueror, Time ! All things 
give way before thee, but " the fixed 
and virtuous will," the sacred sympathy 
of soul which was when thou wert not, 
which shall be when thou perishest. 

Summer will come, and with it thou, 
more welcome than its genial breeze, 
more welcome than the long lightsome 
day when the sophistication of candle- 
light is almost dispensed with, when we 
quit the woe and pride that mars the 
city's peace, and seek the rarer in- 
stances of human misery and vice 
which relieve the contemplation in the 
country. Dearest friend, come to us 
all at midsummer, never to part again. 
Lose in our little circle the taunts of 
the unthinking, the pride of the world- 
ling, the lowliness of grandeur. Come : 
for the severe virtue that has guided 
thee thus far points out now a path 
whereon friendship has scattered flowers. 
Nothing shall prevent our eternal union 
in the summer. I ought to count my- 



ELIZABETH HITCHENER. 69 

self a favoured mortal, with such a wife 
and friend (these human names and 
distinctions perhaps are necessary in 
the present state of society). You see 
I look forward to the period in which 
pain and evil, the consequences or 
concomitants of selfish passion, shall 
cease. 

Now as to the means. Your dear 
little Americans may come and live 
with us. {^Suppose there was a little 
stf'anger to play with them : this is, 
however, a hope which I do not anti- 
cipate but at some distance.) It appears 
to me that a plain representation of 
your views and motives to your father, 
told in all their energetic simplicity of 
singleness, would best reconcile him to 
your Welsh plan. Would he call it 
visionary, — all very well in theory, but 
impracticable, and useless were it prac- 
ticable? Is he one who makes a 
distinction between the profession of 
certain principles, and acting up to 



no LETTERS TO 

that profession ? If he is, then is he 
a man unworthy of my high-souled 
friend. He would then deserve not 
the unexampled sacrifice of her devo- 
tion — a sacrifice of what might thrill 
millions with feelings of virtue, and 
breathe a soul into the corpse of a 
nation. For much do I expect from 
you : to whom much is given, from 
these much is expected. Nature, God, 
or Chance, has given you talents which 
have risen above the disadvantages of 
indigence and low birth, which are to 
you topics of glory incommunicable to 
me — and (a paraphrase on the narrow- 
ness that marked Nelson's dying hour) 
" The world expects every being to do 
its duty." — But your father is not this 
man; he is not hardened to the per- 
ception of truth; his eyelids are not 
sealed to its emanations. He will ap- 
prove of your coming. Shortly perhaps 
he will behold the glorious fruits of a 
tree the natural scion of his own, and. 



E LIZ ABE TH HITCH ENER. 7 1 

so far as depends on himself, I hope a 
moral one. As to money, after that 
period you need demand none from 
him. £,\oo per an. will be quite 
enough for us all : our publications 
would supply the deficiency. Well do 
I know that economy is the greatest 
generosity ; although we cannot prac- 
tise it so strictly in Dublin as I could 
wish. This will, however, be but 
short. 

Have you heard that a new republic 
is set up in Mexico? I have just 
written the following tribute to its 
success. 



Brothers ! between you and me. 

Whirlwinds sweep and billows roar : 

Yet in spirit oft I see 

On thy wild and winding shore 



72 LETTERS TO 

Freedom's bloodless banners wave, — 
Feel the pulses of the brave 
Unextinguished in the grave, — 

See them drenched in sacred gore, — 
Catch the warrior's gasping breath 
Murmuring " Liberty or death ! " 

II. 

Shout aloud ! Let every slave, 

Crouching at Corruption's throne, 
Start into a man, and brave 

Racks and chains without a groan : 
And the castle's heartless glow. 
And the hovel's vice and woe, 
Fade like gaudy flowers that blow — 

Weeds that peep, and then are gone ; 
Whilst, from misery's ashes risen, 
Love shall burst the captive's prison. 

III. 
Cotopaxi ! bid the sound 

Through thy sister-mountains ring, 
Till each valley smile around 

At the blissful welcoming ! 



ELIZABETH HITCHENER. 73 

And O thou stem Ocean deep, 
Thou whose foamy billows sweep 
Shores where thousands wake to weep 

Whilst they curse a villain king, 
On the winds that fan thy breast 
Bear thou news of Freedom's rest ! 

IV. 

Ere the day-star dawn of love, 

Where the flag of war unfurled 
Floats with crimson stain above 

The fabric of a ruined world — 
Never but to vengeance driven 
When the patriot's spirit shriven 
Seeks in death its native heaven ! 

There, to desolation hurled, 
Widowed love may watch thy bier, 
Balm thee with its dying tear. 



Bear witness, Erin, when thine injured 

isle 
Sees summer on its verdant pastures 

smile. 



74 LETTERS TO 

Its cornfields waving in the winds that 

sweep 
The billowy surface of thy circling 

deep, — 
Thou tree whose shadow o'er the 

Atlantic gave 
Peace, wealth, and beauty, to its 

friendly wave. 
***** its blossoms fade, 
And blighted are the leaves that cast 

its shade, 
Whilst the cold hand gathers its scanty 

fruit. 
Whose chillness struck a canker to its 

root. 



These are merely sent as Hneaments 
in the picture of my mind. On these 
topics I find that I sometimes can write 
poetry when I feel — such as it is. 

Do I not know, my friend, what you 
feel for the sacred cause of truth and 
liberty ? Am I not assured of your 



ELIZABETH HITCHENER. 75 

devotedness to virtue ? Do I doubt the 
pleasure with which you would offer 
yourself a sacrifice ? No, never ! Do 
not encourage within yourself such a 
supposition, even whilst you form in 
your mind a disavowal of its reality. I 
believe in you ; and, when I say that I 
believe in you, I mean, with all my 
heart, with all my soul, and with all 
my strength. 

Well — my Address will soon come 
out. It will be instantly followed by 
another, with downright proposals for 
instituting associations for bettering the 
condition of human-kind. I — even I, 
weak, young, poor, as I am — will at- 
tempt to organize them, the society of 
peace and love. Oh that I may be a 
successful apostle of this true religion, 
the religion of Philanthropy! At all 
events, I will have a Debating Society, 
and see what will grow out of that. This 
is the crisis for the attempt. 

Have you heard of the Mexico affair ? 



76 LETTERS TO 

You cannot be vain. Attempt it for 
my sake : attempt it, and you will come 
to have a right idea of your own powers. 
The most useful death that I can con- 
ceive of, as happening to you, must be 
far less beneficial to mankind than an 
existence of but a year, such as yours 
will be. Do not think I have set up 
the trade of prophesying, but I can 
deduce moral effects from moral causes. 

In a few days I shall have more — 
much more — to tell you. Godwin has 
introduced me to Mr. Curran. I took 
the letter this morning : he was not at 
home. I shall see him soon. 

I have not seen Flower's book : I 
have that on the Organic Remams to 
read with you. You have not seen 
Tom Paine's works. Eliza is going to 
employ herself in collecting the useful 
passages, which we shall publish. She 
Is now making a red cloak, which will 
be finished before dinner. 

Now, my dearest friend, you will re- 



ELIZABETH HITCHENER. 77 

member me, as I remember [you]. The 
thought of your approbation is to me 
more exhilarating than the applause of 
thousands. You animate me. 

I wish this letter now had reached 
you. Do not fear postmasters. Harriet 
sends her love : Eliza longs to see you. 
Believe me 

Your 

Percy Shelley. 



78 LETTERS TO 



LETTER XXXII. 

[7 Lower Sackville St., 
Dublin, 

Thursday, 20 February, 1812 ?] 

I SEND you the first sheet of my first 
Address as it comes out. The style of 
this, as you will perceive, is adapted to 
the lowest comprehension that can read. 
It will be followed by another in my 
own natural style though in the same 
strain. This one will make about 
thirty such pages as the enclosed : the 
other as much. Expect to hear soon. 
Happiness be with you. 

My dear friend, 

Yours. 



ELIZABETH HITCHENER. 79 



LETTER XXXIII. 

[Dublin, 
Monday y February 24, 1812?] 

My Dearest Friend, 

Your letter dated 19 [February] 
reached me this morning. — It is with 
pain that I find that 10 days must 
intervene between our question and 
answer. 

