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a singularly variegated landscape

Although Mary Shelley depends for the description here principally on her own observations, Byron's representation of the Rhine landscape as a point in nature where one might observe a symbolic reconciliation of opposite powers in harmonious symmetry (see Childe Harold's Pilgrimage, Canto 3, stanzas 59-61) seems to touch her conception here. That representation, in any case, would not be far from her mind, since it was written in the summer of 1816 and, indeed, when the Shelleys returned to England they carried the manuscript of the poem with them.