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Full text of "Letters from Percy Bysshe Shelley to Thomas Jefferson Hogg : with notes by W. M. Rossetti and H. Buxton Forman"

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LETTERS TO HOGG 



LETTERS 

FROM 

PERCY BYSSHE SHELLEY 

TO 

THOMAS JEFFERSON HOGG. 



WITH NOTES BY W. M. ROSSETTI AND 

H. BUXTON FORMAN. 



VOLUME I. 



London : Privately Printed. 
1897. 



! : "li .l ; w 



ts to cetttfg 

that of this book 
Thirty Copies only have been Printed 



387170 



CONTENTS. 



VOL. I. 



LETTER I. 

Field Place, Horsham. 

Thursday -, 2Qtk December, 1810 . 3 

LETTER II. 

Field Place, Horsham. 

Sunday, 2.yd December , 1810 . . 10 

LETTER III. 

Field Place, Horsham. 

Wednesday, 261 k December, 1810 . 15 

LETTER IV. 

Field Place, Horsham. 
Friday, 2$t/i December , 1810 . . 20 
VOL. I. b 



viii CONTENTS. 

PAGE 
LETTER V. 

Field Place, Horsham. 

Wednesday, 2nd January, 1811 . 23 

LETTER VI. 

Field Place, Horsham. 

Thursday, yd January, 1811 . . 27 

LETTER VII. 

Field Place, Horsham. 

Sunday, &h January, 1811 . . 33 

LETTER VIII. 

Field Place, Horsham. 

Friday, \\thjanuary, 1811 . . 42 

LETTER IX. 

Field Place, Horsham. 

Saturday, \2th January, 1811 . . 50 

LETTER X. 

Field Place, Horsham. 

Monday, \^th January, 1811 . . 58 



CONTENTS. ix 

PAGE 

LETTER XI. 

Field Place, Horsham. 

Wednesday, i6t/i January ', 1811 . 61 

LETTER XII. 

Field Place, Horsham. 

Thursday, lythjamiary, 1811 . 63 

LETTER XIII. 

Field Place, Horsham. 

Wednesday, 2yd January, 1811 . 65 

LETTER XIV. 

15, Poland Street, London. 

April, 1811 . . .,--.. . 68 

LETTER XV. 

15, Poland Street, London. 

Thursday, \%th April, 1811 . .71 

LETTER XVI. 

15, Poland Street, London. 

Wednesday, 2tf/i April, 1811 . . 73 



x CONTENTS. 

PAGE 

LETTER XVII. 

15, Poland Street, London. 

Friday, 2$rd April, 1811 , . 81 

LETTER XVIII. 

Lincoln's Inn Fields, London. 

Sunday, 28^ April, 1811 * . 89 



LETTERS. 



LETTERS 

TO 

THOMAS JEFFERSON HOGG. 

LETTER I. 

FIELD PLACE, 
HORSHAM, SUSSEX. 

December 2Oth, 1 8 1 o. 
[Thursday.] 

MY DEAR FRIEND, 

The moment which announces your 
residence, I write. 

There is now need of all my art ; I 
must resort to deception. 

My father called on Stockdale in 



4 LETTERS TO 

London, who has converted him to 
sanctity. He mentioned my name, as 
a supporter of sceptical principles. My 
father wrote to me, and I am now 
surrounded, environed, by dangers, to 
which compared the devils who be- 
sieged St. Anthony were all inefficient. 
? They attack me for my detestable 
principles ; I am reckoned an outcast ; 
yet I defy them, and laugh at their in- 
. effectual efforts. 

Stockdale will no longer do for me. 
Stockdale's skull is very thick, but I 
am afraid that he will not believe my 
assertion ; indeed, should it gain credit 
with him,) should he accept the offer of 
publication, there exist numbers who 
will find out, or imagine, a real 
tendency ; and booksellers possess 
more power than we are aware of in 
impeding the sale of any book containing 
opinions displeasing to them. I am dis- 
posed to offer it to Wilkie and Robinson, 
Paternoster Row, and to take it there 



THOMAS JEFFERSON HOGG. 5 

myself; they published Godwin's works, 
and it is scarcely possible to suppose 
that any one, layman or clergyman, 
will assert that these support Gospel 
doctrines. If that will not do, I must 
print it myself. Oxford, of course, would 
be most convenient for the correction 
of the press. 

Mr. L.'s* principles are not very 
severe ; he is more a votary to Mammon 
than God. 

O ! I burn with impatience for the 
moment of the dissolution of intoler- 
ance ; it has injured me ! I swear on the 
altar of perjured Love to revenge myself 
on the hated cause of the effect which 
even now I can scarcely help deploring. 
Indeed, I think it is to the benefit of 
society to destroy the opinions which 
can annihilate the dearest of its ties. 

Inconveniences would now result 
from my owning the novel which I have 

* "L." is probably the initial of some Oxford printer 
or publisher. 

C 



6 LETTERS TO 

in preparation for the press. I give 
out, therefore, that I will publish no 
more ; every one here, but the select 
few who enter into my schemes, believe 
my assertion. I will stab the wretch 
in secret. Let us hope that the wound 
which I inflict, though the dagger be 
concealed, will rankle in the heart of 
the adversary. 

My father wished to withdraw me 
from college : I would not consent to it. 
There lowers a terrific tempest; but I 
stand as it were, on a pharos, and smile 
exultingly at the vain beating of the 
billows below. 

So much for egotism ! 

Your poetry pleases me very much ; 
the idea is beautiful, but I hope the 
contrast is not from nature. The verses 
on the Dying Gladiator are good, but 
they seem composed in a hurry. I am 
composing a satirical poem : I shall 
print it at Oxford, unless I find, on 
visiting him, that R[obinson] is ripe for 



THOMAS JEFFERSON HOGG. 7 

printing whatever will sell. In case of 
that, he is my man. 

It is not William Godwin who lives 
in Holborn : it is John, no relation to 
the other. 

As to W.,* I wrote to him when in 
London, by way of a gentle alterative. 
He promised to write to me when he had 
time, seemed surprised at what I had said, 
yet directed to me as " The Reverend " : 
his amazement must be extreme. 

I shall not read Bishop Prettyman, 
or any more of them, unless I have 
some particular reason. Bigots will not 
argue ; it destroys the very nature of the 
the thing to argue ; it is contrary to faith. 
How, therefore, could you suppose that 
one of these liberal gentlemen would 
listen to scepticism, on the subject even 
of St. Athanasius's sweeping anathema? 

* "W." seems to have been some person of public 
note to whom Shelley had written on religious topics 
(especially the Athanasian creed) in a tone which, 
though sceptical, was also grave, and which misled 
" W." into supposing his correspondent to be a clergy- 
man. 



LETTERS TO 

I have something else to tell you, and 
I will in another letter. 

Love ! dearest, sweetest power ! how 
much are we indebted to thee ! How 
much superior are even thy miseries to 
the pleasures which arise from other 
sources ! How much superior to "fat, 
contented ignorance " is even the agony 
which thy votaries experience ! Yes, 
my friend, I am now convinced that a 
monarchy is the only form of govern- 
ment (in a certain degree) which a 
lover ought to live under. Yet in this 
alone is subordination necessary. Man 
is equal, and I am convinced that 
equality will be the attendant on a 
more advanced and ameliorated state 
of society. But this is assertion, not 
proof, indeed, there can be none. 
Then you will say, " Excuse my be- 
lieving it." Willingly. 

St. Irvyne is come out ; it is sent to 
you at Mr. DayrelFs ; you can get one 
in London by mentioning my name to 



THOMAS JEFFERSON HOGG. 9 

Stockdale. You need not state your 
own ; and, as names are not now in 
scribed on the front of every existing 
creature,* you run no risk of discovery 
in person, if it be a crime or a sin to 
procure my Novel. 

How can you fancy that I shall ever 
think you mad? Am not /the wildest, 
the most delirious, of Enthusiasm's off- 
spring? On one subject I am cool, 
toleration ; yet that coolness alone 
possesses me that I may with more 
certainty guide the spear to the breast 
of my adversary, with more certainty 
ensanguine it with the heart's blood of 
Intolerance hated name ! 

Adieu. Down with Bigotry ! Down 
with Intolerance ! In this endeavour 
your most sincere friend will join his 
every power, his every feeble resource. 
Adieu. 

To T. /. Hogs, 

Lincoln s Inn Fields. 

* An allusion probably to the brand of Cain. 
D 



io LETTERS TO 



LETTER II. 



FIELD PLACE, 

HORSHAM, SUSSEX. 

December 2yd, 1810. 
[Sunday. ] 

MY DEAR FRIEND, 

The first desire which I felt on 
receiving your letters was instantly to 
come to London, that a friend might 
sympathise in those sorrows which are 
beyond alleviation.* That I cannot do 
this week ; on Sunday or Monday next 
I will come, if you still remain in town. 

Why will you add to the never-dying 
remorse which my egotising folly has 
occasioned (for which, so long as its 
fatal effects remain, never can I forgive 
myself), by accusing yourself of a feeling, 

* The lady who was so disturbing Shelley's mind at 
this time was his cousin, Harriet Grove. 



THOMA S JEFFERSON HOGG. 1 1 

as intrusive, which I cannot but regard 
as another part of that amiability which 
has marked your character since first I 
had the happiness of your friendship ? 
Where exists the moral wrong of seeking 
the society of one whom I loved ? 
What offence to reason, to virtue, was 
there in desiring the communication of a 
lengthened correspondence, in order that 
both, she and myself, might see if, by 
coincidence of intellect, we were willing 
to enter into a closer, an eternal union ? 
No, it is no offence to reason or virtue ; 
it is obeying its most imperious dictates, 
it is complying with the designs of 
the Author of our nature. Can this be 
immorality? Can it be selfishness, or 
interested ambition, to seek the happi- 
ness of the object of attachment ? I am 
sure your own judgment, your own 
reason, must answer in the negative. 
Let me now ask you what reason was 
there then for despair, even supposing 
my love to have been incurable ? 



