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The connection thus formed grew into apparition at once so touching and so bithe most intense friendship, and never was zarre comes like some gust of wailing wind there wilder and stranger sprite out of through the serenity of the common day. fairyland than the extraordinary being He stirs strange depths of feeling in all whom this shrewd Yorkshireman, as un- across whose path he passes swift and like himself as possible, grew to adore and sudden. He opens up a new and weird patronize. Shelley had brought his scien- world, where nothing is known or definite, tific tools with him, and lived surrounded but all vague, shadowy, wistful. Admiraby batteries and crucibles, with holes burnt tion and pity and wonder surround him ; in his carpet, and diabolical odors breath- the outside world denounces and vitupeing through his apartments. He lived rates, taking him in its ignorance for a chiefly on bread, taking his meals in the man like others; but the inner circle of streets from the loaf which he bought on spectators, who know him, do not know his way, and tore to pieces as he walked what to say or think. To them it is imand talked. He took very long walks possible to blame; they are baffled, withwith a pair of dueling pistols in his pock- out being aware how it is, by the sweet seet, stopping now and then to refresh him- renity and purity, in a way, of this creaself by firing at some mark he had set up; ture, who has no conscience or even conhe lingered hours over ponds by the road- sciousness of ordinary human moralities. side, throwing stones into them, or floating This is evidently the mental position of all paper boats, which he made by the score who knew him best and loved him most. -an enthralling delight, from which it They form a little circle round the spot in was scarcely possible to withdraw him. which he plays his pranks; their minds are When in his rooms, and engaged in the always full of wonder, mixed with a little most earnest conversation, he would sud- affectionate fear, as to what he may do or denly stop, stretch himself “ upon the rug say next. Indulgently and tenderly they before a large fire like a cat," and go to listen to the extraordinary adventures of sleep there for two hours, with “ his little which, blazing with earnestness and selfround head exposed to such a fierce heat belief, he tells them—and smile at each that I used to wonder how he was able to other, and ask furtively what confirmation bear it.” While the Poet-Faun took this there is for these marvels. Generally the sudden refreshment, his mortal friend sat conclusion is that no confirmation exists and read, sometimes trying to shelter the at all, and that the story is a simple fable. head of the sleeper from the fire, and no But not for any earthly inducements, doubt many a time pondering over him scarcely for his life, would one of those with that wondering consciousness of in- faithful friends allow that Shelley lied. congruity which every body who knew Not so—for Ariel can not lie. To that Shelley seems to have vaguely felt, though sweet sprite his imaginations are as real as it did not affect their love for him, or their facts are to us. We do not know a more interest in his fitful ways. Was there ever remarkable instance of this curious devoa more distinct embodiment of the sylvan tion and indulgence, than that which has half-human nature of pagan fancy, with led Mr. Hogg, himself no genius, but a all its wild freedom squeezed into the mere somewhat cynical man of the world, to human mold which could not contain it ? give the following explanation of Shelley's And a certain pain and disquiet, such as romancing: might well belong to a strange spirit wan- “He was altogether incapable of rendered out of its sphere, and straying with dering an account of any transaction what“ blank misgiving" among “worlds not soever according to the strict and precise realized,” breathes through the whole sto- truth, and the bare, naked realities of acry. The Faun of Mr. Hawthorne's weird tual life; not through an addiction to romance is not half so true or striking as falsehood, which he cordially detested, but this real impersonation; for this strange because he was the creature, the unsusbeing was gentle as well as wild-tender, pecting and unresisting victim, of his irreaffectionate, and caressing, as well as law- sistible imagination. less and insubordinate; docile, and yet un- “ Had he written to ten different indivitamable; a confiding child and unbeliev- duals the history of some proceeding in ing rebel all in one. Amid the ordinary which he was himself a party and an eyetrite records of human proceedings, an witness, each of his ten reports would have
varied from the rest in essential and im- The student life which these two most portant circumstances. The relation giv- dissimilar friends shared lasted only for en on the morrow would be unlike that of about eighteen months. During this time the day, as the latter would contradict the they were inseparable, their vacations only tale of yesterday. Take some examples: bringing about a new kind of intercourse He writes:
in the shape of letters. Shelley seems to “I was informed at Oxford that in have taken a fancy-more like the fancy case I denied the publication, no more of a girl than a young man-to bring towould be said. I refused, and was expell- gether his friend and his favorite sister ed.'
