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A PHILOSOPHICAL POEM:
PERCY BYSSHE SHELLEY.
TO WHICH IS ADDED,
A BRIEF MEMOIR OF THE AUTHOR.
JAMES WATSON, 15, CITY ROAD;
NEAR FINSBURY SQUARE.
PERCY BYSSHE SHELLEY.
Field-Place, in the county of Sussex, was the spot where Percy Bysshe Shelley first saw the light. He was born on the 4th of August, 1792, and was the eldest son of Sir Timothy Shelley, Bart., of Castle-Goring. His family is an ancient one, and a branch of it has become the representative of the house of the illustrious Sir Philip Sidney of Penshurst. Despising honours which only rest upon the accidental circumstances of birth, Shelley was proud of this connection with an immortal name. At the customary age, about thirteen, he was sent to Eton School; and, before he had completed his fifteenth year, he published two novels, the “Rosicrucian” and “ Zasterozzi.” From Eton he removed to University College, Oxford, to mature his studies, at the age of sixteen, an earlier period than is usual. At Oxford he was, according to custom, imbued with the elements of logic; and he ventured, in contempt of the fiat of the University, to apply them to the investigation of questions which it is orthodox to take for granted. His original and uncompromisirg spirit of inquiry could not reconcile the limited use of logical principles. He boldly tested, or attempted to test, propositions which he imagined, the more they were obscure, and the more claim they had upon his credence, the greater was the necessity for examining them. His spirit was an inquiring one, and he fearlessly sought after what he believed to be truth, before, it is probable, he had acquired all the information necessary to guide him, from collateral sources—a common error of headstrong youth. This is the more likely to be the case, as, when time had matured his knowledge, he differed much on points upon which, in callow years and without an instructor, flung upon the world to form his own principles of action, guileless and vehement, he was wont to advocate strongly. Shelley possessed the bold quality of inquiring into the reason of every thing, and of resisting what he could not reconcile to be right according to his conscience. In some persons this has been denominated a virtue, in others a sin-just as it might happen to chime in with worldly custom or received opinion. At school he formed a conspiracy for resistance to that most odious and detestable