Saturday, August 4, 2012

Percy Bysshe Shelley

August 4 is the birth-date of poet Percy Bysshe Shelley, who produced more in his twenty-nine years, than most of us do in longer life times.  Shelley was influential to many, but was also a source of controversy.  One of his earlier publications was titled “The Necessity of Athiesm”. 

Shelley had friends in common with Walter Scott, one of whom was Lord Byron, whose religious beliefs were also called into question through his writing.  In the entry from Scott’s Journal below, Scott distinguishes between the two.

February 4 [1828] --Wrote a little and was obliged to correct the Molière affair for R.P.G. I think his plan cannot go on much longer with so much
weakness at the helm. A clever fellow would make it take the field with
a vengeance, but poor G. will run in debt with the booksellers and let
all go to the devil. I sent a long letter to Lockhart, received from
Horace Smith, very gentlemanlike and well-written, complaining that Mr.
Leigh Hunt had mixed him up, in his Life of Byron, with Shelley as if he
had shared his irreligious opinions. Leigh Hunt afterwards at the
request of Smith published a swaggering contradiction of the inference
to be derived from the way in which he has named them together. Horatio
Smith seems not to have relied upon his disclamation, as he has
requested me to mention the thing to John Lockhart, and to some one
influential about Ebony, which I have done accordingly.

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