Things go on in Ireland as you shall 
hear. I have much food for interest 
and occupation of mind in the events 
of each day: — yet I earnestly desire 
your society, and will not be satisfied 
until I am convinced that it is to be ours 
irretrievably; that no considerations 
will deprive us of it. Impelled as I 
am by a conviction, powerful and re- 
sistless, that the general good would be 
best promoted by our united efforts, it 
is not without pain that I should see this 



8o LETTERS TO 

important benefit sacrificed to a vague 
feeling, undescribable, and indefinite 
even in the mind wherein alone it lives. 
Those feelings ought to be checked, in 
a noble and virtuous mind, which have 
not for their basis the immutable rela- 
tions of the universe. — I can plainly 
see that " your desire to procure your 
own subsistence " is a mixture of a 
strong perception of the necessity of 
usefulness ; and some portion of this 
undefined feeling, which is the result of 
certain prejudices respecting money ^ 
lodgings clothes^ &c., which, combined 
in an infinite variety of modifications, 
have entered your mind so artfully as 
to gain reception, where, had their un- 
worthiness been known, they would not 
have been admitted. Usefulness is 
your end and aim. It is the cement of 
our attachment, it is the spirit of our 
life. We have a certain object to 
attain, and a given time in which to 
attain it. It is fit that all our actions 



ELIZABETH HITCHENER. 8i 

tend to this ultimate. — What is use- 
fulness? How is it best attained? 
True independence is necessary, but 
because the chance and circumstance 
of birth has placed in another the 
power of having a house, a table, a set 
of chairs, are you dependent on that 
person by accepting them ? — You have 
a right to them. Eliza keeps our com- 
mon stock of money, for safety, in some 
hole or corner of her dress ; but we are 
not all dependent on her, although she 
gives it out as we want it. — You will 
not be dependent on any one by coming 
to us. If dependence would exist any- 
where, we should depend on you^ 
during your continuance amongst us, 
for happiness and associated intellect. 
Let us leave to the grovelling sons of 
commerce and aristocracy that selfish 
gratitude (if this name is not polluted 
by the application) which calls partici- 
pation of power (for money is power) 
a favour. By living with us, although 



82 LETTERS TO 

you gained none of this power, you 
would earn by your usefulness more 
wages than I, were I the treasurer of 
an empire, could discharge. As self- 
constituted steward of universal happi- 
ness, I could never repay you. — My 
dearest friend, these are vain distinc- 
tions ; believe me that they are. Let 
us, in the great pursuit in which we are 
engaged, consider ourselves as little as 
possible in the light of individuals who 
have separate interests to gratify, and 
separate ends to answer. Do not 
think it necessary to the great ends of 
our being that persons whose pursuits 
are disinterested, and who love each 
other, must, to preserve the genuine 
condition of their nature, live three 
hundred miles apart, and make money ; 
although, if they were together, they 
might occupy a house in which there 
would be chairs, tables, and food, 
enough for them all. For what are all 
these obligations ? Now it comes home. 



ELIZABETH HITCHENER. 83 

You cannot resist the ludicrousness and 
unworthiness of physical obligations 
between you and I. The moral obli- 
gations that are between us I admit and 
own. The gratitude, or the high men- 
tal yearning, that 1 feel annexed with 
the idea of your identity, I own : with 
pride and pleasure I own it. You 
think too meanly of yourself, too 
highly of me. At all events, our spirits 
unite in one object. Why will you 
thus separate us by a distinction trifling 
as it is worldly, and whose very incon- 
sequence is proved by the value which 
the children of fashion and folly set 
upon it ? You may not, when among 
us, procure your own subsistence : — 
how much nobler a task to procure the 
happiness of those who love you, even 
if this were all ! Besides your writings, 
which, if they do not bring money, will 
at all events be useful. 

I am too, now, incapable of writing, 
compared to what I shall be when I 



84 LETTERS TO 

personally am enlightened with the 
emanations of your genius, and invigo- 
rated by the deductions of your reason. 
— " Desire never fails to generate capa- 
city." Oh throw aside this prejudice ! 
You do not doubt my friendship, I do 
not doubt yours. Let us mingle our 
identities inseparably, and burst upon 
tyrants with the accumulated impetuo- 
sity of our acquirements and resolutions. 
I am eager, firm, convinced. What I 
have met with here you will find in my 
other letter. 

Friend of my soul, adieu. It is 
with the united force of all our opinions 
that I attack this subsisting scheme of 
yours. 

I proceed in the next sheet after I 
have been to the printer's. 

\This intention^ it appears^ remained 
unfulfilled?^ 



ELIZABETH HITCHENER. 85 



LETTER XXXIV. 

7 Lower Sackville Street. 
[Dublin.] 

\Tliursday\ February 27 [18 12]. 

Do not think that I neglect you. I 
am actively employed in what should 
prove to you my attachment : I am 
strengthening those indissoluble bonds 
that bind our friendship. For two 
days I have omitted writing to you : 
but each day has been filled up with 
the employment of disseminating the 
doctrines of Philanthropy and Free- 
dom. I have already sent 400 of my 
little pamphlets into the world, and 
they have excited a sensation of wonder 
in Dublin: 1,100 yet remain for dis- 
tribution. Copies have been sent 
to 60 public-houses. No prosecution 
is yet attempted : I do not see how it 
can be. Congratulate me, my friend, 
for everything proceeds well : I could 



86 LETTERS TO 

not expect more rapid success. The 
persons with whom I have got ac- 
quainted approve of my principles; 
and think the truths of the equaUty of 
man, the necessity of a reform, and the 
probabiUty of a revolution, undeniable. 
But they differ from the mode of my 
enforcing these principles, and hold 
expediency to be necessary in politics, 
inasmuch as it is employed in its utmost 
latitude by the enemies of innovation. 
I hope to convince them of the contrary 
of this. To expect that evil will pro- 
duce good, or falsehood generate truth, 
is almost as rational as to conceive of 
a patriot king, or a sincere Lord of the 
Bedchamber. 

My friend, my dearest friend, do you 
not pant to be with us? If there is 
any truth in the sympathy of virtuous 
souls, you do ; for I feel that I desire 
your presence, and that not merely for 
the inexpressible gratification of imme- 
diate communion, but because you 



ELIZABETH HITCHENER. %-] 

would share with me the high delight 
of awakening a noble nation from the 
lethargy of its bondage, and because the 
recourses of your powerful intellect 
would mature schemes, and organize 
those of mine which yet are immature, 
— for expectation is on the tiptoe. I 
send a man out every day to distribute 
copies, with instructions how and where 
to give them. His accounts correspond 
with the multitudes of people who 
possess them. I stand at the balcony 
of our window, and watch till I see a 
man who looks likely : I throw a book 
to him. 

On Monday my next book makes its 
appearance. This is addressed to a 
different class, recommending and pro- 
posing associations. I have in my 
mind a plan for proselytizing the young 
men at Dublin College. Those who 
are not entirely given up to the gross- 
ness of dissipation are perhaps reclaim- 
able. 



88 LETTERS TO 

I know how much of good there is 
in human nature, spite of the over- 
whelming torrent of depravity which 
education unlooses. I see little in- 
stances of kindness and goodwill almost 
everywhere. Surely education, or im- 
pressions intentionally induced upon 
the mind, might foster and encourage 
the good, as it might eradicate the evil. 
This *' Philanthropic Association " of 
ours is intended to unite both of these. 
Whilst you are with us in Wales, I shall 
attempt to organize one there, which 
shall correspond with the Dublin one. 
Might I not extend them all over Eng- 
land, and quietly revolutionize the 
country ? How is Sussex disposed ? 
Is there much intellect there? We 
must have the cause before the effect. 

I cannot bear to hear people talk of 
"the Glorious Revolution of 1688." 
Was that period glorious when, with a 
presumption only equalled by their 
stupidity, and a short-sightedness in- 



ELIZABETH HITCHENER, 89 

commensurable but with the blindest 
egotism, Parliament affected to pass an 
Act delivering over themselves, and 
their posterity to the remotest period 
of time, to Mary and William, and 
their posterity ? I saw this Act yester- 
day for the first time ; and my blood 
boils to think that Sidney's and Hamp- 
den's blood was wasted thus, — that 
even the " Defenders of Liberty," as 
they were called, were sunk thus low, 
and [should] thus attempt to arrest the 
perfectibility of human nature. 

I have not read B. Flower, but I will. 
I have heard of him. If he was a 
Calvinist, he is not now. I speak thus 
positively, merely from a small adver- 
tisement of his that I have seen. I 
will get his book, and write to him, and 
you may thus become acquainted with 
him. 

Did you ever read the Abbe Barnel's 
Memoirs of Jacobisvi ? Although it is 
half filled with the vilest and most un- 



90 LETTERS TO 

supported falsehoods, it is a book 
worth reading. To you, who know 
how to distinguish truth, I recom- 
mend it. 

My youth is much against me here. 
Strange that truth should not be judged 
by its inherent excellence, independent 
of any reference to the utterer ! To 
improve on this advantage, the servant 
gave out that I was only fifteen years 
of age. The person who was told 
this, of course, did not believe it. 

I have not yet seen Curran. I do 
not like him for accepting the office 
of Master of the Rolls. — O'Connor, 
brother to the rebel Arthur, is here : [I 
have] written to him. 

Do not fear what you say in your 
letters. I am resolved. Good prin- 
ciples are scarce here. The public 
papers are either oppositionist or minis- 
terial : one is as contemptible and 
narrow as the other. I wish I could 
change this. / of course am hated by 



ELIZABETH HITCHENER. 91 

both these parties. The remnant of 
united Irishmen, whose wrongs make 
them hate England, I have more hopes 
of. I have met with no determined 
Republicans, but I have found some 
who are democratifiable. I have met 
with some waverers between Chris- 
tianity and Deism. I shall attempt to 
make them reject all the bad, and take 
all the good, of the Jewish books. I 
have often thought that the moral 
sayings of Jesus Christ might be very 
useful, if selected from the mystery and 
immorality which surrounds them : it 
is a little work I have in contempla- 
tion. 

We shall leave this place at the end 
of April. I need not be idle in Wales : 
there you will come to us. Bring the 
dear little Americans, resign your school, 
and live with us for ever. I have a 
firm persuasion in my own mind that 
duty and usefulness, as well as happi- 
ness and friendship, approve, sanction, 



92 LETTERS TO 

and demand this plan. We have in 
this world some work to do, and only 
a certain time allotted us to do it in. 
How persuasive an argument for 
the combined exertion of intellectual 
power ! 

\Written by Harriet. ^ 

Percy has given me his letter to fill 
up, but what I'm to say I really do not 
know. Oh ! yesterday I received a 
most affectionate letter from dear Mrs. 
C[alvert]. Now don't you be jealous 
when I mention her name. She is 
afraid we shall effect no good here, and 
that our opinion will change of the 
Irish. We have seen very little of them 
as yet, but, when Percy is more known, 
I suppose we shall know more at the 
same time. My pen is very bad, ac- 
cording to custom. I'm sure you 
would laugh were you to see us give 
the pamphlets. We throw them out of 



ELIZABETH HITCHENER. 93 

window, and give them to men that 
we pass in the streets. For myself I 
am ready to die of laughter when it is 
done, and Percy looks so grave. Yes- 
terday he put one into a woman's hood 
of a cloak. She knew nothing of it, 
and we passed her. I could hardly 
get on, my muscles were so irritated. 

[ Written by Shelley. ] 

I have been necessarily called away 
whilst Harriet has been scribbHng. 
You may guess how much my time is 
taken up, by my dereliction of you. 

Adieu. The post will go. You will 
soon hear again from 

Your affectionate and unalterable 

Percy. 



94 LETTERS TO 



LETTER XXXV. 

17 Grafton Street, 
[Dublin. 

Tuesday\ March lo, 18 12. 

My Beloved Friend, 

Your letters have arrived. I snatch 
time from circumstances of overwhelm- 
ing interest to converse with you. My 
brain has scarcely time to consult my 
heart, or my heart to consult my brain ; 
yet with the remaining nature, with 
thee who constituted the Trinity of my 
Essence, I will converse. 

I cannot recount all the horrible 
instances of unrestricted and unlimited 
tyranny that have met my ears, — 
scarcely those which have personally 
occurred to me. An Irishman has 
been torn from his wife and family in 
Lisbon, because he was expatriate, and 
compelled to serve as a common soldier 
in the Portuguese army, by that mon- 



ELIZABETH HITCHENER. 95 

ster of anti-patriotic inhumanity Beres- 
ford, the idol of the belligerents. You 
will soon see a copy of his letter, and 
soon hear of my or Sir F. Burdett's 
exertions in his favour. He shall be 
free. This nation shall awaken. It is 
attended with circumstances singularly 
characteristic of cowardice and tyranny : 
my blood boils to madness to think of 
it. A poor boy, whom I found starv- 
ing with his mother in a hiding-place 
of unutterable filth and misery, — whom 
I rescued, and was about to teach to 
read, — has been snatched, on a charge 
of false and villainous effrontry, to a 
Magistrate of Hell, who gave him the 
alternative of the tender or of military 
servitude. He preferred neither, yet 
was compelled to be a soldier. This 
has come to my knowledge this morn- 
ing. I am resolved to prosecute this 
business to the very jaws of Govern- 
ment, snatching (if possible) the poison 
from its fangs. — A widow-woman with 



96 LETTERS TO 

three infants were taken up by two 
constables. I remonstrated, I pleaded : 
I was everything that my powers could 
make me. The landlady was over- 
come. The constable relented : and, 
when I asked him if he had a heart, he 
said — To be sure he had, as well as 
another man, but that he was called 
out to business of this nature some- 
times twenty times in a night. The 
woman's crime was stealing a penny 
loaf. She is, however, drunken, and 
nothing that I or any one can do can 
save her from ultimate ruin and starva- 
tion. 

I am sick of this city, and long to be 
with you and peace. The rich grind 
the poor into abjectness, and then 
complain that they are abject. They 
goad them to famine, and hang them 
if they steal a loaf. — Well, adieu to this ! 

My own dearest friend, in the midst 
of these horrors thou art our star of 
peace. We look to thee for happiness ; 



ELIZABETH HITCHENER. 97 

and, partial though the state of earth 
may render it, still will it be incom- 
parable, and prophetic of that era when 
pain and vice shall vanish altogether. 
Your new suggestion of our joining you 
at Hurst is divine : it shall be so. I 
have not shown Harriet or E[liza] your 
letter as yet : they are walking with a 
Mr. Lawless (a valuable man) whilst I 
write this. But I venture to read de- 
lightful assent in the look of their 
hearts, and that without turning over a 
page. We will quit Wales with you : 
but more of that. Besides, I would 
not live far from my uncle : I value, 
love, and respect him. He was against 
this expedition ; besides [ ? but] con- 
science is a tribunal from which I dare 
not to appeal. 

In a day or two I shall make up a 
parcel to you, which will come per 
coach. It is a terrible mistake, that of 
the last. The blundering honest Irish- 
man we have committed it. 



98 LETTERS TO 

Send me the Sussex papers. Insert, 
or make them insert, the account of 
me. It may have a good effect on the 
minds of the people, as a preparation- 
I send you two to-night. 

The Association proceeds slowly, and 
I fear will not be established. Preju- 
dices are so violent, in contradiction to 
my principles, that more hate me as a 
freethinker than love me as a votary of 
freedom. 

You will see my letter, next week, to 
the Editor of the panegyrizing paper. 
Some will call it violent. I have at 
least made a stir here, and set some 
men's minds afloat. I may succeed ; 
but I fear I shall not, in the main 
object of the Association. Dublin is 
the most difficult of all. In Wales, I 
fear not : in Lewes, fear is ridiculous, I 
am certain. 

Your book — that is a beautiful idea : 
cherish the spirit, and keep it alive. 
The Republic of Mexico proceeds and 



ELIZABETH HITCHENER. 99 

extends. I have seen American papers, 
but have not had time to read them. I 
only know that the spirit of Repub- 
licanism extends in South America, and 
that the prevailing opinion is that there 
will soon be no province which will 
recognize the ancient dynasty of Spain. 
I am in hopes of getting a share in 
the management of a paper here. I 
have daily had numbers of people 
calling on me : none will do. The 
spirit of Bigotry is high. 

P. B. S. 



[ Written by Harriet?^ 

My dear Friend, 

A FEW days since, I received your 
letter, but which I do not attempt to 
answer at present. As you may sup- 
pose, we are full of business. 

Has Percy mentioned to you a very 
amiable man of the name of Lawless? 
He is very much attached to the cause. 



loo LETTERS TO 

yet dare not act. Percy has spoken to 
him of you, and he wishes very much 
to know all about you. We have this 
morning been introduced to his wife, 
who is very near her confinement : she 
is a very nice woman, though not equal 
to him. 

Your last letter has delighted me. 
The plan of keeping on your house is 
truly admirable : but what is to be done 
with your scholars — those you spoke of 
in your letter? Perhaps you might 
still continue to keep them. But of 
that more when we meet. 

What has the Duke of Norfolk been 
saying of us ? Now tell me, as I think I 
can confute his lordship. Write to us 
soon. 

When will all this be at an end ? 
When you are among us. How I long 
for the time ! Do, dear, dear (what 
am I to call you?), hasten your departure 
for us. To Midsummer ! That will be 
such an immense time before it arrives. 



ELIZABETH HITCHENER. loi 

Do you know, I am so sick of this 
world that I long to be in another. 
"Strange thing!" I am [sure] you 
will say : yet, if you were here, you 
would do the same. But why do I 
say " here " ? Do we not find tyranny 
and oppression everywhere ? have you 
not plenty of it, even in your peaceful 
village ? *Tis everywhere. — Yes ! there 
is one spot where it is not — America. 
We know an American : he says he 
has not seen a beggar there for this 
eight years. 

How good you are thus to busy 
yourself about us, in this way ! — Ami- 
able woman 1 if I had known thee 
before, it would have been delight- 
ful : but I must be content I know 
you now, and this blessing I should not 
have had if I had never been to Clap- 
ham. So I must be content, and think 
myself very happy that I did go, though 
then I was not aware of the happiness 
that would result. 



I02 LETTERS TO 

Send us the paper in which you have 
inserted the Address ! I have sent you 
this, and hope you will receive it safe 
— though, to tell the truth, I have my 
doubts upon that head. 

