Page:Shelley, a poem, with other writings (Thomson, Debell).djvu/18

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PREFATORY NOTE.

that his name in the future would be linked in any way with that of Shelley: and I feel equally sure that Shelley, could he have known Thomson, would not have disapproved of the association of their names. Let it not be thought that I am placing Thomson on an equality with Shelley: neither am I asserting that their characters did not differ in many essential points. But I do not hesitate to affirm that the unworldliness, the deep affections, the generous self-sacrificing spirit, the fervent poetical temperament, which characterised Shelley, were in a not much smaller degree characteristic of James Thomson, however those qualities were obscured in him by his more reserved disposition, his poverty, and the unfortunate events of his life. Apply what measure we may to him, it is hardly possible to deny that the author of "The City of Dreadful Night," "Weddah and Om-el-Bonain," and "Vane's Story," was a man of genius; and future times are perhaps no more likely to produce another Thomson than another Shelley.

Nov. 13, 1884.