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...surely as fine an achievement as to keep restlessly trying to say it a thousand times over. Gray was no blabber. It is said that he did not even let his mother and his aunts know that he wrote poetry. He lacked boldness, volubility and vital energy. He stood aside from life. He would not even take money from his publishers for his poetry. No wonder that he earned the scorn of Dr. Johnson, who said of him to Boswell, "Sir, he was dull in his company, dull in his closet, dull everywhere.He was dull in a new way, and that made many think him great." Luckily, Gray's reserve tempted him into his own heart and into external nature for safety and consolation. Johnson could see in him only a "mechanical poet." To most of us he seems the first natural poet in modern literature.
XI.--ASPECTS OF SHELLEY
(1) THE CHARACTER HALF-COMIC
Shelley is one of the most difficult of men of genius to portray. It is easy enough to attack him or defend him--to damn him as an infidel or to praise him because he made Harriet Westbrook so... Johnson, Samuel
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