You know we have heard from 
Godwin. Such letters ! You must 
long to read them, I am sure. 

I shall now finish my sad scrawl. 



ELIZABETH HITCHENER. 103 



LETTER XXXVI. 

17 Grafton Street, 

Dublin. 
\Saturday\ March 14, 18 12. 

[ Written by Harriet, "l 

Why does my dear friend continually 
mislead herself, and thus apply to my 
judgment, which is so inferior to her 
own ? 'Tis true you have mixed more 
in the world than myself. My know- 
ledge has been very confined on ac- 
count of my youth, and the situation in 
which I was placed. My intercourse 
with mankind has therefore been much 
less than you may imagine. When I 
lived with my father, I was not likely to 
gain much knowledge, as our circle of 
acquaintance was very limited, he not 
thinking it proper that we should mix 
much with society. In short, we very 



I04 LETTERS TO 

seldom visited those places of fashion- 
able resort and amusement which, from 
our age, might have been expected. 
'Twas but seldom I visited my home, 
school having witnessed the greater part 
of my life. But do not think from this 
that I was ignorant of what was passing 
in the great world : books and a news- 
paper were sufficient to inform me of 
these. Though then a silent spectator, 
yet did I know that all was not as it 
ought to be. I looked with a fearful 
eye upon the vices of the great ; and 
thought to myself 'twas better even to 
be a beggar, or to be obliged to gain 
my bread with my needle, than to be an 
inhabitant of those great houses, when 
misery and famine howl around. 

I will tell you my faults, knowing 
what I have to expect from your friend- 
ship. Remember my youth : and, if 
any excuse can be made, let that suffice. 
In London, you know, there are mili- 
tary, as well as anywhere else. When 



ELIZABETH HITCHENER. 105 

quite a child, I admired these red-coats. 
This grew up with me ; and I thought 
the military the best as well as the most 
fascinating men in the world, — though 
at the same time I used to declare 
never to marry one. This was not so 
much on account of their vices as from 
the idea of their being killed. I 
thought, if I married any one, it should 
be a clergyman. Strange idea this, was 
it not? But being brought up in the 
Christian religion, 'twas this first gave 
rise to it. You may conceive with 
what horror I first heard that Percy was 
an atheist ; at least, so it was given out 
at Clapham. At first I did not com- 
prehend the meaning of the word : 
therefore, when it was explained, I was 
truly petrified. I wondered how he 
could live a moment, professing such 
principles, and solemnly declared that 
he should never change mine. I little 
thought of the rectitude of these prin- 
ciples ; and, when I wrote to him, I 



io6 LETTERS TO 

used to try to shake them, — making 
sure he was in the wrong, and that 
myself was right. Yet I would listen 
to none of his arguments, so afraid I 
was that he should shake my belief. 
At the same time I believed in eternal 
punishment, and was dreadfully afraid 
of his supreme Majesty the Devil : I 
thought I should see him if I listened 
to his arguments. I often dreamed of 
him, and felt such terror when I heard 
his name mentioned ! This was the 
effect of a bad education, and living with 
Methodists. Now, however, this is en- 
tirely done away with, and my soul is no 
longer shackled with such idle fears. 

You cannot suppose, my dear friend, 
that I suspect you of jealousy : 'twould 
be entertaining an idea wholly un- 
worthy of you. Jealousy is a passion 
known only to the illiberal and selfish 
part of mankind, who have been cor- 
rupted and spoilt by the world : but 
this forms no part of you, — 'tis utterly 



t 



ELIZABETH HITCHENER. 107 

impossible. As to that feeling which 
prompted you to write about gaining 
ybur own subsistence, I do not know 
by what name to define it. It could 
not be pride : at least, if it were, I 
must call it a virtuous pride that you 
would not be dependent upon another 
for subsistence when you had the means 
of being independent. This would be 
all very well, to persons that you did 
not love : but to us, who (I may say 
with truth) possess so much of your 
love, it is entirely il-lfounded. You 
have given up this wild scheme, I make 
no doubt : indeed, your letter avows as 
much. To continue to think so now 
would be unworthy of the warmth of 
that friendship you have solemnly 
sworn to keep inviolate. Such a valu- 
able friendship as ours ought not to be 
intruded on by such worldly cares : it 
is too sublime and too sure. Therefore I 
pray thee take no thought what ye shall 
eat, and what ye shall wear. Our 



io8 LETTERS TO 

living is different to those worldlings, 
and you may or not adopt it as you 
think fit. You do not know that we 
have forsworn meat, and adopted the 
Pythagorean system. About a fort- 
night has elapsed since the change, and 
we do not find ourselves any the worse 
for it. What do you think of it ? Many 
say it is a very bad plan : but, as facts 
go before arguments, we shall see 
whether the general opinion is true or 
false. We are delighted with it, and 
think it the best thing in the world. As 
yet there is but little change of veget- 
ables ; but the time of year is coming 
on when there will be no deficiency. 

Your wishes coincide with mine. I 
see you are as eager to meet us as we 
are you. In one of my letters I am so 
eager that I have begged you to leave 
Hurst and join us in Wales before 
Mid[summer] ; but you have explained 
some of your reasons, and I retract my 
words, though not my wishes. 



ELIZABETH HITCHENER. 109 

Have you beard anything of this 
Habeas Corpus Act being suspended ? 
I have been very much ashamed at the 
intelligence, though I hope it is ill- 
founded. If it is not, where we shall 
be is not known ; as, from Percy's 
having made himself so busy in the 
cause of the poor country, he has raised 
himself many enemies who would take 
advantage of such a time, and instantly 
execute their vengeance upon him. 
That this may not be the case I hardly 
dare to hope. What can be their 
reason for so doing is best known to 
themselves. That many innocent vic- 
tims will suffer is a foreboding that my 
heart trembles at ; yet so it will be, I'm 
most fearful, and how is this to be 
remedied ? God knows, and not me : 
but more of this when I hear how it is 
decided. 

I do not like the name you have 
taken : but mind, only the name. You 
are fully worthy of it; but, being a 



no LETTERS TO 

name so much out of the common way, 
it excites so much curiosity in the mind 
of the hearer. This is my only reason 
for not liking it. I had thought it 
would have been one more common, 
and more pleasing to the ear. 

I must now bid my beloved sister 
adieu. 

Do not write under the seal. 



\Written by Shelley. '\ 

You will hear from me soon : part of 
me has written to you. 

I do not like Lord Fingal, or any of 
the Catholic aristocracy. Their intoler- 
ance can be equalled by nothing but 
the hardy wickedness and falsehood of 
the Prince. 

My speech was misinterpreted. I 
spoke for more than an hour. The 
hisses with which they greeted me when 
I spoke of religion^ though in terms of 



ELIZABETH HITCHENER. in 

respect, were mixed with applause when 
I avowed my mission. The newspapers 
have only noted that which did not ex- 
cite disapprobation. As to an Associa- 
tion, my hopes daily grow fainter on 
that subject, as my perceptions of its 
necessity gain strength. I shall soon, 
however, have the command of a news- 
paper with Mr. Lawless, of whom I 
shall tell you more. This will be a 
powerful engine of amelioration. Mr. 
L., though he regards my ultimate 
hopes as visionary, is willing to ac- 
quiesce in my means. He is a re- 
publican. 

Adieu. Believe that we are yours. 
We will live with you at Hurst. What 
think you of a journey to Italy in the 
autumn ? 

I hope, my beloved friend, that you 
have conquered that nervous headache 
which you mention. Do not think too 
much ; do not feel too keenly. Blunt 
neither sensation nor reflection by any- 



112 LETTERS TO 

thing but occupation. For you, this 
occupation ought sometimes to be 
trivial. 

My dear friend, adieu. 



ELIZABETH HITCHENER. 113 



LETTER XXXVII. 

Nantgwillt, Rhayader, 
Radnorshire. 
[Saturday y 18 April, 181 2.] 

My Dearest Friend, 

How surprised you must be at my 
long silence ! To what may you not 
attribute it? What fears, suspicions, 
misgivings, may not have come over 
you ! Believe me, I have felt them all ; 
but I was unwilling to write to you 
when I could tell you of nothing but 
our little distresses. Every day for this 
fortnight have I anticipated that the 
next would be the last of our wander- 
ings, and that then I might welcome 
you to something like a home. 

We left Dublin, and arrived at Holy- 
head after a passage of wearisome 
length. We have traversed the whole 



114 LETTERS TO 

of Wales and heard no tidings of a 
house. Every inn we stopped at was 
the subject of new hopes, and new dis- 
appointments. We came from Bar- 
mouth to Aberystw^ith, thirty miles, in 
an open boat ; and at length have ar- 
rived at Rhayader, the very spot where 
I spent last summer,^ — and are about to 
take a house which its tenant is forced 
to quit, from bankruptcy. It is within 
a mile of Mr. Grove's. The house is 
a good one. What I mean by " good " 
is that there is plenty of room for all 
of us. There are 200 acres of arable 
land, including some woodland; and 
the whole subject to the moderate rent 
of -£98 ^ year, which I hope to make 
the farming more than pay. The 
house is not yet our own, although we 
reside here ; but will be so in the course 
of a month. Oh my friend, what shall 
I say of the scenery? But you will 
enjoy it with us — which is all that is 
wanting to render it a perfect heaven. 



ELIZABETH HITCHENER. 115 

I know the misgivings that come over 
us when we have not heard from a 
friend for a long time ; and when we 
think that he might have written — that 
he is cooled in the ardency of his 
attachment — and that other occupa- 
tions have more charms for him than 
friendship. But it is not so with me. 
I will not here re-assert all my asser- 
tions of friendship ; but a hint that my 
perception of your excellences are 
unbounded, is enough between such 
as us. 

The end of June is the time fixed for 
our meeting. Oh that the hours which 
divide that time from the present may 
roll fast ! But it will come. Time's 
pace never varies : the hopes of those 
who sigh for a reunion, and the fears of 
those who anticipate a separation, 
hasten not its inevitable arrival. I 
have a plan in embryo. In June we 
will part no more. This house is large ; 
it will contain seven bedrooms. Could 



ii6 LETTERS TO 

not your father accompany you ? He 
understands a farm, and its manage- 
ment would be an amusement to him. 
He might then always enjoy your 
society — which he cannot now ; and it 
might be a comfort to his decUning 
years to see you independently settled 
— for it 7vould he independefit. Now 
consider this. 

You have ere this received our box 
and its contents. I paid the carriage 
as far as I could, that is, across the 
Channel ; and I am positive that it did 
not come by the post. The Declara- 
tion of Rights would be useful in farm- 
houses : it was by a similar expedient 
that Franklin promulgated his commer- 
cial opinions among the Americans. 

Your letter enjoined us to leave 
Dublin. We received it a short time 
before we had settled to depart. The 
Habeas Corpus Act has not been sus- 
pended, nor probably will they do it. 
We left Dublin because I had done all 



ELIZABETH HITCHENER. 117 

that I could do. If its effects were 
beneficial, they were not greatly so. I 
am dissatisfied with my success, but 
not with the attempt ; although the ex- 
pense of our journey was considerable, 
and I ever bear in my mind that " eco- 
nomy is the truest generosity." 

Manchester, Carlisle, Bristol, and 
other great towns, are in a state of dis- 
turbance. That infernal wretch the 
P[rince] of Wales demands more money ; 
the Princesses must have more ; Mr. 
McMahon must have more. And for 
what? For supplying the Augean 
stable of the Prince with filth which no 
second Hercules can cleanse. The 
question becomes one in the rate of 
three. If the murderer of Man's 
family, containing six persons, de- 
serves a gibbet, how much more does 
a Prince whose conduct destroys 
millions deserve it ? 

In Wales they are all very apa- 
thetical on the subject of politics. 



Ii8 LETTERS TO 

We will converse on what can be 
done here when you come. 

How will the Groves admire our 
conduct ? What will they think of 
you? 

If you think it will have any good 
effect, I will write a letter to the Chair- 
man (or whatever you call him) of your 
Book-club, recommending some further 
organization of the society. What 
think you of this ? 

1 have written some verses on Robert 
Emmett, which you shall see, and 
which I will insert in my book of Poems. 

We are now embosomed in the soli- 
tude of mountains, woods, and rivers — 
silent, solitary, and old, far away from 
any town ; six miles from Rhayader, 
which is nearest. A ghost haunts this 
house, which has frequently been seen 
by the servants. We have several 
witches in our neighbourhood, and are 
quite stocked with fairies and hob- 
goblins of every description. 



ELIZABETH HITCHENER. 119 

Well, my dear friend, I have no 
larger paper, and therefore must say 
adieu. Recollect that I am still 
your friend completely and unalterably. 
Harriet and Eliza send their love. 
Harriet is now writing to Mrs. Nugent, 
an excellent woman whom we dis- 
covered in Dublin, and of whom she 
will tell you. — Adieu. 

Yours eternally, 

P. B. Shelley. 



I20 LETTERS TO 



LETTER XXXVIII. 

Nantgwillt, [Rhayader, 
Radnorshire. 

Wednesday ^^ April 2<)th, i8i2. 

Harriet has not been able to write 
to you. She is now recovering from a 
bihous attack which so overpowered 
her with langour that she could not 
hold a pen. I wonder not that the 
confidence which my friend ought to 
have in such a self as hers, is shaken 
by the number of her enemies, until I 
think of their despicable qualities ; and 
then I recur to the friendlessness of 
her present situation to account for 
the self-desertion by which you are 
overwhelmed. 

Arouse yourself! Yet a little, bear 
the sternness of your thorny solitude, 
bear desertion, contumely, and hatred, 
for it is the contumely and hatred of 



ELIZABETH HITCHENER. 121 

those who know you not : and friend- 
ship and duty will soon strew on a 
path too flinty yet the flowers of hope 
and peace. Oh my dearest friend, 
do not think of not living with us. 
What! because a few paltry village- 
gossips repeat some silliness of their 
own invention till they believe it, shall 
those resolves be shaken which ought 
to survive the shock of elements and 
crash of worlds ? What is there in 
the Captain's disapproval ? he has been 
an uncle to me, I owe him gratitude 
for his kindness ; but am I prescribed 
to take his word? I have examined 
this affair on every side, and I with- 
draw not an iota of my former con- 
victions. — It raises a smile of bitter- 
ness at the world when I think on the 
only possible report which Mrs. Pilfold 
can have treated you with. What will 
she have recourse to next ? / unfaithful 
to my Harriet ! You a female Hogg ! 
Common sense should laugh such an 



122 LETTERS TO 

idea to scorn, if indignation would wait 
till it could be looked upon !— But, my 
friend, I do not believe there are any 
reports abroad in the country con- 
cerning us ; Mrs. Pilford of Cuckfield 
is the origin of them all. You may 
have another enemy. Mrs. P. 
wants you in the country to educate 
her child. She has made these reports? 
and then reported them to detain you. 
I see how it is. She has imposed on 
her husband. His nature is as open 
and unsuspecting as hers is artful and 
intriguing. 

Last night, when your letter came, 
I did reconsider the plan. It looked 
almost like a blasphemy on truth when I 
had done. I blushed in my soul that 
I had doubted immutable and eternal 
rectitude. I will do so no more. You 
have probably considered it. I doubt 
not the result of your deliberations 
being favourable. 

Whatever it may now be, I have such 



ELIZABETH HITCHENEK. 123 

confidence in the omnipotence of truth 
that it must be so ultimately. Harriet 
has just said, " She shall not stay 
away : " and never was there a pro- 
phecy that is so creditable to truth and 
friendship. Adieu. Keep up your 
spirits : it will soon be over. It is 
the probationary state before we all enter 
the heaven of virtue and friendship. 

My dearest of friends, sustain your- 
self for your unalterable friend. 

Harriet and Eliza send their love : 
they will not hear of any alteration. 
In haste, 
Yours ever faithfully, 
Percy. 



124 LETTERS TO 



LETTER XXXIX. 

[Nantgwillt, Rhayader, 

Radnorshire. 
Wednesday, April ^^ i8i2.] 

I WRITE this scrap (I have time for no 
more) because I have just received 
your last. I will write on Thursday, 
our next post-day. Harriet is still so 
unwell as to be unable to write. She 
desires her kindest love, however, and 
joins with Eliza and myself in deter- 
mining never to submit to a repeal of 
our plans. 

Pray write me an account of the 
reports ; I find that I have mistaken 
their nature. At all events, my beloved 
friend, keep up your spirits, keep up 
your resolves. May you not be mis- 
taken in attributing excellences to your 
father which he does not possess ! Both 
he and the Captain seem at last to share 



ELIZABETH HITCHENER. 125 

some of their qualities with the mule. 
I think Mrs. Pilfold has made these 
reports. But, whatever caused them, 
of what consequence are they to you ? 

I have written to the Captain : the 
letter is calculated to make his soul 
start back to see it. 

Never doubt what the heart and the 
head are unanimous in approving. 
Never doubt your own purity. Be- 
lieve that I am firmly yours, and that 
Harriet and Eliza determine that you 
shall be ours. 

Adieu. Depend on it that no one 
can have read our letters. 

Mrs. P. has been pumping you, and 
then drenching you with the water. 
You are not their equal in cunning. 
Well, adieu; time howls. 

Your most sincere and true. 
[P. B. Shelley.] 



126 LETTERS TO 



LETTER XL. 



Nantgwillt, [Rhayader, 
Radnorshire]. 
Friday Even, [i May, 1812]. 

