April 25 1812 Shelley to Godwin

On April 25, 1812, Percy Shelley writes to William Godwin continuing the correspondence that he had started earlier in the year. The day before he had written to his father for the money to acquire the farm that he refers to in the letter to Godwin. Percy's letter is reproduced below.

Nantowilt Rhayader Radnorshire South Wales, April 25 1812 
My dear Sir,
At length we are in a manner settled. The difficulty of obtaining a house in Wales (like many other difficulties) is greater than I had imagined. We determined, on quitting Dublin, to settle in Merionethshire, the scene of Fleetwood's early life, but there we could find not even temporary accommodation. We traversed the whole of North and part of South Wales fruitlessly, and our peregrinations have occupied nearly all the time since the date of my last. 

We are no longer in Dublin. Never did I behold in any other spot a contrast so striking as that which grandeur and misery form in that unfortunate country. How forcibly do I feel the remark which you put into the mouth of Fleetwood, that the distress which in the country humanises the heart, by its infrequency, is calculated in a city, by the multiplicity of its demands for relief, to render us callous to the contemplation of wretchedness. Surely the inequality of rank is not felt so oppressively in England. Surely something might be devised for Ireland, even consistent with the present state of politics, to ameliorate its condition. Curran at length called on me. I dined twice at his house. Curran is certainly a man of great abilities but it appears to me that he undervalues his powers when he applies them to what is usually the subject of his conversation. I may not possess sufficient taste to relish humour, or his incessant comicality may weary that which I possess. He does not possess that mould of mind which I have been accustomed to contemplate with the highest feelings of respect and love. In short, though Curran indubitably possesses a strong understanding and a brilliant fancy, I should not have beheld him with the feelings of admiration which his first visit excited, had he not been your intimate friend.

Nantgwilt, the place where we now reside is in the neighbourhood of scenes marked deeply on my mind by the thoughts, which possessed it, when present among them. The ghosts of these old friends have a dim and strange appearance when resuscitated, in a situation so altered as mine is, since I felt that they were alive. I have never detailed to you my short, yet eventful life: but when we meet, if my account be not candid, sincere, and full, how unworthy should I be of such a friend and adviser as that whom I now address! We are not yet completely certain of being able to obtain the house where now we are. It has a farm of two hundred acres and the rent is but forty eight pounds per annum. The cheapness beauty and retirement make this place in every point of view desirable.

Nor can I view this scenery, - mountains and rocks seeming to form a barrier round this quiet valley, which the tumult of the world may never overleap; the guileless habits of the Welsh,-without associating your presence with the idea that of your wife, your children, and one other friend, to complete the picture which my mind has drawn to itself of felicity. Steal, if possible my revered friend one summer from the cold hurry of business and come to Wales.- Adieu!

Harriet desires to join me in kindest remembrances to yourself, Mrs. G., and family. She joins also in earnest wishes that you would all visit us

To Mr William Godwin London. 

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