|Picture from www.athenamillennium.it|
He died before his thirtieth birthday, and so missed the opportunities to retrospectively assess his own works as other writers of the period tended to do.
It was his second wife, Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley (of Frankenstein fame), who put together a comprehensive collection of all of his works so that it would be promoted after his death. In doing this, she put forward an image of Shelley that was not exactly true to the real man. He was not the other-worldly Romantic genius, sensitive to his surroundings kind of guy at all.
In fact, his very first poem Queen Mab, was filled with attacks on the monarchy and religion which could only have been aimed at upsetting the establishment.
One of his poems that I particularly enjoyed throughout my studies was Ozymandias:
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".
Poem taken from http://www.online-literature.com
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