Shelley: Selected Poems and Prose cover

#1 - 01 - Hymn to Intellectual Beauty

Shelley: Selected Poems and Prose

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

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.”

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