previous next
[68]

Mr. Ward one day had undertaken to read an English translation of “Faust” and came to her in great alarm. “My daughter,” he said, “I hope that you have not read this wicked book!” She had read it, and “Wilhelm Meister,” too (though in later life she thought the latter “not altogether good reading for the youth of our country” ). Shelley was forbidden, and Byron allowed only in small and carefully selected doses.

The twofold bereavement which weighed so heavily upon her checked for a time the development of her thought, throwing her back on the ideas which her childhood had received without question; but her buoyant spirit could not remain long submerged, and as the poignancy of grief abated, her mind sought eagerly for clearer vision.

In the quiet of her own room, the bounds of thought and of faith stretched wide and wider. Vision often came in a flash: witness the moment when the question of Matthias Claudius, “And is he not also the God of the Japanese?” changed from a shocking suggestion to an eternal truth. Witness also the moment when, after reading “Paradise lost,” she saw “the picture of an eternal evil, of Satan and his ministers subjugated, indeed, by God, but not conquered, and able to maintain against Him an opposition as eternal as his goodness. This appeared to me impossible, and I threw away, once and forever, the thought of the terrible hell which till then had always formed part of my belief. In its place I cherished the persuasion that the victory of goodness must consist in making ”

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
John Ward (1)
P. B. Shelley (1)
Wilhelm Meister (1)
Matthias Claudius (1)
G. Gordon Byron (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: