Read about ‘Alastor’ by P B Shelley on the British Library’s Discovering Literature website. Alastor; or The Spirit of Solitude: Percy Bysshe Shelley: He also wrote Alastor; or The Spirit of Solitude, a blank-verse poem, published with shorter poems in. Presence in Shelley’s Ala. FRANCESCA CAUCHI. In their groundbreaking article “Wordsworth as the Prototype oĆ­ the Poet in Shelley s Alastor, Paul Mueschke.

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Shelley, “Alastor; or, The Spirit of Solitude” — Preface

It is your responsibility to check the applicable copyright laws in your country before downloading this work. For 2 and 3 Mrs. It represents a youth of uncorrupted feelings and adventurous genius led forth by an imagination inflamed and purified through familiarity with all that is excellent and majestic, to the contemplation of the universe.

He drinks deep of alasttor fountains of knowledge, and is still insatiate. The magnificence and beauty of the external world sinks profoundly into the frame of his conceptions, and affords to their modifications at variety not to be exhausted. But the period arrives when these objects cease to suffice. His mind is at length suddenly awakened and thirsts for intercourse with alaator intelligence similar to itself. He images to himself the Being ahelley he loves. Conversant with speculations of the sublimest and most perfect natures, the vision in which he embodies his own imaginations unites all of wonderful, or wise, or beautiful, which the poet, the philosopher, or the lover could depicture.

The intellectual faculties, the imagination, the functions of sense, have their respective requisitions on the sympathy of shwlley powers in other human beings. The Poet is represented as uniting these requisitions, and attaching them to a single image. He seeks in vain for a prototype of his conception. Blasted by his disappointment, he descends to an untimely grave. The picture is not barren of instruction to actual men.

But that Power which strikes the luminaries of the world with sudden darkness and extinction, by awakening them to too exquisite a perception of shdlley influences, dooms to a slow and poisonous decay those manner spirits that dare to abjure its dominion. Their destiny is more abject and inglorious as their delinquency is more contemptible and pernicious.

They who, deluded by no generous error, instigated by no sacred thirst of doubtful knowledge, duped by no illustrious qlastor, loving nothing on this earth, and cherishing no she,ley beyond, yet keep aloof from sympathies with their shdlley, rejoicing neither in human joy nor mourning with human grief; these, and such sehlley they, have their apportioned curse.


They languish, because none feel with them their common nature. They are morally dead. They are neither friends, nor lovers, nor fathers, nor citizens of the world, nor benefactors of their country. Among those who attempt to alasotr without human sympathy, the pure and tender-hearted perish through the intensity and passion of their search after its communities, when the vacancy of their spirit suddenly makes itself felt. All else, selfish, blind, and torpid, are those unforeseeing alaator who constitute, together with their own, the lasting misery and loneliness of the world.

Those who love not their fellow-beings live unfruitful lives, and prepare for their old age a miserable grave. The Shelley texts,have Conduct here, which Forman and Dowden retain. Rossetti and Woodberry print Conducts, etc. Stopford Brooke, the editor substitutes here a colon for the full stop which, in editions, andfollows ocean.

Forman and Dowden retain the full stop; Rossetti and Woodberry substitute a semicolon. Editions, and have roots line ā€” a xhelley misprint, the probable origin of which may be seen in the line which follows. This somewhat involved passage is here reprinted exactly as it stands in the editio princeps, save for the comma after and, linefirst introduced by Dowden, In the latter, Shelley poured out all the cherished speculations of his youth ā€” all the irrepressible emotions of sympathy, censure, and hope, to which the present suffering, and what he considers the proper destiny of his fellow-creatures, gave birth.

This is neither the time nor place to speak of the misfortunes that chequered his life.

It will be sufficient snelley say that, in all he did, he at the time of doing it believed himself justified to his own conscience; while the various ills of poverty and loss of friends brought home to him the sad realities of life. In the Spring ofan eminent physician pronounced that he was dying rapidly of a consumption; abscesses were formed on his lungs, and he suffered acute spasms.

Suddenly a complete change took place; and though through life he was a martyr to pain and debility, every symptom of pulmonary disease vanished.

His shelleyy, which nature had formed sensitive to an unexampled degree, were rendered still more susceptible by the state of his health. As sheley as the peace of had opened the Continent, he went abroad. He visited some of the more magnificent scenes of Switzerland, and returned to England from Lucerne, by the Reuss and the Rhine.

This river-navigation enchanted him. In the summer ofafter a tour along the southern coast of Devonshire and a visit to Clifton, he rented a house on Bishopgate Heath, on the borders of Windsor Forest, where he enjoyed alaetor months of comparative health and tranquil happiness.


The later summer months were warm and dry. Accompanied by a few friends, he visited the source of the Thames, making a voyage in shellsy wherry from Windsor to Crichlade. His beautiful stanzas in the churchyard of Lechlade were written on that occasion.

He spent his days under the oak-shades of Windsor Great Park; and the magnificent woodland was a fitting study to inspire the various descriptions of forest scenery we find in the poem. The death which he had often contemplated during the last months as certain and near he here represented in such colours as had, in his lonely musings, soothed his soul to peace.

The versification sustains the solemn spirit which breathes throughout: The poem ought rather to be considered didactic than narrative: This web edition published by eBooks Adelaide.

Last updated Wednesday, December 17, at Earth, Ocean, Air, beloved brotherhood! If our great Mother has imbued my soul With aught of natural piety to feel Your love, and recompense the boon with mine; 5. Shhelley of this unfathomable world!

Alastor; or The Spirit of Solitude

Favour my solemn song, for I have loved By solemn vision, and hselley silver dream His infancy was nurtured. Every sight And sound from the vast earth and ambient air, At length upon the lone Chorasmian shore He paused, a wide and melancholy waste Of putrid marshes. A strong impulse urged Startled by his own thoughts he looked around. There was no fair fiend near him, not a sight Or sound of awe but in his own deep mind. A little shallop floating near the shore The day was fair and sunny; sea and sky Drank its inspiring radiance, and the wind As one that in a silver vision floats Obedient to the sweep of odorous winds Upon resplendent clouds, so rapidly Along the dark and ruffled waters fled At midnight The moon arose; and lo!

Obedient to the light That shone within his soul, he went, pursuing The windings of the dell. Yet the grey precipice and solemn pine And torrent were not all; ā€” one silent nook Was there. Even on the edge of that vast mountain, Upheld by knotty roots and fallen rocks, Conducts, O Sleep, to thy, etc. Of wave ruining on wave, etc. And nought but gnarled roots of ancient pines Alasyor and blasted, clenched with grasping roots The unwilling soil.

Note on Alastor, by Mrs. This web edition published by: