Mrs Shelley (Rossetti 1890)/Chapter 12
LAST MONTHS WITH SHELLEY.
In July 1821, Shelley left his wife at the baths while he went to seek a house at Florence for the winter; but he returned in three days unsuccessful. He then received a letter from Byron begging him to go straight to Ravenna, various matters having to be talked over. Shelley left at two in the afternoon, on his birthday, August 4th. Here he had to go through the Paolo-Hoppner scandal, which we have referred to. Shelley had to write letters to Mary on the subject, and Mary wrote the most indignant and decisive denial of the imputation on her husband and Claire. She writes: "I swear by the life of my child, by my blessed beloved child, that I know the accusations to be false." If more were needed, the clear exposition by Mr. Jeaffreson and later Professor Dovden, leave nothing to be said. Shelley wrote to Mary describing his visit to Allegra at the convent, where he found her prettily dressed in white muslin with an apron of black silk. She was a most graceful, airy child; she took Shelley all over the convent, and began ringing the nun's call-bell, without being reprimanded although the prioress had considerable trouble to prevent the nuns assembling dressed or undressed—which struck Shelley as showing that she was kindly treated. Before leaving Ravenna, about August 17th, he wrote to thank his wife for her promise of her miniature, done by Williams, which he received a few days later from her at the Baths of Pisa. Mary and Shelley both were of those who, wherever they found a friend, found also a pensioner, or person to be benefited by them; as they did not seek their friends for personal advantage, and were among those who hold it more blessed to give than to receive. In January 1821, Mrs. Leigh Hunt wrote to Mary Shelley, begging her to help her husband and family to come to Italy he was ill and depressed, and surrounded by all his children sick and suffering. While Shelley was at Ravenna he brought up this subject with Byron, who proposed that he, Shelley, and Leigh Hunt should start a periodical for their joint works, and share the profits. Shelley did not agree to this for himself, as he was not popular, and could only gain advantage from the others; but for Hunt it was different, and Shelley joyfully wrote to him from Pisa, on his return from Ravenna, to join them as soon as possible. Delays occurred in Hunt's departure, and Byron received letters from England warning him against joining with Shelley and Hunt. Byron arrived in Pisa with the Countess Guiccioli and her brother Pietro Gamba, on November the 1st, at the Lanfranchi Palace, and the Shelleys had apartments at the top of I Tre Palazzi di Chiesa, opposite. Claire, who had been staying with them, and accompanied them on a trip to Spezzia, had now returned to Professor Bojti's at Florence.
Mary had the task of furnishing the ground floor of Byron's Laufranchi Palace for the Hunts, although Byron insisted on paying for it. Hunt, meanwhile, was unable to proceed beyond Plymouth that winter, where they were obliged to stay by stress of weather and Mrs. Hunt's illness. Thus some months passed by, during which time Byron lost the first ardour of the enterprise, and became very lukewarm. It must have been when Mary had good reason to foresee this result that she wrote to Hunt thus:—
My Dear Friend,
I know that S. has some idea of persuading you to come here. I am too ill to write the reasonings, only let me entreat you let no persuasions induce you to come; selfish feelings you may be sure do not dictate me, but it would be complete madness to come. I wish I could write more. I wish I were with you to assist you.
I wish I could break my chains and leave this dungeon. Adieu, I shall hear about you and Marianne's health from S.
Ever your M.
Shelley was forced to apply to Byron to help him with money to lend Hunt, and Byron had ceased to care about the Liberal, the projected magazine.
While staying near Byron the Shelley s came in for a large influx of visitors, often much to Shelley's annoyance, and Mary wrote of their wish, if Greece were liberated, of settling in one of the lovely islands.
The middle of January brought one visitor to the Shelleys, who, introduced by the Williams, became more than a passing figure in Mary's life. In Edward John Trelawny she found a staunch friend ever after. Trelawny, who had led a wild life from the time he left the navy in mere boyhood, was a conspicuous character wherever known. With small reverence for the orthodox creeds, he must have had some of the traits of the ancient Vikings, before meeting Shelley; but from that time he became his devoted admirer, or, as one has observed who knew him, as Ahab at Elijah's feet, so Trelawny at Shelley's was ready to humble himself for the first time; nor did he afterwards, to the end of a long life, ever speak of him without veneration. Shelley's exalted ideas touched a chord in the strong man's heart, and within a few weeks of his death he rejoiced in hearing of a crowded assembly in Glasgow, enthusiastic in hearing a lecture on Shelley, and asserted it is the "spirit of poetry which needs spreading now; science is popular to the exclusion of poetry as a regenerator."