Elizabeth — a project which, however, “This is incorrect; no such offer was came to nothing. His letters are full of made, no such information was given; but, plans to invite Hogg to Field Place; full musing on the affair as he was wont, he of coincidences regarding Shelley's own dreamed that this proposal had been de- brief and hot boy-love for his cousin Harclined by him; and thus he had the grat- riet, and full of the excellences and graces ification of believing that he was more of a of Elizabeth. These letters contain many martyr than he really was. Again he writes expressions of melancholy; but it seems thus :
very unlikely that these meant more than “« At the period to which I allude, I youth's fantastic plaints over its own unwas at Eton. No sooner had I formed happiness—deepened in this case by a the principles which I now profess, than I wildly visionary nature, never at home on was anxious to disseminate their bene- earth-generally do. This period, howfits. This was done without the slight- ever, was very summarily and painfully est .caution. I was twice expelled, but brought to an end. Shelley, who had all recalled by the interference of my father. the tricks of his spiritual prototypes, and
“ All this is purely imaginary; he never was never happier than in setting trains published any thing controversial at Eton; of visionary mischief, had acquired, as he was never expelled---not twice, not early as his Eton days, a habit of writing once. His poetic temperament was over- to people whom he knew only by name, come by the grandeur and awfulness of on pretence of asking information, but the occasion, when he took up his pen to really to lead his unconscious correspondaddress the author of Caleb Williams,'ents into arguments, and confute them so that the auspicious Apollo, to relieve with eldritch skill and cleverness. One and support his favorite son, shed over his infuriated chemist, treated in this way, head a benign vision. He saw himself at threatened, it is said, to write to his elfish his Dame's, with Political Justice,' which opponent's tutor, and have him whipped; he had lately borrowed from Dr. Lind, a style of argument which has always open before him. He had read a few been acceptable to the losing side. The pages, and had formed his principles in a same curious system of mischief occupied moment; he was thrown into a rapture by the young student at Oxford. Instead, the truisms, mares' nests, and paradoxes however, of the innocent and stupid hoax which he had met with.
which gives a pleasure of which he is soon “He sees himself in the printing-loft deeply ashamed, to many a youth of eighof 'J. Pote, bibliopola et typographus,' teen, there was a certain diabolical fun in amongst Eton grammars and Eton school- the pranks of this wild Ariel in cap and books, republishing with the rapidity of a gown. His new mode of proceeding was dream, and without the slightest caution,' as follows: Godwin's heavy and unsalable volumes. “When he came to Oxford, he retained He sees himself before the Dons, conven- and extended his former practice without ed and expelled; and, lastly, he beholds quitting the convenient disguise of an asthe honorable member for Shoreham, sumed name. His object in printing the weeping on his knees, like Priam at the short abstract of some of the doctrines of feet of Achilles, and imploring the less in- Hume was to facilitate his epistolary disexorable. Dr. Keate.
quisitions. It was a small pill, but it work“All this, being poetically true, he firm- ed powerfully : the mode of operation was ly and loyally believes, and communicates this: He inclosed a copy in a letter, and as being true in act, fact, and deed, to his sent it by the post, stating, with modesty venerable correspondent."
and simplicity, that he had met accident
ally with that little tract, which appeared his college. There he was asked abruptunhappily to be quite unanswerable. Un- ly whether he was the author of the pamless the fish was too sluggish to take the phlet, a copy of which was shown to him; bait, an answer of refutation was forward- and on his refusal to reply, was immedied to an appointed address in London, ately expelled. His friend Hogg, who and then in a vigorous reply he would fall ventured to remonstrate, had the same upon the
unwary disputant, and break his summary sentence of banishment probones. The strenuous attack sometimes nounced upon him. The next inorning, provoked a rejoinder more carefully pre- both lads, in such a state of excitement, pared, and an animated and protracted and with such a sense of wrong, as must debate ensued. The party cited, having have been delightful to them amid all its put in his answer, was fairly in court, and bitterness, left the University. Hogg inhe might get out of it as he could. The timates, in the calmness of after-reflection, chief difficulty seemed to be to induce the that he thinks they might have been alparty addressed to acknowledge the juris- lowed delay had they condescended to ask diction and to plead; and this, Shelley it; and that the reputation of the college supposed, would be removed by sending, having been saved by such an appearance in the first instance, a printed syllabus in- of sharp action, they might have been tastead of written arguments."
