LETTERS FROM ITALY.

from VOL. II. of the 1840 edition of ESSAYS, LETTERS FROM ABROAD, TRANSLATIONS AND FRAGMENTS, BY PERCY BYSSHE SHELLEY, edited by Mary Shelley

LETTER LXIV.

To HORATIO SMITH, ESQ.
(VERSAILLES.)

Lerici, May, 1822.

MY DEAR SMITH,

IT is some time since I have heard from you; are you still at Versailles? Do you still cling to France, and prefer the arts and conveniences of that over-civilised country to the beautiful nature and mighty remains of Italy? As to me, like Anacreon's swallow, I have left my Nile, and have taken up my summer quarters here, in a lonely house close by the sea-side, surrounded by the soft and sublime scenery of the gulf of Spezzia. I do not write; I have lived too long near Lord Byron, and the sun has extinguished the glow-worm; for I cannot hope, with St. John, that "the light came into the world, and the world knew it not."

The object of my present letter is, however, a request, and as it concerns that most odious of all subjects, money, I will put it in the shortest shape—Godwin's law-suit, he tells us, is decided against him; and he is adjudged to pay 900l. He writes, of course, to his daughter in the greatest distress: but we have no money except our income, nor any means of procuring it. My wife has sent him her novel, which is now finished, the copyright of which will probably bring him 3 or 400l.—as Ollier offered the former sum for it, but as he required a considerable delay for the payment, she rejected his offer. Now, what I wish to know is, whether you could with convenience lend me the 400l. which you once dedicated to this service, and allow Godwin to have it, under the precautions and stipulations which I formerly annexed to its employment. You could not obviously allow this money to lie idle waiting for this event, without interest. I forgot this part of the business till this instant, and now I reflect that I ought to have assured you of the regular payment of interest, which I omitted to mention, considering it a matter of course.

I can easily imagine that circumstances may have arisen to make this loan inconvenient or impossible—in any case, believe me,

My dear Smith,
Yours very gratefully and faithfully,

P. B. SHELLEY.