04 August-Percy Bysshe Shelley

Percy Bysshe Shelley is one of the most highly regarded Romantic poets in the English language. He was the author of poems such as Ozymandias, Ode to the West Wind, The Cenci and Queen Mab. Apart from his poetry Shelley was a radical in his political and social views. His radical views led to his works being declined by many publishers. Shelley’s second wife Mary, was the author of Frankenstein.

Percy Bysshe Shelley was born in Broadbridge Heath, West Sussex, England in 1792. He was educated at home and later at Eton College. He entered University College, Oxford in 1810. On February 3rd 1812 Shelley and his wife arrived for a visit to Ireland. Less than a year prior to his arrival in Ireland, Shelly had been expelled from Oxford University on March 25th 1811. His expulsion followed the publication of a pamphlet entitled ‘The Necessity of Atheism’. However another publication ‘Poetical Essay on the Existing State of Things’ may also have been a factor in his expulsion. It was a long anti-war and anti-monarchical poem which was also published in 1811

Prior to his arrival in Ireland Shelley had written a collection of poems called ‘Songs of Liberty’. He came to Ireland to have them published. Whilst in Ireland he also published pamphlets entitled ‘An Address to the Irish People’ and ‘Proposals for an Association’. His pamphlets urged people to form a political association which would use peaceful means to work towards Catholic Emancipation and the repeal of the Act of Union. Shelley joined Daniel O’Connell at a meeting in Dublin where he made a speech promoting Catholic Emancipation

Shelley left Ireland in April 1812 but returned in early 1813 and again spent some time in Dublin. He later travelled to Killarney Co Kerry where he lived in a cottage on Ross Island in what is now Killarney National Park. It was whilst living on Ross Island that he completed his poem ‘Queen Mab’.

Shelley later moved to Europe. He travelled to several areas of the continent. By 1822 he was living in Lerici on the Northwest coast of Italy. While sailing his boat from Livorno (Leghorn) to Lerici a distance of about 70km he was drowned in a storm on July 8th 1822.

Bear witness, Erin! When thine injured isle

Sees summer on its verdant pastures smile,

Its cornfields waving in the winds that sweep

The billowy surface of thy circling deep!

Percy Bysshe Shelley, poet, essayist and novelist was born in the year 1792 On This Day.

Image taken from page 6 of ‘The Poetical Works of Percy Bysshe Shelley. Edited by Mrs. Shelley’ by The British Library on 2013-12-05 17:38:22

Image taken from page 7 of ‘The Poetical Works of Percy Bysshe Shelley. Edited by Mrs. Shelley. [With portrait and illustrations.]’ by The British Library on 2013-12-02 15:51:24


O, wind, if winter comes, can spring be far behind? Percy Bysshe Shelley by katerha on 2013-01-28 13:42:52

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