|Percy Bysshe Shelley (17921822). The Cenci.|
The Harvard Classics. 190914.
|To Leigh Hunt, Esq.|
|MY DEAR FRIENDI inscribe with your name, from a distant country, and after an absence whose months have seemed years, this the latest of my literary efforts.|| 1|
| Those writings which I have hitherto published, have been little else than visions which impersonate my own apprehensions of the beautiful and the just. I can also perceive in them the literary defects incidental to youth and impatience; they are dreams of what ought to be, or may be. The drama which I now present to you is a sad reality. I lay aside the presumptuous attitude of an instructor, and am content to paint, with such colours as my own heart furnishes, that which has been.|| 2|
| Had I known a person more highly endowed than yourself with all that it becomes a man to possess. I had solicited for this work the ornament of his name. One more gentle, honourable, innocent and brave; one of more exalted toleration for all who do and think evil, and yet himself more free from evil; one who knows better how to receive, and how to confer a benefit though he must ever confer far more than he can receive; one of simpler, and, in the highest sense of the word, of purer life and manners I never knew: and I had already been fortunate in friendships when your name was added to the list.|| 3|
| In that patient and irreconcilable enmity with domestic and political tyranny and imposture which the tenor of your life has illustrated, and which, had I health and talents, should illustrate mine, let us, comforting each other in our task, live and die.|
All happiness attend you! Your affectionate friend,
PERCY B. SHELLEY.
ROME, May 29, 1819.