12 LETTERS TO 

Her disposition was, in all probability, 
divested of the enthusiasm by which 
mine is characterized : could therefore 
hers be prophetic? She might not be 
susceptible of that feeling, which arises 
from an admiration of virtue when 
abstracted from identity. 

My sister attempted sometimes to 
plead my cause, but unsuccessfully. 
She said : 

" Even supposing I take your repre- 
sentation of your brother's qualities and 
sentiments (which, as you coincide in 
and admire, I may fairly imagine to be 
exaggerated, although you may not be 
aware of the exaggeration), what right 
have /, admitting that he is so superior, 
to enter into an intimacy which must 
end in delusive disappointment when 
he finds how really inferior I am to the 
being which his heated imagination has 
pictured ? " 

This was unanswerable, particularly 
as the prejudiced description of a sister, 



THOMAS JEFFERSON HOGG. 1 3 

who loves her brother as she does, 
might, indeed must, have given to her 
an erroneously exalted idea of the 
superiority of my mental attainments. 

You have said that the philosophy 
which I pursued is not uncongenial 
with the strictest morality. You must 
see that it militates with the received 
opinions of the world. What, therefore, 
does it offend but prejudice and super- 
stition ; that superstitious bigotry, in- 
spired by the system upon which at pres- 
ent the world acts, of believing all that 
we are told as incontrovertible facts ? 

I hope that what I have said will 
induce you to allow me still, and all 
the more, to remain your friend. 

I hope that you will soon have an 
opportunity of seeing, of conversing 
with, Elizabeth. 

How sorry I am that I cannot invite 
you here now ! I will tell you the 
reason when we meet. Believe me, my 
dear friend, when I assert that I shall 

E 



J4 LETTERS TO 

ever continue so to you. 7 have reason 
to lament deeply the sorrows with 
which fate has marked my life. I am 
not so deeply debased by it, however, 
but that the exertions for the happiness 
of my friend shall supersede considera- 
tions of narrower and selfish interest,- 
but that his woes should claim a sigh 
before one repining thought arose at 
my own lot. I know the cause of all 
human disappointment, worldly pre- 
judice ; mine is the same. I know also 
its origin, bigotry. 

Adieu. Write again. Believe me 
your most sincere friend. Adieu.* 

P. B. S. 

To T.J. Hogg, 

Lincoln s Inn Fields. 

* Elizabeth Shelley, referred to in the foregoing 
letter and so often in this volume, was the poet's eldest 
sister, born considerably within two years of the date 
of his birth. At the time of this correspondence she 
was just over sixteen years and a half old. The next 
sister, Mary, was only thirteen and a half. 



THOMAS JEFFERSON HOGG. 1 5 



LETTER III. 



FIELD PLACE, 
HORSHAM, SUSSEX. 

December 2 6th , 1 8 1 o . 
[ Wednesday. ] 

MY DEAR FRIEND, 

Why do you express yourself so 
flatteringly grateful to me, when I 
ought to experience that sensation 
towards you in the highest manner of 
which our nature is capable ? Why do 
you yet suppose that ) ou have offended 
against any of those rules for our 
conduct which we ought to regard with 
veneration ? 

What is delicacy ? Come, I must be 
severe with myself; I must irritate the 
wound which I wish to heal. 

Supposing the object of my affections 



1 6 LETTERS TO 

does not regard me, how have you 
transgressed against its dictates? in 
what have you offended? What is 
delicacy ? Let us define it, in the 
light in which you take it. I conceive 
it to be that inherent repugnance to in- 
juring others, particularly as regarding 
the objects of their dearer preference, 
which beings of superior intelligence 
feel. In what then, let me ask again, 
if / do not think you culpable, in what 
then have you offended ? Tell me, 
then, my dear friend, no more of 
" sorrow," no more of " remorse," at 
what you have said. Circumstances 
have operated in such a manner that 
the attainment of the object of my 
heart was impossible, whether on ac- 
count of extraneous influences, or from 
a feeling which possessed her mind, 
which told her not to deceive another, 
not to give him the possibility of dis- 
appointment. I feel I touch the string 
which, if vibrated, excites acute pain ; 



THOMAS JEFFERSON HOGG. 17 

but truth, and my real feelings which I 
wish to give you a clear idea of, over- 
come my resolve never to speak on the 
subject again. It is with reluctance to 
my own feelings that I have entered 
into this cold disquisition, when your 
heart sympathizes so deeply in my 
affliction. But for Heaven's sake 
consider, and do not criminate your- 
self; do not wrong the motives which 
actuated you upon so feeble a ground 
as that of delicacy. I do this, I say this, 
in justice as well as friendship ; I de- 
mand that you should do justice to 
yourself, then no more is required to 
give you at all events a consciousness 
of rectitude. 

I read most of your letters to my 
sister; she frequently enquires after 
you, and we talk of you often. I do 
not wish to awaken her intellect too 
powerfully ; this must be my apology 
for not communicating all my specu- 
lations to her. 



i8 LETTERS TO 

Thanks, truly thanks for opening 
your heart to me, for telling me your 
feelings towards me. Dare I do the 
same to you ? I dare not to myself ; 
how can I to another, perfect as he may 
be ? I dare not even to God, whose 
mercy is great. My unhappiness is ex- 
cessive. But I will cease; I will no 
more speak in riddles, but now quit for 
ever a subject which awakens too 
powerful susceptibilities for even 
negative misery. But that which in- 
jured me shall perish ! I even now by 
anticipation hear the expiring yell of 
Intolerance ! 

Pardon me. My sorrows are not so 
undeserved as you believe ; they are ob- 
trusive to narrate to myself ; they must 
be so to you. Let me wish you an 
eternity of happiness. 

I wish you knew Elizabeth ; she is a 
great consolation to me ; but, if all be 
well, my wishes on that score will soon 
be accomplished. On Monday night 



THOMAS JEFFERSON HOGG. 19 

you will see me. I cannot bear to 
suffer alone. Adieu. I have scarce a 
moment's time, only to tell you how 
sincerely I am your friend.* 

* This letter contains an expression of great value in 
dealing with an important matter of textual criticism : 
' ' I feel I touch the string which, if vibrated, excites 
acute pain." This seems to settle the question whether 
Shelley was capable of using vibrate as a transitive 
verb. This he is said to have done in the Ode to 
Liberty. In the words 

A glorious people vibrated again 

The lightning of the nations, 

the use of the word is precisely the same j and the 
occurrence of the phrase in this letter leaves but little 
hope that he really meant the first sentence of the Ode 
to end at again. 



20 LETTERS TO 



LETTER IV, 



FIELD PLACE, 

HORSHAM, SUSSEX. 

December, 28/7;, 1810. 
[Friday.} 

MY DEAR FRIEND, 

The encomium of one incapable of 
flattery is indeed flattering. Your dis- 
crimination of that chapter is more just 
than the praises which you bestow on 
so unconnected a thing as the romance* 
taken collectively. I wish you very 
much to publish a tale ; send one to a 
publisher. 

Oh, here we are in the midst of all 
the uncongenial jollities of Christmas ! 
When you are compelled to contribute 
to the merriment of others when you 

* St. Irvync. 



THOMAS JEFFERSON HOGG. 2 1 

are compelled to live under the severest 
of all restraints, concealment of feelings 
pregnant enough in themselves how 
terrible is your lot ! I am learning 
abstraction, but I fear that my pro- 
ficiency will be but trifling. I cannot, 
dare not, speak of myself. Why do 
you still continue to say, " Do not des- 
pond " that "You must not despair' 7 ? 

I admit that this despair would be 
unauthorized, when it was rational to 
suppose that at some future time 
mutual knowledge would awaken reci- 
procity of feeling. 

Your letter arrived at a moment 
when I could least bear any additional 
excitement of feelings. I have suc- 
ceeded now in calming my mind, but 
at first I knew not how to act. In- 
decision, and a fear of injuring another 
by complying with what perhaps were 
the real wishes of my bosom, distracted 
me. I do not tell you this by way of 
confession of my own state; for I 

G 



22 LETTERS TO 

believe that I may not be sufficiently 
aware of what I feel, myself, even to 
own it to myself. Believe me, my dear 
friend, that my only ultimate wishes 
now are for your happiness and that of 
my sisters. At present a thousand 
barriers oppose any more intimate 
connexion, any union, with another, 
which, although unnatural and fettering 
to a virtuous mind, are nevertheless 
unconquerable. 

I will, if possible, come to London 
on Monday,* certainly some time next 
week. I shall come about six o'clock, 
and will remain with you until that 
time the next morning, when I will tell 
you my reasons for wishing to return. 
Adieu. Excuse the shortness of this, 
as the servant waits. I will write on 
Sunday.t 

Yours most sincerely. 

* December -$T.st, 1810. 

t December $oth, 1810. No letter written by 
Shelley under this date is at present forthcoming. 



THOMAS JEFFERSON HOGG. 23 



LETTER V. 



FIELD PLACE, 

HORSHAM, SUSSEX. 

January 2nd) 1811. 
[ Wednesday. ] 

MY DEAR FRIEND, 

I cannot come to London before 
next week. I am but just returned to 
Field Place from an inefficient effort. 
Why do you, my happy friend, tell me 
of perfection in love ? Is she not gone ? 
And yet I breathe, I live ! But adieu 
to egotism ; I am sick to death at the 
name of self. 

