Posthumous Poems of Percy Bysshe Shelley was published in the summer of 1824. It included Julian and Maddalo, The Witch of Atlas, Letter to Maria Gisborne, The Triumph of Life, Prince Athanase, Ode to Naples, Mont Blanc, as well as fifty-nine ‘Miscellaneous Poems’, nine ‘Fragments’, five translations, and Alastor, which was included because the original volume, published in 1816, was now very scarce (even Mary had found it difficult to track down a copy). Mary herself wrote a short introduction. It was her first opportunity to share publicly her recollection of the poet’s character, to relate the poetry to the poet. She recalled his love of nature and solitude; his fragile health; his enthusiasm for a sacred cause, ‘the improvement of the moral and physical state of mankind’; his transparent goodness and intellectual brilliance.
As soon as Sir Timothy Shelley learned of the Posthumous Poems he temporarily stopped the small allowance he had granted Mary to support her son, and demanded that the unsold copies be withdrawn. Furthermore, he sought to block the publication of the prose works by insisting that the manuscripts be given to Thomas Love Peacock.
Mary Shelley; (bequest, 1851) Sir Percy and Lady Shelley; (bequest, 1889) Lady Shelley; (bequest, 1899) John C.E. Shelley (later Sir John Shelley-Rolls); (bequest, 1961) Bodleian.