« הקודםהמשך »
to teach every great allegory
But first permit me to introduce a short review which I met with in a periodical work which was published in August, 1820. In this review the writer, after expatiating largely on the merits and demerits of other poets, draws the following picture of the author of “ Queen Mab."
“ Now let us proceed," says the reviewer, " to examine Mr. Shelley's merits a little more particularly. While Mr. Leigh Hunt has at the hands of the public about as much encouragement as he deserves, and Barry Cornwall has gained certainly a greater reputation that he is entitled to, we think Mr. Shelley has never been duly appreciated. This peglect, for it almost amounts to that, is, however, entirely owing to himself. He writes in a spirit which people do not comprehend; there is something too mystical in what he says-something too high or too deep for common comprehensions. He lives in a very remote poetical world, and his feeling will scarcely bear to be shadowed out in earthly light. There are, no doubt, in the mind of a poet, and they evidently exist in the mind of Mr. Shelley, shades of thought which it is impossible to delineate, and feelings which cannot be clearly expressed; when, therefore, he attempts to clothe these ideas with words, though he may himself perceive the force of them, it will very frequently happen that his readers will not, or that such words at most will only convey a very imperfect idea of the high meanings which the writer attached to them. This is no fault peculiar to Mr. Shelley—the finest geniuses have felt it most; and, in reading passages of Shakespeare, if we were asked to define the exact meaning of some of the most beautiful parts, we should be unable to do so. Expressions of this kind are very frequent in the works of Mr, Shelley, and his sentiments are sometimes equally obscure. The first poem which be published, • Alastor ; or, the Spirit of Solitude,' though full of fine writing, abounds with these dimly shadowed feelings; and we seem as we read it, as if we were walking through a country where beautiful prospects extend on every side," which are hidden from us by the mists of evening. Ms. Shelley seems to nurse this wildness of imagination at the expense of clearness and vigour of style. He han extended the same spirit to the whole coinposition of his longest poem, "The Revolt of Islam,' in which be undertakes
freedom; patriotism ; philanthropy; toleration ; under an
or, as he himself expresses it, for I have chosen a story of human passion in its most universal character, diversified with moving and romantic adventures, appealing, in contempt of all artificial opinions or institations, to the common sympathies every human breast.' So well did Mr. Shelley imagine this poem qualified to accomplish the philanthropic object for which it was written, that we have "heard he actually wished that a cheap edition of it should be printed, in order that it might be distinguished amongst all
classes of persons; certainly one of the very wildest of his imaginations. He should have written intelligibly to common understandings if he wished to become popular."
The above remarks appear to have been written in the very spirit of impartiality; and that they are generally correct, no one, I think, who is qualified to judge, will doubt.
Our poet, like an impetuous and daring warrior, leaves all opposition, rushes onward amidst the fire of his assailants, plants the standard of reason and philosophy in the citadel of prejudice and superstition, and nobly challenges the multitude to follow, conquer, and destroy those ancient and implacable enemies of the human mind.
Such a poet at the commencement of his career must have appeared to many persons, as well as to his reviewet, more the poet of 1900 than one of the present age ; and that, therefore, a cheap edition of his works was not to be expected ; for who, when i Queen Mab" was written, contemplated the unqualified freedom of the press?
Mr. Shelley's Pegasus was a real winged horse, a fiery courser, who, scorning the beaten tract, bore him with ardour and rapidity through scenes awfully grand and fearfully sublime, to the very verge of Nature's empire, and plunged him into the mysterious ultimity of existing matter. How could it be expected, then, that the judgment of such a poet would be sufficiently calm to prune, simplify, and reduce to regular order the romantic ideas and wild inventions of his adventurous muse, so as to render his works completely intelligible to the multitude ? So rapid, however, has the “march of intellect" among the common people of this country been, that a great portion of them are not only capable of reading and understanding works of judgment, but works of genius also ; and the time is not far distant when public writers will feel the necessity of paying due respect to the judgment of that class of people who have been denominated the swinish multitude.
i's There needs no stronger proof of intellectual improvement amongst the common people than a cheap edition of “ Queen Mab," the price of which is reduced from half-a-guinea to half-aCrown! And I see no reason why ". The Revolt of Islam," if it be qualified to teach every great principle, should not through the medium of the cheap press, follow “ Queen Mab” to the bands of the mechanic and labourer.
I shall now conelnde by subjoining the following lines, which were written on reading a cheap edition of " Queen Mab” soon after the death of Mr. Shelley. Meantime, I remain, Sir, Your most obedient servant,
sit Siag weeping Muse! ab,
awhile of bime 1961 A 901 96.1 Wha cinquer'd prejudice, and broke ber fetters 723 vjeigitur ****** And half feform'd the drezuring World of letters. 20 i 1702697
RHONA bon maiodlas. 1 " i Wildly mijestie, daringly sublimegt meiodina
Of conscious life beyond the reach of time,
23 2s7iupo resné.
that of doing gobd.to 10319 8.
Excite the admiration of mankind,
Then God's unjust.
dito fou lorq 10 89137.11.':.
3-46*0013 do enojaris
Sabuioxa ai bre stvari
process of reasoning on the human mind, of which a disbelief in God in the apshot."-CAUSIDICUS.
