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Percy Bysshe Shelly

Joseph_Severn_-_Posthumous_Portrait_of_Shelley_Writing_Prometheus_Unbound_1845.jpgName: Percy Bysshe Shelley

Born: August 4, 1792 – Field Place, Horsham, Sussex, England

Died: July 8, 1822 (age 29) – Gulf of La Spezia, Kingdom of Sardinia (now Italy)

Occupation: Poet, dramatist, essayist, and novelist

Spouse: Harriet Westbrook – (married from 1811 till her death in 1816)

                Mary Shelley – (married from 1816 till his death in 1822)

About:        

Percy Bysshe Shelley (4 August 1792 – 8 July 1822) was one of the major English Romantic poets and is regarded by some as among the finest lyric, as well as most influential, poets in the English language. A radical in his poetry as well as in his political and social views, Shelley did not see fame during his lifetime, but recognition for his poetry grew steadily following his death. Shelley was a key member of a close circle of visionary poets and writers that included Lord Byron, Leigh Hunt, Thomas Love Peacock and his own second wife, Mary Shelley, the author of Frankenstien.

Shelley’s close circle of friends included some of the most important progressive thinkers of the day, including his father-in-law, the philosopher William Godwin, and Leigh Hunt. Though Shelley’s poetry and prose output remained steady throughout his life, most publishers and journals declined to publish his work for fear of being arrested for either blasphemy or sedition. Shelley’s poetry sometimes had only an underground readership during his day, but his poetic achievements are widely recognized today, and his advanced political and social thought impacted the Chartist and other movements in England, and reach down to the present day. Shelley’s theories of economics and morality, for example, had a profound influence on Karl Marx; his early—perhaps first—writings on nonviolent resistance influenced both Leo Tolstoy and Mahatma Gandi.

Shelley became a lodestone to the subsequent three or four generations of poets, including important Victorian and Pre-Raphaelite poets such as Robert Browning and Dante Gabriel Rossetti. He was admired by Oscar Wilde, Thomas Hardy, George Bernard Shaw, Bertrand Russell, W.B. Yeats, Upton Sinclair and Isadora Duncan. Henry David Thoreau’s civil disobedience was apparently influenced by Shelley’s nonviolence in protest and political action. Shelley’s popularity and influence have continued to grow in contemporary poetry circles.

Wikipedia

Interesting Information:

Shelley’s Heart

Shelley’s widow Mary bought a cliff-top home at Boscombe, Bournemouth in 1851. She intended to live there with her son, Percy, and his wife Jane and had the remains of her own parents moved from their London burial place at St Pancras Old Church to an underground mausoleum in the town. The property is now known as Shelley Manor. When Lady Jane Shelley was to be buried in the family vault, it was discovered that in her copy of Adonais was an envelope containing ashes, which she had identified as belonging to her father-in-law. The family had preserved the story that when Shelley’s body had been burned, his friend Edward Trelawny had snatched the whole heart from the pyre. These same accounts claim that the heart had been buried with Shelley’s son, Percy. All accounts agree, however, that the remains now lie in the vault in the churchyard of St Peter’s Church, Bournemouth.

For several years in the 20th century some of Trelawny’s collection of Shelley ephemera, including a painting of Shelley as a child, a jacket, and a lock of his hair, were on display in “The Shelley Rooms”, a small museum at Shelley Manor. When the museum finally closed in 2001, these items were returned to Lord Abinger, who descends from a niece of Lady Jane Shelley.

Wikipedia

Works Best Know For:

Poems

Ozymandias

Ode to the West Wind

To a Skylark, Music

When Soft Voices Die

The Cloud

The Masque of Anarchy

The Triumph of Life – (his final and unfinished work)

Drama

The Cenci – (Verse Drama)

Hellas: A Lyrical Drama – (widely considered to be his masterpiece)

Long Visionary Poems

Queen Mab – (later reworked as The Daemon of the World)

Alastor

The Revolt of Islam

Adonais

Prometheus Unbound

Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night

By: Dylan Thomas

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on the sad height,
Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

 

About the Poem:

“Do not go gentle into that good night” is a poem in the form of a villanelle, and the most famous work of Welsh poet Dylan Thomas (1914–1953).

It has no title other than its first line, “Do not go gentle into that good night”, a line which appears as a refrain throughout. Its other refrain is “Rage, rage against the dying of the light”. – Wikipedia

Sonnet 147

My love is as a fever, longing still
For that which longer nurseth the disease,
Feeding on that which doth preserve the ill,
Th’ uncertain sickly appetite to please.
My reason, the physician to my love,
Angry that his prescriptions are not kept,
Hath left me, and I desperate now approve
Desire is death, which physic did except.
Past cure I am, now reason is past care,
And frantic-mad with evermore unrest;
My thoughts and my discourse as madmen’s are,
At random from the truth vainly expressed:
For I have sworn thee fair, and thought thee bright,
Who art as black as hell, as dark as night.

By William Shakespeare

 

About the Sonnet:

Sonnet 147 is one of 154 sonnets written by English playwright and poet William Shakespeare. Sonnet 147 is written from the perspective of a poet who regards the love he holds for his mistress and lover as a sickness, and more specifically, as a fever. The sonnet details the internal battle the poet has between his reason (or head) and the love he has for his mistress (his heart). As he realizes his love is detrimental to his health and stability, perhaps even fatal, the poet’s rationality attempts to put an end to the relationship. Eventually, however, the battle between the poet’s reason and his love comes to an end. Unable to give up his lover, the poet gives up rationale and his love becomes all consuming, sending him to the brink of madness.” – Wikipedia

The Dark Lady Sonnets:

“As a piece within Shakespeare’s sonnet collection, Sonnet 147 lies within the Dark Lady sonnets sequence (Sonnets 127-154)… The Dark Lady sonnets are associated with a woman of dark physical and moral features…[and]…frequently include harsh and offensive language, often including sexual innuendos, to describe a woman who is neither admirably beautiful, or of admirable means or aristocratic status. By writing about this dark and simple woman, Shakespeare writes in stark contrast to most poets of his time, who often and predominantly wrote about fair, virginal, young girls who were of high social status.As with the questioned identity of the inspiration for the Fair Youth sonnets, the identity of the original Dark Lady has been disputed and argued for centuries.” -Wikipedia

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