This extract from a letter by a distraught Mary Shelley to Jane Williams on 22nd September 1822 shows her grief at the unexpected death of Percy Shelley. He drowned in The Bay of Spezia on the 8th July, at just 29 years old.
Her classical image of feeling as a character ‘loved by superhuman creatures & then deserted by them’ is evocative of her idealisation of her husband, a trope that would continue into her widowhood and grieving. The lines are also beautiful and heartbreaking:
‘I was never the Eve of any Paradise, but a human creature blessed by an elemental spirit’s company & love – an angel who imprisoned in flesh could not adapt himself to his clay shrine & so has flown & left it – & I feel as poets have described those loved by superhuman creatures & then deserted by them – Impatient, despairing – & resting only on the moment when he will return to me.’