Harriet still continues ill. I have 
sent for the nearest physician (forty 
miles from this place) ; and, as he is 
not yet arrived, shall send again to- 
morrow. Her indisposition has begun 
to wear so serious an appearance that, 
though not alarmed, I am anxious ; as, 
without any visible cause, any violent 
fever or relaxations, her weakness has 
increased so much that she cannot walk 
across the room without assistance. 

A week ago I said : " Give me 
Nantgwillt ; fix me in this spot so re- 
tired, so lovely, so fit for the seclusion 
of those who think and feel. Fate, I 
ask no more ! " Little then did I 



ELIZABETH HITCHENER. 127 

expect my Harriet's illness, or that 
flaming opposition which the mis- 
chievous and credulous around you are 
preparing against the most cherished 
wishes of my heart. Now I say: 
"Fate, give my Harriet health, give 
my Portia peace, and I will excuse the 
remainder of my requisition." Oh my 
beloved friend, let not the sweet cup be 
dashed from the lips of those who alone 
can appreciate its luxury, at the instant 
that Fate has yielded it to their power ! 
I have longer arguments than this ex- 
postulation in store. Yet surely this 
comprehends them. Does not joy 
include the good which we would do ? 
Well, my dear friend, Harriet will 
recover : oh, certainly she will ! Her 
illness is of a nature comparatively 
slight, and I am weak to think so 
gloomily of it as I do sometimes. Yet 
she has been ill a week. Then I try 
to console myself : — How many weeks 
has not this frame tossed on a bed of 



128 LETTERS TO 

bodily pain, with a mind scarcely less 
diseased than the body ! 

Amongst all my thoughts, you are 
not forgotten : friend of my soul, you 
are not forgotten. You are to my fancy 
as a thunder-riven pinnacle of rock, 
firm amid the rushing tempest and the 
boiling surge ; and, when our ship 
anchors close to thee, the crew will 
cover thee with flowers ! 

Well, to the point. — I have written 
to my uncle, and written to your father : 
ask them to show the letters. Harriet 
is so languid that she can scarcely 
speak ; yet she did bid me to say that 
she hoped nothing would induce you to 
desert us, and to declare that she was 
irrevocably convinced that we ought all 
to live together. What ! Are there 
beings on this world who think and 
feel as we do, and should the bigots 
to world-religion (for I can call by no 
better name the God that inspired the 
Captain's arguments, and your father's 



ELIZABETH HITCHENER. 129 

claims), should they enchain the " souls 
whose valour made them free " ? I can 
think with no patience, my toleration to 
the hateful race of vipers that crawl 
upon this earth is exhausted, when I 
find that they have stung thee. There 
is a charm against their venom which 
thou, my friend, hast borne about thee 
— which thou bearest about thee still — 
which thou wilt ever bear. Repose thy 
perfect confidence in me : / cannot 
confide in a being more than I do in 
thee. I never admit it to be possible 
that you are other than I have seen and 
known thee. I esteem, revere, and 
love, every part of your character. , My 
Harriet's attachment to you will even 
exceed mine. She is warmer and more 
affectionate than my heart, which, in its 
time, has had so much rubbing that it 
ought to be hard by this time. Your 
father and the Captain are near you, — 
we are far : and yet, my friend, when 
you hear their arguments, persuasions, 



I30 LETTERS TO 

and threats, I think you sometimes turn 
your mind towards us, and ask, " What 
would Percy's little circle think of this ? 
What would they say ? " 

Adieu. You will hear from me at 
greater length, as I have much to say, 
and much to answer. 

Yours indissolubly, 

P. B. S. 



ELIZABETH HITCHENER. 131 



LETTER XLI. 



Nantgwillt, [Rhayader, 
Radnorshire. 
Thursday y\ May 7, 1812. 

Harriet is much recovered. Her 
fever has left her, and she will, to- 
morrow or next day, inform you herself 
of her convalescence. Do you keep 
up your spirits, new-string your reso- 
lutions, and all will go well. 

**But screw your courage to the sticking-place, 
And we'll not fail." 

Your letter from Cuckfield to 
Harriet in Dublin has this day arrived. 
And so our dear friends are determined 
to destroy our peace of mind if we live 
together ; determined, all for our good, 
to make us all the most miserable 
wretches on earth. Now this, it must 



132 LETTERS TO 

be confessed, is truly humane and 
condescending. But how is it to be 
managed ? Where will they begin ? 
In what manner will they destroy our 
peace of mind, without eradicating that 
conscious integrity whence it springs? 
Thinking the pickaxe of vulgar cunning, 
however sharp, not equal to the 
demolition of the noblest tree in the 
forest of the soul, we may, I assume, 
pass over the consideration of damage 
that cannot be effected. And what 
new thing have they advanced to shake 
this cherished plan ? That you are to 
be my mistress! that you refused it 
whilst I was single, but that my 
marriage takes away all objections that 
before stood in the way of this singular 
passion ! They certainly seem to have 
acquired a taste of fabricating the 
most whimsical and impossible crimes. 
Whence, for instance, could they have 
taken, but from the annals of centaurs 
and chimseras, the idea of a passion 



ELIZABETH HITCHENER, 133 

whose delicacy shrank from the idea 
of union with its unengaged object, 
but whose timid scruples were com- 
pletely overcome when that object was 
the husband of another? Trust me, 
my friend, they are the extemporaneous 
effusions of Mrs. Pilford's brain, 
fertile in instant expediments, pre- 
pared to tell a thousand falsehoods to 
support an untruth at first perhaps 
unthinkingly advanced. These shape- 
less and undigested charges bear all the 
marks of her ever-ready calumny, 
which would hold out the right hand in 
affection, and with the left tear your 
very heartstrings. She is the woman ! 

Now, my friend, are we or are we not 
to sacrifice an attachment in which far 
more than you and I are immediately 
implicated, — in which far more than 
these dear beings are remotely con- 
cerned? And to sacrifice to what? 
To the world I to the swinish multitude, 
to the indiscriminating million, to such 



134 LETTERS TO 

as burnt the house of Priestley, such 
as murdered Fitzgerald, such as erect 
barracks in Marylebone, such as began 
and such as continue this liberticide 
war, such wretches as dragged to 
slavery, or (equal in unprincipled 
cowardice) the slaves who permit such 
things : for of these two classes is 
composed what may be called the 
world. But, my beloved friend, the 
good will not rail at us : They will 
not say that we are the slaves of con- 
temptible passions — we who aspire to 
the eminence which they have gained 
— Godwin will not say so : in fine, that 
Conscience which [is] seated on a 
throne above the restless turbulence of 
interested feelings, will acquit at its 
tribunal actions and thoughts incapable 
of sullying its purity. Are we, or are 
we not to sacrifice the immediate 
energizing of those reforms which the 
thoughtless and the every-day beings 
cannot conceive of as practicable or 



ELIZABETH HITCHENER. 135 

useful? — to sacrifice these plans, ideas 
communicated, ameliorated, and passed 
through the fire of unbiassed discussion 
— those plans which your soul cannot 
help bursting now to realize ! And 
sacrificed to what ? Eternal Truth, 
wherefore do I libel thy immutable 
name by holding this argument any 
longer with the most impassioned and 
unbending of thy votaries ? 

My friend, my dearest friend, you 
must — you shall — be with us ! All our 
schemes, even of walks or rides, will be 
unfinished without you. Every day 
every hour, that I discuss your coming, 
the good that will result appears more 
certain, and its opportunities more 
frequent,— the evil vanishes. For tell 
me one evil that will result: think of 
one good which your residence with us 
will not have a tendency to accomplish. 
Now you say that you will first visit us. 
Do so, and let this morning's visit 
. [usher] in the day of endless being; 



136 LETTERS TO 

at least, last as long as this life. Con- 
sider how little it is, in comparison to 
the eternal changes which await to 
commence at our dissolution. Consider 
how foolish it would be, were you to 
pay a morning visit to Miss Weekes, or 
any other country gossip, and ran twenty 
times out of the room because it was 
proper. Now determine on nothing 
until this summer visit. But how can 
your resolves be unbiassed, if you pro- 
pose to take your scholars again? 
Dismiss them, then, at Midsummer, 
and come to us, undetermined and 
open to conviction. 

We are not yet settled in this place. 
The size of the residence, with respect 
to the number of bedrooms, is very 
desirable. How many amiable beings 
may not be destined to occupy them ! 
We have already determined on your 
apartment : I think you will come. 

I wrote to your father and to the 
Captain. The Captain told me that 



ELIZABETH HITCHENER. 137 

the reports were as you have stated 
them to be. He professed to dis- 
believe the "mistress" business, but 
asserted that I certainly was very much 
attached to you. I certainly should 
feel quite as much inclined to deny 
my own existence as to deny this 
latter charge; although I took care 
to assure him that, in the vague sense 
which he had annexed to the word 
"love," he was utterly mistaken. I 
have answered this letter of his. When 
you see him, request to look at the 
correspondence. 

I have only one copy (and that torn) 
of Redfem's letter : I enclose it. It 
is a horrible case. 

