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felt by different minds—many passing with indifference, or even with admiration at their strength of expression, over passages which haunt others with revolting recollections not to be shaken off. Obscurity is the fault with which he is taxed most commonly of all; doubtless, it arises principally from the recondite and subtle nature of the idealism toward which he is always tending. But it is partly owing, also, to the mere habit of accumulating image on image, without pausing to select, discriminate, or contrast them. Some, perhaps, will differ with us when we say, that another great cause of this defect is to be found in the circumstance, that his powers of expression lag far behind those of conception. Perhaps no poet, with so wonderfully luxuriant a flow of ideas, had ever, we think, less mastery over mere language. Scarcely a stanza that he has written, especially in his most imaginative poems, but seems pregnant with more thought than it was in his power to clothe with words. Instead of the ideas and the diction flowing harmoniously together, there is a constant struggle between them—the first are striving to emancipate themselves from a prison-the latter to expand and shape itself to the pressure of the overpowering spirit which informs it. The difficulty with which he laboured in this respect, is plainly shown by the fragmentary state in which so many of his pieces are left, and the strange character of the omissions ; a blank between brackets being frequently all that is left us for the very keyword of the whole riddle, without which it is left irrecoverably dark. It is, we imagine, the feeling of impotence and inadequacy produced by this struggle, which presses so heavily on the reader in most of his longer poems, and makes them often wearisome in the perisal. It is this, also, which contributes to the difficulty which most persons experience in remembering him. His very finest and most favourite passages are not easily learned by heart. Their power is in the thoughts which they embody; the words afford little mechanical assistance to the memory.
How far would Shelley have overcome this peculiar obstacle, had a longer life been vouchsafed to him? Would his power of expression have expanded to suit the gigantic demands of his imaginative faculty ? Or would the latter have dwindled and shrunk under the cramping effect of that insufficiency which we have described? In the Triumph of Life,' the last of his longer pieces, there is certainly an attempt to embody in language still abstruser and wilder thoughts, and an utterance more harsh and perplexed, than in any former one; but it seems scarcely possible to judge with fairness of an outline so rude and incomplete. Nor are the minor pieces written in the last years of his life (after his establishment at Pisa) so pleasing, in general, as those of the period immediately preceding it. There is notbing among them approaching to the Skylark;' or the Lines written in dejection at Naples. He seems to have lost sufficient interest in bis work to finish any thing with care. There are also signs of a studied eecentricity about them; the subjects are more far-fetched; the form generally less simple: they seem, in short, to savour of the commencing decline of a genius so early matured, rather than of a continued progress towards perfection. We have been disappointed in this respect, as in others, with the contents of the present edition. The new relics are very few, and none of them will bear comparison with his well-known masterpieces. They cannot, however, fail of interesting the reader; and the following which is the only one we have room to insert), like so many of its author's, appears to shadow out much more than it expresses —
• THE MAGNETIC LADY TO HER PATIENT.—1822.
Sleep on! sleep on! forget thy pain :
My band is on tby brow,
My spirit on tby brain,
And from my fingers flow
Seal thee from thine hour of woe
Sleep on! sleep on! I love thee not.
But when I think that he
Who made and makes my lot
Might have been lost like thee;
Might then have chased his agony
"Sleep, sleep, and with the slumber o'
The dead and the unborn:
Forget thy life and wo:
Forget the world's dull scorn;
Feelings that die in youth's brief morn
• The spell is done. How feel you now?
The sleeper. What would do
What cure your head and side ?
It had been our intention to express our disappointment and regret-strongly, as all admirers of Shelley must feel themat the very imperfect mode in which this first complete edition of his poems is presented to the world. But the following passage in the last volume has effectually silenced our criticism : With this last year of the life of Shelley, these notes end. They are not what I intended them to be. I began with energy and ' a burning desire to impart to the world, in worthy language, “the sense I have of the virtues and genius of the beloved and the lost: my strength has failed with the task. Recurrence to the past-full of its own deep and unforgotten joys and sorrows contrasted with succeeding years of painful and solitary struggle" has shaken my health. Days of great suffering have followed
my attempts to write, and these again produced a weakness and • languor that spread their sinister influence over these notes. I • dislike speaking of myself; but cannot help apologising to the
dead, and to the public, in not having executed, in the manner *I desired, the history I engaged to give of Shelley's writings.'
