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writing in conjunction with Hogg, in the form of letters. It was never completed.
1811. Shelley intended to include in the Fragments of Margaret Nicholson an apostrophe to the dagger of Brutus, and wrote it, but not in time ; its composition may perhaps belong to 1811. He began an Oxford prize poem, but left the University before it was finished. He published under the signature of “A Master of Arts of Oxford,” probably in the Morning Chronicle, a letter upholding the candidateship of Lord Grenville as Chancellor of the University. His introduction to Leigh Hunt arose from his offering to Mr. Rowland Hunter (a connexion of Mrs. Hunt), for publication, a poem which his friend speaks of as unsuited to the firm : I find no further notice of this. He translated a treatise by Buffon. An Essay on Love, a short poem which he mentions in a letter of 1812 to Godwin, may perhaps also belong to the year 1811.
1812. He wrote and printed, but did not strictly publish, an indignant letter of some length to Lord Ellenborough, the judge who had sentenced a bookseller, Mr. Eaton, for publishing the Third Part of Paine's Age of Reason: some portions of this letter are inserted into the notes to Queen Nab, and the rest is in the Shelley Memorials. He projected translating the Système de la Nature written by Baron d'Holbach, under the name of Mirabaud (whom he had also quoted in the same notes); but this idea was probably never put into execution, even by way of beginning. He compiled, and sent to Mr. Hookham, with a view to publication, a work termed Biblical Extracts : its precise quality is not revealed, but I should presume it to be a collection of passages from the Scriptures such as Shelley considered damaging to the Christian or Jewish religion, with appropriate comments.
1813. He “translated an essay or treatise of some French philosopher on the Perfectibility of the Human Species”; and the two essays of Plutarch tepi tas sapkopaylas. In this year, or perhaps earlier, he commenced a sort of variation of Göthe's W'erther, from which Hogg gives an extract. An accomplished Shelleyite has suggested to me that this excerpt (a letter purporting to be written to Werther by the husband of Charlotte) may be less merely Wertherian, and more directly personal to Shelley himself, than Hogg allows the reader to infer. Without adopting this view of the matter, I recognize it as admissible ;
if it is correct, the fragment probably belongs to the end of 1811, or beginning of 1812.
1814. From 28th July 1814 Shelley began keeping a diary. Mr. Garnett says it “accounts for every day of his life" thenceforward ; which is only an apparent inconsistency with a statement made by Shelley himself in a letter of 26th January 1819 to Mr. Peacock, “I keep no journal.” The reconciling explanation is that Shelley sometimes intermitted his journalizing, and then his wife kept it up.
1815. To this year we may perhaps roughly assign some of the prose compositions printed by Mrs. Shelley-On Love, On the Punishment of Death, and Speculations on Morals; the Essay on Christianity published in the Shelley Memorials; and that On the Revival of Literature, and A System of Government by Juries (a singular speculation), in the Shelley Papers. Mr. Trelawny tells me that Shelley said he had wished to write a Life of Christ, revoking the hasty after thought (expressed in a note to Queen Mab, p. 76) “that Jesus was an ambitious man who aspired to the throne of Judea”; but he added that he found the materials too deficient for reconstructing a Life having some solidity and authority. The Essay on Christianity may derive from this project, though what remains of it is doctrinal rather than biographical.
1816. Remarks on Mandeville and Mr. Godwin.
1817. Some observations On Frankenstein. Both these two last-mentioned productions are in the Shelley Papers, and had probably not been published elsewhere, though apparently written with a defined object.
1818. A criticism of Peacock's poem of Rhododaphne-now perhaps lost. The minor translations from Plato-Ion, Menextnus, and from The Republic—and the note On a Passage in Crito, may pertain to this year.
1819. The rhapsodic fragmentary tale named The Coliseum might, from its tone, be supposed a rather youthful production ; but it cannot be that, as Mrs. Shelley says that The Assassins, written in 1814, “ was composed many years before.” Probably then The Coliseum was a result of Shelley's stay in Rome in 1819; as well as the brief remarks on the Laocoon, and Bacchus and Ampelus, published by Medwin. The notes on sculptures in Florence given in the Essays and Letters belong to a later date in the same year; and in November we find that Shelley had “ just finished a letter of five sheets on Carlile's affair” (Richard Carlile the publisher). The “affair” was a prosecution for selling irreligious books, and some circumstances in the way it had been'got up were peculiarly open to animadversion. The letter was intended for the Examiner, but was not, I understand, actually published.
1820. In March of this year Shelley was dictating a translation of Spinoza to his wife: the Essay on Prophecy, which Mr. Middleton gives as a very early original writing of Shelley's, is in fact, so Mr. Garnett has traced out, done into English from the Tractatus Theologico-politicus,—and this may probably be what Shelley was dictating in 1820. A letter of the poet, dated 20th January 1821, says: “I was immeasurably amused by the quotation (in a paper by Archdeacon Hare) from Schlegel, about the way in which the popular faith is destroyed
-first the Devil, then the Holy Ghost, then God the Father. I had written a Lucianic essay to prove the same thing.” This must be the performance which Mrs. Shelley mentions by the title of The Essay on Devils, and of which Mr. Garnett says : 6. This amusing fragment was prepared for publication in 1839, with the rest of Shelley's prose works, but withdrawn." Whether its date was shortly before 1821, or some considerable while before, is not specified.