Oh, your theory cost me much re- 
flection ; I have not ceased to think of 
it since your letter came, which was 
put into my hands at the moment of 



24 LETTERS TO 

departure on Sunday morning.* Is it 
not, however, founded on that hateful 
principle ? Is it j^ which you propose 
to raise to a state of superiority by your 
system of eternal perfectibility in love ? 
No ! Were this frame rendered eternal, 
were the particles which compose it, 
both as to intellect and matter, inde- 
structible, and then to undergo torments 
such as now we should shudder to 
think of, even in a dream, to undergo 
this, I say, for the extension of happi- 
ness to those for whom we feel a vivid 
preference, then would I love, adore, 
idolize your theory wild, unfounded 
as it might be. But no. I can conceive 
neither of these to be correct. Con- 
sidering matters in a philosophical light, 
it evidently appears (if it is not treason 
to speak thus coolly on a subject so 
deliriously ecstatic) that we were not 
destined for misery. What, then, shall 
happiness arise from ? Can we hesitate ? 

* December 30^, 1810. 



THOMAS JEFFERSON HOGG. 25 

Love, dear love! And, though every 
mental faculty is bewildered by the 
agony which is in this life its too 
constant attendant, still is not that very 
agony to be preferred to the most 
thrilling sensualities of epicurism ? 

I have wandered in the snow, for I 
am cold, wet, and mad. Pardon me, 
pardon my delirious egotism ; this really 
shall be the last. 

My sister is well ; I fear she is not 
quite happy on my account, but is 
much more cheerful than she was some 
days ago. I hope you will publish a 
tale ; I shall then give a copy to 
Elizabeth, unless you forbid it. I 
would do it not only to show her what 
your ideas are on the subject of works 
of imagination, and to interest her, 
but that she should see her brother's 
friend in a new point of view. When 
you examine her character, you will 
find humanity, not divinity, amiable as 
the former may sometimes be. How- 

H 



26 LETTERS TO 

ever, I, a brother, must not write 
treason against my sister; so I will 
check my volubility. Do not direct 
your next letter to Field Place, only to 
Horsham. 

To-morrow I will write more 
connectedly. 

Yours sincerely. 



THOMAS JEFFERSON HOGG. 27 



L E T T E R V I. 



FIELD PLACE, 

HORSHAM, SUSSEX, 

January 3n/, 1811. 
[Thursday.] 

MY DEAR FRIEND, 

Before we deny or believe the exist- 
ence of anything, it is necessary that 
we should have a tolerably clear idea 
of what it is.* The word " God," a 

* This letter (of January -$rd, 1811) is of some 
importance in the history of Shelley's religious opinions. 
It shows that the youth who, on the z^t/t of March, 
1811, was expelled from Oxford as author and dis- 
tributor of The Necessity of A theism^ could, even as 
late as the ^rd of January in the same year, argue 

ypnloinilv in TifVinlf ' F'lr'itlv of the immorlrilitv of fhf> 



sary antecedent to that immortality ; at the same time 
he would eliminate the word "God" from the field of 
discussion. This is sufficiently consonant with what is 
propounded in the Notes to Qiieen Mab, printed (not 
published) in 1813. 



28 LETTERS TO 

vague word, has been, and will con- 
tinue to be, the source of numberless 
errors, until it is erased from the no- 
menclature of philosophy. Does it 
not imply " the soul of the universe, 
the intelligent and necessarily benefi- 
cent actuating principle ? This it is im- 
possible not to believe in. I may not 
be able to adduce proofs ; but I think 
that the leaf of a tree, the meanest 
insect on which we trample, are in 
themselves arguments, more conclusive 
than any which can be advanced, that 
some vast intellect animates infinity. 
If we disbelieve this^ the strongest 
argument in support of the existence 
of a future state instantly becomes 
annihilated. I confess that I think 
Pope's 

"All are but parts of a stupendous whole " 

something more than poetry. It has 
ever been my favourite theory. For 
the immortal soul " never to be able to 



THOMAS JEFFERSON HOGG. 29 

die, never to escape from some shrine 
as chilling as the clay-formed dungeon 
which it now inhabits " is the future 
punishment which I can most easily 
believe in. 

Love, love infinite in extent, eternal 
in duration, yet (allowing your theory 
in that point) perfectible should be 
the reward. But can we suppose that 
this reward will arise spontaneously, as 
a necessary appendage to our nature ? 
or that our nature itself could be 
without cause a first cause, a God. 
When do we see effects arise without 
causes ? What causes are there without 
correspondent effects ? 

Yet here I swear and as I break 
my oaths, may Infinity, Eternity, blast 
me here I swear that never will I 
forgive Intolerance ! It is the only 
point on which I allow myself to 
encourage revenge. Every moment 
shall be devoted to my object, which 
I can spare ; and let me hope that it 

i 



30 LETTERS TO 

will not be a blow which spends itself, 
and leaves the wretch at rest, but 
lasting, long revenge ! I am con- 
vinced, too, that it is of great dis- 
service to society, that it encourages 
prejudices which strike at the root of 
the dearest, the tenderest, of its ties. 
Oh how I wish /were the avenger ! 
that it were mine to crush the demon, 
to hurl him to his native hell, never to 
rise again, and thus to establish for 
ever perfect and universal toleration ! 
I expect to gratify some of this insati- 
able feeling in poetry. 

You shall see you shall hear how 
it has injured me. She is no longer 
mine ! she abhors me as a sceptic, as 
what she was before ! O Bigotry ! when 
I pardon this last, this severest of thy 
persecutions, may Heaven (if there be 
wrath in Heaven) blast me ! Has 
vengeance, in its armoury of wrath, 
a punishment more dreadful ? Yet 
forgive me, I have done ; and were 



THOMAS JEFFERSON HOGG. 31 

it not for your great desire to know 
why I consider myself as the victim of 
severer anguish, that I could have 
entered into this brief recital.* 

I am afraid there is selfishness in 
the passion of love, for I cannot avoid 
feeling every instant as if my soul was 
bursting. But I will feel no more : it 
is selfish. I would feel for others ; but 
for myself oh how much rather would 
I expire in the struggle ! Yes, that 
were a relief! Is suicide wrong? I 
slept with a loaded pistol and some 
poison last night, but did not die. 

I could not come on Monday, my 
sister would not part with me ; but I 
must I will see you soon. My 
sister is now comparatively happy ; 
she has felt deeply for me. Had it 
not been for her had it not been for 
a sense of what I owed to her, to you 
I should have bidden you a final 
farewell some time ago. But can the 

* This imperfect sentence must mean " I could not," 
&c. The that has no business there. 



32 LETTERS TO 

dead feel ? Dawns any day-beam on 
the night of dissolution ? 

Pray publish your tale ; demand one 
hundred pounds for it from any pub- 
lisher he will give it in the event. It 
is delightful, it is divine ! Not that I 
like your heroine : but the poor Mary 
is a character worthy of Heaven I 
adore her ! * 

Adieu, my dear friend, 

Your sincere, 
P. B. S[HELLEY.] 

P.S. W 1 has written. I have 

read his letter : it is too long to answer. 
I continue to dissipate Elizabeth's 
melancholy by keeping her, as much 
as possible, employed in poetry. You 
shall see some to-morrow. I cannot 
tell you when I can come to town. I 
wish it very much. 

* Perhaps the early verses written by Shelley, 
named To Mary, who died in this opinion, may refer 
to the "Mary" of Hogg's MS. novel. There is no 
known person, actually connected with Shelley's bio- 
graphy, to whom those verses can refer. 

t See ante, p. 7. 



THOMAS JEFFERSON HOGG. 33 



LETTER VII. 



FIELD PLACE, 
HORSHAM, SUSSEX. 

January 6th, 1811. 
{Sunday. ] 

MY DEAR FRIEND, 

Dare I request one favor for myself 
for my own sake ? Not the keenest 
anguish which the most unrelenting 
tyrant could invent should force me to 
request from you so great a sacrifice 
of friendship. It is a beloved sister's 
happiness which forces me to this. 
She saw me when I received your 
letter of yesterday. She saw the con- 
flict of my soul. At first she said 
nothing : and then she exclaimed, 

K 



34 LETTERS TO 

" Re-direct it,* and send it instantly 
to the post ! " Believe me, I feel far 
more than I will allow myself to ex- 
press, for the cruel disappointments 
which I have undergone. Write to 
me whatever you wish to say. You 
may say what you will on other sub- 
jects : but on that I dare not even 
read what you would write. Forget 
her? 

What would I not have given up to 
have been thus happy ? t I thought I 
knew the means by which it might 
have been effected. Yet I consider 
what a female sacrifices when she re- 
turns the attachment even of one whose 
faith she supposes inviolable. Hard is 
the agony which is indescribable, which 
is only to be felt. Will she not en- 
counter the opprobrium of the world ? 

* Shelley, it would seem, received a letter from 
Hogg, and guessed that it referred to the painful 
subject of Miss Grove. Elizabeth induced him to 
return this letter, unread, to Hogg himself. 

t "Thus happy" seems to mean not "so happy as 
to forget her," but " so happy as to make her mine." 



THOMAS JEFFERSON HOGG. 35 

and, what is more severe (generally 
speaking), the dereliction and con- 
tempt of those who before had avowed 
themselves most attached to her. I 
did not encourage the remotest sus- 
picion. I Was convinced of her truth, 
as I was of my own existence. Still, 
was it not natural 'in her (even although 
she might return the most enthusiastic 
prepossessions arising from the consci- 
ousness of intellectual sympathy) 
ignorant as she was of some of my 
opinions, of my sensations (for un- 
limited confidence is requisite for the 
existence of mutual love) to have 
some doubts, some fears? Besides, 
when in her natural character, her 
spirits are good, her conversation 
animated ; and she was almost, in 
consequence, ignorant of the refine- 
ments in love which can only be 
attained by solitary reflection. 

Forsake her ! Forsake one whom 
I loved ! Can I ? Never ! But she 



36 LETTERS TO 

is gone she is lost to me for ever; 
for ever. 

There is a mystery which I dare not 
to clear up ; it is the only point on 
which I will be reserved to you. I 
have tried the methods you would 
have recommended. I followed her. 
I would have followed her to the end 

of the earth, but If you value 

the little happiness which yet remains, 
do not mention again to me sorrows 
which, if you could share in, would 
wound a heart which it now shall be 
my endeavour to heal of those pains 
which, through sympathy with me, it 
has already suffered. 

