Adonais, Charles Clairmont, cor cordium, Cricklade, Douglas, dramatic monologue, Holamn Hunt, Isabella and pot of basil, Keats, Lechlade, Mary Shelley, Monty Don, Percy B Shelley, Protestant Cemetery, Robert the Bruce, Rome, Severn Canal, skiff, Thomas Hardy, Thomas Love Peacock, Tripadvisor, Valentine's Day, Walter Raleigh
(P B S’s gravestone in The Protestant Cemetery, Rome.
28/8/04 Author: carptrash Einar Einarsson Kvaran
transferred from en wikipaedia)
‘Cor Cordium‘ was inscribed on Shelley’s grave and means ‘heart of hearts.‘
Valentine’s Day seemed an apt time to look into what happened to his
Apparently Mary Shelley kept it wrapped up in white silk and it was
placed between the pages of a book, at her husband’s poem on
Keats: ‘Adonais.‘ It can’t have been the whole organ, so must have been
a sliver which was saved from immolation on the beach at Spezia.
It reminded me of Robert the Bruce’s heart being encased in a lead
casket. It was meant to be taken to The Holy Land, but Douglas failed to
dispose of it there, so it returned to Scotland.
Hearts were often removed and, like Thomas Hardy’s, were buried
separately from the rest of the remains.
It is rather ghoulish to ponder on what Isabella had in her pot of basil,
or what Walter Raleigh’s widow carried around with her in a leather bag.
Yes, sometimes it was a head and not a heart. People can be weird.
(I don’t know what you have to feed basil, the herb, with, but I never
seem to have any luck with growing it in a pot. Isabella seemed to be
quite successful, judging by Holman Hunt’s painting, but I don’t think
Monty Don would prescribe such an extreme compost.)
Anyway, my next dramatic monologue references Mary, in later life,
meditating on their September voyage up the Thames, in the
company of Charles Clairmont and the novelist Thomas Love Peacock.
They failed to reach Cricklade and the source of the river and, in any
case, did not have the £20 to pay the navigation fee for their skiff to
enter The Severn Canal. So, they stayed two nights in Lechlade and
P B S ( pernicious bowel syndrome- not) wrote a poem in the
Peacock called the inn ‘comfortable‘ so it would have had a good review
on ‘Tripadvisor,’ had such a site had been in existence.
The day before yesterday I traced the hostelry in which they stayed and
viewed a bedroom which MIGHT have been the one in which they lodged.
Then I walked through the churchyard of St Lawrence’s Church to admire
the snowdrops, which they certainly would not have done, their visit
having been in late summer, 1815.
Cor Cordium (a poem on Valentine’s Day)
see next post…