XXXIV.-AUTHORITIES. A very brief reference to the principal authorities for the life of Shelley will close my notice. These I shall set forth in something like a descending scale of their practical importance for the biographer's purpose, irrespectively of their deservings in other regards.
1. The Essays, Letters from Abroad, Translations, and Fragments, edited by Mrs. Shelley.
2. The notices by Mrs. Shelley in her collected edition of the Poems, included in our issue.
3. Hogg's Life of Shelley, 2 vols., reaching only to the beginning of the year 1814. Some casual remarks have already been made on this truncated book, in the course of the present memoir. With all its defects, it is simply invaluable as the authority for the early career of Shelley, as a record of his tone of mind and character from a particular point of view, and as a masterly though eccentric sample of biography.
4. The Shelley Memorials, edited by Lady Shelley, comes nearest to being a complete life of the poet, combining authenticity and method in the narrative portion, though only a rapid summary, with many interesting supplementary materials. It is clear that Shelley need not lack a creditable biographer on a full scale as long as the writer of the Memorials is there to undertake the office at need.
5. Trelawny's Recollections of the Last Days of Shelley and Byron. This excellent volume gives (so far as Shelley is concerned) simply what fell under Trelawny's personal observation, or was related thereto, in the last half-year or so of Shelley's life. For that brief period it is incomparably good, and shows a most affectionate, as well as vigorous and manly, appreciation of the poet's character and powers.
6. Shelley's own Poems.
7. Medwin's Life of Shelley, 2 vols. This book, first published in 1847, is neither very strong-minded nor very accurate : but it has sunk unduly out of observation-or had so sunk, being just now notified as republished in one volume. Medwin had on the whole, next to Mrs. Shelley and perhaps Mr. Hogg, the best opportunities of all the poet's biographers; and has used them with a light and slight touch, but with considerable sympathy, and to a readable result. Several matters not to be found elsewhere at first hand are in these volumes.
8. The three articles published by Mr. Peacock in Fraser's Magazine in 1858 and 1860 : the third of them consists of very valuable letters by Shelley himself. These articles are of course excellently written, and with a great deal of knowledge, and are indispensable as accompaniments to other records.
9. Leigh Hunt's Autobiography, 1860, embodies what he had said about Shelley in the work named Lord Byron and some of kis Contemporaries. The record of Shelley is full of affectionate feeling, with quick though perhaps limited insight. The Correspondence of Leigh Hunt contains several letters from and to Shelley. Of the former, almost all are in the Essays and Letters.
10. The article by Mr. Thornton Hunt, entitled Shelley, by one who knew him, in the Atlantic Monthly for February 1863. There is much important matter in this brief notice, which is conspicuous for its outspoken and independent tone. It should by no means be overlooked by the biographer. VOL. I.
11. Mr. Garnett's Relics of Shelley, and his article in Macmillan's Magazine for June 1860, stand alone within their own special sphere. The Relics consist principally of fragments of Shelley's poems previously unpublished: there are also a few documents, and a very able discussion by Mr. Garnett regarding the separation from Harriet, and Mr. Peacock's account of that matter.
12. Shelley and his Writings, by Mr. C. S. Middleton, 2 vols., 1858. This is principally based on Medwin, Hogg, and the notes by Mrs. Shelley. The author had no personal knowledge of the poet; yet there are some few particulars, especially with regard to his writings, not to be found elsewhere.
13. The Shelley Papers, and the Conversations of Lord Byron, by Medwin. The biographical information contained in the former small volume is wholly, or very nearly, re-produced in the Life of Shelley by the same author.
14. Moore's Life of Lord Byron contains, at first hand, a few particulars affecting Shelley as connected with his lordship.
My task here terminates. I have written of the immortal poet, and the man alike loveable and admirable, with one alldominating desire—that of stating the exact truth, as far as I can ascertain or infer it, whatever may be its bearing. Any judgment pronounced upon Shelley ought to be that of a sympathizing and grateful as well as an equitable man; sympathizing, for history records no more beautiful nature,-grateful, for how much do we not all owe him! Our sympathy and gratitude entitle us to be fearless likewise; and for myself I should have felt any slurring-over of dubious or censurable particulars to be so much derogation from my reverence for Shelley. The meaning of slurring-over (apart from motives of obligation and delicacy) is unmistakeable : it must imply that the person who adopts that course feels a little ashamed of his hero, and, to justify his professed admiration in the eyes of others, presents that hero to them as something slightly other than he really was. But I feel not at all ashamed of Shelley. He asks for no sup