Mary, have I dined?
Is he not that which wakens melody in the silent chords of the human heart?
A light which arrays in splendor things and thoughts which else were dim in the shadow of their own significance. His soul is like one of the pools in the Ilex woods of the Maremma, it reflects the surrounding universe, but it beautifies, groups, and mellows their tints, making a little world within itself, the copy of the outer one; but more entire, more faultless. But above all, a poet’s soul is Love; the desire of sympathy is the breath that inspires his lay, while he lavishes on the sentiment and its object, his whole treasure-house of resplendent imagery, burning emotion, and ardent enthusiasm. He is the mirror of nature, reflecting her back ten thousand times more lovely; what then must not his power be, when he adds beauty to the most perfect thing in nature—even Love.
Someone claimed Shelley had no time for food, abstaining from meat and alcohol and existing mainly on bread. Poets’ food is love and fame.
“I have dropped a word, a hint,” says Hogg, “about a pudding. ‘A pudding,’ Bysshe said, dogmatically, ‘is a prejudice.’”
During the last years of his life Shelley took no heed of food. Mrs. Shelley used to send him something to eat into the room where he habitually studied, but the plate frequently remained untouched for hours upon a bookshelf, and at the end of the day he might be heard asking, “Mary, have I dined?”
The same Mary, was writing him on 25 October 1814, when he was running to escape imprisonment for debt:
For what a minute did I see you yesterday—is this the way my beloved that we are to live till the sixth in the morning I look for you and when I awake I turn to look on you—dearest Shelley you are solitary and uncomfortable why cannot I be with you to cheer you and to press you to my heart oh my love you have no friends why then should you be torn from the only one who has affection for you …?
Yes, The extent to which Mary Shelley’s mind was connected with her husband’s before his death can also be seen in their letters.