citly allowed to remain the ordinary time. This pamphlet was inscribed with the But the young blood was up, even of the mystic letters Q. E. D., and was sent steadier student, and they rushed up to about the world right and left, raising London together, blazing with their con“ rich crops of controversy.” It was not sciousness of wrong. intended, Mr. Hogg tells us, for the gene- This was the origin of Shelley's quarral reader, but only for the metaphysician; rels with his family. Perhaps his college and “as it was shorter, so was it plainer, was to blame for the precipitate and arbiand perhaps, in order to provoke discus- trary manner in which this violent step sion, a little bolder than Hume's Essays.” was taken ; but it is difficult to see how Its title, perhaps, was still bolder than its the authorities could have winked at such scope. It was called “The Necessity of a production as the “ Necessity of Athe
Atheism.” Mr. Rossetti, the last and per- ism,” or the anonymous combats of its . · haps most entirely enthusiastic of all Shel- compiler. One of Shelley's biographers ley's biographers, thinks it for the dignity tells us that Hogg's father never forgave, of his hero to give this proceeding the and went to his grave without ever again gravest character, and to accept it as a seeing, his son; but Mr. Shelley, muchreal and absolute profession of the poet's abused man, was not so hard upon the faith. “We shall do well to understand greater culprit. He did see his prodigal, once for all,” says this champion with cu- and some vague negotiations arose berious grandiloquence, " that Percy Shelley tween them which it is difficult to make had as good a right to form and expound out, at least from Shelley's account, though his opinions on theology as the Archbish- the father is very simple and very precise op of Canterbury had to his.” This is a in his demands, according to a letter in somewhat appalling assertion, especially his odd and complicated style, which is for those unlucky wights who are charged given in Mr. Hogg's
Mr. Hogg's book, where with the care of heroes of nineteen; but all he asks is that his son would return perhaps if the Archbishop of Canterbury home, give up communication with his took to expounding his theology in the friend Hogg, and place himself under the shape of anonymous pamphlets, we might care of a tutor selected by his father. be better able to judge of his rights in the These terms, however, were utterly unaccomparison. Mr. Hogg tells us that his ceptable to the rebellious spirit to which young friend argued “ through the love of they were addressed; and while Hogg, argument, and because he found a noble more dutiful, returned to his native counjoy in the fierce shocks of contending ty to study in York the humble but honminds.” But the authorities about him orable trade of conveyancing, Shelley redid not sympathize in this noble joy; and mained in London in Poland Street, not on Ladyday, in the year 1811, Shelley be- an attractive region, in lodgings which he ing then about eighteen and a half, he was had been attracted to by the paper with suddenly summoned before the master of which the walls were covered, and which
was printed in imitation of a trellis over- potic, most unrequired fetter which prejugrown with grapes! Here and elsewhere dice has forged to confine its energies.” in London he remained, with occasional But in August, as soon as this startling visits to his home in the country, and the prospect has opened upon him, he writes houses of other relatives, till the end of to his friend, " I will hear your arguments August, when the scenes suddenly shifted, for matrimonialism;" and soon after deand a new chapter began in his career. clares that the plea of “ impracticability,
It is not easy to know how the boy-poet and, what is even worse, the disproportionlived during this interval. Mr. Rossetti ate sacrifice which the female is called uptells us it was on the little savings of his on to make—these arguments ...I sisters, which they sent to him by means of can not withstand." It seems to us that one of their schoolfellows, Harriet West- there is something extremely honorable to brook, a beautiful girl of sixteen. Whether the lawless youth in this sudden converthis was so or not-and the fact that Shel- sion. So far from rejecting the principle ley himself positively informed Hogg in of marriage in order to excuse his own pasMay: “I have come to terms with my fa- sions, he becomes converted to the bond ther. I call them very good ones. I am distasteful to him, as soon as the responsito possess £,200 per annum," makes it un-bility of another's happiness is thrown on likely-yet it is certain that Harriet was at his astonished shoulders. Had he, with his school with Shelley's sisters, though of avowed principles and ruined character, much inferior condition, her father being the carried off the imprudent girl who threw keeper of a tavern—and that he became herself on his protection, without troubling acquainted with her through their means. himself about the results, it would have The philosopher of nineteen had a great been perfectly natural and in character. many conversations upon profound and in- But there is a gleam of nobleness in this teresting subjects with the open-minded sudden pause which comes in the midst of and lovely-faced listener of sixteen, who, his excitemen-this thought for the other for her part, was very sick of being at who trusts herself to him, which is equally school, and of all the restraints which gen- fine and unexpected. To our thinking, it erally limit the independence of the Brit- is perhaps the finest thing in all Shelley's ish subject at that age. No doubt she life. learned a great deal from Shelley, who in- He had nowhere expressed any love for forms his friend on one occasion that Harriet before this. He had spoken much “ Miss Westbrook is reading Voltaire's of her, it is true, as a young man does of a · Dictionaire Philosophique,'" perhaps not girl to whom he is being gradually attractquite the kind of literature most appropri- ed; but, it would seem, was still far from ate in the circumstances. A little later he having reached any thing like passion, reproves Hogg gravely for the vulgar non- when the foolish impatient young creature sense of supposing him to be in love with thus took matters into her own hands. Harriet; but in his very next letter an- Shelley, however, does not appear to have nounces to him, that in consequence of the ever thought of resisting. With the same brutal tyranny of Harriet's father, “who high honor which we have just remarked has persecuted her in the most horrible upon, it is evident that he held himself way by endeavoring to compel her to go committed to Harriet as soon as she had to school," " she has thrown herself on my thus committed herself to him-a fact protection.” This conclusion, equally mad which shows that, under all the wildness of and foolish on the girl's side, is, however, his strange nature, the soul of a true and received on the boy's with very highly knightly gentleman existed in him. He honorable sentiment. He is staggered for took her to Edinburgh, and married her the moment, and reels under the “flatter- there, according to his friend's account; ing distinction;" but whereas he had ex- and there, for the first time since their Oxpressed a very unfavorable opinion of mar- ford adventure, Hogg saw again his “inriage a short time before, he now makes up comparable friend.”
