Saturday, July 27, 2013

And the moonbeams kiss the sea

The fountains mingle with the river,
And the rivers with the ocean;
The winds of heaven mix forever
With a sweet emotion;
Nothing in the world is single;
All things by a law divine
In another's being mingle--
Why not I with thine?

See, the mountains kiss high heaven,
And the waves clasp one another;
No sister flower could be forgiven
If it disdained its brother;
And the sunlight clasps the earth,
And the moonbeams kiss the sea;--
What are all these kissings worth,
If thou kiss not me?


The memorial (above) consists of a white marble sculpture of a reclining nude and dead Shelley washed up on the shore at Viareggio in Italy after his drowning, sculpted by Edward Onslow Ford, associated with the New Sculpture movement. It is housed on a decorative plinth in a small domed late-Victorian room designed by Basil Champneys, behind ornamental railings that protect it from students. The statue was a key element in the meeting of two main characters in the 1997 movie The Saint, starring Val Kilmer, and also features in an episode of the British TV drama, Lewis.

His grave bears the Latin inscription, Cor Cordium ("Heart of Hearts"), and, in reference to his death at sea, a few lines of "Ariel's Song" from Shakespeare's The Tempest: "Nothing of him that doth fade / But doth suffer a sea-change / Into something rich and strange." 

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