The day after their first meeting with Trelawny, Mary notes in her diary how Trelawny discussed with Williams and Shelley about building a boat which they desired to have, and which Captain Roberts was to build at Genoa without delay. A year later Mary added a note to this entry, to the effect how she and Jane Williams then laughed at the way their husbands decided without consulting them, though they agreed in hating the boat. She adds: "How well I remember that night ! How short-sighted we are ! And now that its anniversary is come and gone, methinks I cannot be the wretch I too truly am." This winter, at Pisa, Mary, with popular and strong men to protect her, was not neglected so much as hitherto. She went to Mrs. Beauclerc's ball with Trelawny; but she refers to a strange feeling of depression in the midst of a gay assembly.
On February 8 Shelley started, with Williams, to seek for houses in the neighbourhood of Spezzia; the idea being that the Shelleys, the Williamses, Trelawny and Captain Roberts, Byron, Countess Guiccioli and her brother, should all spend the summer there, although Mary feared the party would be too large for unity. Only one suitable house could be found; but Shelley was not to be stopped by such a trifle, and the house must do for all.
In the early spring of this year, Mary wrote to Mrs. Hunt how she and Mrs. Williams went violet-hunting, while the men went on longer expeditions.
The Shelleys and their surroundings must have kept the English assembled in Pisa in a pleasing state of excitement. At one time Mary caused a commotion by attending Dr. Nott's Sunday service, which was held on the ground floor of her house. On one occasion he preached against Atheism, and, having specially asked Mary to attend, it was taken as a marked attack on Shelley, and it was considered that Mary had taken part against her husband.
Mary wrote a pathetic letter to Mrs. Gisborne that she had only been three times to church, and now longed to be in some sea-girt isle with Shelley and her baby, but that Shelley was entangled with Byron and could not get away. She was longing for the time by the sea when she would have boats and horses.
While Mary was yearning for sympathy with her kind, or solitude with Shelley, he for a time was wasting regrets that she did not sympathise with or feel his poetry. It was the old story of the Skylark. While he was seeking inspiration at some fresh source, Mary did not become equally enthusiastic about the new idea. But most probably, in spite of Trelawny's later notion and her own self-reproaches of not having done all possible things to sympathise with Shelley, Mary's behaviour was really the best calculated for his comfort. A man who did not like regular meals and conventional habits in this respect, would not have liked his wife to worry him constantly on the subject, and the plate of cold meat and bread placed on a shelf, as his table was probaby covered with papers—which Trelawny found there forgotten, towards the end of a "lost day" as Shelley called it—was not inappropriate for one who forgot his meals and did not like being teased. Mary was not of the nature to make, nor Shelley of the nature to require, a docile slave; and during the time at Naples, for which Mary felt most regret, Shelley wrote of her as "a dear friend with whom added years of intercourse adds to my appreciation of its value, and who would have more right than anyone to complain that she has not been able to extinguish in me the very power of delineating sadness."
During this time the English visitors believed and manufactured all kinds of stories about the eccentric English then at Pisa. Trelawny had been murdered Byron wounded and Taaffe was guarded by bulldogs in Byron's house ! These rumours were laughed over by the people concerned.
On one occasion Mrs. Shelley, with the Countess Guiccioli, witnessed from their carriage the affair with the dragoon Masi, when he jostled against Taaffe. Byron, Shelley, and Gamba pursued him; Shelley, coming up with him first, was knocked down, but was rescued by Captain Hay. The dragoon was finally wounded by one of Byron's servants, under the idea that he had wounded Byron.
During this exciting time at Pisa, Claire was eating her heart at Florence with longings and regrets for Allegra; and Mary and Shelley were trying to calm her by letters, and growing themselves more and more dissatisfied at Byron's treatment of the mother. There are entries in Claire's diary as to her cough, and the last entry before the day she left Florence for Pisa—April 13—is erased. Then there is one of her ominous blanks from April till September.
