250 Glimpses of Our Ancestors.
scenes of the poet's life in Italy. After many trials and sufferings—some from those unavoidable attendants on humanity— ill-health, death of children, and depression of spirits, to which Shelley was peculiarly subject—and some from the persecution and detraction by which he was pursued to the last, Shelley seemed to be floating, after a storm-tost career, into smoother waters. His " Prometheus Unbound " and " Cenci" compelled the world to acknowledge him as a great, though not a popular, poet; in Leigh Hunt, Horace Smith (the custodian of his monetary interests in England), Trelawny, Williams, and many others, he had found a knot of true friends, who stood between him and the outer world; and in Lord Byron, whom he met in Italy, he had found a congenial spirit in poetry, though in the pure and lofty spirit of Shelley there was a barrier between them which both felt, and which could not be over-passed by either, so as to lead to friendship. In all these circumstances there seemed to be a brighter and calmer future opening upon the young Sussex poet—not yet 30 years of age. In his own mind there was brooding the performance of something greater than anything he had yet done—though how gigantic is that work, if measured by his years, compared to the works of most other men !—when the fatal event took place which closed his labours, and quenched one of the brightest, and, if sometimes erring, yet, surely, one of the purest spirits that ever lit up the later ages of this world.
The tale has been often told, and will be told and re-told thousands of times yet; for it is full of a terrible charm.
Shelley, with his young wife and only surviving child by her, christened Percy Florence, had, in conjunction with his intimate friend, Williams—also accompanied by his wife and children—taken a villa in a wild and romantic site, called Lerici, on the shores of the Bay of Spezzia. Here he was visited by Trelawny, who acted as captain of Lord Byron's yatch, " The Bolivar," and here he was expecting a visit from Leigh Hunt and his wife. These latter were, in fact, already