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PERCY SHELLEY Percy Shelley, son of Sir Timothy Shelley, was born at Field Place in 1792. Shelley was educated at Eton and Oxford University and it was assumed that when he was twenty-one he would inherit his father's seat in Parliament. As a young man he was taken to the House of Commons where he met Sir






for Westminster.

Shelley was impressed by Burdett, and in 1810 dedicated one of his first poems to him. At university Shelley began reading books by radical political writers such as Tom Paine and William Godwin. At university Shelley wrote articles defending Daniel Isaac Eaton, a bookseller

charged with

selling books by Tom Paine. He also

wrote The Necessity of Atheism, a pamphlet that attacked the idea of compulsory Christianity. Oxford University was shocked when they discovered what Shelley had written and on 25th March, 1811 he was expelled. Shelley eloped to Scotland with Harriet Westbrook, a sixteen year old daughter of a coffee-house keeper. Shelley moved to Ireland where he made revolutionary speeches on religion and politics. He also wrote a political pamphlet A “Declaration of Rights�, on the subject of the French Revolution, but it was considered to be too radical for distribution in Britain. Percy returned to England where he became involved in radical politics. He met William Godwin. Shelley also renewed his friendship with Leigh Hunt, the young editor of The Examiner . Shelley helped to support Leigh Hunt financially when he was imprisoned for an article he published on the Prince Regent. In 1814 Shelley fell in love and eloped with Mary and the couple travelled in Europe.







with Leigh

Hunt and Lord

Byron where they published the journal “The Liberal� . By publishing it in Italy the three men remained free from prosecution by the British authorities. Soon after its publication, Percy Shelley was lost at sea on 8th July, 1822 while sailing to meet Leigh Hunt . He died drowned opposite to the Italian coasts. When his body was recovered his friends Lord Byron, Leigh Hunt and Edward Trelawny, following a former Greek ceremony, incinerated his corpse in a pyre on the shores of the sea. Apparently, when Shelley's corpse was half emaciated Trelawny extracted his heart, after which, he and Hunt disputed for Shelley's heart, which finally remained with his wife Mary W. Shelley

Images: y_by_Curran,_1819.jpg

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