While Claire travelled with Williams and his wife to Spezzia to look for a house, news came from Bagnacavallo which verified her worst fears. Typhus fever had ravaged the convent and district, and the fragile blossom had succumbed. Shelley and Mary determined to keep this "evil news," as Mary calls it, from Claire till she is away from the neighbourhood of Byron. So, on her return from the unsuccessful visit to Spezzia, they have to conceal their sorrow and their feelings. Shelley, ever anxious for Claire's distress, persuaded her to accompany Mary to Spezzia, saying they must take any house they could get. Claire had thought of returning to Florence, but was overruled by Shelley, who, as Mary wrote to Mrs. Gisborne, carried all like a torrent before him and sent Mary and Claire with Trelawny to Spezzia. Shelley followed with their furniture in boats; and so, on April 26, they were hurried by Shelley, or fate, from misfortune to misfortune, in taking Claire to a haven where she might be helped to bear her sore trouble. Mary, with her companions, secured the only available house Casa Magui, at San Terenzio, near Lerici in which it was settled that they and the Williamses must find room and bring their furniture. Difficulties of all kinds had to be overcome from the dogana. The furniture arrived in boats, and they were told the dues upon it would amount to three hundred pounds, but the harbour-master kindly allowed it to be removed to the villa as to a depot till further orders arrived. Then there were the difficulties of Mrs. Williams, of whom Shelley wrote that she was pining for her saucepans. Claire felt the necessity of returning to Florence, the space being so small. This, however, was not to be thousht of. Claire still had to have the news of her child's death broken to her, and Mrs. Williams's room had to be used for secret consultations. Claire, entering the room and seeing the agitated silence on her approach, at once realised the state of the case. She felt her Allegra was dead, and it only devolved on Shelley to tell the sad tale of a fever-ravaged district, and a fever-tossed child dying among the kind nuns, who are ever good nurses. Claire's grief was intense; but all that she now wanted was a sight of her child's coffin, a likeness of her, and a lock of her golden hair (a portion of which last is now in the writer's possession). The latter Shelley helped to obtain for her; but Claire never after forgave him who had consigned her child to the convent in the Romagna, nor allowed her another sight of her little one.
On May 21 Claire left for Florence, and Mary remained with her husband and the Williamses at Casa Magni. These rapidly succeeding troubles, together with Mary's being again in a delicate state of health, left the circle in an unhinged and nervous state of apprehension. Shelley saw visions of Allegra rising from the sea, clapping her hands and smiling at him. Mrs. Williams saw Shelley on the balcony, and then he was nowhere near, nor had he been there. Shelley ranged from wild delight with the beauty around him, to such fits of despondency as when he most culpably proposed to Mrs. Williams, while in a boat with him and her babies, in the bay—"Now let us together solve the great mystery." But she managed to get him to turn shore wards, and escaped at the first opportunity from the boat.
Mary was not without her prophetic periods—a deep melancholy settled on her amid the lovely scenery. Generally at home with mountain and water, she now only felt oppressed by their proximity. Shelley was at work on the Triumph of Life, one of his grandest poems ; but Mary was always apprehensive except when with her husband, least so when lying in a boat with her head on his knees. If Shelley were absent, she feared for Percy, her son, so that, in spite of the oasis of peace and rest and beauty around them, she was weak and nervous ; and Shelley, for fear of hurting her, had to conceal such matters as might trouble her, especially the again critical state of the affairs of her father, who was in want of four hundred pounds to compound with his creditors. These alarms for Mary's health and tranquillity of mind, and the consequent necessity of keeping any trying subject from her, may have induced Shelley in writing to Claire to adopt a confidential tone not otherwise advisable.
While at Casa Magni, the fatal boat which had been discussed on the first evening Trelawny spent with the Shelleys, arrived. The "perfect plaything for the summer" had been built against the advice of Trelawny, by a Genoese ship-builder, after a model obtained by Lieutenant Williams from one of the royal dockyards in England. Originally it was intended to call it the Don Juan, but recent circumstances had caused a break in the intimacy of Shelley with Byron, and Shelley felt that this would be eternal. He, therefore, no longer wished any name to remind him of Bvron, and gave the name Ariel, proposed by Trelawny, to the small craft. With considerable difficulty the name Don Juan was taken from the sail, where Byron had manoeuvred to have it painted.
Towards the end of May, Mary was seriously suffering; the difficulties of housekeeping for the Williamses as well as themselves were no trifle. Provisions had to be fetched from a distance of over three miles. Shelley writes to Claire, hoping she will be able to find them a man-cook. As Mary was somewhat better when Shelley wrote, he feared he should have to speak to her about Godwin's affairs, but put off the evil day.