comparable friend." The incomparable his mind to try and be converted to it. friend was nineteen, and his bride sixteen. “Marriage, Godwin says, is hateful, detest- They had as much knowledge of the able," he cries, in the beginning of May; world between them as two babies; and “ a kind of ineffable sickening disgust seiz- they had, or thought they had, two hunes my mind when I think of this most des- dred a year, and the displeasure and alienation of all their friends. But none of And what years these were ! Never Pixie these things troubled the serenity of these of the wilds, never Will-o'-the-wisp, or the dream-creatures. Never was there a pic-, mischievous wanderer Puck himself, had a ture of more absolute yet pretty foolishness. a wilder, more fantastic existence. The The three roamed about together, the ba- strange trio—for Harriet's sister remained by-pair being of another strain from those with them—went to York for a few weeks, impassioned lovers who dislike the pres- to be near Hogg, then plunged suddenly ence of a third party; and at home in off into Cumberland, to Keswick, where their lodgings Harriet read aloud the most they made friends with Southey, and where proper and instructive of books, and was Shelley commenced the correspondence ever serene, blooming, smiling, neat, and with William Godwin, which was to influimperturbable—one would have said the ence so much his future life. In three very wife for an excitable and half-crazed months' time the eccentric party were off poet-a warm, placid, steady prop for him again from this seclusion, and this time, of to lean upon. To be sure, Nemesis arriv- all places in the world, it was Dublin they ed after a few pleasant weeks, in the shape went to; and their object (of all objects in of a grim schoolmistress-like elder sister, the world) was“ to forward as much as we who kept them all in order. But except can Catholic Emancipation !" In pursufor this uncomfortable alien element, the ance of this, when we arrived in Dublin, match would not seem at first to have Shelley published a pamphlet, “ An Adbeen an unsuccessful one. Harriet was al- dress to the Irish People," and also' proways ready to pack up and be off at an posals for an association of philanthropists hour's notice. She was ready to move in- to regenerate the nation by intellectual and to Wales or Ireland or Cumberland, where- moral means. The first was cheaply printever novelty and Shelley bade her. She ed, and written in language " willfully vul. was perfectly good-tempered and insouci- garized, in order to reduce the remarks it ante. She gave in to all his disorderly contains to the taste and comprehension of ways, and was indeed as easy about meals the Irish peasantry.” Shelley himself is and hours as he was, dispensing with the said to have distributed this pamphlet from one and forgetting the other; and so far the balcony of the house he lived in to the the marriage was not such an absolute fail- passers-by. He also appeared and spoke ure as, according to all human laws, it at one meeting, at least, where O'Connell ought to have been.
and other notable persons were present. However, as was natural, it raised a new Perhaps that astute demagogue was not imbroglio, and apparently cut off Shelley sorry to have the name of the son of an from all further personal intercourse with English member of Parliament in the list his family. The Shelleys have been wild- of his supporters at that early period. Howly vituperated, as indeed have been all who ever, this wild and aimless crusade, underhave ventured to lift a hand against the taken heaven knows why, and ending in poet-a doom which even the present nothing, did not last long. They went to writer does not hope to escape; but in re- Ireland in the end of February, and by the ality it is very evident that their son had 25th April we find the little family in done every thing a son could do to offend Wales, from whence they took another and wound them. He had brought a public flight to Devonshire, returning in autumn stigma on his name; he had attempted to fill to Wales again, but to a different spot. the mind of at least one of his sisters with Their new residence was Tanyrallt in Carhis own wildly skeptical ideas; and now he narvonshire, and there occurred a mysterihad made the most glaring mésalliance on ous accident, which Shelley either dreamt, the very back of his other offences. Pa- invented, or really encountered, no one can rental anger had not got time to cool when tell which. All at once, from out of their it was thus fanned into fiercest blaze again. solitude, frantic shrieks from the young We are never formally told, however, that husband and wife made themselves audiShelley's two hundred a year was with- ble to all their friends. Some wretch in drawn from him; and it is certain that he human form had attempted to assassinate managed to live somehow, to make contin- Shelley! The ball of the assassin's pistol ual changes and long journeys, amuse- had penetrated the poet's nightgown, and ments which are far from being inexpen- with headlong terror the little party fled sive, during the three years which ensued. from the house and country, once more