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and, in love with the subject myself, I am willing to believe that the admirers of Shelley are sufficiently numerous to justify the publication of a more perfect record of his career.
Materials were not wanting for a complete biography ; scattered over a large variety of publications, I have found allusions or anecdotes, and sometimes notices that served to illustrate entire epochs of the Poet's life. In this respect I am greatly indebted to an interesting account given by an old Etonian in the pages of the “Athenæum,” for the particulars of his life at Eton ; and the papers by Mr. Hogg, published many years back, in the "New Monthly Magazine,” have been invaluable to me in drawing his career at Oxford.
Besides these innumerable references, the Poet's own correspondence, and Mrs. Shelley's valuable notes to his works, naturally contribute to the elucidation of his history and character.
Nor have I wanted for original materials. During my researches for information I visited Great Marlow, and had the good fortune to meet with Mr. Maddocks, a gentleman who knew the Poet intimately during his residence there. To him I am indebted for many interesting particulars relating to that period; but, besides his own personal reminiscences, he possessed some papers in Shelley's handwriting, of which I have fully availed myself.
Most conspicuous among these, however, is the fragment of an Essay on Prophecy, in which an entirely new light is thrown upon the Poet's theological sentiments at the time it was written.
Not less interesting are the revisions of Queen Mab,” given from a copy of that poem, found also at Marlow. Captain Medwin, who was aware of the existence of the volume revised and corrected by Shelley himself, appears to have been but imperfectly acquainted with it. I have been enabled to supply a deficiency in this respect, and the specimens given will convey a favourable idea of the value of the whole.
The imaginary attempt at assassination in Caernarvonshire, is an interesting episode in the Poet's life. Original letters in the possession of his son, Sir Percy Shelley, contain the full particulars of this singular affair ; no doubt remains, therefore, as to the details, as I have given them.
I must also thank Dr. Madden for the kind services which enabled me to complete the
narrative of the Poet's life in Wales, and in - Dublin.
Such are the materials I have endeavoured
to construct into one consistent narrative, and I am convinced that no available authority exists that I have not exhausted.
į LONDON, JAN., 12, 1858.