Glimpses Of Our Ancestors In Sussex - online book

With Sketches Of Sussex Characters, Remarkable Incidents &c

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248               Glimpses of Our Ancestors.
forth the tale of his wild past—how he had suffered, how he had been misled, and how, if supported by her love, he hoped in future years to enrol his name with the wise and good who had done battle for their fellow-men and been true through all adverse storms to the cause of humanity. Unhesitatingly she placed her hand in his and linked her fortune with his own; and most truthfully was the pledge of both redeemed."
Soon after this the death of his grandfather, Sir Bysshe Shelley, and the succession of his father, Sir Timothy, to the Baronetage, placed the young poet in easier circumstances, by his allowance being increased to £"1,000 a year. At this period, in order to qualify himself for those offices of kind­ness and charity to the poor for which he destined himself, and some of which he had already discharged when living in Wales, he " walked" one of the London Hospitals, though suffering intensely from the delicacy of his own health. This, in fact, drove him from London, and, after a temporary sojourn on the borders of Windsor Forest, where " Alastor " and other poems were composed, induced him to go abroad. Returning to England in 1816-7, he formed the acquaintance of Keats, doomed, like himself, to so brilliant and yet to so melancholy a career, and a friendship with Horace Smith, so long an esteemed resident in Brighton, which only ended with his life. It was at this period of Shelley's life that another of those blows fell upon him which seemed intended to crush out his fragile life, but against which his indomitable spirit rose with the strength of a martyr. During the life of his first wife their two children—a boy and a girl—lived with her. On her death, their father claimed them. The claim was opposed by the mother's father, on the ground of Shelley's religious and moral opinions, and, on the case being taken to Chancery, the Lord Chancellor (Eldon) pronounced against the father being custodian of his children, and they were committed to the charge of an utter stranger. Against this decision, which, it is needless to say, in the present day would be scouted, Shelley protested with all the vehemence of his nature, wounded in the tenderest part, but he was impotent against the law, as it was then administered, and, in order to put the children of his second wife beyond its arm, he left his
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