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and we know not as yet the rightful and unquestioned possessor.

A falser system of philosophy than that which Shelley derived from the French writers of the 18th century, and recommended in his earlier works, can hardly be conceived. It required of man to divest himself of his rich inheritance of laws and recollections, to form a new world by demolishing the old one,—and to assume that the living generation had been the first to break the fetters imposed upon mankind from their birth by the fraud and the credulity of their forefathers. Property and domestic rights were to be the first sacrifice to the new deity of unrestraint, and vegetable diet its ceremonial law. With a strange incoherence, the prophets of this latter dispensation indulged in glowing descriptions of the equal laws and unchartered life of antiquity, thus, in their zeal for innovation, overlooking the moral of ethnic no less than of Christian history,—that the resistance to the cosmopolite tendency of monarchies, and the defence of home-born institutions and ancestral manners, constituted whatever is noble and memorable in the history of the most civilised races of the ancient world. But a similar error is observable in the founders of all systems, from anabaptism to utilitarianism, who regard man as the creature of law, and not the law itself as only the most general exponent of individual action. And the fallacy consists in their viewing man in the aggregate, not as a living soul of complicate impulses and passions, moulded to his present state of social existence by progressive and providential causes, and most rarely by the feverous haste and presumption of a single age. But the imaginative and moral teachers who preceded the French revolution, and their disciples, resembled a fanatical mob of the 16th century more than the sage and serious instructors of their generation. In their lust for optimism, or that impossible good which is to be attained by the disruption of all hitherto held the safeguards of steady and progressive cultivation, they trampled upon the household bonds of life, and political subordination, and moral reverence. All the rich inheritance derived from their Teutonic ancestors, from the better parts of ethnic institutions and from Christianity, was

cause some of the forms that had hitherto transmitted it from age to age were become sapless and withered, and no longer expressed the feelings in which they originated. Miserable reasoners are they who would make a church paramount to a state, but worse reasoners are those who would found a state without a church! They misunderstand antiquity, that, while it held fast to these polar principles of moral government, prospered in spite of barbaric force, of domestic treason and of calamity by war, pestilence and famine. They are insensible to the higher and more catholic civilization by which Christianity, with all the abuses of ecclesiastical power and among all the fluctuations of civil, and despite of the fraud of kings and the madness of the multitude, has knit Europe together into one brotherhood, and imparted whatever is substantial, whatever is progressive in national life to less fortunate portions of the world.

We have been led away from Shelley; but it was necessary to call to mind the state of opinion in his youth, and the theories upon which his intellect prematurely fed. For men of imaginative temperaments no line of study has more attractions, and none is less salutary in early manhood, than the doctrine of political renovation. Even Milton, strictly disciplined as he was in all good learning, and living in an age when a severe apprenticeship was demanded of all who would gain the public ear, is too often a day-dreamer when he reasons upon government and the proper destiny of man. For the imaginative mind is essentially dramatic, and impersonates its own conceptions until it ends with taking them for substantial forms. But, fortunately for himself and his art, Milton's theories entered sparingly into his poetry; his zeal poured itself forth in controversies wherein he admits that he had the use of his left hand only. Shelley conceived that the noblest use of poetic powers was the recommendation of philosophic truth; but he did not sufficiently distinguish between assertive truth, which is the province of the imagination; and discursive truth, which is the business of the understanding.

Hence the course of his poetry is broken up and narrowed by crude and ill-timed expressions of opinion, and the sense of

impaired by sudden appeals to our understanding, our prejudices or our moral sense. From these defects the later poetry of Shelley is comparatively exempt; the harsh reception his works met with from the public was not without salutary results to himself; and he felt, although not until after his longer poems were composed, the necessity of selection and condensation. But it is probable that many portions of the Prometheus and the Revolt of Islam, which were less pleasing to contemporary readers from the injudicious mixture of poetic imagery with logical notions, will pass unnoticed hereafter. Other speculations will alarm or gratify the readers of another generation, even as we neglect the allegory and the political allusions in the Faery Queen, and derive a more intellectual pleasure from its tesselated legends than the courtiers and scholars of the Elizabethan age. We approximate in opinion and feeling to the poets of the 19th century too much to discern what will be permanent in their works. We have seen in our time too many revivals of once popular writers, and too many abortive attempts to resuscitate others, not to distrust experience and general laws, and not to make allowance for the accidents of oblivion and reputation.

