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amusement. These tastes gave truth and vivacity to his de scriptions, and warmed his soul with that deep admiration for the wonders of Nature which constant association with her inspired.

He never intended to publish “ Queen Mab” as it stands; but a few years after, when printing “Alastor," he extracted a small portion, which he entitled “The Dæmon of the World;" in this he changed somewhat the versificationand made other alterations scarcely to be called improvements.

I extract the invocation of “Queen Mab" to the Soul of Ianthe, as altered in “ The Dæmon of the World.” I give it as a specimen of the alterations made. It well characterizes his own state of mind.


Maiden, the world's supremest spirit

Beneath the shadow of her wings
Folds all thy memory doth inherit
From ruin of divinest things,

Feelings that lure thee to betray
And light of thoughts that pass away.

For thou hast earned a mighty boon;

The truths which wisest poets see
Dimly, thy mind may make its own,
Rewarding its own majesty,

Entranced in some diviner mood
Of self-oblivious solitude.

Custom and faith and power thou spurnest,

From hate and fear thy heart is free;
Ardent and pure as day thou burnest
For dark and cold mortality;

A living light to cheer it long,
The watch-fires of the world among.

Therefore, from nature's inner shrine,

Where gods and fiends in worship bend,
Majestic Spirit, be it thine
The flame to seize, the veil to rend,

Where the vast snake Eternity
In charmed sleep doth ever lie.

All that inspires thy voice of love,

Or speaks in thy unclosing eyes,
Or through thy frame doth burn and move,
Or think, or feel, awake, arise!

Spirit, leave for mine and me
Earth's unsubstantial mimicry!

Some years after, when in Italy, a bookseller published an edition of “ Queen Mab” as it originally stood. Shelley was hastily written to by his friends, under the idea that, deeply injurious as the mere distribution of the Poem had proved, the publication might awaken fresh persecutions. At the suggestion of these friends he wrote a letter on the subject, printed in “The Examiner” newspaper-with which I close this history of his earliest work.



6 Sir,

“Having heard that a poem, entitled 'Queen Mab,'has been surreptitiously published in London, and that legal proceedings have been instituted against the publisher, I request the favour of your insertion of the following explanation of the affair, as it relates to me.

“A poem, entitled "Queen Mab,' was written by me, at the age of eighteen, I dare say in a sufficiently intemperate spirit-but even then was not intended for publication, and a few copies only were struck off, to be distributed among my personal friends. I have not seen this production for several years; I doubt not but that it is perfectly worthless in point of literary composition; and that in all that concerns moral and political speculation, as well as in the subtler discriminations of metaphysical and religious doctrine, it is still more crude and immature. I am a devoted enemy to religious, political, and domestic oppression; and

regret this publication not so much from literary vanity, as because I fear it is better fitted to injure than to serve the sacred cause of freedom. I have directed my solicitor to apply to Chancery for an injunction to restrain the sale; but after the precedent of Mr. Southey's “Wat Tyler,' (a poem, written, I believe, at the same age, and with the same unreflecting enthusiasm,) with little hope of success.

" Whilst I exonerate myself from all share in having divulged opinions hostile to existing sanctions, under the form, whatever it may be, which they assume in this poem; it is scarcely necessary for me to protest against the system of inculcating the truth of Christianity or the excellence of Monarchy, however true or however excellent they may be, by such equivocal arguments as confiscation and imprisonment, and invective and slander, and the insolent violation of the most sacred ties of nature and society.

“I am your obliged and obedient servant,

“ PERCY B. SHELLEY. Pisa, June 22, 1821."

NOTE. — Shelley's maturer opinions in regard to Christianity and its founder, may be gathered from passages in the First Act of “Promethens Unbound."




Nondum amabam, et amare amabam; quærebam quid amarem amans amare.

Confess. St. August.

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