Page:Shelley, a poem, with other writings (Thomson, Debell).djvu/54

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AN INSPIRED CRITIC ON SHELLEY.


SHELLEY and Mr. Wyke Bayliss are truly strange names to couple together, but thus it comes about. The latter gentleman has written a book entitled The Witness of Art, in noticing which the Daily News mentioned that it eulogises Shelley. This Mr. Wyke Bayliss indignantly denied. The reviewer in answer quoted a passage wherein Shelley is classed with Chaucer, Spenser, Coleridge, Wordsworth, and Shakespeare, as having that insight into "the Invisible" which Mr. Wyke Bayliss observes, "is to the poet what light is to the painter; what ideal beauty is to the sculptor." As if this were not enough, another passage is given, wherein, after a quotation from Adonais, Mr. Wyke Bayliss observes: "Who shall say that Shelley wrote this in mockery, or not rather that it is the language of one who had seen—dimly it may be—but had seen the Invisible?" Whence it would appear the poet has not only insight into, but sight of the Invisible with a capital I; and indeed this is a distinction, for we have all insight into the common air, whereas poets (and it is said pigs) see it. Mr. Wyke Bayliss furiously returned to the charge or countercharge: "I refer to Shelley only three times—First, as one who had written a blasphemous libel upon Christ. Second, I name him simply as an Idealist.