The Love of P B Shelley


The Love of P B Shelley

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(The Love Story of Percy Bysshe Shelley)

The Love of P B ShelleyP B Shelley

The Love of P B Shelley

Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792-1822) was an English minor poet of major rank. Like Keats, he met an earlier death at the age of thirty only, and within this brief span of life, he had written a considerable amount of poems and became a worth mentioned popular poet. His place as a poet is after only Keats and none. As a poet, he was a romantic visionary, revolutionary and idealist. In matters of poetic style and language, he was the most spontaneous and lyrical of all the English poets both after and before him. Besides being a poet of major rank, he was a sceptic to God, revolutionary concerning social conventions and idealist in thought.

The personal life of P B Shelley was like a vagabond—as he often travelled here and there and thus he spent his days on the earth. His vagabond-like life was replete with the affairs of love and marriage. Regarding love and marriage, he was anti-conventional, anti-social and anti-moral. He often opposed the constitution of marriage and almost advocated wild, free, natural sex. Love for the opposite sex was to him a physical urgency. He held the opinion that marriage ought to be simply a voluntary relationship between a man and a woman—capable of being terminated at the wish of either party. His anti-conventional view on love and marriage was reflected in his personal life. He himself married two women one by one and in addition to them, he had some paramours.

After having some schooling at his birthplace, P B Shelley proceeded to University College, Oxford in 1810. There his revolutionary soul soured up and he wrote a pamphlet entitled, The Necessity of Atheism and resultantly he was expelled from the university as he expressed sceptic view of God. After being driven from Oxford, he went to London. In London, he met a pretty girl of a retired hotel owner. The name of that girl was Miss Harriet Westbrook. From their first-day acquaintance, they began to love each other. Miss Harriet seemed to love Shelley deeply and she wished Shelley to accept her deeply in turn. But Shelley seemed not to be ardent in love with her. He only showed his interest in her beauty. Soon his eyes turned to another beautiful girl and left London for Sussex, his home place. Spending only a few days in Sussex, he went to Wales and there he began to stay with a cousin. One day suddenly a letter came to him from London. He opened it and went through it and found that it was sent by Miss Harriet Westbrook who offered love to him in London. In that letter, she expressed her deep love for him and wished to enter into a marriage bond with him. She requested him to come back to London to live together. Shelley first, declined the offer, but eventually, he went to London and met Miss Harriet Westbrook and began to love her. In August 1811, they determined to get married and finally, Shelley eloped with her to Edinburgh where they got married according to the rites of the Scottish Church. Miss Harriet Westbrook, after being married to Shelley became Mrs. Harriet Westbrook Shelley and began to live a happy conjugal life. Mrs. Harriet Shelley was not only beautiful and amiable but also adequately educated and well-bred. She liked reading, but she could neither feel poetry nor understand philosophy. She was simple-minded and affectionate and she tried her best to respond to her husband’s liking and disliking. For a year, they stayed in York in the company of Mr. Hogg, a close friend of Shelley. There one day, Mr. Hogg tried to seduce Mrs. Harriet Shelley and then a quarrel set up between the Shelley couple and Mr Hogg. Eventually, they left York for London and there in 1813 Harriet gave birth to a daughter. After three years of their married life, a gap between the two began to take shape—their mutual love waned and by the spring of 1814 Harriet left her husband and went to a prolonged visit to Bath. In the meantime, P.B. Shelley went to contact with William Godwin who was an idealist revolutionary. Shelley was influenced by his philosophy. There he, at the home of William Godwin, stayed for some days. William Godwin had a beautiful daughter by the name of Miss Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin.

While P B Shelley went to stay for some days, at the house of Godwin, he came to the acquaintance of Miss Mary Godwin. At first sight, he got enamoured of Miss Mary. In turn, Miss Mary showed him love and pity. Then she was a girl of sixteen. She was a brave, ardent and cultured girl. Seeing her sprightly bloomed body, Shelley instantly fell in love with her. They very secretly agreed to get married. Hence in July 1814 Shelley and Mary eloped to Switzerland. William Godwin felt this affair furious. Although Godwin held bold opinions regarding love and marriage similar to that of Shelley, yet he could not bear the love affair of Shelley and Mary. In September 1814 they returned to London and settled at Bishop Gate, near Windsor Forest. Staying there for more than a year, they again left England for Switzerland. Already Mrs. Mary Shelley had given birth to a son named William Shelley. There the pair met Lord Byron, a contemporaneous romantic poet and they lived happily there. After spending only some months there, they returned to London. On the other hand, Shelley’s former wife Mrs. Harriet had given birth to a second child to Shelley and she was in expectation that Shelley would come back to her. She was waiting for Shelley from 1814 to 1816. She became anxious to have Shelley back. But Shelley remained aloof forgetting and neglecting her. When Shelley with Mrs. Mary arrived in London from Switzerland he heard that after being weary of waiting for Shelley Mrs. Harriet had made suicide by drowning in a river. A  charge was brought against Shelley that he was responsible for Mrs. Harriet’s suicide. The suicide of Mrs. Harriet, the first wife of Shelley, shocked his heart. It also shocked his whimsical ideas of love and marriage which he held so long.

In 1818, after a serious illness, P B Shelley, with his wife Mrs. Mary, and their two infants—William and Clara went off to Italy. In Italy, both their children—William and Clara—died suddenly and a third child was born to them in 1819.

In Italy, they stayed at Leghorn where they met Mr. and Mrs. Gisborne. Mrs. Gisborne was once an intimate friend of Godwin. Secondly, they went to live in Pisa, where Byron the poet had been living with his wife. They constantly met each other. There, in Pisa, Shelley met a beautiful, lively Italian girl named Emilia Vivian and fell passionately in love with her. But this could not develop into a marriage bond.

In Italy, P B Shelley’s last residence was at Casa Magni, on the Gulf of Spezia. He along with his wife went there to spend the summer season. On July 1822, Shelley with one of his friends by the name of William went on a boating excursion and was unfortunately caught in the storm. The storm overthrew the boat. Both friends drowned in the sea and died after some struggle against the waves and water of the sea and thus the life of a great poet and a wayward lover came to an end at the age of thirty only. 0 0 0

P B Shelley

N.B.  The article ‘The Love of P B Shelley’ originally belongs to the book ‘Love of Reputed Persons‘ by Menonim Menonimus.

P B Shelley

Books of Composition by M. Menonimus:

  1. Advertisement Writing
  2. Amplification Writing
  3. Note Making
  4. Paragraph Writing
  5. Notice Writing
  6. Passage Comprehension
  7. The Art of Poster Writing
  8. The Art of Letter Writing
  9. Report Writing
  10. Story Writing
  11. Substance Writing
  12. School Essays Part-I
  13. School Essays Part-II
  14. School English Grammar Part-I
  15. School English Grammar Part-II..

Books of S. Story by M. Menonimus:

  1. The Fugitive Father and Other Stories
  2. The Prostitute and Other Stories
  3. Neha’s Confession

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