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Face of Percy Bysshe Shelley

Percy Bysshe Shelley

The least appreciated while he lived, he now seems the most extraordinary of all the Romantics. An aristocrat who detested privilege and threw or gave away almost all its benefits. A believer in freedom and equality of the sexes. A visionary poet, a campaigner for the Irish cause and against established religion and conventional morality; he was considered far too hysterical, blasphemous and aggressive for polite society. Unfortunately he loved sailing but couldn’t swim. A short but amazingly strenuous life! The fire is all there in his letters, pamphlets and political writings, including the savage manifesto-poem “The Mask of Anarchy” urging the people of England to rise up against tyranny “….We are many, they are few!” – but of course, there’s also his stunning poetry of love and despair – “Music, when soft voices die…”, “When the lamp is shattered..”, “Ode to a Skylark”, “Ode to the West Wind”, “Ode to Mutability”. Also in the mix are excerpts from “Epipsychidion”, “Adonais” (his tribute to Keats), the Choral Odes from “Hellas” (like Byron, he supported the cause for Greek freedom), and to end the show –“Ozymandias”

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