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something in the character of Saint-Preux, in his abnegation of self, and in the worship he paid to Love, that coincided with Shelley's own disposition; and, though differing in many of the views and shocked by others, yet the effect of the whole was fascinating and delightful.
"Mont Blanc" was inspired by a view of that mountain and its surrounding peaks and valleys, as he lingered on the Bridge of Arve on his way through the Valley of Chamouni. Shelley makes the following mention of this poem in his publication of the "History of Six Weeks' Tour, and Letters from Switzerland:" "The poem entitled 'Mont Blanc is written by the author of the two letters from Chamouni and Vevai. It was composed under the immediate impression of the deep and powerful feelings excited by the objects which it attempts to describe; and, as an undisciplined overflowing of the soul, rests its claim to approbation on an attempt to imitate the untamable wildness and inaccessible solemnity from which those feelings sprang."
This was an eventful year, and less time was given to study than usual. In the list of his
reading I find, in Greek, Theocritus, the "Prometheus" of Eschylus, several of Plutarch's Lives, and the works of Lucian. In Latin, Lucretius, Pliny's Letters, the "Annals" and "Germany" of Tacitus. In French, the "History of the French Revolution" by Lacretelle. He read for the first time, this year, Montaigne's Essays, and regarded them ever after as one of the most delightful and instructive books in the world. The list is scanty in English works: Locke's Essay, "Political Justice," and Coleridge's "Lay Sermon," form nearly the whole. It was his frequent habit to read aloud to me in the evening; in this way we read, this year, the New Testament, "Paradise Lost," Spenser's "Faery Queen," and "Don Quixote."
Poems Written in 1817
PALE dream came to a Lady fair, And said, A boon, a boon, I pray!
I know the secrets of the air, And things are lost in the glare of day, Which I can make the sleeping see,
If they will put their trust in me.
And thou shalt know of things unknown,