On June 6 we find Shelley setting out with Williams in the Ariel to meet Claire on her way from Florence to Casa Magni. A calm having delayed them till the evening, they were too late to meet Claire, who travelled on by land for Via Reggio. Shelley and Williams, returning by sea, arrived home a short time before her. Their return and her arrival were none too soon; for, on the 8th or 9th, Mary fell dangerously ill, as she wrote in August to Mrs. Gisborne: "I was so ill that for seven hours I lay nearly lifeless kept from fainting by brandy, vinegar, eau-de-cologne, &c. At length ice was brought to our solitude; it came before the doctor, so Claire and Jane were afraid of using it; but Shelley over-ruled them, and, by an unsparing application of it, I was restored. They all thought, and so did I at one time, that I was about to die."
Shelley, equal to the occasion, felt the strain on his nerves afterwards, and a week after his wife was out of danger he alarmed her greatly, as he relates: "While yet unable to walk, I was confined to my bed. In the middle of the night I was awoke by hearing him scream, and come rushing into my room; I was sure that he was asleep, and tried to waken him by calling on him ; but he continued to scream, which inspired me with such a panic that I jumped out of bed and ran across the hall to Mrs. Williams's room, where I fell through weakness, though I was so frightened that I got up again immediately. She let me in, and Williams went to Shelley who had been wakened by my getting out of bed. He said that he had not been asleep, and that it was a vision that he saw that had frightened him. But as he declared that he had not screamed, it was certainly a dream, and no waking vision." And so the lovely summer months passed by with all these varying emotions, with thoughts soaring to the highest pinnacles of imagination as in the Triumph of Life, and with the enjoyment of the high ideals of others, as in reading the Spanish dramas: music also gave enchantment when Jane Williams played her guitar. With the intense beauty of the scenery, and the wildness of the natives who used sometimes to dance all night on the sands in front of their house; the emotions of life seemed compressed into this time, spent in what would lie considered by many great dulness, in the company of Trelawny and the Williamses. And now an event, long hoped for, arrived, for the Hunts were in the harbour of Genoa, and Shelley was to meet them at Leghorn, as Hunt's letter, which reached them on June 19, had been delayed too long to allow of Shelley joining them at Genoa. On July 1 intelligence came of the Hunts' departure from Genoa; and at noon a breeze rising from the west decided the desirability of at once starting for Leghorn. Shelley, with Captain Roberts who had joined him at Lerici, arrived by nine in the evening, after the officers of health had left their office. The voyagers were thus unable to land that evening, but spent the time alongside of Byron's yacht, the Bolivar, from which they received coverings for the night.
The next morning news arrived from Byron's villa, which already began to verify Mary's forebodings in her letter to Hunt, and proved the clear-sightedness of her forecast. Disturbances having taken place at his house at Monte Nero, Count Gamba and his family were banished by the Government from Tuscany, and there were rumours that Byron might be leaving immediately for America or Switzerland. This was indeed trying news for Shelley to have to break to the Hunts on their first meeting in the hotel at Leghorn, where, after four years, the two friends again met. The encounter was most touching, as remembered years later by Thornton Hunt. Shelley had plenty of work on hand for a few days; he procured Vacca, the physician, for Mrs. Hunt; and had to sustain his friend during his anxiety as to his wife's health and the uncertainty as to Byron's conduct. Shelley would not think of leaving hi in till he had seen him comfortably installed in the Lanfranchi Palace, in the rooms which Mary had prepared for him at Byron's request. The still more difficult task of fixing Byron to some promise of assistance with regard to the Liberal was likewise carried out ; and after one or two days of dejection, during which Shelley wrote to Mrs. Williams on July 4 to relieve his own despondency, and to his wife to relieve hers, as her depression of spirits required more cheering than adding to, he wrote: "How are you, my best Mary? Write especially how is your health and how your spirits are, and whether you are not more reconciled to staying at Lerici, at least during the summer. You have no idea how I am hurried and occupied. I have not a moment's leisure, but will write by the next post."