.) 80011erup ingia
مثله را می
199 & 01197579 lui, i A IRSEND of mine who dwelt in Dublin, where an exalted ios agination produced contrastat and comparisons of great force, one day observed to me, that in relation to z religion there were but two things Atheism and IDOLATRY and that we might just
Pantheist, such as is described in your articles signed 0. 0. may
take our choice of them. This is in some measure true. The Catholic writers have long maintained, and the history of religion since Jesus Christ has shewn; that bạt two things have stood their ground, or appeared at all consistent and tenable, Catholicism and total Infidelity. The Catholic may reason logically and so may the Atheist; but both set out on different premises. The also reason logically differing only in the terms used in the axioms. Between Pantheism and Atheism there seems only this difference, that whereas Pantheism resolves all the universe into deity and teaches us to regård God in all things, Atheism denies the evidence of God in any thing, Pantheist assumes an axiom that matter is inert and requires a mover, and motion not being able to begin of itself requires a beginner, and he calls it God and this God is the universal motion, Lis Intelligence being only an inference from our intelligence which is one effect of motion or watter. The Atheist denies a difference between matter, motion and intelligence ; he sees 'nothing but matter, and regards the distinction between cause and effect ass
superfluous when applied to the elementary power of nature, admitting that whatever matter may be, it has in itself the property of motion and of rest: or where his knowledge is confined to phenomena and he professes no conception of their origin and efficient causes. The iwo doctrines might be distinguished as Somatopsychopoologicism and Phænomenism. The latter which is purely Atheistical is the simplest; it is perhaps better to confess ignorance than to hazard a lie, the Atheist adopts a simple and safe course, and by denying any knowledge of the necessity of cause for effect, admits a knowledge of sensation alone. Catholicism, the antagonist of Atheism, assumes on a different species of proof not only a God but a special providence or source of good, with an opponent in Hell, who is the root of all evil, and legions of tributary angels. The Catholic can reason logically with the Bible as his postulatum, and when the Atheist questions its authority, he shews him a miracle in a moment, or unravels a legend and a prophecy. Reason is declared a deceptive guide and is excluded. "Pantheism is more nearly allied to Catholicism than: Atheista, because it demon strates an iôtelligent causes to Bae Panebeisti without Catholicism is even upset by the sceptical questions of the 'Atheist. The Catholic prays day and night to God and his subaltern spirits. The Pantheist offers a doubtful prayer, to a conditional God, and begs him to save his soul if he have long to be saved, while the Atheist never prays at all. Protestantism is a word that comes prehends the beggarly sectarians, drivelling balf-believers lando lying hypocrites, who lię m. the gulph between Atheism' and Caw tholicism. Their day is always short, one schism rapidly supplanting another and cutting the dæmded disconsolate throat of the heretic who has had his day. Bloodshed is the coagulum in
which fresh monstrous productions germinate, and all is ignorance, bigotry, hypocrisy, lies, confusion and madness, in that blessed thing called liberty of conscience, so long as the germ of the evil remains unexorcised.
The question so long become necessary, is, at length, nearly brought to an issue. The Reformation protracted the solution of it by a mandlin innovation on the prerogative of religion on the part of reason. The Revolution in France terrified the timid, and enquiry was still further impeded. The day of FREE ENQUIRY is at length arrived. The cunning Protestant parsons of the dark ages which succeeded the Reformation with a congre. tion of drivelling, tythe-paying dupes at their back, prevented, wisely enough, the Catholic and the Atheist from meeting in the arena of discussion, by craftily uniting the coercive discipline of the Catholic Church with the infidelity of tbe Atheists, and thus established a system of inquisitorial and unprincipled persecution against both the people of God, and godless people, which, by tying the tongues of both, prevented either from establishing their more consistent claims to public suffrage. o Ninety-nine bloody and faggot-fire persecutions on the part of the Protestants to one on the part of the more humane and pious Catholics, ena-. bled the Protestant hypocrites, during the reigns of Henry VIII. and Queen Elizabeth, to double the number of martyrs that had ever fallen the victims to the bloodstained and memorable institution which Kings, and the panders of Kings, exercised as an inquisition into the political opinions of their subjects, and which they foolishly enough fathered on the benevolent St. Do. minic. But persecution has, at length, ceased : it has been eradịcated by the courage of Carlile, and, other martyrs to the principle of FRRE DISCUSSION ; and since discussion has become : free, let us hope it will become grand and comprebensive; we. want no botherheaded Sectarians: no Unitarians; nor Evangelista; no Gitanville Sharpes, nor Wesleys, much less any Church of England tythemongers, or hypocrites of any kind. We desire the extremes to meet, and settle the point at issue. Hereticex and such like drivellers, avauat, we have no need of your mutual absurdities. The Apostolie Ministers of God challenge the : children of his world. The CATHOLIC and the ATHEIST confend for the palm. The question is-Is there a God, a creation, and a heaven, and all the necessary appertinances comprehended by the term Catholic doctrine, or are men merely modes of the earth they inhabit; mortal in their individual capacity for sen sation, and uncaused and indestructible in their essence.