I will crush Intolerance ! I will, at 
least, attempt it. To fail even in so 
useful an attempt were glorious. 

I enclose some poetry : * 



* The correct title of this poem, it seems, is On an 
Icicle that clung to the Grass of a Grave, not The 
Tear, as formerly printed in editions of Shelley's 



THOMAS JEFFERSON HOGG. 37 

Oh ! take the pure gem to where southerly 

breezes. 
Waft repose to some bosom as faithful as 

fair. 
In which the warm current of love never 

freezes, 

As it rises unmingled with selfishness there, 
Which, untainted by pride, unpolluted by care, 
Might dissolve the dim icedrop, might bid it 

arise, 
Too pttre for these regions, to gleam in the 

skies. 

Or where the stern warrior, his country defend- 
ing, 
Dares fearless the dark-rolling' battle to 

pour, 

Or o'er the fell corpse of a dread tyrant bend- 
ing, 
Where patriotism red with his guilt -reeking 

gore 

Plants liberty's flag on the slave-peopled shore, 
With victory's cry, with the shout of the free, 
Let it fly, taintless spirit, to mingle with thee. 

For I found the pure gem, when the day beam 

returning, 
Ineffectual gleams on the snow-covered plain, 

poems. The true title explains sufficiently the mean- 
ing of the first few lines in a composition without much 
value other than biographical. 

L 



38 LETTERS TO 

When to others the wished-for arrival of morn- 
ing 
Brings relief to long visions of soul-racking 

pain j 

But regret is an insult to grieve is in vain : 
And why should we grieve that a spirit so fair 
Seeks Heaven to mix with its own kindred 
there ? 

But still 'twas some spirit of kindness descend- 
ing 
To share in the load of mortality* s woe, 

Who over thy lowly -built septtlchre bending 
Bade sympathy's tenderest tear-drop to flow. 

Not for thee, soft compassion, celestials did 
know, 

But if angels can weep t sure man may repine, 

May weep in mute grief o'er thy low- laid 
shrine. 

And did I then say, for the altar of glory, 
That the earliest, the loveliest of flowers I'd 

entwine, 
Tho' with millions of blood- reeking victims 

'twas gory, 
Tho' the tears of the widow polluted its 

shrine, 
Tho' around it the orphans, the fatherless 

pine ? 

Oh ! Fame, all thy glories I'd yield for a tear 
To shed on the grave of a heart so sincere. 



THOMAS JEFFERSON HOGG. 39 

I am very cold this morning, so you 
must excuse bad writing, as I have been 
most of the night pacing a churchyard. 
I must now engage in scenes of strong 
interest. 

You see the subject of the foregoing. 
I send it, because it may amuse you. 
Your letter has just arrived ; I will send 

W 's * to University, when I can 

collect them. If it amuses you, you 
can answer him ; if not, I will. 

I will consider your argument against 
the Non-existence of a Deity. Do you 
allow that some supernatural power 
actuates the organization of physical 
causes ? It is evident so far as this, 
that, if power and wisdom are employed 
in the continual arrangement of these 
affairs, this power, c., is something 
out of the comprehension of man, as 
he now exists ; at least if we allow that 
the soul is not matter. Then, admit- 
ting that this actuating principle is 

* See ante, pp. 7 and 32. 



40 LETTERS TO 

such as I have described, admitting 
it to be finite, there must be something 
beyond this, which influences its ac- 
tions ; and all this series advancing 
(as, if it does in one instance, it must 
to infinity) must at last terminate, in 
the existence which may be called a 
Deity. And, if this Deity thus in- 
fluences the actions of the Spirits (if 
I may be allowed the expression) which 
take care of minor events (supposing 
your theory to be true), why is it not 
the soul of the Universe ? in what is it 
not analogous to the soul of man ? 
Why too is not gravitation the soul of 
a clock ? I entertain no doubt of the 
fact, although it possesses no capabili- 
ties of variation. If the principle of 
life (that of reason put out of the 
question, as in the cases of dogs, 
horses, and oysters) be soul, then 
gravitation is as much the soul of a 
clock as animation is that of an oyster. 
I think we may not inaptly define Soul 



THOMA S JEFFERSON HOGG. 4 1 

as "the most supreme, superior, and 
distinguished abstract appendage to 
the nature of anything." 

But I will write again : my head is 
rather dizzy to-day, on account of 
not taking rest, and a slight attack of 
typhus. 

Adieu, I will write soon. 

Your sincerest 
PERCY B. SHELLEY.* 

To T. J. Hogg, 

University College, 

Oxford. 



* The morbid passage at the top of page 39, about 
pacing a churchyard all night, is interesting in so far as 
it may have been the recollection of that incident 
which furnished the poet with the germ of the fine 
lines in Alastor 

I have made my bed 

In charnels and on coffins, where black death 
Keeps record of the trophies won from thee, 
Hoping to still these obstinate questionings 
Of thee and thine, by forcing some lone ghost 
Thy messenger, to render up the tale 
Of what we are. 



M 



42 LETTERS TO 



LETTER VIII. 



FIELD PLACE, 
HORSHAM, SUSSEX. 

January nth, 1 8 1 1. 
[Friday. ] 

MY DEAR FRIEND, 

I will not now consider your little 
Essay, which arrived this morning ; I 
wait till to-morrow. It coincides ex- 
actly with Elizabeth's sentiments on 
the subject, to whom I read it. Indeed 
it has convinced her ; although, from 
my having a great deal to do to-day, I 
cannot listen to so full an exposition 
of her sentiments on the subject as I 
would wish to send you. I shall write 
to you to-morrow on this matter ; and, 
if you clear up some doubts which yet 



THOMAS JEFFERSON HOGG. 43 

remain, dissipate some hopes relative 
to the perfectibility of man, generally 
considered as well as individually, I 
will willingly submit to the system, 
which at present I cannot but strongly 
reprobate. 

How can I find words to express my 
thanks for such generous conduct with 
regard to my sister ? * With talents 
and attainments such as you possess, 
to promise what I ought not perhaps 
to have required, what nothing but a 
dear sister's intellectual improvement 
could have induced me to demand ! 
What can I say on the subject of your 
letter concerning Elizabeth? is it not 
dictated by the most generous and 
disinterested of human motives ? I 
have not shown it to her yet ; I need 
not explain the reason. On this point 
you know all. 

* The words "generous conduct" must refer to the 
inditing and despatching of the " Little Essay," for the 
clearing up of some of Elizabeth's hazy speculative 
ideas and a general promise of intellectual aid to her. 



44 LETTERS TO 

There is only one affair * of which I 
will make the least cloud of mystery ; 
it is the only point on which I will be a 
solitary being. To be solitary, to be 
reserved, in communicating pain, surely 
cannot be criminal ; it cannot be con- 
trary to the strictest duties of friend- 
ship. 

She is gone ! She is lost to me for 
ever ! She is married ! t Married to 
a clod of earth ! She will become as 
insensible herself ; all those fine capa- 
bilities will moulder ! 

Let us speak no more on the sub- 
ject. Do not deprive me of the little 
remains of peace which yet linger, that 



* No doubt the affaire dc cocnr with Miss Harriet 
Grove. 

f This letter announces that Harriet Grove "is 
married." But it appears that in fact she did not 
marry until about August of the same year [see 
Rossetti's Memoir oj 'Shelley ', p. 26]. The letter seems 
to be correctly dated in January, and the discrepancy 
is a startling one. Perhaps the likeliest way of account- 
ing for it is to suppose that Shelley, in saying that 
Harriet Grove was married, really meant that she had 
definitely engaged herself to marry, and was therefore 
virtually married. Or perhaps the words to be have 
been accidentally omitted in transcription. 



THOMAS JEFFERSON HOGG. 45 

which arises from endeavours to make 
others happy. 

The Poetry which I sent you alluded 
not to the subject of my nonsensical 
ravings. I hope that you are now 
publishing one of your tales. L. * 
would do it, as well as any one ; if you 
do not choose to publish a book at 
Oxford, you can print it there, and I 
will engage to dispose of five hundred 
copies. S professes to be ac- 
quainted with your family ; hinc illcz 
lacrymce ! 

I attempted to enlighten my father. 
Mirabile dictu^ he for a moment lis- 
tened to my arguments. He allowed the 
impossibility (considered abstractedly) 
of any preternatural interferences by 
Providence : he allowed the utter in- 
credibility of witches, ghosts, legendary 
miracles. But, when I came to apply 
the truths on which we had agreed so 
harmoniously, he started at the bare 

* See p. 5. 



46 LETTERS TO 

idea of some facts, generally believed, 
never having existed, and silenced me 
with an equine argument ; in effect with 
these words " I believe, because I do 
not believe." 

My mother imagines me to be on the 
high road to Pandemonium ; she fancies 
I want to make a deistical coterie of all 
my little sisters : how laughable ! 

You must be very solitary at Oxford. 
I wish I could come there now ; but, 
for reasons which I will tell you at 
meeting, it is delayed for a fortnight, 

I have a Poem * with Mr. L , 

which I shall certainly publish ; there 
is some of Elizabeth's in it. I will 
write to-morrow. I have something 

to add to it ; and, if L has any 

idea, when he speaks to you, of pub- 
lishing it with my name, will you tell 
him to leave it alone till I come. 

* This "Poem" may very probably have been the 
introuvable Poetical Essay on the Existing State of 
Things. 



THOMAS JEFFERSON HOGG. 47 

Yes ! the arms of Britannia victorious arc 

bearing 
Fame, triumph , and glory, wherever they 

speed, 

Her Lion his crest o^er the nations is rearing. 
Ruin follows, it tramples the dying and 

dead, 

Thy countrymen fall, the blood-reeking bed 
Of the battle-slain sends a complaint-breath- 
ing sigh, 
It is mixed with the shoutings of Victory. 

