BY MRS. SHELLEY.
Shelley loved the People; and respected them as often more virtuous, as
always more suffering, and therefore more deserving of sympathy, than
the great. He believed that a clash between the two classes of society
was inevitable, and he eagerly ranged himself on the people's side. He
had an idea of publishing a series of poems adapted expressly to
commemorate their circumstances and wrongs. He wrote a few; but, in
those days of prosecution for libel, they could not be printed. They
are not among the best of his productions, a writer being always
shackled when he endeavours to write down to the comprehension of those
who could not understand or feel a highly imaginative style; but they
show his earnestness, and with what heart-felt compassion he went home
to the direct point of injury--that oppression is detestable as being
the parent of starvation, nakedness, and ignorance. Besides these
outpourings of compassion and indignation, he had meant to adorn the
cause he loved with loftier poetry of glory and triumph: such is the
scope of the "Ode to the Assertors of Liberty". He sketched also a new
version of our national anthem, as addressed to Liberty.
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