Shelley: Selected Poems and Prose

Percy Bysshe SHELLEY (1792 - 1822)

The English Romantic Period in literature featured a towering group of excellent poets: Wordsworth, Coleridge, Byron, Shelley and Keats. If we add in forerunners Burns and Blake, we have perhaps an unmatchable collection of writers for any era. Of these, Percy Bysshe Shelley was one of the brightest and best, coupling a giant intellect with a highly emotional and impetuous nature. He was always a champion of liberty, but was largely ignored when he tried to promote political and social reform. He was wise enough, however, to realize that his efforts were ineffective, and he chose instead, not to attempt to reshape society, but to transform the individual, to inspire his readers to a greater love of beauty, of nature, and especially of each other. To this end, he poured forth a profusion of gorgeous verse overflowing with brilliant imagery, all aimed at uplifting the good and the beautiful, the free and the loving, while denouncing the social forces that tended to suppress them.

Unfortunately, it was Shelley’s fate to be misunderstood by the people of his own time. He was vilified as an evil influence, a free thinker and free lover whose ideas should be abhorred. He pictured himself in his poetic tribute to Keats, “Adonais,” as an outcast or a martyr, a “phantom among men, companionless,” bearing a brand upon his brow like that of Cain or of Christ. His life was unorthodox, but his nature was highly sympathetic and filled with devotion to those who were ground down by life and the pressures of a callous society. Perhaps the greatest testimonial was paid to him in letters written by Lord Byron (who, incidentally, disagreed with his political ideas): “...he is, to my knowledge, the least selfish and the mildest of men--a man who has made more sacrifices of his fortune and feelings for others than any I ever heard of.” “Shelley...was, without exception, the best and least selfish man I ever knew. I never knew one who was not a beast in comparison.” (Introduction by Leonard Wilson)

Genre(s): Poetry

Language: English

Section Chapter Author Source Reader Time Language
Play 01 Hymn to Intellectual Beauty Etext Leonard Wilson
00:06:07 en
Play 02 Sonnet: Lift not the painted veil Etext Leonard Wilson
00:01:35 en
Play 03 Ode to the West Wind Etext Leonard Wilson
00:05:00 en
Play 04 Excerpt from Preface to Prometheus Unbound Etext Leonard Wilson
00:05:09 en
Play 05 Conclusion of Prometheus Unbound, Act IV, ll. 554-578 Etext Leonard Wilson
00:02:29 en
Play 06 The Cloud Etext Leonard Wilson
00:04:57 en
Play 07 Sonnet: England in 1819 Etext Leonard Wilson
00:01:31 en
Play 08 Song to the Men of England Etext Leonard Wilson
00:02:18 en
Play 09 A Summer Evening Churchyard, Lechlade, Gloucestershire Etext Leonard Wilson
00:02:43 en
Play 10 Mutability, 2 poems Etext Leonard Wilson
00:02:54 en
Play 11 Lines Written in the Bay of Lerici Etext Leonard Wilson
00:03:09 en
Play 12 Love's Philosophy Etext Leonard Wilson
00:01:20 en
Play 13 Mont Blanc Etext Leonard Wilson
00:10:13 en
Play 14 To Night Etext Leonard Wilson
00:02:12 en
Play 15 Letter to Maria Gisborne Etext Leonard Wilson
00:19:22 en
Play 16 Time Long Past Etext Leonard Wilson
00:01:29 en
Play 17 When the Lamp Is Shattered Etext Leonard Wilson
00:02:09 en
Play 18 Dedication of The Revolt of Islam Etext Leonard Wilson
00:09:21 en
Play 19 With a Guitar, to Jane Etext Leonard Wilson
00:04:56 en
Play 20 To-- One word is too often profaned Etext Leonard Wilson
00:01:25 en
Play 21 Lines Written Among the Euganean Hills Etext Leonard Wilson
00:16:53 en
Play 22 Ozymandias Etext Leonard Wilson
00:01:34 en
Play 23 Stanzas--April, 1814 Etext Leonard Wilson
00:02:51 en
Play 24 Feelings of a Republican on the Fall of Bonaparte Etext Leonard Wilson
00:01:38 en
Play 25 On the Medusa of Leonardo da Vinci in the Florentine Gallery Etext Leonard Wilson
00:03:04 en
Play 26 The Indian Serenade Etext Leonard Wilson
00:01:37 en
Play 27 A Dirge Etext Leonard Wilson
00:00:56 en
Play 28 The Sensitive Plant Etext Leonard Wilson
00:18:32 en
Play 29 To Constantia, Singing Etext Leonard Wilson
00:03:11 en
Play 30 A Lament Etext Leonard Wilson
00:01:09 en
Play 31 To a Skylark Etext Leonard Wilson
00:05:00 en
Play 32 The Mask of Anarchy Etext Leonard Wilson
00:17:28 en
Play 33 To Wordsworth Etext Leonard Wilson
00:01:33 en
Play 34 Stanzas Written in Dejection Near Naples Etext Leonard Wilson
00:03:15 en
Play 35 An Exhortation Etext Leonard Wilson
00:01:50 en
Play 36 Excerpts from A Defence of Poetry Etext Leonard Wilson
00:16:34 en
Play 37 To-- When passion's trance is overpast Etext Leonard Wilson
00:01:29 en
Play 38 Ode to Liberty Etext Leonard Wilson
00:18:47 en
Play 39 To-- Music when soft voices die Etext Leonard Wilson
00:01:04 en
Play 40 Dirge for the Year Etext Leonard Wilson
00:01:46 en
Play 41 The Triumph of Life Etext Leonard Wilson
00:34:13 en
Play 42 The World's Wanderers Etext Leonard Wilson
00:01:10 en
Play 43 Hymn of Pan Etext Leonard Wilson
00:02:21 en
Play 44 To-- Oh! there are spirits of the air Etext Leonard Wilson
00:02:47 en
Play 45 Epipsychidion Etext Leonard Wilson
00:39:55 en
Play 46 Rarely, rarely, comest thou Etext Leonard Wilson
00:02:49 en
Play 47 Alastor Etext Leonard Wilson
00:48:50 en
Play 48 The Witch of Atlas Etext Leonard Wilson
00:38:47 en
Play 49 Preface to Adonais Etext Leonard Wilson
00:06:11 en
Play 50 Adonais Etext Leonard Wilson
00:32:17 en