It is a more pleasant, though still a painful task, to turn from the philosophy of Shelley to his life, so much at least as we know of it from the unsatisfactory accounts hitherto published. What his biographers have omitted doing we cannot supply, since our narrative must break off and be resumed just as they are reserved or communicative. We shall therefore take Mrs. Shelley for our guide, and detail briefly the history of his principal poems, since they exhibit with sufficient exactness the history of the author's mind. The few extracts we can afford to make will thus come almost in chronological order, and will be at the same time a record of the feelings that prompted them.

The blank verse of Queen Mab differs little from that measure as it appears in the poems of Akenside, who exercised considerable influence over such poets as escaped from the popular vortex of Darwinism. It is fitted for didactic poetry, and its chief defects are too great uniformity of cadence, and the predominance of single good lines without continuous

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cause some of the forms that had hitherto transmitted it from age to age were become sapless and withered, and no longer expressed the feelings in which they originated. Miserable reasoners are they who would make a church paramount to a state, but worse reasoners are those who would found a state without a church! They misunderstand antiquity, that, while it held fast to these polar principles of moral government, prospered in spite of barbaric force, of domestic treason and of calamity by war, pestilence and famine. They are insensible to the higher and more catholic civilization by which Christianity, with all the abuses of ecclesiastical power and among all the fluctuations of civil, and despite of the fraud of kings and the madness of the multitude, has knit Europe together into one brotherhood, and imparted whatever is substantial, whatever is progressive in national life to less fortunate portions of the world.

We have been led away from Shelley; but it was necessary to call to mind the state of opinion in his youth, and the theories upon which his intellect prematurely fed. For men of imaginative temperaments no line of study has more attractions, and none is less salutary in early manhood, than the doctrine of political renovation. Even Milton, strictly disciplined as he was in all good learning, and living in an age when a severe apprenticeship was demanded of all who would gain the public ear, is too often a day-dreamer when he reasons upon government and the proper destiny of man. For the imaginative mind is essentially dramatic, and impersonates its own conceptions until it ends with taking them for substantial forms. But, fortunately for himself and his art, Milton's theories entered sparingly into his poetry; his zeal poured itself forth in controversies wherein he admits that he had the use of his left hand only. Shelley conceived that the noblest use of poetic powers was the recommendation of philosophic truth; but he did not sufficiently distinguish between assertive truth, which is the province of the imagination; and discursive truth, which is the business of the understanding. Hence the course of his poetry is broken up

and narrowed by crude and ill-timed expressions of opinion, and the sense of

impaired by sudden appeals to our understanding, our prejudices or our moral sense. From these defects the later

poetry of Shelley is comparatively exempt; the harsh reception his works met with from the public was not without salutary results to himself; and he felt, although not until after his longer poems were composed, the necessity of selection and condensation. But it is probable that many portions of the Prometheus and the Revolt of Islam, which were less pleasing to contemporary readers from the injudicious mixture of poetic imagery with logical notions, will pass unnoticed hereafter. Other speculations will alarm or gratify the readers of another generation, even as we neglect the allegory and the political allusions in the Faery Queen, and derive a more intellectual pleasure from its tesselated legends than the tiers and scholars of the Elizabethan age. We approximate in opinion and feeling to the poets of the 19th century too much to discern what will be permanent in their works. We have seen in our time too many revivals of once popular writers, and too many abortive attempts to resuscitate others, not to distrust experience and general laws, and not to make allowance for the accidents of oblivion and reputation.

It is a more pleasant, though still a painful task, to turn from the philosophy of Shelley to his life, so much at least as we know of it from the unsatisfactory accounts hitherto published. What his biographers have omitted doing we cannot supply, since our narrative must break off and be resumed just as they are reserved or communicative. We shall therefore take Mrs. Shelley for our guide, and detail briefly the history of his principal poems, since they exhibit with sufficient exactness the history of the author's mind. The few extracts we can afford to make will thus come almost in chronological order, and will be at the same time a record of the feelings that prompted them.

The blank verse of Queen Mab differs little from that measure as it appears in the poems of Akenside, who exercised considerable influence over such poets as escaped from the popular vortex of Darwinism. It is fitted for didactic poetry, and its chief defects are too great uniformity of cadence, and the predominance of single good lines without continuous

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