Old Ocean to shrieks of despair is resounding, 
It washes the terror-struck nations with 

gore, 

Wild Horror the fear-palsied earth is astound- 
ing, 

And murmurs of fate fright the dread-con- 
vulsed shore. 

The Andes in sympathy start at the roar, 
Vast sEtna, alarmed, leans his flame-gloiv- 

ing brow, 

And huge Teneriffe stoops with his pinnacled 
snow. 

The ice mountains echo, the Baltic, the Ocean, 
Where Cold sits enthroned on his column of 
snows, 

Even Spitzbergen perceives the terrific commo- 
tion, 



48 LETTERS TO 

The roar floats on the whirlwind of sleet, as 

this blows 
Blood tinges the streams as half-frozen they 

flow, 
The meteors of war lurid flame thro* the 

air. 
They mix their bright gleam with the red 

polar star. 



All are brethren, and even the African bending 
To the stroke of the hard-hearted English- 
man^ rod, 

The courtier at Luxury's palace attending. 
The senator trembling at Tyranny's nod, 
Each nation which kneels at the footstool of 

God, 
All are brethren then banish distinction 

afar, 

Let Concord and Love heal the miseries of 
War! 



These are Elizabeth's. She has 
written many more, and I will show 
you at some future time the whole of 
the composition. I like it very much, 



THOMAS JEFFERSON HOGG. 49 

if a brother may be allowed to praise a 
sister. I will write to-morrow. 

Yours with affection, 

P. B. S. 

Can you read this ? 

To T.J. Hogg, 

University College, 
Oxford. 



50 LETTERS TO 



LETTER IX. 



FIELD PLACE, 
HORSHAM, SUSSEX. 

January I2th y 1811. 
[Saturday. ] 

MY DEAR FRIEND, 

Your letter, with the extremely 
beautiful enclosed poetry, came this 
morning. It is really admirable ; it 
touches the heart : but I must be al- 
lowed to offer one critique upon it. You 
will be surprised to hear that I think it 
unfinished. You have not said that 
the ivy, after it had destroyed the oak, 
as if to mock the miseries which it 
caused, twined around a pine which 



THOMAS JEFFERSON HOGG. 51 

stood near.* It is true, therefore, but 
does not comprehend the whole truth. 
As to the stuff which I sent you, I 
write all my poetry of that kind from 
the feelings of the moment ; if therefore 
it neither has allusion to the sentiments 
which rationally might be supposed to 
possess me, or to those which my situ- 
ation might awaken, it is another proof 
of that egotizing variability, which I 
shudder to reflect how much I am in its 
power. 

To you I dare represent myself as I 
am : wretched to the last degree. Some- 
times one gleam of hope, one faint soli- 
tary gleam, seems to illumine the dark- 
ened prospect before me but it has 
vanished. I fear it will never return. 
My sister will, I fear, never return the 
attachment which would once again 
bid me be calm. Yes ! In this alone 



* This may possibly imply an embittered reference 
to the affair of Miss Grove : she being shadowed forth 
in the ivy, Shelley in the oak, and her husband in the 
pine. 



52 LETTERS TO 

is my feeble anticipation of peace 
placed ! But what am I ? Am I not 
the most degraded of deceived enthusi- 
asts ? Do I not deceive myself? I 
never, never can feel peace again ! 

What necessity is there for continu- 
ing in existence ? " But Heaven ! 
Eternity ! Love ! " My dear friend, I 
am yet a sceptic on these subjects : 
would that I could believe them to be 
as they are represented ; would that I 
could totally disbelieve them ! But 
no ! That would be selfish. I still 
have firmness enough to resist this last, 
this most horrible of errors. Is my 
despair the result of the hot sickly love 
which inflames the admirers of Sterne 
or Moore ? * It is the conviction of 
unmerited unkindness ; the conviction 
that, should a future world exist, the 
object of my attachment would be as 
miserable as myself, is the cause of it. 



* Not Thomas Moore, but Dr. John Moore, author 
of Zelnco and Mordaunt. 



THOMAS JEFFERSON HOGG. S3 

I here take God (and a God exists) 
to witness, that I wish torments which 
beggar the futile description of a fancied 
hell would fall upon me, provided I 
could obtain thereby that happiness 
for what I love which, I fear, can never 
be ! The question is, What do I love ? 
It is almost unnecessary to answer. 
Do I love the person, the embodied 
identity, if I may be allowed the ex- 
pression ? No ! I love what is superior, 
what is excellent, or what I conceive to 
be so ; and I wish, ardently wish, to be 
profoundly convinced of the existence 
of the Deity, that so superior a spirit 
might derive some degree of happiness 
from my feeble exertions : for love is 
heaven, and heaven is love. You think 
so too, and you disbelieve not the ex- 
istence of an eternal, omnipresent 
Spirit. 

Am I not mad ? Alas ! I am ; but 
I pour out my ravings into the ear of 
a friend who will pardon them. 

p 



54 LETTERS TO 

Stay ! I have an idea. I think I 
can prove the existence of a Deity a 
First Cause. I will ask a materialist, 
How came this universe at first ? He 
will answer, " By chance." What 
chance ? I will answer in the words of 
Spinoza : " An infinite number of atoms 
had been floating from all eternity in 
space, till at last one of them fortuit- 
ously diverged from its track, which, 
dragging with it another, formed the 
principle of gravitation, and in conse- 
quence the universe." What cause 
produced this change, this chance ? 
For where do we know that causes 
arise without their correspondent 
effects ? At least we must here, on so 
abstract a subject, reason analogically. 
Was not this then a cause^ was it not a 
first cause ? Was not this first cause 
a Deity ? Now nothing remains but 
to prove that this Deity has a care ; or 
rather that its only employment con- 
sists in regulating the present and future 



THOMAS JEFFERSON HOGG. 55 

happiness of its creation. Our ideas 
of infinite space, &c. are scarcely to be 
called ideas, for we cannot either com- 
prehend or explain them ; therefore the 
Deity must -be judged by us from attri- 
butes analogical to our situation. Oh 
that this Deity were the soul of the 
universe, the spirit of universal, im- 
perishable love ! Indeed I believe 
it is. 

But now to your argument of the 
necessity of Christianity. I am not 
sure that your argument does not tend 
to prove its unreality. If it does not, 
you allow, you say, that love is the 
only true source of rational happiness. 
One man is capable of it ; why not all ? 

The Gullibility of man preterite I 
allow ; but because men are and have 
been cullible, I see no reason why they 
should always continue so. Have there 
not been fluctuations in the opinions 
of mankind ? and, as the stuff which 
soul is made of must be in every one 



56 LETTERS TO 

the same, would not an extended sys- 
tem of rational and moral unprejudiced 
education render each individual cap- 
able of experiencing that degree of 
happiness to which each ought to 
aspire, more for others than self? 

Hideous, hated traits of Superstition! 
Oh Bigots ! how I abhor your influence ! 
They are all bad enough. But do we 
not see Fanaticism decaying ? Is not 
its influence weakened, except where 
Faber, Rowland Hill, and several 
others of the Armageddon heroes, 
maintain their posts with all the 
obstinacy of long-established dogma- 
tism ? How I pity them ! how I 
despise, hate them ! 

Stockdale knows Mr. D. would 
publish your tale. I am beyond mea- 
sure anxious for its appearance. 

Adieu. Excuse my mad arguments ; 
they are none at all, for I am rather 
confused, and fear, in consequence 
of a fever, they will not allow me 



THOMAS JEFFERSON HOGG. 57 

to come * on the 26th ; but I will. 
Adieu. 

Your affectionate friend, 

P. B. S. 

You can enclose to Timothy Shelley, 
Esq., M.P. 

To T.J. Hogg, 

University College, 
Oxford. 

* To Oxford, no doubt, via London. 



58 LETTERS TO 



LETTER X. 



FIELD PLACE, 
HORSHAM, SUSSEX. 

Jamtary i^th, 1811. 
[Monday. ] 

MY DEAR FRIEND, 

Your letter and that of W * came 

to-day ; yours is excellent, and, I think, 
will fully (in his own mind) convince 

Mr. W . I enclosed five sheets of 

paper full this morning, and sent them 
to the coach with yours. I sat up all 
night to finish them. They attack his 
hypothesis in its very basis, which, at 
some future time, I will explain to 
you ; and I have attempted to prove, 
from the existence of a Deity and of 
Revelation, the futility of the supersti- 

* See pp. 7, 32, and 39. 



THOMAS JEFFERSON HOGG. 59 

tion upon which he founds his whole 
scheme. 

I was sorry to see that you even 
remotely suspected me of being 
offended with you. How I wish that 
I could persuade you that it is im- 
possible ! 

I am really sleepy. Could you sup- 
pose that I should be so apathetic as 
ever to sleep again till my last slumber ? 
But be it so, and I shall take a walk in 
St. Leonard's Forest to dissipate it. 

Adieu. You shall hear from me to- 
morrow. 

Your sincere friend, 

P. B. S. 



Stockdale has behaved infamously 
to me : he has abused the confidence I 
reposed in him in sending him my 
work ; and he has made very free with 
your character, of which he knows 
nothing, with my father. I shall call 



60 LETTERS TO 

on Stockdale on my way, that he may 
explain. May I expect to see your 
Tale printed? 

To T.J. Hogg, 

University College, 
Oxford. 



THOMAS JEFFERSON HOGG. 61 



LETTER XL 



FIELD PLACE, 
HORSHAM, SUSSEX. 

