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PREFATORY MEMOIR.

ERCY BYSSHE SHELLEY was born at Field Place,

Sussex, August 4, 1792. He was the eldest son of Sir

Timothy Shelley, of Castle-Goring. Till he was seven or eight years of age he was brought up with his sisters. Sharing their education, and having no boy companion, he never gained a taste for the ordinary sports and amusements of boyhood; and on this account became subject to a good deal of rough usage at school, which may have tended to wake up the spirit of opposition for which he was afterwards remarkable. His first school was that of Sion House, Brentford; from whence, at thirteen, he passed to Eton ; from Eton to Oxford in 1810.

Before he entered the University Shelley published two rather silly novels. At Oxford the peculiarities of this wild genius became remarkable. He lived, we are told, chieflyon bread; he carried duelling pistols in his pocket when walking, and would occasionally pause to shoot at some mark he had fixed for himself; he would linger for hours throwing stones into ponds, or sailing paper boats. These harmless and childish eccentricities were, however, destined to be followed by much more objectionable developments.

The “times were out of joint." The French Revolution had unsettled steadier minds than Shelley's; he embraced the wildest dogmas of the day, and actually published a pamphlet entitled the "Necessity of Atheism.” For this performance he was (with his friend, Mr. Hogg) expelled from the university.

During his last term at college he had also published a strange

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