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SHELLEY AND HIS WRITINGS.

CHAPTER I.

Shelley meets Lord Byron-Sketch of Byron-Shelley and Byron contrasted-Their intimacy-Their mode of life at Geneva-Thunder-storms over the lakeByron's description of one in Childe Harold-Boating on the lake-Opposite characteristics of Byron and Shelley.

BESIDES the contemplation of the sublime scenery of Lake Leman, Shelley enjoyed the additional advantage of making the acquaintance of Lord Byron, at the Hotel de Sécheron. The two poets arrived at Geneva almost on the same day, and that being the only rendezvous in those days for travellers, they were not long in becoming intimate.

VOL. 11.

B

Lord Byron, as every one is aware, had quitted England, never again to return, under very painful circumstances. He, too, had been tossed about on the rude waves of fortune, and subject to the many strange caprices which seem so especially to beset the family of genius.

Born into the world of very discordant parents, a spendthrift father, and a very violenttempered mother, but nevertheless, bringing with him considerably more than his just proportion of the "Eternal Harmonies," nature appears to have commenced the work of contrariety, by endowing him at once with a fine face and a lame foot; a species of contradiction which attended him through life, whether to mark his chequered fortunes or the singular inconsistencies of his complicated and inexplicable character.

Subjected in childhood exclusively, through domestic discord, to the care of his mother, who alternately fondled and reviled him; now overwhelming him with caresses, now reproaching him with his lameness, he was not likely to repress any of those ungovernable passions which he had already too much inherited from her.

But with all the impress of genius upon it, with all the peculiar characteristics which a celebrated writer has traced out as belonging to its growth and development, he likewise exhibited a heart capable, by proper culture and proper usage, of being moulded to purposes of true nobility and greatness. Quick of susceptibilities, generous in its impulses, and dominant in courage, capable of warm affections and strong emotions, while it was far from being intractable, and so highly sensitive and so passionate in its outbursts as often to excite alarm.

Passing rapidly from the penniless orphan to the proud dignity of a noble, and the possessor of wealth, he became too early the uncontrolled arbiter of such fortunes as could not have fallen upon one of his temperament without producing great mental intoxication.

While yet a boy he enjoyed all the privileges, and was admitted to all the rights of manhood; the intemperance of youth, with its many indiscretions, was without check or curb, and there were not wanting associates to pander to the wishes, to lead to excesses, or to flatter the vanity of a stripling lord.

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