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Percy Bysshe Shelley - Dedication fair copy of 'With a guitar. To Jane'
Part of the Shelley's Ghost Exhibition. Shelley presented this light-hearted poem, copied out in his best hand, with the guitar he gave to Jane Williams in 1822.
Taking his cue, perhaps, from the Shakespearean Christian name of the guitar's maker, Ferdinando, he casts himself and the Williamses as characters from The Tempest: they are the lovers Miranda and Ferdinand, he is Ariel, the spirit of fire and air. The wood of the guitar is from a tree that 'Died in sleep, and felt no pain, To live in happier form again'. Only the most skilful hands can release the harmonies of nature preserved in the instrument, and 'It keeps its highest holiest tone / For our beloved Jane alone'.