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truer to the actual fact of things than Wordsworth made his birds and clouds.* Strip off the imaginative clothing from • The Cloud,' and science will support every word of it.
Let the sky-lark sing, let the flowers grow, for their own joy alone. In truth, what sympathy have they, what sympathy has nature with man?
The Pathetic Fallacy. “The other side of Shelley's relation to nature is a remarkable contrast to this statement. When he was absorbed in his being, and writing poems which concerned himself alone, he makes nature the mere image of his own feelings, the creature of his mood.”
In this connection reference must be made to the Quarterly Review, CLXIV., and to the British Quarterly, LXXXII. (Hon. Roden Noel).
Quarterly Review, CLXIV.:
formed no permanent essential part of himself; he could, without effort, transfer them to Nature. The identity of feeling, which he thus establishes between himself and Nature, is as fascinating as it is peculiar. Yet it is certainly a sign of weakness. In “Alastor,” for instance, he reads into his surroundings his own pensive and melancholy life. Autumn sighs in the sere woods, the grass shivers at the touch of the poet's foot; his own hair sings dirges in the wind. No man whose personality is strongly marked, can thus transfer himself to the natural world. In Shelley, the sense of personality was dimmed by the absence of will. He never learned to distinguish between his own feelings and those of others; but in his later poetry he shakes off the excessive morbidity of "Alastor,"
and no longer reads his own misery into the aerial merriment of the wind, the wave and the bird. The contrast offers a significant proof of the steady development of the stronger sides of his character.
British Quarterly, LXXXII. (Hon. Roden Noel):
Proceeding from the assertion that, in order to arrive at a satisfactory idea of nature, science and poetry are alike necessary, the essayist continues to oppose Ruskin's effort “to distinguish the representation of Nature as she is, which he ascribes to Homer and to Scott among ourselves, and the representation of her as she only appears to our distorting emotions. That seems to me a misleading distinction, because what Nature in herself, apart from our minds is, we do not accurately know; we can see her only as she appears to us by virtue of the constitution of our faculties, senses, understanding, emotion, and imagination. Therefore, I cannot admit that there is a true nature, which the man of science and the land-surveyor see, but a false nature, which the person of delicate suscepti
* Vide infra (p. 12) Roden Noel on the distinction between scientific and poetic truth.
bilities and the poet suppose themselves to see.
There is no more reason why those higher faculties should be excluded from their share and function in the revelation of truth than there is why the senses and the understanding should be excluded.
Hence, I cannot enter into Mr. Ruskin's preference of Scott over Shelley as a poet, which is founded on this distinction between them.* What would. Shelley's Alastor' be without the magnificent scenery of mountain and stream amid which he moves onward to the close? They are one. They have joined hands and interpret one another. The result of the poet's meditation is neither man alone, nor nature alone, but some fair spiritual child of their espousals. This, I maintain, is somewhat distinctively new and precious added to our intellectual and emotional treasure.”
SWEET. “Shelley Society Papers," I. Pt. II.
This is the most elaborate study of Shelley's nature poetry that has hitherto appeared.
Shelley's Place in the Development of Nature Poetry. The author briefly surveys the wide field of world literatures where the nature idea finds its inception and development. The The
Vedic nature poetry is important in connection with Vedas. Shelley's mythology; "nor in a consideration of Shelley's attitude towards nature must we disregard the Teutonic and the
Celtic elements in his poetry. Po the former we Teutonic and Celtic Elements.
relate his feeling for mystery, and to the latter
we refer the extraordinary keenness of his colour faculty. Shelley's description of the imagined ruins of Venice in the · Euganean Hills,' with the sea-mew flying above, and the palace-gate 'toppling o'er the abandoned sea,' recalls
that aspect of Old English lyric poetry represented by The Wanderer,' and the impressive fragment known as “The Ruin.'
Shelley heightens the effect, almost as in · Beowulf,' by
66. The fisher on his watery way,
Wandering at the close of day,'
hastening to pass the gloomy shore
“Lest thy dead should, from their sleep
Bursting o'er the starlight deep,
“The 'natural magic' of such a description as this is, or, at least, might be, wholly English, wholly Teutonic-strange as such an assertion may seem to a critic like Mr. Arnold, whose ideas of the
* See Ruskin's “ Modern Painters,” Pt. IV., Vol. III.
Teutonic spirit are gained from a one-sided contemplation of modern German literature at a period when it was still struggling for the mastery of the rudiments of style and technique, lost in the barbarism of the Thirty Years' War.
Shelley's poem The Question,' is as purely Celtic both in its colour-pictures,
and its ethereal unreality and delicate, fanciful sentiment. It need hardly be said that this · Celtic note'in Shelley no more proves Celtic race-influence than the Greek note'in Keats proves that Keats was of Greek descent. Shelley looks at nature with the same eyes as an old Celtic poet, because both were inspired by the same sky and earth, both loved the same flowers, fields and forests.”
After tracing English nature poetry to the first truly modern conception in Milton, the writer swiftly passes the intervening period and proceeds to a discussion of Shelley's work in closer detail.
