Thursday, August 04, 2011

Happy Birthday, Percy


Percy Bysshe Shelley, born this day 1792. He drowned while sailing, in 1822, before his thirtieth birthday, but still managed to produce many poetic masterpieces. He was twice married, the second time to Mary (neè Godwin), who wrote Frankenstein.

He spent one year at Oxford University, but in 1811 he and his friend Thomas Jefferson Hogg published their pamphlet, The Necessity of Atheism, which resulted in their immediate expulsion from the university. Many of his poems are not only lyrical, but progressive, even revolutionary, in their politics.

But here's one that's only (or is it?) lyric:

A Poet's Dream

ON a Poet's lips I slept,
Dreaming like a love-adept
In the sound his breathing kept;
Nor seeks nor finds he mortal blisses,
But feeds on the aerial kisses
Of shapes that haunt Thought's wildernesses.
He will watch from dawn to gloom
The lake-reflected sun illume
The yellow bees in the ivy-bloom,
  Nor heed nor see what things they be—
But from these create he can
Forms more real than living man,
  Nurslings of Immortality!

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