ABSTRACT

Probably written between 10 May and 8 July 1818 in connection with S.’s planned Tasso drama, the draft of which ends seven pages back in the same Nbk 6. The page following the fragment contains some prose lines to a correspondent describing a mountain journey, perhaps the crossing of the Apennines on 5 May (see no. 165; but BSM xv 176 cps. a passage from Mary Jnl i 201 to imply an earlier date). Like S/s drama, this fragment is in blank verse, and three cancelled words just above it (Silent I see) suggest that it is a speech conceived as part of a dramatic exchange, possibly spoken by Tasso of Leonora d’Este’s singing (a sonnet ‘Ahi, ben e reo destin ch’invidia e toglie’ on the mind-purifying melody of her singing, attributed to Tasso, is quoted in Black ii 80-1; see headnote to preceding poem), or by a listener of Tasso’s own verses. The lines have close affinities in tone or phrasing with To Constantia’ (Thy voice, slow rising like a Spirit’) and with Tasso (see note to lines 7-8). The opening recollection of an episode in Ariosto, Tasso’s