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Shelley has more poetry in him than any
man living; and if he were not so mys“ tical, and would not write Utopias and set “ himself up as a Reformer, his right to “ rank as a poet, and very highly too, could “not fail of being acknowledged. I said “ what I thought of him the other day; and “ all who are not blinded by bigotry must 66 think the same. The' works he wrote at “ seventeen are much more extraordinary 66 than Chatterton's at the same age.”
A question was started, as to which he considered the easiest of all metres in our language.
“ Or rather,” replied he, “ you mean, 6 which is the least difficult? I have spoken “ of the fatal facility of the octo-syllabic “metre. The Spenser stanza is difficult, , 6 because it is like a sonnet, and the finishing “ line must be good. The couplet is more “ difficult still, because the last line, or one “out of two, must be good. But blank“ verse is the most difficult of all, because
every line must be good.”
“ You might well say then," I observed, " that no man can be a poet who does any “thing else."
During our evening ride the conversation happened to turn upon the rival Reviews.
“I know no two men,” said he, 5 who “have been so infamously treated, as Shelley “ and Keats. If I had known that Milman “ had been the author of that article on 6. The Revolt of Islam, I would never “ have mentioned · Fazio' among the plays “ of the day,—and scarcely know why I paid “ him the compliment. In consequence of “ the shameless personality of that and ano“ ther number of The Quarterly,' every
one abuses Shelley,-his name is coupled “ with every thing that is opprobrious: but 6 he is one of the most moral as well as " amiable men I know, I have now been “ intimate with him for years, and every year “has added to my regard for him.-Judging “ from Milman, Christianity would appear a “ bad religion for a poet, and not a very
good one for a man. His Siege of Jeru"s salem' is one cento from Milton; and in
style and language he is evidently an imi“tator of the very man whom he most abuses. “ No one has been puffed like Milman : he “owes his extravagant praise to Heber. “ These Quarterly Reviewers scratch one “ another's backs at a prodigious rate. Then
as to Keats, though I am no admirer of “his poetry, I do not envy the man, who
that attacked and killed him. Except a couplet of Dryden's,
. On his own bed of torture let him lie,
“ I know no lines more cutting than those in "Adonais,*' or more feeling than the whole
“ As Keats is now gone, we may speak of “ him. I am always battling with the Snake
* The lines to which he referred were these :
Expect no heavier chastisement from me, But ever at thy season be thou free
To spill their venom when thy fangs o'erflow. Remorse and self-contempt shall cling to thee;
Hot shame shall burn upon thy Cain-like brow, And like a beaten hound tremble thou shalt
" about Keats, and wonder what he finds to “ make a god of, in that idol of the Cockneys: “ besides, I always ask Shelley why he does “ not follow his style, and make himself one “ of the school, if he think it so divine. He
will, like me, return some day to admire “Pope, and think The Rape of the Lock’ “ and its sylphs worth fifty ‘Endymions, “ with their faun and satyr machinery. I
remember Keats somewhere says that “' flowers would not blow, leaves bud,' &c.
if man and woman did not kiss. How « sentimental !"
I remarked that Hyperion' was a fine fragment, and a proof of his poetical genius.
“ « Hyperion !"" said he : " why a man might as well pretend to be rich who had
one diamond. Hyperion' indeed! Hy“ perion to a Satyr! Why, there is a fine “ line in Lord Thurlow (looking to the West