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SHELLEY'S

EARLY LIFE

FROM ORIGINAL SOURCES.

WITH

CURIOUS INCIDENTS, LETTERS, AND WRITINGS,

NOW FIRST PUBLIShed or cOLLECTED.

BY

DENIS FLORENCE MAC-CARTHY, M.R.I.A.

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DRAMAS AND AUTOS FROM THE SPANISH OF CALDERON,"

ETC..

LONDON:

JOHN CAMDEN HOTTEN, 74 & 75. PICCADILLY.

LONDON:

SAVILL, EDWARDS AND CO., PRINTERS, CHANDOS STREET,

COVENT GARDEN.

07-9-43 4

Dir. Einery. Brick Rod 7-6-43 48303

PREFACE.

THE present work, within the limits prescribed to itself, is founded almost entirely on original research among sources of information not previously known or examined. How it grew up the following narrative will explain.

Keats, in the well-known passage of the noble sonnet which records his astonishment "on first looking into Chapman's Homer," compares his wonder to that of an astronomer who in searching the depths of space has suddenly discovered a new star:

:

"Then felt I like some watcher of the skies,
When a new planet swims into his ken."

Something of the same delight and the same surprise
was awakened in my mind, when in making re-
searches into a particular period of Shelley's life which
had not received the attention that I conceived it
merited, I came upon the extraordinary fact that
he had published a volume of verse just on the eve of
his expulsion from Oxford, which was unknown to his
companion in that misfortune, which his friends, his
family, and his biographers have been ignorant of, and
which now, at the expiration of sixty years, is first
identified with his name.

This poem, for the volume contained but one, it may be as well to state here is not to be confounded

with the Posthumous Fragments of Margaret Nicholson, or the Original Poetry by Victor and Cazire, of which more or less satisfactory accounts have already been published. In the order of publication the poem referred to came third, but of the two preceding works I shall have something additional to say in the following pages.

The discovery I speak of is that of the fact of publication, for of the poem itself, notwithstanding all the exertions I have made, extending over a considerable period, and in every possible direction, I have not yet been successful in finding a copy.* To continue or rather to vary the illustration from Keats, I may say that I have discovered the surrounding light that indicates the presence of the star, but have not yet detected its nucleus; or rather, that I have demonstrated its existence without having seen it, and at a time too when I did not know even its name.

A distinguished mathematician has referred in eloquent language, and with justifiable pride, to what he calls "the great effort of scientific genius which our time has witnessed-the discovery of Neptune." "Need I remind you," continues the same learned person, "that it was no astronomical observer-no practical skill-which gave to us that great discovery?

* It is needless to say that this interesting volume is not to be found in any of our public libraries. To the courteous librarians of the Bodleian at Oxford, and of University College at Cambridge, I have specially to return my thanks for the search they had kindly made for it. A printed circular sent by myself to almost every second-hand bookseller in the three kingdoms was equally unsuccessful. To advertisements in the public journals, and special inquiries instituted by Mr. Quaritch, Piccadilly; Mr. Stibbs, Museum Street; Messrs. Longmaus, Paternoster Row, and others, no reply has ever been received.

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