Lecture Percy Bysshe Shelley hours

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					Lecture 13 Percy Bysshe
    Shelley (2 hours)
Lecture 13 Percy Bysshe Shelley (2 hours)

• I. Life:
• “Percy Bysshe Shelley was born in 1792, at
  Fieldplace near-Horsham in Sussex;, his father,
  Sir Timothy; was a conservative and narrow-
  minded country gentleman. Shelley was gentle
  and kind by nature, but he had a stout heart. He
  could not stand any injustice. At Eton he was
  known as" Mad Shelley”. At this time he was
  much influenced by the utopian-socialist
  doctrines of William Godwin.
• Then he went to Oxford, where he took part in
  progressive activities and soon came into sharp conflict
  with the reactionary university authorities. In 1811
  Shelley wrote and published an anti-religious pamphlet '
  The Necessity of Atheism', believing that religion was an
  instrument of oppression. For this he was promptly
  expelled from the university and disowned by his father.
•     Shelley became a homeless man. While living alone
  in London at the age of 19, he made acquaintance with
  and married, out of sympathy, a school-girl of 16, Harriet
  Westbrook. For two years the young couple wandered
  about England, Ireland and Scotland. He had long been
  interested in the Irish people's struggles against British
• Shelley's marriage with Harriet had proved hasty
  and unsuitable, because she could not share his
  ideas. During the two years of their marriage, the
  lack of mutual understanding between them
  continued to increase. The unhappy union was
  dissolved in 1814. In 1816, Shelley married
  Mary Godwin, the daughter of William Godwin,
  the radical philosopher, and Mary Wollstonecroft,
  the authoress of the famous ' Vindication of the
  Rights of Women'. Shelley's second marriage
  was a happy one.
• He was compelled to leave England in 1818 and spent
  all the rest of his life in Italy. As early as 1816 began
  Shelley's friendship with Byron. While in Italy Shelley
  and Byron formed a closer connection with each other
  and from then on the names of the two poets have been
  linked up for ever.
• The news of Shelley's death was received by the
  reactionaries with undisguised joy. Meanwhile the
  English people have ever cherished his memory and
  poetry with love. Mary Shelley did a good job in
  collecting and editing his poems, and her explanatory
  notes have been helpful to all editors and readers of
  Shelley's works.
              II . "Queen Mab"
• "Queen Mab", Shelley's first long poem of importance,
  written in 1813. contains almost all his major social and
  political ideas. It is written in the form of a fairy-tale
  dream. The fairy Queen Mab carries oil in her celestial
  chariot a beautiful and pure maiden Ianthe, and shows
  her the past, present and future of mankind. Through the
  mouth of the fairy queen the poet presents his own views
  on philosophy, religion, morality, and social problems.
  The poem has 9 cantos. The first two cantos deal with a
  vision of the past; the last two with an ideal view of the
  future, while the five central cantos are devoted to a
  fierce attack on the social evils of the day.
        III. The Revolt of Islam':
•    "The Revolt of Islam', another important long poem of
  Shelley's, was Written in 1818. A brother and a sister.
  Laon and Cythna are united in their common ideal of
  liberty, equality and fraternity and they rouse the spirit of
  revolt among their Islam people against their tyrants.
•     Heroic struggle for the liberation of mankind and union
  with a sister-comrade were inseparable elements of
  Shelley's ideal, and the love between Laon and Cythna
  was but the symbol of their common devotion to a lofty
•    Besides the theme of revolution the poem shows
  Shelley's attitude towards the position of woman in
  society. Cythna the woman warrior seeks the intellectual
  liberation of her sex.
    IV. " Prometheus Unbound"
• Shelley's masterpiece is "Prometheus Unbound' (1820),
  a lyrical drama in 4 acts.
• According to Greek myth; Prometheus stole fire from
  heaven and taught men how to use it. For this he was
  punished by Zeus, the supreme god, who chained him to
  a rock on Mt.Caucasus, where during the daytime a
  vulture fed on his liver, which was restored each
  succeeding night. So the figure of Prometheus has been
  'symbolic of those noble-hearted revolutionaries, who
  devote themselves to the just cause of the people and
  suffer great pains at the hands of tyrants'.
    IV. " Prometheus Unbound"
• Though chained to the rock, Prometheus has "great
  allies' in the World: He is supported by innumerable
  forces; Mother Earth gives him strength to endure all
  sufferings and sends the spirits of heroes and martyrs to
  cheer him. Lovely shapes of Faith and Hope hover
  around him. His bride Asia, the spirit of love and
  goodness. He knows the reign of Zeus is but a passing
  period in the life of the universe, so to the last he refuses
  to yield to the tyrant in heaven. Finally, in spite of
  desperate resistance, Zeus is overthrown by the huge
  spirit Demogorgon, the symbol of change and revolution.
  Prometheus is released by Hercules the hero of great
  V. Lyrics on Nature and Love
• Shelley's short poems on nature and love
  occupy a very important place in his literary
  career. To him, nature exists as an unseen Life
  of the Universe, and his love of nature is almost
• In Shelley's lyrics, nature is endowed with life,
  and the poet merges himself with it. This gives
  an exquisite beauty to these lyrics on nature.
• This passionate love of nature is but an
  expression of the poet's eager aspiration for
  something free from the care and misery of real
       VI. “A Defence of Poetry"
• In 1821, T.L.Peacock, one of Shelley's friends, published
  The Four Ages of Poetry", in which he asserted that
  poetry taking its origin in relatively primitive and simple
  modes of thought must inevitably decline with the
  progress of civilization, and in an age of rationality, such
  as the 19th century, it can only be an anachronism, i.e.
  something out of its proper time, which is barbaric and
  absurd. Shelley's essay' A Defence of Poetry' was
  written as a refutation of Peacock's view. Shelley
  maintained that poetry, so far from being deteriorated
  and made powerless by the advance of civilization is
  actually the indispensable agent of civilization? Poets
  are the unacknowledged legislators of the world', and
  poetry can play a very important part in the spiritual life
  of society.
                   Points of view