Tell me in your next how your 
political affairs get on. Who are your 
agents? what have you done? Take 
care of letting any of the Declarations 
get into the hands of priests or aris- 
tocrats. 

Adieu : bear in mind our love — 



138 LETTERS TO 

Harrietts, mine, and Eliza's. Steel 
your heart to the poison-shafts of 
calumny : let them rebound from the 
adamantine rock. Ever beloved friend, 
adieu. 

Yours most truly and unalterably, 
P. B. S. 



ELIZABETH HITCHENER. 139 



LETTER XLII. 

Nantgwillt, [Rhayader, 
Radnorshire. 
Tuesday^ ] June 2, 1 8 1 2 . 

I HAVE not written to you now for a 
fortnight ! What a time ! Soon, how- 
ever, we shall have a mode of communi- 
cation and endearing, delightful, and 
immediate. Nothing shall ever prevent 
our meeting. The opposition of the 
narrow-minded and worldly shall only 
render more speedy and decisive what 
they are now inefficient to hinder! 
One fortnight more, and we meet. 
Fortnight, fly fast, and leave the last 
of my wishes completed ! 

I have been ill with an inflammatory 
fever, from which I am now completely 
recovered. I feared to write to you 
with a hand unsteady and a head dis- 



I40 LETTERS TO 

ordered with illness. Harriet was 
delegated to the task: she is no un- 
worthy substitute. 

I rejoice to think that you, my 
dearest friend, will speedily be our 
eternal inmate. Rejoice did I say? 
It is a word frigid and inexpressive of 
the idea which it is meant to excite. 
I have much to talk to you of — Innate 
Passions, God, Christianity, &c. — when 
we meet. Would not " co-existent with 
our organization" be a more correct 
phrase for passions than " innate ? " I 
think I can prove to you that our God 
is the same. 

[P. B. Shelley.] 



ELIZABETH HITCHENER. 141 



LETTER XLIII. 

CwM Elan, 

\Saturda)>\ June 6^ 181 2. 

You see where we are. Nantgwillt is 
not ours, nor will it be. Mrs. Hooper 
the possessor, has chosen to quarrel 
with us because we cannot give satis- 
factory security ; and for a time (a very 
short one) we are resident at Mr 
Grove's. 

But you shall meet us, dear friend : 
all the varyings and fluctuations of 
every-day affairs shall leave our meet- 
ing unchangeable. What ! may I not 
say that one is a moral, the other a 
physical, event — that one depends upon 
" the virtuous will," the other upon the 
changeable impressions of sensuality ? — 
But to the point. Do not fear that ray 
father will withdraw the allowance. I 
know the hidden springs of his char- 
acter ; and pride would not suffer him 



142 LETTERS TO 

to withdraw what pride only actuated 
him to give. 

I have sent a draft to town by to-day's 
post for the quarterly ;£"5o, which shall 
take us to London, — where we will meet 
with you, or at Hurst, as you think fit ; 
when we shall become inseparable, and 
will talk over all the plans which float 
in all our brains as to our future manner 
of life. 

As to your house being on the terms 
you describe, I do not see anything 
peremptory in that. If we think it 
most conducive to unselfishness to fix 
on it as a residence, undoubtedly we 
will fix there without hesitation. But 
might not both your and my con- 
nexions considerably curtai our exer- 
tions ? Might not our central situation 
with relation to all our ivell-meaning 
enemies expose us and our views 
continually to their aggressions, which, 
contemptible as they migh be with 
respect to our own peace of mind. 



ELIZABETH HITCHENER. 143 

would assume an entirely different 
aspect with regard to our use- 
fulness? Might not my father, 
offended at our residence in Sussex, 
withdraw the allowance? Might not 
the Captain think a well-directed 
hostility effectual toward disuniting us? 
Might not your father, lastly, led on 
by the unculture of his mind, form 
conclusions of the utmost asperity and 
injustice? These are considerations 
which, though not presenting insur- 
mountable obstacles, are yet subjects 
for consideration at our meeting. 

Adieu. I write in haste, and shall 
answer your letter the day after to- 
morrow. Dearest friend, this is a 
letter of business. Adieu. We all 
unite in love to her whom we all 
love inexpressibly. 

Your 

P. B. Shelley. 



144 LETTERS TO 



LETTER XLIV. 

CwM Elan. 
\Thursday,'\June\\y\^\2, 

My dearest Friend, 

The news of your postscript does 
not much surprise me. It was to have 
been expected that no means would 
have [been] left unattempted by the 
Genius of Intrigue and Malice. You 
must know that I regard charges of 
resembling Lovelace with contemp- 
tuous indifference. They affect me 
but on one account : I fear they have 
an ill effect on you. But I should 
expect that they would excite in you 
only a smile of bitterness and unbelief. 

We cannot have Nantgwillt, and are 
now remaining at Mr. Grove's until 
remittances enable us to move. The 



ELIZABETH HITCHENER. 145 

expenses with which our board, lodg- 
ing, &c., have been attended, will leave 
us possessed of a sum not sufficient to 
undertake a journey into Sussex, 
compatibly with independence when 
we arrive. You know, my friend, how 
much each of us regrets the necessity 
that detains us from instantly flying to 
you : but you likewise know that no- 
thing but an unconquerable necessity 
interposes between friendship and its 
duties. We therefore determine to 
proceed to Ilfracombe, a town in the 
north of Devonshire, sixty miles from 
Rhayader. We shall at all events get 
lodgings there for the present; and 
there is a coach from London to 
Barnstaple, which is close to Ilfra- 
combe, by which you may be quickly 
conveyed to those whose bosoms throb 
for your arrival. Our journey to Ilfra- 
combe cannot exceed £,% : our journey 
to Sussex must at least be £,'^0. With 
the difference of these two sums a 



146 lETTERS TO 

house is procurable at Ilfracombe, or 
near it, which shall be the sanctuary of 
happiness. 

As soon as you can arrange your 
affairs, take a place in the coach for 
London, Mr. Westbrook will give you 
a bed, and the next morning he will 
see you safe in the Barnstaple coach. 
Have you enough money for the 
journey? If not, write to us, and 
we will send [some] as soon as the 
;£"5o arrives. If possible, however, do 
not wait for the intervention of another 
letter and its answer. Our well-meaning 
enemies are determined to oppose your 
departure with every kind of method. 
Take your method of defeating them : 
let it be plain and simple. There is no 
necessity either to conceal or make 
public your departure: I recommend 
not secresy, but calm firmness. 
[P. B. Shelley.] 



ELIZABETH HITCHENER. 147 



LETTER XLV. 

{Thursday y'\ June \\%, l8i2.] 

We shall come at any rate. Some- 
thing on which we cannot calculate has 
happened : means utterly unknown to 
us have been practised upon you. 
Friendship and justice command that 
we should do all that can be done : I 
hope the time will never come when 
we shall be deaf to their appeals. 

I calculate that, on our arrival at 
Chepstow, £\2i will remain. This 
may suffice for our journey by coaches 
across the country to you. Then we 
shall be penniless, and for our return 
to Chepstow, where EUza will remain, 
depend upon your exertions with Mr. 
H[owel]. You had better mention my 
responsibility, which, if I can see Mr. 



148 LETTERS TO 

Howel when I come, I will personally 
give. 

Affairs have now arrived at a crisis. 
I perceive by your letter the necessity 
of our journey. It is playing a mo- 
mentous game. It demands coolness 
and resolution — such coolness as con- 
tempt for our adversaries has given 
Harriet and me. Calm yourself, collect 
yourself, my dearest friend ! How little 
ought your mighty soul to be shaken 
by the whisper of a worldling ! Let 
us show that truth can conquer false- 
hood. Let us show that prejudice is 
impotent when the resolution of 
friendship and virtue is awakened. 
It is a glorious cause ; martyrdom in 
such a cause were superior than victory 
in any other. If what Mr. and Mrs. 
Pplfold] and Co. had said of me had 
been, as it will be, unconnected with 
your peace, it would amuse me ex- 
cessively. Even now I can sometimes 
Jiot help smiling, though the smile is a 



ELIZABETH HITCHENER. 149 

bitter one, when the train of their con- 
spiracies comes across me. 

About next Thursday you may ex- 
pect us. I am not positive as to the 
day, but next week we shall be with 
you. Prepare yourself to leave a scene 
rendered hateful by impotent malice. 
\i you can [procure] no money, I should 
conceive that my attempts would not be 
quite unsuccessful. I know not, how- 
ever, how this may be. Money is our 
slave, not our master : it is a slave 
whose services we are all equally 
entitled to command. The best wishes, 
the sincerest love, of all, await you 
until we meet 

Yours unalterably, 
P. B. Shelley. 

Even if we are gone, Eliza will be 
there. You may direct to the Post- 
Office at Chepstow. 

I think that you had better com- 
municate to no one the contents of 



ISO LETTERS TO 

this letter. It could answer no good 
purpose, and might engender in Mrs. 
P[ilford]'s brain some new scheme of 
malice. 

I have been writing a defence of 
Eaton. To-day I have not coolness 
enough to go on. 



ELIZABETH HITCHENER. 151 



HARRIET SHELLEY. 

TO 

ELIZABETH HITCHENER. 

Dublin. 
\Wednesday\ March \%th, [181 2] 

My Dear Portia, 

As Percy has sent you such a large 
Box so full of inflammable matter, I 
think I may be allowed to send a little, 
but not [of] such a nature as his. I 
sent you two letters in a newspaper, 
which I hope you received safe from 
the intrusion of Post-masters. I sent 
one of the Pamphlets to my Father 
in a newspaper, which was opened and 
charged, but which was very trifling 
when compared to what you and 
Godwin paid. 



152 LETTERS TO 

I believe I have mentioned a new 
acquaintance of ours, a Mrs. Nugent, 
who is sitting in the room now and 
talking to Percy about Virtue. You 
see how little I stand upon ceremony. 
I have seen her but twice before, and 
I find her a very agreeable, sensible 
woman. She has felt most severely the 
miseries of her country, in which she 
has been a very active member. She 
visited all the Prisons in the time of 
the Rebellion, to exhort the people to 
have courage and hope. She says it 
was a most dreadful task ; but it was 
her duty, and she would not shrink from 
the performance of it. This excellent 
woman, with all her notions of 
Philanthropy and Justice, is obliged to 
work for her subsistence — to work in a 
shop which is a furrier's ; there she is 
every day confined to her needle. Is 
it not a thousand pities that such a 
woman should be so dependent upon 
others? She has visited us this 



ELIZABETH HITCHENER, 153 

evening for about three hours, and is 
now returned home. The evening is 
the only time she can get out in the 
week ; but Sunday is her own, and 
then we are to see her. She told 
Percy that her country was her only 
love, when he asked her if she was 
married. She called herself Mrs., I 
suppose on account of her age, as she 
looks rather old for a Miss. She has 
never been out of her country, and has 
no wish to leave it. 

This is St. Patrick's night,* and the 
Irish always get very tipsy on such a 
night as this. The Horse Guards are 
pacing the streets, and will be so all 
the night, so fearful are they of dis- 
turbances, the poor people being very 
much that way inclined, as Provisions 

* This shows that Harriet's letter was written 
on the 17th of March, and not on the ** 18," as 
she has dated it. Unless, indeed, the usual St. 
Patrick's Ball at Dublin Castle was for some 
reason held on the i8th of March, instead of the 
17th in the year 181 2. 



154 LETTERS TO 

are very scarce in the southern counties. 
Poor Irish People, how much I feel for 
them. Do you know, such is their ignor- 
ance, that when there is a drawing-room 
held, they go from some distance to 
see the people who keep them starving 
to get their luxuries ; they will crowd 
round the state carriages in great glee 
to see those within who have stripped 
them of their rights, and who wantonly 
revel in a profusion of ill-gotten luxury, 
whilst so many of those harmless people 
are wanting Bread for their wives and 
children. What a spectacle ! People 
talk of the fiery spirit of these distressed 
creatures, but that spirit is very much 
broken and ground down by the 
oppressors of this poor country. I may 
with truth say there are more Beggars 
in this city than any other in the world. 
They are so poor they have hardly a rag 
to cover their naked limbs, and such is 
their passion for drink, that when you 
relieve them one day you see them in 



ELIZABETH HITCHENER. 155 

the same deplorable situation the next 
Poor creatures, they live more on 
whiskey than anything, for meat is so 
dear they cannot afford to purchase any. 
If they had the means I do not know 
that they would, whiskey being so much 
cheaper, and to their palates so much 
more desirable. Yet how often do we 
hear people say that poverty is no evil. 
I think if they had experienced it they 
would soon alter their tone. To my 
idea it is the worst of all evils, as the 
miseries that flow from it are certainly 
very great ; the many crimes we hear 
of daily are the consequences of Poverty 
and that to a very great degree; I 
think the Laws are extremely unjust — 
they condemn a Person to Death for 
stealing 13 shillings and 4 pence. 

Disperse the Declarations. Percy 
says the farmers are very fond of 
having something posted upon their 
walls. 

Percy has sent you all his Pamphlets 



156 LETTERS TO E. H. 

with the Declaration of Rights^ which 
you will disperse to advantage. He has 
not many of his first Address^ having 
taken great pains to circulate them 
through this city. 

All thoughts of an Association are 
given up as impracticable. We shall 
leave this noisy town on the 7 th of 
April, unless the Habeas Corpus Act 
should be suspended, and then we shall 
be obliged to leave here as soon as 
possible. Adieu. 

[Harriet Shelley.] 



SUPPLEMENT. 

The following Letter, which should be 
inserted between Nos. IV. and K, 
has come to light siftce the body of 
this book was printed. It is there- 
fore inserted here in the form of 
a Supplement. 



LETTERS TO E. H, 159 



LETTER XLVL 

CwM Elan, Rhayader, 

Radnorshire, 
South Wales. 
[Postmark— 15/// July^ 181 1.] 

My dear Madam, 

Your letter has just reached me, or 
rather has been given to me after my 
recovery from a short but violent ner- 
vous illness. It was occasioned by 
several nights of sleeplessness, and 
days of pressing and urgent business ; 
nothing else could have prevented my 
calling on you in town, but my occupa- 
tion was of such a nature as would 
neither admit of delay or rest, and 
Stoic as I profess myself, whilst yet 
this chain of clay fetters our nobler 
energies, it will at times subdue them, 
it will at times remind us, and that 
forcibly, how mutually dependent on 
each other are mind and body. 



i6o LETTERS TO 

Well here I now am, and shall 
postpone the pleasure of your conver- 
sation, tho' let me hope not of your 
correspondence, until the period of my 
return to Sussex. I hope I am superior 
to etiquette, indeed if I am not I bely 
my own professions, and daring to be 
free court slavery. But this is not 
my disposition, and when I say the 
" pleasure of your correspondence " I 
mean to say that the ideas which those 
words excite are actually present. — 

Did you observe in the papers an 
account of the trial of a wretch at 
Tortola for the murder of his slave : 
if not, read it, and remark his address 
to the Jury — " I have a proper sense of 
religion^ and I fear not." This man's 
cruelties might have made Nero triumph 
in his comparative humanity, yet " he 
fears not." Is this criterion then so 
sure to supercede that of self-evident 
morality as to make a villain exult in 
death like Brutus ? Surely this teaches 



ELIZABETH HITCHENER. i6i 

us two things — that ReHgion is bad for 
man; that the exultation of Brutus 
will last, that of the tyrant cannot 1 

I met with a fine passage the other 
day in Helvetius, a French writer. 
" Modes of worship differ, they are 
therefore the work of man — Morality 
is accordant, universal^ and uniform, 
therefore it is the Work of God " — or, 
as I should say, it is Morality which 
I cannot but consider as synonymous 
with the Deist's God. 

This country of Wales is excessively 
grand ; rocks piled on each other to 
tremendous heights, rivers formed into 
cataracts by their projections, and 
valleys clothed with woods, present an 
appearance of enchantment. But why do 
they enchant — why is it more affecting 
than a plain, it cannot be innate, is it 
acquired ? Thus does knowledge lose 
all the pleasure which involuntarily 
arises by attempting to arrest the 
fleeting phantom as it passes— vain, 



162 LETTERS TO 

almost like the chemist's ether it 
evaporates under our observation : it 
flies from all but the slaves of passion 
and sickly sensibility who will not 
analyse a feeling. 

I will relate you an anecdote, it is a 
striking one ; the only adventure I have 
met with here. My window is over the 
kitchen, in the morning I threw it up, 
and had hardly finished dressing when 
*'for Charity's dear sake" met my ear. 
These words were pronounced with 
such sweetness that on turning round 
I was surprised to find them uttered by 
an old beggar, to whom in a moment 
the servant brought some meat. I ran 
down and gave him something: — he 
appeared extremely grateful. I tried 
to enter into conversation with him — in 
vain. I followed him a mile asking a 
thousand questions. At length I quitted 
him finding by this remarkable obser- 
vation that perseverance was useless. 
"I see by your dress that you are a 



ELIZABETH HITCHENER. 163 

rich man. They have injured me and 
mine a million times — you appear to 
be well intentioned, but I have no 
security of it while you live in such 
a house as that, or wear such clothes 
as those. It would be chanty to quit 
me. 

Now adieu. 

Believe me 

Yours most sincerely, 

Percv Shelley. 

{Addressed outside.'] 
Miss Hilckener, 
Mr. PilfoWs, 

near the Foundlings 
London. 

[Re-directed, not in Shelley's hand-writing.] 
Miss Hitchener, 

Hurstpiet pointy 

near Brighton. 



Privately Printed: 1890. 



\>'2 





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