Who is "Jane" mentioned in several of Shelley's poems?

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linda-allen eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The woman named Jane to whom Shelley addressed several poems was Jane Williams, the wife of British naval officer Edward Williams. The Williamses met Shelley and his wife, Mary, in Italy, and the two couples became close friends. Even though Shelley was infatuated enough with her to write several poems about her, sources do not indicate that they had any kind of romantic relationship. However, one source does note that although "she was flattered by the attention, Jane was careful not to reciprocate openly in order to avoid arousing her husband's suspicions. She was successful in her attempts to prevent Edward from suspecting infidelity on her part."

On July 8, 1822, Shelley and Edward Williams were sailing together when they were caught in a storm, which caused the boat to capsize. Both men drowned.