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A Brief Percy Bysshe Shelley Bio

Written by: Shelley (Percy Bysshe), English poet, b. Field Place (Sussex), 4 Aug. 1792. From Eton, where he refused to fag, he went to Oxford. Here he published a pamphlet on the necessity of Atheism, for which he was expelled from the University. His father, Sir Timothy Shelley, also forbade him his house. He went to London, wrote Queen Mab, and met Miss Westbrook, whom, in 1811, he married. After two children had been born, they separated. In ’16 Shelley learned that his wife had drowned herself. He now claimed the custody of his children, but, in March, ’17, Lord Eldon decided against him, largely on account of his opinions. Shelley had previously written A Letter to Lord Ellenborough, indignantly attacking the sentence the judge passed on D. I. Eaton for publishing Paine’s Age of Reason. On 30 Dec. ’16, Shelley married Mary, daughter of William Godwin and Mary Wollstonecraft. In ’18, fearing their son might also be taken from him, he left England never to return. He went to Italy, where he met Byron, composed The Cenci, the Witch of Atlas, Prometheus Unbound, Adonais, [300]Epipsychidion, Hellas, and many minor poems of exquisite beauty, the glory of our literature. He was drowned in the Bay of Spezzia, 8 July, 1822. Shelley never wavered in his Freethought. Trelawny, who knew him well, says he was an Atheist to the last.

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