4 August 1792, the poet Percy Bysshe Shelley was born in Horsham, in Sussex.
“Thy words are like a cloud of winged snakes; / And yet I pity those they torture not.” (Percy Bysshe Shelley, "Prometheus Unbound“)
Obviously unable to skip anything that was deemed scandalous, or, at the very least, a folly in Regency England, from being quite obviously rather polyamorous, travelling the Continent usually with a flock of mostly teenaged female followers in tow, fathering children here and there, leaving suicides in his wake, a pacifist, socialist, atheist and vegetarian on top of it, Shelley never acquired the features of being something along the lines of a demon cast down to Earth like his friend Byron did. Even though most publishers during his life and times refused to print his works, fearing heavy retribution from the official side, Shelley always maintained an image of being the innocent and juvenile “favourite of the gods” (Goethe).
|Joseph Severn, a mutual friend of John Keats and Shelley: “Posthumous Portrait of Shelley Writing Prometheus Unbound“ (1845) now hung in Keats-Shelley Memorial House, Rome.|
Shelley’s language and expressive power makes him one of the foremost Romantic poets and one of the finest lyricists who ever used English to reveal themselves and his multifarious biography reads like a novel. And even though his contemporaries avoided his actual works with something bordering on superstition, Shelley exerts his influence to this day spreading into fantasy and science fiction as well as Rock ‘n’ Roll, being the rock star that he was in his day.