Page:Shelley, a poem, with other writings (Thomson, Debell).djvu/141

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THE POEMS OF WILLIAM BLAKE.

and power in his "magnificent and masculine grasp of men and things." Expansive not intensive, he developed no interior life but diffused himself over the exterior life. His poetry is of action, not of thought; he is as a mighty and valiant soldier, whom we seek on the field of battle, not in the school of the prophets.

Byron had it not at all. He is great, exceedingly great; but great as the expression of intense life and of such thought only as is the mere tool and weapon of life, never great as the expression of thought above and beneath life commanding and sustaining it. He had just ideality enough to shed a poetic glow upon powers and passions all essentially commonplace but very uncommonly vigorous, overflowing with the energy of daemonic possession—an energy most mysterious, but in itself most impatient of mysticism.

Keats, who shall dare to judge? I doubt not that everything pure and beautiful would have had its season in him who, dying at twenty-four, wrote Hyperion a few years after Endymion. But this plastic genius would have proceeded in triumphant transmigrations through all fairest forms ere it could have found eternal tranquillity in the soul of all form. Had he been spared, all analogies, I think, point to this end. Shelley possessed, or rather was possessed by, this simplicity to the uttermost. Although he and Keats were twin-brothers, Greeks of the race of the gods, their works do not resemble but complement each other. The very childlike lisp which we remarked in Blake is often observable in the voice of Shelley, consummate singer as he was. The lisp is, however, not always that of a child; it is on several occasions that of a missionary seeking to translate old thoughts from his rich and exact