• (1) Politically Shelley was a revolutionary and a
  democrat. He was fighting all his life against
  cruelty, injustice, authority, institutional religion
  and the format shams of respectable society. He
  thought that his age was one of the war between
  the oppressed and the oppressors. And he
  believed that in spite of the defeat of the
  revolution, France would rise again, that the
  forces of liberty would again triumph in Europe.
               Points of view
• Literarily Shelley, with a triumphant praise of the
  imagination, highly exalted the role of poetry,
  thinking that poetry alone could free man and
  offer the mind a wider view of its powers.
• Poetry "is a more direct representation of the
  actions and passions, of our internal being". It is
  through language that the imagination most
  readily apprehends the ideal order of truth.
             "Ode to the West Wind" (1819)
• 1 O wild West Wind, thou breath of Autumn's being,
  2 Thou, from whose unseen presence the leaves dead
  3 Are driven, like ghosts from an enchanter fleeing,
  4 Yellow, and black, and pale, and hectic red,
  5 Pestilence-stricken multitudes: O thou,
  6 Who chariotest to their dark wintry bed
  7 The winged seeds, where they lie cold and low,
  8 Each like a corpse within its grave, until
  9 Thine azure sister of the Spring shall blow
  10 Her clarion o'er the dreaming earth, and fill
  11 (Driving sweet buds like flocks to feed in air)
  12 With living hues and odours plain and hill:
  13 Wild Spirit, which art moving everywhere;
  14 Destroyer and preserver; hear, oh hear!
              "Ode to the West Wind" (1819)
• 15 Thou on whose stream, mid the steep sky's commotion,
  16 Loose clouds like earth's decaying leaves are shed,
  17 Shook from the tangled boughs of Heaven and Ocean,
  18 Angels of rain and lightning: there are spread
  19 On the blue surface of thine aiery surge,
  20 Like the bright hair uplifted from the head
  21 Of some fierce Maenad, even from the dim verge
  22 Of the horizon to the zenith's height,
  23 The locks of the approaching storm. Thou dirge
  24 Of the dying year, to which this closing night
  25 Will be the dome of a vast sepulchre,
  26 Vaulted with all thy congregated might
  27 Of vapours, from whose solid atmosphere
  28 Black rain, and fire, and hail will burst: oh hear!
              "Ode to the West Wind" (1819)
• 29 Thou who didst waken from his summer dreams
  30 The blue Mediterranean, where he lay,
  31 Lull'd by the coil of his cryst{`a}lline streams,
   32 Beside a pumice isle in Baiae's bay,
   33 And saw in sleep old palaces and towers
   34 Quivering within the wave's intenser day,
   35 All overgrown with azure moss and flowers
   36 So sweet, the sense faints picturing them! Thou
   37 For whose path the Atlantic's level powers
   38 Cleave themselves into chasms, while far below
   39 The sea-blooms and the oozy woods which wear
   40 The sapless foliage of the ocean, know
   41 Thy voice, and suddenly grow gray with fear,
   42 And tremble and despoil themselves: oh hear!
             "Ode to the West Wind" (1819)
• 43 If I were a dead leaf thou mightest bear;
  44 If I were a swift cloud to fly with thee;
  45 A wave to pant beneath thy power, and share
  46 The impulse of thy strength, only less free
  47 Than thou, O uncontrollable! If even
  48 I were as in my boyhood, and could be
  49 The comrade of thy wanderings over Heaven,
  50 As then, when to outstrip thy skiey speed
  51 Scarce seem'd a vision; I would ne'er have striven
  52 As thus with thee in prayer in my sore need.
  53 Oh, lift me as a wave, a leaf, a cloud!
  54 I fall upon the thorns of life! I bleed!
  55 A heavy weight of hours has chain'd and bow'd
  56 One too like thee: tameless, and swift, and proud.
              "Ode to the West Wind" (1819)
• 57 Make me thy lyre, even as the forest is:
  58 What if my leaves are falling like its own!
  59 The tumult of thy mighty harmonies
   60 Will take from both a deep, autumnal tone,
   61 Sweet though in sadness. Be thou, Spirit fierce,
   62 My spirit! Be thou me, impetuous one!
   63 Drive my dead thoughts over the universe
   64 Like wither'd leaves to quicken a new birth!
   65 And, by the incantation of this verse,
   66 Scatter, as from an unextinguish'd hearth
   67 Ashes and sparks, my words among mankind!
   68 Be through my lips to unawaken'd earth
  69 The trumpet of a prophecy! O Wind,
• 70 If Winter comes, can Spring be far behind?

