Shelley; an essay

Shelley; an essay

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Shelley; an essay by Francis Thompson

Published:

1914

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Shelley; an essay

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Book Excerpt

found Mary Shelley wanting, he seems to have fallen into the mistake of Wordsworth, who complained in a charming piece of unreasonableness that his wife's love, which had been a fountain, was now only a well:

Such change, and at the very door
Of my fond heart, hath made me poor.

Wordsworth probably learned, what Shelley was incapable of learning, that love can never permanently be a fountain. A living poet, in an article {6} which you almost fear to breathe upon lest you should flutter some of the frail pastel-like bloom, has said the thing: "Love itself has tidal moments, lapses and flows due to the metrical rule of the interior heart." Elementary reason should proclaim this true. Love is an affection, its display an emotion: love is the air, its display is the wind. An affection may be constant; an emotion can no more be constant than the wind can constantly blow. All, therefore, that a man can reasonably ask of his wife is that her love should be indeed a well. A well; but a Bethe

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