January \6tk, 1811. 
[ Wednesday. ] 

MY DEAR FRIEND, 

You will hear from me to-morrow. 
I have to-day scarcely time but to tell 
you that I do not forget you. You tell 
me that it will show greatness of soul 
to rise after such a fall as mine. Ah, 
what pain must I feel when I contra- 
dict the flattering view which you have 
taken of my character ! Do I not 
know myself? Do I not feel the 
acutest poignancy of mortification, 
amounting to actual misery ? Alas, I 
must, with Godwin, say that in man, 

R 



62 LETTERS TO 

imperfect as he now exists, there is 
never a motive for action unmixed ; 
that the best has its alloy, the worst is 
commingled with virtue. 

What does my mortification arise 
from ? Surely not wholly for myself, 
nor wholly for the happiness of the 
being whom I have lost. Did I know, 
were I convinced, that I felt for no- 
thing but Her, no self-reproach would 
tell me that my pangs were disgraceful. 
But now, when I fear, when I feel, that, 
in spite of myself, regret for the high 
happiness I have lost is mingled with 
the other consideration, do I feel too 
that it is disgraceful, degrading ! 

Adieu. I will write to-morrow, 
P. B. SHELLEY. 

To T.J.Hogg, 

University College, 
Oxford. 



THOMAS JEFFERSON HOGG. 63 



LETTER XII. 



FIELD PLACE, 
HORSHAM, SUSSEX. 

January I7//&, 1811. 
\Thursday.] 

MY DEAR FRIEND, 

I shall be with you as soon as 
possible next week. You really were 
at Hungerford, whether you knew it 
or not. You tell me nothing about 
the tale which you promised me. I 
hope it gets on in the press. I am 
anxious for its appearance. 

Stockdale certainly behaved in a 
vile manner to me ; no other book- 
seller would have violated the con- 
fidence reposed in him. I will talk 
to him in London, where I shall be 



64 LETTERS TO 

on Tuesday. Can I do anything for 
you there ? 

You notice the peculiarity of the 
expression " My Sister " in my letters.* 
It certainly arose independent of con- 
sideration, and I am happy to hear that 
it is so. 

Your systematic cudgel for block- 
heads is excellent. I tried it on with 
my father, who told me that thirty 
years ago he had read Locke, but 
this made no impression. The " equus 
et res" are all that I can boast of; the 
"pater" is swallowed up in the first 
article of the catalogue. 

You tell me nothing of the tale ; I 
am all anxiety about it. I am forced 
hastily to bid you adieu. 

P. B. SHELLEY. 

To T.J. Hogg, 

University College, 
Oxford. 

* The "peculiarity" was, presumably, that Shelley 
who had four sisters, spoke of " my sister" Elizabeth 
as if he had only one. See note at p. 14. 



THOMAS JEFFERSON HOGG. 65 



LETTER XIII. 



FIELD PLACE, 
HORSHAM, SUSSEX. 

[January 2yd, i8ll. 
Wednesday. ] 

MY DEAR FRIEND, 

You are all over the country. I 
shall be at Oxford on Friday or Satur- 
day evening. I will write to you from 
London. 

My father's prophetic prepossession 
in your favour is become as high as 
before it was to your prejudice. 
Whence it arises, or from what cause, 
I am inadequate to say ; I can merely 
state the fact. He came from London 
full of your praises ; your family, that 
of Mr. Hogg, of Norton House, near 

s 



66 LETTERS TO 

Stockton-upon-Tees. Your principles 
are now as divine as before they were 
diabolical. I tell you this with extreme 
satisfaction, and, to sum up the whole, 
he has desired me to make his compli- 
ments to you, and to invite you to 
make Field Place your head-quarters 
for the Easter vacation. I hope you 
will accept of it. I fancy he has been 
talking in town to some of the northern 
Members of Parliament who are ac- 
quainted with your family. However 
that may be, I hope you have no other 
arrangement for Easter which can in- 
terfere with granting me the pleasure of 
introducing you personally here. 

You have very well drawn your line 
of distinction between instinctive and 
rational motives of action. The former 
are not in our own power. Yet we 
may doubt if even these are purely 
selfish, as congeniality, sympathy, un- 
accountable attractions of intellect, 
which arise independent frequently of 



THOMAS JEFFERSON HOGG. 67 

any considerations of your own inter- 
est, operating violently in contradiction 
to it, and bringing on wretchedness, 
which your reason plainly foresees, 
which yet, although your judgment dis- 
[apjproves of, you take no pains to ob- 
viate. All this is not selfish. And surely 
the operations of reason, of judgment, 
in a man whose judgment is fully con- 
vinced of the baseness of any motive, 
can never be consonant with it. 
Adieu. Your affectionate, 

P. B. SHELLEY. 

To T.J. Hogg, 

University College, 
Oxford. 



68 LETTER TO 



LETTER XIV. 
To JOHN HOGG, ESQ.* 



15, POLAND STREET, 
LONDON. 

[April, 1811.] 

SIR, 

I accompanied (at his desire) Mr. 
Jefferson Hogg to Mr. C., who was 
entrusted with certain propositions to 
be offered to my friend. I was there 
extremely surprised no less hurt than 
surprised to find my father, in his 
interview with Mr. C., had, either un- 
advisedly or intentionally, let fall ex- 

* Father of T. Jefferson Hogg. 



JOHN HOGG. 69 

\ 

pressions which conveyed an idea 
that Mr. Jefferson Hogg was the 
" original corruptor " of my principles. 
That on this subject (notwithstanding 
his long experience) Mr. T. Shelley 
must know less than his son, will be 
conceded ; and I feel it but justice 
(in consequence of your feelings, so 
natural after what Mr. C. communi- 
cated) positively to deny the assertion. 
I feel this tribute, which I have paid 
to the just sense of horror you enter- 
tain, to be due to you as a gentleman. 
I hope my motives stand excused to 
your candour. 

Myself and my friend have offered 
concessions * ; painful, indeed, they are 
to myself, but such as on mature con- 
sideration we find due to our high 
sense of filial duty. 

Permit me to request your indul- 



* Concessions relating (at all events in part) to the 
conditions under which the intimacy between Hogg 
and Shelley was to be continued henceforward. 



70 LETTERS TO 

gence for the liberty I have taken in 
thus addressing you. 

I remain your obedient humble 
servant, 

P. B. SHELLEY.* 

To John Hogg, Esq., 
Norton, 

Stockton-on- Tees. 



* In the interval between the despatch of letter No. 
XIII. and letter No. XV. much had happened. Shel- 
ley had at length rejoined Hogg at College ; and the 
tendency of the two youthful minds towards audacity 
of enquiry, so evident in this correspondence, had blos- 
somed out into that portentous tract The Necessity of 
Atheism. This, though issued anonymously, was 
known to be by Shelley, who indeed distributed copies 
ostentatiously. Questioned by the Master of Univer- 
sity College as to the authorship, he declined to answer. 
Hogg was questioned in like manner, and in like man- 
ner refused information. On the 25th of March, 1811, 
both youths were summarily expelled, not, ostensibly, 
for the publication of the tract, but for contumaciously 
refusing to answer questions. They went together to 
London and lodged together ; but before the next 
letter was written, not only had Hogg left London, 
but Shelley had become acquainted with Harriet West- 
brook, her sister Eliza, and her father, a retired coffee- 
house keeper, Harriet being then sixteen years old, 
and at the Clapham school where the Misses Shelley 
were resident. 



THOMAS JEFFERSON HOGG. 71 



LETTER XV. 



15, POLAND STREET, 
LONDON. 
April iSt/i, 1811. 
{Thursday.} 

MY DEAR FRIEND, 

Certainly this place is a little soli- 
tary ; but, as a person cannot be quite 
alone when he has even got himself 
with him, I get on pretty well. I 
have employed myself in writing 
poetry ; and, as I go to bed at eight 
o'clock, time passes quicker than it 
otherwise might. 

Yesterday I had a letter from Whit- 
ton * to invite me to his house ; of 
course, the answer was negative. I 

* Whitton was the legal adviser of Mr. Timothy 
Shelley. 



72 LETTERS TO 

wrote to say that I would resign all 
claim to the entail, if he * would allow 
me two hundred pounds a-year, and 
divide the rest among my sisters. 
Of course he will not refuse the offer. 

You remark that, in Lord Mount 
Edgecumbe's hermitage, I should have 
nothing to talk of but myself; nor 
have I anything here, except I should 
transcribe t\\e.jeux-(T esprit of the maid. 

Mr. Pilfold has written a very civil 
letter ; my mother intercepted thatt 
sent to my father, and wrote to me 
to come, enclosing the money. I, of 
course, returned it. 

Miss Westbrook has this moment 
called on me, with her sister. It cer- 
tainly was very kind of her. 

Adieu. The post goes. 

Yours, 

P. B. S. 

To T. J. Hogg, 
Ellesmcre. 

* The reference here is, of course, to Shelley's father, 
t Probably a letter by Shelley repeating his offer re 
,200. 



THOMAS JEFFERSON HOGG. 73 



LETTER XVI. 



LONDON. 

April 24.1 '/i, 1811. 
[ Wednesday. ] 

MY DEAR FRIEND, 

You have (with wonderful sagacity, 
no doubt) refuted an argument of 
mine, the very existence of which I 
had forgotten. Something singularly 
conceited, no doubt, by the remarks 
you make on it. "Fine flowery 
language," you say. Well, I cannot 
help it : you see me in my weakest 
moments. All I can tell you of it is 
that I certainly was not " laughing," as 
you conjecture. This circumstance 
may go against me. I do not know 
that it will, however, as I have by no 

u 



74 LETTERS TO 

means a precise idea of what the subject 
of this composition was. 

" The Galilean is not a favourite of 
mine," a French author writes. (The 
French write audaciously rashly.) 
"So far from owing him any thanks 
for his favours, I cannot avoid con- 
fessing that I owe a secret grudge to 
his carpentership (charp enteric). The 
reflecting part of the community that 
part in whose happiness we philo- 
sophers have so strong an interest 
certainly do not require his morality, 
which, where there is ho vice, fetters 
virtue. Here we all agree. Let this 
horrid Galilean rule the Canaille then ! 
I give them up." And / give them 
up. I will no more mix politics and 
virtue, they are incompatible.* 



* I think this remark must arise out of some con- 
siderations set forth in Godwin's Political Justice^ to 
the effect that virtue can be promoted by political 
institution. Shelley, it is evident, had heretofore rallied 
to that opinion ; but he now, after discussion with 
Hogg, relinquishes it. Who was this "French 
author"? Voltaire, or one of that connection? 



