In book I of Sordello (1840) by Robert Browning, the speaker addresses a group of spirits,
Summoned together from the world’s four ends,
Dropped down from heaven or cast up from hell,
To hear the story I propose to tell.
But one spirit he rejects (pp. 3–4):
stay—thou, spirit, come not near
Now—not this time desert thy cloudy place
To scare me, thus employed, with that pure face!
I need not fear this audience, I make free
With them, but then this is no place for thee!
The thunder-phrase of the Athenian, grown
Up out of memories of Marathon,
Would echo like his own sword’s griding screech
Braying a Persian shield,—the silver speech
Of Sidney’s self, the starry paladin,
Turn intense as a trumpet sounding in
The knights to tilt,—wert thou to hear!
In later editions of the poem (for example, the 1864 edition) Browning added the note “Shelley departing” to this passage, making it clear who is intended.
But in the first edition, which lacks the note, how were we intended to guess that the rejected spirit is the poet Shelley?