Shelley and Wordsworth. “Shelley's real sympathies are with inanimate nature. Here he is at home. Here he is unique and supreme. He is indeed 'the poet of nature' in a truer
sense than Wordsworth is. Wordsworth is really the poet of the homely, the common-place in nature as in man. Whatever in nature harmonizes with his own narrow sympathies he assimilates and reproduces with a power all his own. Shelley, on the other hand, seeks to penetrate into the very heart of nature in all her manifestations, without regard to their association with human feeling While in his treatment of man he is all subjectivity, in his
treatment of nature he is often purely objective. In Objectivity. such a poem as "The Cloud' there is not only no trace of Wordsworthian egotism, but the whole description remote from human feeling as it could well be, consistent with the poetic necessity for personification.”*
Cosmic and Elemental Sympathies. Ť "The range of Shelley's sympathies is bounded only by the universe itself. He combines forests, mountains, rivers and seas
into vast ideal landscapes ; he dives into the depths of Vastness of the earth, soars among clouds and storms, and comLandscape. munes with the sphere of sun and moon.
Love of Indefiniteness and Change. I “Shelley's love of the changing and fleeting aspects of nature the interest with which he watched the formation of mist and cloud
Cf. supra, Stopford Brooke. + See also Brandes' “
Hauptströmungen,” IV., pp. 248f, and Chevrillon in Revue de Paris, June 1st, 1898.
I Cf. supra, Stopford Brooke.
and the shifting hues of dawn and sunset—is, like his sense of structure, a natural result of the half-scientific spirit with which he regarded nature, for it is in the changing phenomena of nature that real life lies. According to Mr. Brooke, Shelley's love for the changeful in nature is the result of the inherent changefulness of his temperament. But of this I can see but little in his life. He was impulsive enough -for without impulsiveness he would hardly have been a poet-but not fickle or undecided in his feelings and principles.
Shelley's Mythology and Mythopoic Faculty.
(Cf. supra, STOPFORD BROOKE.) "Shelley's love of natural phenomena sometimes shows itself in naive expressions of delight, and simple comparisons which remind us of the nature-poetry of the Veda” (e.g., "Witch of Atlas,” XXVII.)
After referring to the employment of a conventional mythology by other poets, the essayist notes it as a characteristic of Shelley that he is without a trace of that conventionalism. “He never brings in the figures of classical mythology incidentally, but only when they are the subject of his poetry, and his handling of them in such cases is always fresh and original, as in his ‘Hymn to Apollo'—the most perfect reproduction of the spirit of Greek mythology that we have in inodern literature. His conception of Jupiter in his 'Prometheus' is quite new and original-he makes him the personification of all that hinders the free development of the human mind, which latter is personified by Prometheus.
“We see, then, that even where Shelley is tranımeled by traditional mythology, he reveals something of that myth-making faculty in which he stands alone among modern poets—the only one who at all approaches him in this respect being his contemporary, the Swedish poet, Stagnelius. When Shelley is free to follow his own fancy, he instinctively creates nature-myths of a strangely primitive type, unlike anything in Greek or the other fully-developed mythologies, but showing marked similarity to the personifications of Vedas.
It is not only Shelley critics who have been struck by this characteristic. Mr. Taylor, in his 'Anthropology' (page 290), after remarking that the modern poet 'still uses for picturesqueness the metaphors which to the barbarian were real helps to express his sense,' goes on to quote as an instance the opening lines of 'Queen Mab,
and analyzes them as follows: “Here the likeness of death and sleep is expressed by the metaphor of calling them brothers; the moon is brought in to illustrate the notion of paleness, the dawn of redness; while to convey the idea of dawn shining on the sea, the simile of its sitting on a throne is introduced, and its reddening is compared on the one hand to a rose, and on the other to blushing. Now, this is the very way in which early barbaric man, not for poetic affectation, but simply to find the plainest words to convey his thoughts, would talk in metaphors taken from
“One of the best examples of Shelley's myth-making faculty is the little poem, " The World's Wanderers' (IV. 51),
as remote as anything can well be from modern thought and sentiment. Its imagery and its strange unhuman pathos are alike primitive and elemental. The same sympathy with the heavenly bodies in their wanderings through space has been expressed by some of the older Greek lyric poets, but the conception of the star's rays as wings can hardly be paralleled outside of the Veda.'
Cloud Mythology-See “Laon," II. v., and IX. xxxv. ; “Cloud," 73; Prom. II. i. 145.
Cloud Comparisons—See “Summer and Winter"; Hlleas,” 957; "Witch,' XLVIII., LII., LV.; Liberty, 5.
SHELLEY'S COLOUR SENSE.
II. l. ;
(Vide infra, Atlantic Monthly, LXX.) Quotations and references are made under a variety of rubrics. Flashing and intermittent light, “Prom." ll. iii. 30 and IV. 182; "Epips." 546; "Dejection,"
II. ; “Orpheus," 59. Alternations of light and shade. “Laon,” II. xlix. and XII. xxxvi.; Athanase," II. xiii. and
“Rosal.” 102 ; “Prom.” I. 27 and I. 678; “Sens. Plant,” II. 25; 66 Alast.” 310. Atmospheric effects. “Prom." I. 82, II. i. 10 and II. iii. 74; Laon," III. iii. ;
“Rosal,” 729 ; “Dejection, I.; “ Witch,” XXXVII. Light seen through water.
"Witch," XXVIII. Light seen through foliage.
Laon,” II. i., VII. xi., VIII. xxx. and XII. xviii. ; . Prom.”
II. ii. 75; “Sens. Plant,” I. 23 and I. 43; “Epips.” 502. Transmitted light.
“Letter to Maria Gisborne," 123. Refracted light.
“ Alast.” 334; “ Laon,” VII. 20. Reflected light or colour. “Alast.” 352; “Laon,” I. xx., III. xii. and XII. xviii; “Prom.”
I. 467, I. 743 and II. iii. 28; “Witch,” XXV. ; “Recollection," V.