THOMAS JEFFERSON HOGG. 75 

My little friend Harriet Westbrook 
is gone to her prison-house.* She is 
quite well in health ; at least so she 
says, though she looks very much 
otherwise. I saw her yesterday. I 
went with her and her sister to Miss 
H.'s,t and walked about Clapham 
Common with them for two hours. 
The youngest is a most amiable girl ; 
the eldest is really conceited, but very 
condescending. I took the sacrament 
with her on Sunday. J 

You say I talk philosophically of her 
"kindness" in calling on me. She is 
very charitable and good. I shall 
always think of it with gratitude, be- 
cause I certainly did not deserve it, 
and she exposed herself to much 
possible odium. It is scarcely doing 
her a kindness it is perhaps inducing 

* Mrs. Fenning's school at Clapbam. 
t Apparently some friend of the Westbrook's, resid- 
ing near Harriet's schoolhouse. 
l -2ist, 1811. 



, . 

"She" must, to judge from the general context, 
mean Harriet \ though it seems at first sight rather to 
mean her sister Eliza^ the elder Miss Westbrook. 



76 LETTERS TO 

positive unhappiness to point out to 
her a road which leads to perfection, 
the attainment of which, perhaps, does 
not repay the difficulties of the pro- 
gress. What do you think of this? 
If trains of thought, development of 
mental energies, influence in any 
degree a future state ; if this is even 
possible if it stands on at all securer 
ground than mere hypothesis ; then is 
it not a service ? Where am I gotten ? 
Perhaps into another ridiculous argu- 
ment. I will not proceed ; for I shall 
forget all I have said, and cannot, in 
justice, animadvert upon any of your 
critiques. 

I called on John Grove * this morn- 
ing. I met my father in the passage, 
and politely enquired after his health. 
He looked as black as a thunder-cloud, 
and said " Your most humble servant ! " 
I made him a low bow, and, wishing 



* A cousin of Shelley's, and brother of Harriet 
Grove, living in Lincoln's Inn. 



THOMAS JEFFERSON HOGG. 77 

him a very good morning, passed on. 
He is very irate about my proposals.* 
I cannot resign anything till I am 
twenty-one. I cannot do anything; 
therefore I have three more years 
to consider of the matter you men- 
tioned. 

I shall go down to Field Place soon. 
I wait for Mr. Pilfold's arrival, with 
whom I shall depart. He is resolved 
(the old fellow) that I shall not stay at 
Field Place. If I please as I shall 
do for some time I will. This reso- 
lution of mine was hinted to him : 
" Oh, then I shall take his sister away 
before he comes." But I shall follow 
her, as her retirement cannot be a 
secret. This will probably lead me 
to wander about for some time. You 
will hear from me, however, wherever 
I am. 

If all these things are useless, you 

* The "proposals" as to money-matters mentioned 
in the preceding letter. 



78 LETTERS TO 

will see me at York, or at Ellesmere if 
you still remain there. " The scenery 
excites mournful ideas." I am sorry 
to hear it ; I hoped that it would have 
had a contrary effect. May I indulge 
the idea that York is as stupid as 
Oxford ? And yet you did not wander 
alone amid the mountains. I think I 
shall live at the foot of Snowdon. 
Suppose we both go there directly. 
Do not be surprised if you see me at 
Ellesmere. Yes, you would, for it 
would be a strange thing. I am now 
nearly recovered.* 

Strange that Florian could not see 
the conclusions from his own reason- 
ing ! How can the hope of a higher 
reward, stimulating the action, make it 
virtuous, if the essence of virtue is dis- 
interested ? as all, who know anything 
of virtue, must allow, as he does allow. 
How inconsistent is this religion ! How 



" Recovered," it would seem, from a college strain. 
See letter dated Afril zQtft, 1811. 



THOMAS JEFFERSON HOGG. 79 

apt to pervert the judgment, and finally 
the heart, of the most amiably-inten- 
tioned who confide in it ! 

I wish I was with you in the moun- 
tains ; could not we live there ? 

Direct to 15 Poland Street. I write 
to-morrow to York. 

Your affectionate friend, 

P. B. S. 

Your B * is worse than stupid ; 

he is provoking. Have you really 
no one to associate with not even a 
peasant, a child of nature, a spider? 
" And this from the hermit, the philo- 
sopher ! " Oh, you are right to laugh 
at me ! 

I finished the little poem, one stanza 
of which you said was pretty ; it is, on 
the whole, a most stupid thing, as you 
will confess when I some day inflict a 

* Apparently the college friend with whom Hogg had 
left London, and gone to Ellesmere. Was he the 
Burden mentioned elsewhere in Shelley's correspond- 
ence? 



8o LETTERS TO 

perusal of it on your innocent ears. 
Yet I have nothing to amuse myself 
with ; and, if it does not injure others, 
and you cannot avoid it, I do not see 
much harm in being mad. You even 
vindicate it in some almost inspired 
stanzas, which I found among my 
transcriptions to-day. 

Adieu, I am going to Miss West- 
brook's to dinner. Her father is out. 
I will write to-morrow.*. 

To T.J.Hogg, 

Ellesmere. 

* No letter written upon the following day, April 
25/f/z, 1811, is at present forthcoming. It is evident 
from the last paragraph of the foregoing that Eliza, 
aged 30 or so, and Harriet, aged 16, were at least not 
averse to a little defiance of Mrs. Grundy. Hence, 
still smarting from the loss of Harriet Grove and 
breathing out threatenings and slaughter against In- 
tolerance, Shelley gladly seized a chance of obtaining, 
as he thought, colleagues in his warfare. See espe- 
cially p. 90. 



THOMAS JEFFERSON HOGG. 81 



LETTER XVII. 



15, POLAND STREET, 
LONDON. 
April 26th, 1811. 
[Friday. ] 

MY DEAR FRIEND, 

I indulge despair. Why do I so ? 
I will not philosophize. It is perhaps 
a poor way of administering comfort to 
myself to say that I ought not to be in 
need of it. I fear the despair which 
springs from disappointed love is a 
passion, a passion, too, which is least 
of all reducible to reason. But it is a 
passion, it is independent of volition ; 
it is the necessary effect of a cause, 
which must) I feel, continue to operate. 
Wherefore, then, do you ask Why I 

Y 



82 LETTERS TO 

indulge despair ? And what shall I tell 
you which can make you happier, which 
can alleviate even solitude and regret ? 
Shall I tell you the truth ? Oh you are 
too well aware of that, or you would 
riot talk of despair ! Shall I say that 
the time may come when happiness 
shall dawn upon a night of wretched- 
ness ? Why should I be a false prophet 
if I said this ? I do not know, except 
on the general principle that the evils 
in this world powerfully overbalance its 
pleasures ; how, then, could I be justi- 
fied in saying this ? You will tell me 
to cease to think, to cease to feel ; you 
will tell me to be anything but what I 
am ; and I feel I must obey the com- 
mand before I can talk of hope. 

I find there can be bigots in philo- 
sophy as well as in religion ; I, per- 
haps, may be classed with the former. 
I have read your letter attentively. Yet 
all religionists do judge of philosophers 
in the way which you reprehend. Faith 



THOMAS JEFFERSON HOGG. 83 

is one of the highest moral virtues, 
the foundation, indeed, upon which all 
others must rest \ and religionists think 
that he who has neglected to cultivate 
this has not performed one third of the 
moral duties, as Bishop Warburton dog- 
matically asserts. The religionists, then, 
by this very Faith, without which they 
could not be religionists, think the most 
virtuous philosopher must have neg- 
lected one third of the moral duties ! 

If, then, a religionist, the most ami- 
able of them, regards the best philo- 
sopher as far from being virtuous, has 
not a philosopher reason to suspect the 
amiability of a system which inculcates 
so glaringly uncharitable opinions ? 
Can a being amiable to a high degree 
possessed, of course, of judgment, 
without which amiability would be in 
a poor way hold such opinions as 
these ? Supposing even they were sup- 
ported by reason, they ought to be 
suspected as leading to a conclusion 



84 LETTERS TO 

ad absurdum ; since, however, they 
combine irrationality and absurdity 
with effects on the mind most opposite 
to retiring amiability, are they not to be 
more than suspected ? Take any system 
of religion, lop off all the disgusting ex- 
crescences, or rather adjuncts ; retain 
virtuous precepts ; qualify selfish 
dogmas (I would even allow as much 
irrationality as amiability could swallow, 
but uncombined with immorality and 
self-conceitedness) ; do all this, and / 
will say, It is a system which can do no 
harm, and, indeed, is highly requisite 
for the vulgar. But perhaps it is best 
for the latter that they should have it 
as their fathers gave it them ; that the 
amiable, the enquiring should reject it 
altogether. 

Yet I will allow that it may be con- 
sistent with amiability, when amiability 
does not know the deformity of the 
wretched errors, and that they really 
are as we behold them. I cannot 



THOMAS JEFFERSON HOGG. 85 

judge of a system by the/ flowers which 
are scattered here and there ; you omit 
the mention of the weeds, which grow 
so high that few botanists can see the 
flowers ; and those who do gather the 
latter are frequently, I fear, tainted 
with the pestilential vapour of the 
former. 

