1822 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Percy Bysshe Shelley

Leigh Hunt to Elizabeth Kent, 20 July 1822; Correspondence of Leigh Hunt (1862) 1:190.



Good God! how shall I say it? My beloved friend Shelly, — my dear, my divine friend, the best of friends and of men — he is no more. I know not how to proceed for anguish; but you need not be under any alarm for me. Thank heaven! the sorrows I have gone through enable me to bear this; and we all endeavour to bear it as well as possible for each other's sakes, which is what he, the noble-minded being, would have wished. Would to God I could see him — his spirit — sitting this moment by the table. I think it would no more frighten me than the sight of my baby, — whom I kiss and wonder why he has not gone with him.

He was returning to Lerici by sea with his friend Captain Williams, who is also said to have been a most amiable man, and appeared so. It was on the 8th. A storm arose; and it is supposed the boat must have foundered not far from home. The bodies were thrown up some days after. Dear S. had retained a book in his pocket, which he told me he would not part with till he saw me again, — Keats's last publication. He borrowed it to read as he went. It will be buried with him: that is to say, it is so already, on the sea-shore; but if he is taken up to be buried elsewhere, it shall go with him.