Soon atter writing these letters, Shelley found with exultation that his work was done. As usual, he had carried ail before him, and secured Byron's "Vision of Judgment" for the first number of the Liberal, and by July 7 he was able to show his friends the ever-delightful sights of Pisa. Thus one day of rest and pleasure remained to Shelley after doing his utmost to assist his friend Hunt. To the last Shelley was faithful to his aim—that of doing all he could for others. His interviews with Byron had secured a return of the friendly feeling which nought but death was henceforth to sever, and the two great names, which nothing can divide, are linked by the unbreakable chain of genius—genius, the fire of the universe, which at times may nicker low, but which, bursting into flame here and there, illumines the dark recesses of the soul of the uni-verse genius which has made the world we know, which, never absent, though dormant, has changed the stone to the flower, the flower to animal, and, gaining ever in degree through the various stages of life, is the divine attribute, the will, the idea. Genius manifest in the greatest and best of humanity, shown indeed, as the Word of God, or as he who holds the mirror up to nature, or by the great power which in colour or monotone can display the love and agony of a dying Christ; by the loving poet, who can soar beyond his age to uphold an unselfish aim of perfection to the world; by all those who, throwing off their mortal attributes at times, can live the true life free from the too absorbing pleasures of the flesh, which can only be enjoyed by dividing.
But now Shelley's mortal battle was nearly over; he who had not let his talent or myriad talents lie dormant was to rest, his work of life was nearly done. Not that the good is ever ended; verily, through thousands of generations, through eternity, it endures; while the bad—perhaps not useless—is the chaff which is dispersed, and which has no result unless to hurry on the divine will. Our life is double. Shelley's atoms were to return to their primal elements. The unknown atoms or attributes of them were undoubtedly to carry on their work; he had added to the eternal intellect.
The last facts of Shelley's life are related by Trelawny and by Mrs. Shelley. On the morning of July 8, having finished his arrangements for the Hunts and spent one day in showing the noble sights of Pisa, Shelley, after making purchases for their house and obtaining money from his banker, accompanied by Trelawny during the forenoon, was ready by noon to embark on the Ariel with Edward Williams and the sailor-boy, Charles Vivian. Captain Roberts was not without apprehensions as to the weather, and urged Shelley to delay his departure for a day; but Williams was anxious to rejoin his wife, and Shelley not in a humour to frustrate his wishes. Trelawny, who desired to accompany them in the Bolivar into the offing, was prevented, not having obtained his health order, and so could only reluctantly remain behind and watch his friends' small craft through a ship's glass.
Mistakes were noted, the ship's mate of the Bolivar remarking they ought to have started at daybreak instead of after one o'clock; that they were too near shore ; that there would soon be a land breeze; the gaff top-sail was foolish in a boat with no deck and no sailor on board; and then, pointing to the southwest, "Look at those black lines and dirty rags hanging on them out of the sky; look at the smoke on the water; the devil is brewing mischief."
The approaching storm was watched also by Captain Roberts from the light-house, whence he saw the top-sail taken in; then the vessel freighted with such precious life was seen no more in the mist of the storm. For a time the sea seemed solidified and appeared as of lead, with an oily scum; the wind did not ruffle it. Then sounds of thunder, wind, and rain filled the air; these lasted with fury for twenty minutes; then a lull, and anxious looks among the boats which had rushed into the harbour for Shelley's bark. No glass could find it on the horizon. Trelawny landed at eight o'clock; inquiries were useless. An oar was seen on a fishing boat: it might be English—it might be Shelley's; but this was denied. Nothing to do but wait, till the third day, when he returned to Pisa to tell his fears to Hunt and Byron, who could only listen with quivering lips and speak with faltering voice.
While these friends were agitated between hope and fear, the time was passing wearily at San Terenzio. Jane Williams received a letter from her husband on that day (written on Saturday from Leghorn), where he was waiting for Shelley. It stated that if they did not return on Monday, he certainly would be back at the latest on Thursday in a felucca by himself if necessary. The fatal Monday passed amid storm and rain, and no idea was entertained by Mrs. Shelley or Mrs. Williams that their husbands had started in such weather as they experienced. Mary, who had then scarcely recovered from her dangerous illness, and was unable to join Claire and Jane Williams in their evening walks, could only pace up and down in the verandah and feel oppressed by the very beauty which surrounded her. So till Wednesday these days of storm and oppression and undefined fears passed; then, some feluccas arriving from Leghorn, they were informed that their husbands had left on Monday; but that could not be believed. Thursday came and passed, the Thursday which should be the latest for Williams's arrival. The wind had been fair, but midnight arrived, and still Mary and Jane were alone; then sad hope gave place to fearful anxiety preceding despair; but Friday was letter day wait for that and no boat could leave. Noon of Friday and letters came, but to, not from Shelley. Hunt wrote to him: "Pray write to tell us how you got home, for they say that you had bad weather after you sailed on Monday, and we are anxious." Mary read so far when the paper fell from her hands and she trembled all over. Jane read it, and said, "It is all over." Mary replied, " No, my dear Jane, it is not all over; but this suspense is dreadful. Come with me; we will go to Leghorn; we will post, to be swift and learn our fate."