ART. IX.--Papers relative to the Condition of the Labouring
Population in the West Indies, Presented to Parliament by Her Majesty's Command: 1839.
The events which followed the defeat of the Bill for the tem
porary government of Jamaica, though they have somewhat damped the interest, have not diminished the importance, of that question. The new measure which the anomalous position of the Ministry, on their return to office, compelled them to introduce, must be regarded as a temporary expedient at best. Should it be carried, it will prevent some very serious evils, but it will not stop the source out of which all evils flow. The quarrel between the Assembly of Jamaica and the Government and Parliament of Great Britain, springs from an incompatibility of feeling, an opposition of purposes, and an unhappy divorce between constitutional privilege and natural right, which no forms of speech can remove and which occasional exertions of power rather aggravate than allay. It must therefore be expected that the original question (which by the original Bill would have been set finally and happily at rest) will rise again; in what precise shape it would be rash to predict; but certainly in some shape or other more difficult to deal with than the present. In whatever form it may present itself, however, it is of the highest importance that the Public should be prepared, by a knowledge of what the thing itself is, to resist impressions which are due only to the names by which it may be called. In what motives the opposition to the dropped Bill originated, we do not pretend to say; nor would we hastily presume that the leaders of it were incapable of being imposed on by their own arguments ; but of this we are sure, that if the real nature of the question had been generally understood, those arguments could never have prevailed with balf the House of Commons. By a review of the debate, it would be easy to remove all the grounds of objection which were then urged; but this would be hardly worth while; for the stock of bad objections is inexhaustible. We prefer to present a plain statement of the circumstances which made the measure necessary; leaving all objections, past and future, to fall away of themselves.
The knowledge of the question with which gentlemen came away from the debate, does not appear to have been considerable. That an Act for the regulation of Prisons in Jamaica was hurried through Parliament, towards the close of last session, with unusual rapidity, attracting little notice and meeting with no opposition; that this Act interfered with certain privileges of the local Legislature; that the Assembly took offence at it, and refused to proceed with their business until some reparation should be made; that the reparation which they desired could not be conceded; that the Ministry proposed, therefore, to suspend their functions at once; but that Sir Robert Peel thought it better to give them a locus pænitentiæ, and try whether they would not resume their functions when duly warned of the consequences of continuing refractory;such, we conceive, would be the best account of the question which an ordinary member of the Opposition could give. Some may know a little more, and some a little less; but this we take to be the average acquaintance with the subject, in virtue
of which the two hundred and eighty-nine gentlemen who voted against the Jamaica Bill, thought it their duty to take the management of the business upon themselves.
Now, if this were all;—if it were the first time the Jamaica Assembly had taken offence at an Act of Parliament; if their dispositions and intentions were to be interpreted from this particular act alone; if there were no points in their past career from which their present direction and future course might be determined ; if the circumstances of the time were ordinary, and could be trusted to regulate themselves;-in short, if neither the past, nor the present, nor the future, had any bearing upon the question, we should ourselves be inclined to agree with Sir Robert, that the effect of a warning ought to be tried in the first instance. But when we know that this is not the first, nor the second, nor the third time, that they have become refractory upon this very same quarrel;—that the locus pænitentie, in all its shapes, has been already resorted to, rather than bring it to a final issue; that reasoning, entreaty, admonition, intimidation, promises, and large sums of money, have in turn been tried for the chance of avoiding a rupture; that they have still persisted in their original demand, and shown a fixed determination to be neither begged off, nor reasoned off, nor bought off, from the assertion of what they deem their rights; that the daring step which they have now taken has not been taken in ignorance or momentary passion, but with the deliberale purpose of cutting short all further evasion, and forcing Parliament to decide the question at once, yes or no ; when we know that the quarrel is not accidental, but 'inherent in the relation in which the bodies permanently stand towards each other;—when we remember all this, we cannot consent.with Sir Robert Peel, with Lord Stanley, even (strange to say) with Mr Gladstone, to argue the question without reference to any thing which has gone before. We need make no apology, therefore, for entering upon a history of past transactions, which will be thought irrelevant by those persons alone, who care for nothing in the present question beyond its bearing upon the interests of political parties in this country.
The constitution of Jamaica was framed upon the model of our own-very much as the “ High Life below Stairs’ was framed upon the model of the high life above; only that, in the latter case, together with the names of the original, something of its intrinsic properties and relations is retained in the copy; whereas, in the other, they are entirely wanting. The privileges and forms of