P. B. Shelley wrote an elegy on John Keats called ‘Adonais’.

Duncan Wu writes how the poem ‘turned Keats into yet another version of the prophet in the wilderness, which was how he [Shelley] saw himself.’ (Romanticism anthology,  Blackwell, 3rd edn., p. 1051).

Adonais was a beautiful youth from Ancient Greek mythology with whom Aphrodite fell in love.

If you have ever felt Shelley’s presence in Rome, the following lines are powerful:

Go thou to Rome – at once the Paradise,
The grave, the city, and the wilderness;
And where its wrecks like shattered mountains rise,
And flowering weeds, and fragrant copses dress
The bones of Desolations nakedness,
Pass, till the Spirit of the spot shall lead
Thy footsteps to a slope of green access,
Where, like an infant’s smile, over the dead,
A light of laughing flowers along the grass is spread.   [433-441]

Shelley clearly alludes to the Protestant Cemetery in Rome; this is where Keats was buried, and as was the Shelleys’ 3-year-old son, William, in 1819.

P. B. Shelley himself would be buried there in 1822.

P B Shelley Grave


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