2012-07-18

Shelley

From The Graphic, 3rd May 1883, page 446.

SPOT WHERE SHELLEY'S BODY WAS FOUND – THE poet Shelley was fond of boating, and with his friend Captain Williams, who lived near him at Venice, was returning to their home near Lerici in a new boat which he had built. A sudden storm arose, and the boat went down instantly. The body of Captain Williams, who had attempted to save himself by swimming, was found half-undressed, cast upon the beach; that of Shelley was discovered with one hand locked in his waistcoat, where he had in haste thrust a volume of Keats which he was reading. Owing to a local law, which enjoined that bodies thus cast ashore should be burnt as a precaution against plague, the families of the drowned men were compelled to consent to their cremation, and the dead were burned with much solemnity in the presence of Mr. Trelawney, Captain Shenley, Lord Byron, and Leigh Hunt. Shelley's remains were taken to Rome, and deposited near those of his little son and of Keats in the Protestant Cemetery.

This incident took place in 1822. The body was washed ashore near Viareggio, a small port not far from Spezzia. The exact spot was marked by a rude black cross, which still exists in a half-decayed condition. — Our engraving is from a sketch by Mr. Dwight Benton of 51a, Via Margutta, Rome.

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