• I met a traveller from an antique land
  Who said: "Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
  Stand in the desert. Near them on the sand,
  Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown
  And wrinkled lip and sneer of cold command
  Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
  Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
  The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed.
  And on the pedestal these words appear:
  `My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings:
  Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair!'
  Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
  Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare,
  The lone and level sands stretch far away.
    Hail to thee, blithe Spirit!
•      Bird thou never wert,
•    That from Heaven, or near it,
•      Pourest thy full heart
• In profuse strains of unpremeditated art.

•     Higher still and higher
•         From the earth thou springest
•     Like a cloud of fire;
•         The blue deep thou wingest,
• And singing still dost soar, and soaring ever singest.

•      In the golden lightning
•          Of the sunken sun
•      O'er which clouds are bright'ning,
•          Thou dost float and run,
• Like an unbodied joy whose race is just begun.
•    The pale purple even
•         Melts around thy flight;
•     Like a star of Heaven
•         In the broad daylight
• Thou art unseen, but yet I hear thy shrill delight:

•       Keen as are the arrows
•          Of that silver sphere,
•       Whose intense lamp narrows
•          In the white dawn clear
• Until we hardly see--we feel that it is there.

•     All the earth and air
•          With thy voice is loud.
•     As, when night is bare,
•          From one lonely cloud
• The moon rains out her beams, and heaven is overflowed.
•      What thou art we know not;
•          What is most like thee?
•      From rainbow clouds there flow not
•          Drops so bright to see
• As from thy presence showers a rain of melody.

•      Like a poet hidden
•          In the light of thought,
•      Singing hymns unbidden,
•          Till the world is wrought
• To sympathy with hopes and fears it heeded not:

•      Like a high-born maiden
•          In a palace tower,
•      Soothing her love-laden
•          Soul in secret hour
• With music sweet as love, which overflows her bower:
• Like a glow-worm golden
•          In a dell of dew,
•      Scattering unbeholden
•          Its aerial hue
• Among the flowers and grass, which screen it from the view:

•     Like a rose embowered
•         In its own green leaves,
•     By warm winds deflowered,
•         Till the scent it gives
• Makes faint with too much sweet these heavy-winged thieves.

•     Sound of vernal showers
•         On the twinkling grass,
•     Rain-awakened flowers,
•         All that ever was
• Joyous, and clear, and fresh, thy music doth surpass.
•      Teach us, sprite or bird,
•          What sweet thoughts are thine:
•      I have never heard
•          Praise of love or wine
• That panted forth a flood of rapture so divine.

•      Chorus hymeneal
•          Or triumphal chaunt
•      Matched with thine, would be all
•          But an empty vaunt--
• A thing wherein we feel there is some hidden want.

•    What objects are the fountains
•         Of thy happy strain?
•    What fields, or waves, or mountains?
•         What shapes of sky or plain?
• What love of thine own kind? what ignorance of pain?
•    With thy clear keen joyance
•         Languor cannot be:
•     Shadow of annoyance
•         Never came near thee:
• Thou lovest, but ne'er knew love's sad satiety.

•     Waking or asleep,
•         Thou of death must deem
•     Things more true and deep
•         Than we mortals dream,
• Or how could thy notes flow in such a crystal stream?

•      We look before and after,
•         And pine for what is not:
•      Our sincerest laughter
•         With some pain is fraught;
• Our sweetest songs are those that tell of saddest thought.
•      Yet if we could scorn
•           Hate, and pride, and fear;
•      If we were things born
•           Not to shed a tear,
• I know not how thy joy we ever should come near.

•      Better than all measures
•           Of delightful sound,
•      Better than all treasures
•           That in books are found,
• Thy skill to poet were, thou scorner of the ground!

•     Teach me half the gladness
•         That thy brain must know,
•     Such harmonious madness
•         From my lips would flow
• The world should listen then, as I am listening now!

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