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Outlines of English and American Literature
The Revolutionary Poets
by Long, William J.


The above title is often applied to Byron and Shelley, and for two reasons, because they were themselves rebellious of heart, and because they voiced the rebellion of numerous other young enthusiasts who, disappointed by the failure of the French Revolution to bring in the promised age of happiness, were ready to cry out against the existing humdrum order of society. Both poets were sadly lacking in mental or moral balance, and finding no chance in England to wage heroic Warfare against political tyranny, as the French had done, they proceeded in rather head long fashion to an attack on well established customs in society, and especially did they strike out wildly against "the monster Public Opinion." Because the "monster" was stronger than they were, and more nearly right, their rebellion ended in tragedy.

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