The argument of supremacy is really 
amiable, without that, I should give 
up the remotest possibility of success. 
Yet that applies but to the existence 
of a Creator, that is inconsequential : 
the enquirer here, the amiable enquirer, 
does not pause at the world, lest she 
should be left supreme ; she advances 
one step higher, not being aware, or 
not caring to be aware, of the infinity 
of the staircase which she ascends.* 
This is irrational^ but it is not unami- 
able, it does not involve the hateful 
consequences of selfishness, self-con- 



* To see exactly what Shelley meant by these some- 
what nebulous phrases, we sadly need Hogg's letter. 



86 LETTERS TO 

ceitedness, and the subserviency of 
faith to the volition of the believer, 
which are necessary to the existence 
of " a spurious system of theology." 

A religionist^ I will allow, may be 
more amiable than a philosopher, 
although in one instance reason is 
allowed to sleep, that amiability may 
watch. Yet, my dear friend, this is 
not Intolerance ; nor can that odious 
system stand excused on this ground, 
as its very principle revolts against the 
dear modesty which suggests a derelic- 
tion of reason in the other instance. I 
again assert nor perhaps are you pre- 
pared to deny, much as your amiable 
motion might prompt you to wish it 
that religion is too often the child of 
cold prejudice and selfish fear. Love 
of a Deity, of Allah, Bramah (it is all 
the same), certainly springs from the 
latter motive ; is this love ? You know 
too well it is not. Here I appeal to 
your own heart, your own feelings. At 



THOMAS JEFFERSON HOGG. 87 

that tribunal I feel that I am secure. 
I once could almost tolerate intoler- 
ance, it then merely injured me. 
Once it merely deprived me of all 
that I cared for, touching myself, on 
earth ; but now it has done more, and 
I cannot forgive. 

Eloisa said ; "I have hated myself, 
that I might love thee, Abelard." 
When I hear a religionist prepared 
to say so, as her sincere sentiments, 
I then will allow that in a few in- 
stances the virtue of religion is separ- 
able from the vice. 

" She is not lost for ever " ! How I 
hope that may be true ! But I fear 
/ can never ascertain, I can never 
influence an amelioration, as she does 
not any longer permit a "philosopher" 
to correspond with her. She talks of 
duty to her Father. And this is your 
amiable religion ! 

You will excuse my raving, my dear 
friend : you will not be severe upon my 



88 LETTERS TO 

hatred of a cause which can produce 
such an effect as this. 

You talk of the dead : " Do we not 
exist after the tomb ? " It is a natural 
question, my friend, when there is 
nothing in life : yet it is one on 
which you have never told me any 
solid grounds for your opinions. 

You shall hear from me again soon. 
I send some verses. I heard from F. 
yesterday. All that he said was : u My 
letters are arrived. G. S. F." 
My dear friend, 

Your affectionate, 

P. B. SHELLEY. 



THOMAS JEFFERSON HOGG. 89 



LETTER XVIII. 



LINCOLN'S INN FIELDS, 
LONDON. 

April, 2%th, 1811. 

[Sunday. ] 
MY DEAR FRIEND, 

I am now at Grove's. I don't know 
where I am, where I will be. Future, 
present, past, is all a mist : it seems as 
if I had begun existence anew, under 
auspices so unfavourable. Yet no ! 
That is stupid. 

My poor little friend * has been ill : 
her sister sent for me the other night. 
I found her on a couch, pale. Her 
father is civil to me, very strangely : 
the sister is too civil by half. She 

* Harriet Westbrook. 

A A 



90 LETTERS TO 

began talking about V Amour. I philo- 
sophized : and the youngest said she 
had such a headache that she could 
not bear conversation Her sister then 
went away, and I stayed till half-past 
twelve. Her father had a large party 
below, he invited me : I refused. 

Yes! The fiend, the wretch, shall 
fall ! * Harriet will do for one of 
the crushers, and the eldest (Emily), t 
with some taming, will do, too. They 
are both very clever, and the youngest 
(my friend) is amiable. Yesterday she 
was better. To-day her father com- 
pelled her to go to Clapham, whither I 
have conducted her ; and I am now re- 
turned. 

Why is it that, the moment we two 
are separated, I can scarcely set bounds 
to my hatred of intolerance ? Is it feel- 
ing ? is it passion ? I would willingly 

* "The fiend, the wretch " = Intolerance. 

t " Emily " can only have been Eliza. Possibly 
the elder Miss Westbrook may have borne both names, 
though the latter is the only one that has been recorded. 



THOMAS JEFFERSON HOGG. 91 

persuade myself that it is neither ; will- 
ingly would I persuade myself that all 
that is amiable, all that is good, falls by 
its prevalence, and that 7 ought un- 
ceasingly to attempt its destruction. 
Yet you say that millions of bad are 
necessary for the existence of a few 
pre-eminent in excellence. Is not this 
a despotism of virtue, which is incon- 
sistent with its nature ? Is it not the 
Asiatic tyrant who renders his territory 
wretched to fill his seraglio ? the shark 
who must glut his maw with millions of 
fish in order that he may exist ? I 
have often said that I doubted your 
divinities ; and, if this inference follows 
the established hypothesis of their 
existence, I do not merely doubt, but 
hope that my doubts are founded on 
truth. 

I think, then, that the term " supe- 
rior "* is bad, as it involves this horrible 

* Hogg would seem to have been writing of men as 
" superior " to women. 



92 LETTERS TO 

consequence. Let the word "perfect," 
then, be offered as a substitute ; to 
which each who aspires may indulge 
a hope of arriving ; or rather every one 
(speaking of men) may hope to contri- 
bute to woman's arrival, which, in fact, 
is themselves advancing ; although, like 
the shadow preceding the figure, or the 
spiral, it always may advance, and never 
touch. 

My sister does not come to town, 
nor will she ever, at least I can see no 
chance of it. I will not deceive my- 
self ; she is lost, lost to everything ; 
Intolerance has tainted her, she talks 
cant and twaddle. I would not venture 
thus to prophesy without being most 
perfectly convinced in my own mind of 
the truth of what I say. It may not be 
irretrievable ; but yes, it is ! A young 
female who only once, only for a short 
time, asserted her claim to an unfettered 
use of reason, bred up with bigots, hav- 
ing before her eyes examples of the 



THOMAS JEFFERSON HOGG. 93 

consequences of scepticism, or even 
of philosophy, which she must now 
see to lead directly to the former. A 
mother who is mild and tolerant, yet 
narrow-minded. How, I ask, is she to 
be rescued from its influence ? 

I tell you, my dear friend, openly the 
feelings of my mind, the state of its con- 
victions on every subject ; this, then, is 
one, and I do not expect that you will 
say, " It must be so painful to your 
feelings that I hope you will never 
again mention it." I do not expect 
you to say : " I had rather you were 
under a pleasing error ; it is not a 
friendly act to dissipate the mists which 
hide a frightful prospect." 

On other subjects you have soared 
above prejudices ; you have investi- 
gated them, terrible as they may have 
appeared, and resolved to abide by the 
result of that investigation. And you 
have abided by it. Why then should 
there yet remain a subject on which 

B B 



94 LETTERS TO 

you profess yourself fearful to enquire? 
I will not allow you to say "incom- 
petent." Error cannot in any of its 
shapes be good ; I cannot conceive the 
possibility. 

You talk of the credulity of man- 
kind, its proneness to superstition, that 
it ever has been a slave to the vilest of 
errors. Is your inference necessary, or 
direct, that it ever will continue so ? 
You say that " I have no idea how 
society could be freed from false 
notions on almost every subject." 
No ; nor would the first man in the 
world, supposing that there ever was 
one, at the moment of his arriving to 
his estate, have any conception how a 
fertile piece of land would look with- 
out weeds. He stares at it, and thinks 
it is least of all fitted for his con- 
veniences ; when a stricter searching 
into its nature would convince him 
that it was calculated to contribute to 
them, with a sufficient proportion of 



THOMAS JEFFERSON HOGG. 95 

labour, more than the barer land which 
appeared clear. 

Dares the lama, most fleet of the sons of the 

wind, 

The lion to rouse from his skull-covered lair ? 
When the tiger approaches, can the fast-fleet- 
ing hind 

Repose trust in his footsteps of air ? 
No. Abandon' d he sinks in a trance of de- 
spair : 

The monster transfixes his prey : 
On the sand flows his' life-blood away, 
Whilst India's rocks to his death-yells reply, 
Protracting the horrible harmony. 

Yet the fowl of the desert, when danger en- 
croaches, 

Dares fearless to perish, defending her brood, 
Though the fiercest of cloud-piercing tyrants 

approaches, 

Thirsting aye thirsting for blood, 
And demands, like mankind, his brother for 

food ; 

Yet more lenient, more gentle, than they, 
For hunger, not glory, the prey 
Must perish. Revenge does not howl o'er the 

dead, 

Nor ambition with fame crown the murderer's 
head. 



96 LETTERS TO 

Though weak as the lama that bounds on the 

mountains, 
And endued not with fast-fleeting footsteps of 

air, 
Yet, yet will I draw from the purest of 

fountains, 

Though a fiercer than tiger is there ; 
Though, more dreadful than death, it scatters 

despair, 

Though its shadow eclipses the day, 
And the darkness of deepest dismay 
Spreads the influence of soul-chilling terror 

around, 
And lowers on the corpses, that rot on the 

ground. 



They came to the fountain to draw from its 

stream 
Waves too pure, too celestial, for mortals to 

see ; 
They bathed for a while in its silvery beam, 

Then perished, and perished like me. 
For in vain from the grasp of the Bigot I flee ; 
The most tenderly loved of my soul 
Are slaves to his hated control. 
He pursues me, he blasts me ! 'Tis in vain 

that I fly ! 

What remains but to curse him, to curse him, 
and die ? 



THOMAS JEFFERSON HOGG. 97 

There it is a mad effusion of this 
morning ! 

I had resolved not to mortgage,* be- 
fore you left London ; I told you that 
1 should divide it with my sisters, and 
leave everything else to fate. 

Your affectionate friend, 

P. B. S. 

* Cf. p. 72. 



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