Shelley, Percy Bysshe

(1792-1822)
   Poet, s. of Sir Timothy S., was b. at Field Place, near Horsham, Sussex, and ed. at Brentford, Eton, and Univ. Coll., Oxf., whence for writing and circulating a pamphlet, The Necessity of Atheism, he was expelled. One immediate result of this was a difference with his f., which was deepened into a permanent breach by his marriage in the following year to Harriet Westbrook, the pretty and lively dau. of a retired innkeeper. The next three years were passed in wandering about from place to place in Ireland, Wales, the Lake District, and other parts of the kingdom, and in the composition of Queen Mab (1813), the poet's first serious work. Before the end of that period he had separated from his wife, for which various reasons have been assigned, one being her previous desertion of him, and the discovery on his part of imperfect sympathy between them; the principal one, however, being that he had conceived a violent passion for Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin (see Shelley, Mrs. M.W.), dau. of William Godwin (q.v.), with whom he eloped to Italy in 1814, and whom he m. in 1816, his first wife having drowned herself. The custody of his two children, whom he had left with their mother, was refused him by the Court of Chancery. In Switzerland he had made the acquaintance of Byron, with whom he afterwards lived in intimacy in Italy. Returning to England in 1815 he wrote his first really great poem, Alastor (1816), followed by the Hymn to Intellectual Beauty, Prince Athanase, Rosalind and Helen, and Laon and Cythna, afterwards called the Revolt of Islam (1817). In 1818 he left England never to return, and went to Italy, and in the next two years--while at Rome--produced his two greatest works, the tragedy of The Cenci (1819) and Prometheus Unbound (1820). He removed to Venice in 1820 in the company of Byron, and there wrote Julian and Maddalo, a poetic record of discussions between them. Epipsychidion, Hellas, and Adonais, a lament for Keats, were all produced in 1821. After a short residence at Pisa he went to Lerici on the Gulf of Spezzia, where he indulged in his favourite recreation of boating, and here on July 8, 1823, he went, in company with a friend, Mr. Williams, on that fatal expedition which cost him his life. His body was cast ashore about a fortnight later, and burnt, in accordance with the quarantine law of the country, on a pyre in the presence of Byron, Leigh Hunt, and Trelawny. His ashes were carefully preserved and buried in the Protestant cemetery at Rome near those of Keats. The character of S. is a singularly compounded one. By the unanimous testimony of his friends, it was remarkable for gentleness, purity, generosity, and strong affection: on the other hand he appears to have had very inadequate conceptions of duty and responsibility, and from his childhood seems to have been in revolt against authority of every kind. The charge of Atheism rests chiefly on Mab, the work of a boy, printed by him for private circulation, and to some extent repudiated as personal opinion. As a poet he stands in the front rank: in lyrical gift, shown in Prometheus, Hellas, and some of his shorter poems, such as "The Skylark," he is probably unsurpassed, and in his Cenci he exhibits dramatic power of a high order. Among his shorter poems are some which reach perfection, such as the sonnet on "Ozymandias," "Music when soft voices die," "I arise from dreams of thee," "When the lamp is shattered," the "Ode to the West Wind," and "O world! O life! O time!" During his short life of 30 years he was, not unnaturally, the object of much severe judgment, and his poetic power even was recognised by only a few. Posterity has taken a more lenient view of his serious errors of conduct, while according to his genius a shining place among the immortals.
   The best ed. of the Works is that of Buxton Forman (4 vols.). There are ed. of the Poems by W.M. Rossetti (1894), Dowden (1891), etc. Lives by Medwin (1847), J.A. Symonds (1887), W.M. Rossetti, Prof. Dowden, T. Jefferson Hogg, and others.

Short biographical dictionary of English literature . . 2011.

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  • Shelley,Percy Bysshe — Shelley, Percy Bysshe. 1792 1822. British romantic poet whose works include “To a Skylark” (1820), the lyric drama Prometheus Unbound (1820), and “Adonais” (1821), an elegy to John Keats. * * * …   Universalium

  • Shelley, Percy Bysshe — born Aug. 4, 1792, Field Place, near Horsham, Sussex, Eng. died July 8, 1822, at sea off Livorno, Tuscany English Romantic poet. The heir to rich estates, Shelley was a rebellious youth who was expelled from Oxford in 1811 for refusing to admit… …   Universalium

  • Shelley, Percy Bysshe — ► (1792 1822) Poeta británico. Autor de La reina Mab (1813), y de otros poemas, los mejores de los cuales fueron escritos durante los últimos años de su vida: Adonais (1821), Oda al viento del oeste, etc. A esta época pertenecen también Los Cenci …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • SHELLEY, PERCY BYSSHE —    born at Field Place, near Horsham, Sussex, eldest son of Sir Timothy Shelley, a wealthy landed proprietor; was educated at Eton, and in 1810 went to Oxford, where his impatience of control and violent heterodoxy of opinion, characteristic of… …   The Nuttall Encyclopaedia

  • Shelley, Percy Bysshe and Mary Wollstonecraft — (1792 1851)    • Percy Bysshe, the husband, 1792 1822    Born at Field Place, Warnham, near Horsham, to a wealthy, aristocratic family, he was educated at Sion House Academy, Brentford, Essex, Eton College, and Oxford University, from which he… …   British and Irish poets

  • Percy Bysshe Shelley — Percy Shelley Born 4 August 1792(1792 08 04) Field Place, Horsham, England[1] …   Wikipedia

  • Percy Bysshe Shelley — «Shelley» redirige aquí. Para la novelista británica esposa de Percy Bysshe Shelley, véase Mary Shelley. Percy Bysshe Shelley Percy B …   Wikipedia Español

  • Percy Bysshe Shelley — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Shelley. Percy Bysshe Shelley Percy Bysshe Shelley ( …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Percy Bysshe Shelley — noun Englishman and romantic poet (1792 1822) • Syn: ↑Shelley • Instance Hypernyms: ↑poet * * * Percy Bysshe Shelley [Percy Bysshe Shelley] ( …   Useful english dictionary

  • Percy Bysshe Shelley — Percy Bysshe Shelley, Gemälde von Amelia Curran, 1819 Percy Bysshe Shelley [ˈpɜːsi bɪʃ ˈʃɛli] (* 4. August 1792 in Field Place, Sussex; † 8. Juli 1822 im Meer bei Via …   Deutsch Wikipedia

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