Thus, as Mary Shelley herself describes, they crossed to Lerici, despair in their hearts, two poor, wild, aghast creatures driving, "like Matilda/' towards the sea to know if they were to be for ever doomed to misery. The idea of seeing Hunt for the first time after four years, to ask "Where is he?" nearly drove Mary into convulsions. On knocking at the door of the Casa Lanfranchi they found Lord Byron was in Pisa and, Hunt being in bed, their interview was to be with Byron, only to hear, "They knew nothing. He had left Pisa on Sunday; on Monday he had sailed. There had been bad weather Monday afternoon; more they knew not." Mary, who had risen from a bed of sickness for the journey, and had travelled all day, had now at midnight to proceed to Leghorn in search of Trelawny; for what rest could there be with such a terrible doubt hanging over their lives ? They could not despair, for that would have been death; they had to pass through longer hours and days of anguish to subdue their souls to bear the inevitable.
They reached Leghorn, and were driven to the wrong inn. Nothing to do but wait till the morning—but wait dressed till six o'clock--when they proceeded to other inns and found Captain Roberts. His face showed that the worst was true. They only heard how their husbands had set out. Still hope was not dead; might not their husbands be at Corsica or Elba? It was said they had been seen in the Gulf. They resolved to return; but now not alone, for Trelawny accompanied them. Agony succeeded agony; the water they crossed told Mary it was his grave. While crossing the bay they saw San Terenzio illuminated for a festa, while despair was in their hearts. The days passed, a week ever counted as two by Mary, and then, when she was very ill, Trelawny, who had been long expected from his search, returned, and now they knew that all was over, for the bodies had been cast on shore. One was a tall, slight figure, with Sophocles in one pocket of the jacket, and Keats's last poems in the other; the poetry he loved remained; his body a mere mutilated corpse, which for a while had enshrined such divine intellect. Williams's corpse, also, was found some miles distant, still more unrecognisable, save for the black silk handkerchief tied sailor- fashion round his neck; and after some ten days a third body was found, a mere skeleton, supposed to be the sailor-boy, Charles Vivian.
"Is there no hope? " Mary asked, when Trelawny reappeared on July 19. He could not answer, but left the room, and sent the servant to take the children to their widowed mothers. He then, on the 20th, took them from the sound of the cruel waves to the Hunts at Pisa.
Naught remained now but to perform the last funeral rites. Mary decided that Shelley should rest with his dearly-loved son in the English cemetery in Rome. With some little difficulty, Trelawny obtained permission, with the kind assistance of the English Charge d'Affaires at Florence, Mr. Dawkins, to have the bodies burned on the shore, according to the custom of bodies cast up from the sea, so that the ashes could be removed without fear of infection. The iron furnace was made at Leghorn, of the dimensions of a human body, according to Trelawny's orders; and on August 15 the body of Lieutenant Williams was disinterred from the sand where it had been buried when cast up. Byron recognised him by his clothes and his teeth. The funeral rites were performed by Trelawny by throwing incense, salt, and wine on the pyre, according to classic custom; and when nothing remained but some black ashes and small pieces of white bone, these were placed by Trelawny in one of the oaken boxes he had provided for the purpose, and then consigned to Byron and Hunt. The next day another pyre was raised, and again the soldiers had to dig for the body, buried in lime. When placed in the furnace it was three hours before the consuming body showed the still unconsumed heart, which Trelawny saved from the furnace, snatching it out with his hand; and there, amidst the Italian beauty, on the Italian shore, was consumed the body of the poet who held out immortal hope to his kind, who, in advance of the scientists, held it as a noble fact that humanity was progressive; who, more for this than for his unfortunate first marriage and its unhappy sequel, was banished by his countrymen, and held as nothing by his generation. But, as Claire wrote later in her diary, " It might be said of him, as Cicero said of Rome, 'Ungrateful England shall not possess my bones.’"
The ashes of the body were placed in the oaken, box; those of the heart, handed by Trelawny to Hunt, were afterwards given into the possession of Mary, who jealously guarded them during her life, in a place where they were found at her death, in a silken case, in which was kept a Pisan copy of the Adonais. The ashes of Shelley's body were finally buried in the cemetery in Rome, where the grave of the English poet is now one of the strongest links between the present and the past world; and there beside him rest now the ashes of his faithful friend, Trelawny, who survived him nearly sixty years.