1824 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Percy Bysshe Shelley

Robert Southey, "To the Editor of the Courier" 8 December 1824; Byron, Letters and Journals, ed. Rowland E. Prothero (1898-1901) 6:397n.



In the preface to his Monody on Keats, Shelley, as I have been informed, asserts that I was the author of the criticism in the Quarterly Review upon that young man's poems, and that his death was occasioned by it. There was a degree of meanness in this (especially considering the temper and tenour of our correspondence) which I was not then prepared to expect from Shelley, for that he believed me to be the author of that paper, I certainly do not believe. He was once, for a short time, my neighbour. I met him upon terms, not of friendship indeed, but, certainly, of mutual good will. I admired his talents; thought that he would outgrow his errors (perilous as they were); and trusted that, meantime, a kind and generous heart would resist the effect of fatal opinions which he had taken up in ignorance and boyhood. Herein I was mistaken. But when I ceased to regard him with hope, he became to me a subject for sorrow and awful commiseration, not of any injurious or unkind feeling; and when I expressed myself with just severity concerning him, it was in direct communication with himself.