Percy Bysshe Shelley: Otho


Published by Mrs. Shelley, "Poetical Works", 1839, 1st edition.

Thou wert not, Cassius, and thou couldst not be,
Last of the Romans, though thy memory claim
From Brutus his own glory—and on thee
Rests the full splendour of his sacred fame:
Nor he who dared make the foul tyrant quail
Amid his cowering senate with thy name,
Though thou and he were great—it will avail
To thine own fame that Otho's should not fail.
'Twill wrong thee not—thou wouldst, if thou couldst feel,
Abjure such envious fame—great Otho died
Like thee—he sanctified his country's steel,
At once the tyrant and tyrannicide,
In his own blood—a deed it was to bring
Tears from all men—though full of gentle pride,
Such pride as from impetuous love may spring,
That will not be refused its offering.
_13 bring cj. Garnett; buy 1839, 1st edition; wring cj. Rossetti.

Fragments Supposed to be Parts of Otho

Published by Dr. Garnett, "Relics of Shelley", 1862,-where, however, only the fragment numbered 2 is assigned to "Otho". Forman (1876) connects all three fragments with that projected poem.

Those whom nor power, nor lying faith, nor toil,
Nor custom, queen of many slaves, makes blind,
Have ever grieved that man should be the spoil
Of his own weakness, and with earnest mind
Fed hopes of its redemption; these recur
Chastened by deathful victory now, and find
Foundations in this foulest age, and stir
Me whom they cheer to be their minister.
Dark is the realm of grief: but human things
Those may not know who cannot weep for them.
Once more descend
The shadows of my soul upon mankind,
For to those hearts with which they never blend,
Thoughts are but shadows which the flashing mind
From the swift clouds which track its flight of fire,
Casts on the gloomy world it leaves behind.