Archive for noviembre, 2010


Posted by saformo on 8th noviembre 2010

Although the esence of his ideas are captured brilliantly in that poem, sometimes it has been difficut to find out what he was really talking about in specific parts of the poem, I think it is very important to know about his social-historical context to understand what Shelly´s poems try to say

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Posted by saformo on 8th noviembre 2010

At first I only knew Percy Shelly as the husband of Mary Shelly, then I found out tat he is one of the major English romantic poets. On these paper I will talk about the anarchism on his works but I will add as well about her life and his historica-social context in order to understand better what Percy Shelly describes on his poems.

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Posted by saformo on 8th noviembre 2010


1642-6 The Great Civil War
1642 Charles I (Stuart; Anglican) captured. Queen Henrietta Maria and Charles, Prince of Wales, escape to France.
1649 Charles I beheaded.
1649-60 The Interregnum; the Commonwealth established.
1653 Oliver Cromwell (Puritan) becomes Lord Protector of the Commonwealth.
1658 Oliver Cromwell dies; his son Richard attempts to succeed him.
1660 The Restoration. Charles (II—Anglican) returns from France and takes the throne.
1681-5 Parliament does not meet. Court holds power.
1685 Charles dies; his brother James (II; Roman Catholic) succeeds him. Threat of “popery.”
1688 James, Prince of Wales born. This means the crown will pass to him, a Roman Catholic, rather than to the King’s Anglican siblings.
Glorious (i.e., bloodless) Revolution. James flees to France and is deposed, because his daughter Mary and her husband William, Prince of Orange, have been invited by Parliament to share the crown. Executive ! power lodged with William. Balance of power shifts finally from Court to Parliament.
1688-1788 For 100 years, till the death of Bonnie Prince Charlie, England feels the threat of an invasion from France which would restore Stuart (Jacobite), and thus Roman Catholic, rule. In fact, Jacobite risings occur twice during this period, in 1715 and 1745.
1694 Mary dies; William (III) sole ruler.
1701 James II dies in France. Act of Settlement directs succession, should Anne die childless, to the (Protestant) House of Hanover–unless “the Old Pretender,” James (son of James II) or, later, Bonnie Prince Charlie, “the Young Pretender,” would ! abjure Roman Catholicism. (See the chart of kings and queens.)
1702 William dies; Anne (Mary’s Anglican sister) succeeds.
1707 Act of Union between Scotland and England.
1702-13 War of the Spanish succession.
1713 Peace of Utrecht.
1714 Anne dies; Dynastic crisis; George I (of Hanover) succeeds unopposed.
1715 Jacobite rebellion.
1720 Charles Edward Stuart (a.k.a. Bonnie Prince Charlie or the Young Pretender) born in France to James (the Old Pretender).
South Sea Bubble.
1721-42 Robert Walpole Prime Minister.
1727 George I dies; George II crowned.
1733 John Kay’s flying shuttle.
1745 Jacobite rising in support of Bonnie Prince Charlie.
1754 Anglo-French war begins in North America.
1755 Lisbon earthquake.
1756-63 Seven Years’ War.
1757 Clive captures India from the French.
1758 first threshing machine.
1759 British Museum opens.
1760 George II dies; his grandson crowned George III.
French surrender Montreal to the British.
Wedgwood opens pottery works.
1763 Treaty of Paris ends the Seven Years’ War. France cedes Canada and the Mississippi Valley to Britain.
1764 Hargreaves invents the spinning jenny.
1766 James “the Old Pretender” dies in France.
1769 Arkwright invents a spinning machine.
1771 Arkwright’s first spinning mill.
1773 Boston Tea Party.
1774 Priestly isolates oxygen.
Accession of Louis XVI of France.
1775 American Revolution begins.
Watt’s first efficient steam engine.
1776 Adam Smith, The Wealth of Nations.
American colonies declare their independence.
1778 Rousseau and Voltaire die.
1779 first steam powered mills. Crompton invents spinning “mule.”
1781 Cornwallis surrenders to Washington at Yorktown, Va.
1782 Lord North resigns; full Parliamentary government restored.
1783 Peace treaty signed in Paris between Great Britain and the United States.
1785 Cartwright builds power loom.
1786 Coal gas first used for lighting.
1787 Warren Hastings impeached.
1788 Bonnie Prince Charlie dies in France.
1789 Bastille falls; French Revolution begins.
Bentham, Introduction to the Principles of Morals  (see utilitarianism).
1791-2 Paine, The Rights of Man.
1792 Reign of Terror in France.
1793 Louis XVI executed in France. England and France at war.
Godwin, Political Justice.
1794 Execution of Robespierre ends the Reign of Terror.
1796 Invasion of England threatened.
1798 Battle of the Nile.
Malthus, Essay on . . . Population.
1799 Napoleon named First Consul of France.
1801 Union of Great Britain and Ireland.
1804 Napoleon declared Emperor.
1805 Battle of Trafalgar.
1809 Napoleon captures Vienna.
1811 Prince of Wales named Regent to act for George III, now insane.
1811-12 Luddite riots in the North and the Midlands. Laborers attack factories and break up the machines which they fear will replace them.
1812 Napoleon invades Russia.
1812-14 War of 1812 between England and the United States.
1814 Treaty of Ghent ends Anglo-U.S. War.
England and allies invade France.
Napoleon exiled to Elba.
1815 Napoleon escapes Elba; begins the “Hundred Days.”
Battle of Waterloo; Napoleon exiled to St. Helena in the South Atlantic.
Corn Laws passed.
1817 David Ricardo, Principles of Political Economy.
1819 Peterloo Massacre of Corn Law protestors.
1820 George III dies; succeeded by Prince Regent as George IV. Cato Street Conspiracy
1821 Napoleon dies.
1822 Classical Tripos established at Cambridge.
1823 London Mechanics Institute founded.
1827 Thomas Arnold appointed to Rugby.
1829 Catholic Emancipation Act.
Peel establishes the Metropolitan Police.
1830 George IV dies; his brother William IV succeeds.
Manchester – Liverpool Railway (first in England).
1832 First Reform Bill: adds £10/year householders to the voting rolls and reapportions Parliamentary representation much more fairly, doing away with most “rotten” and “pocket” boroughs. Adds 217,000 voters to an electorate of 435,000.
1833 Slavery abolished throughout the British Empire.
Factory Act.
1834 New Poor Law.
Houses of Parliament burn down.
Late 1830s First of the Parliamentary “Blue Books”—facts and figures about England compiled by the Royal Commissioners.
1836-48 Chartist movement.
1837 William IV dies; succeeded by his niece, Victoria.
1838 Regular Atlantic steamship service begins.
1839 Anti-Corn-Law League founded.
1840 Queen Victoria marries her cousin Albert, who becomes Prince Consort.
Penny post started.
S.F.B. Morse invents the telegraph.
Grammar Schools Act.
1842 Chartist Riots.
Copyright Act.
1845-6 Potato Failure in Europe; starvation in Ireland. Corn Laws (which had kept up the price of grain) repealed.
1848 Revolutions in Europe.
Queen’s College (for women) founded in London.
1849 Gold discovered in California and Australia.
1850 Telegraph cable laid under English Channel.
1851 Great Exhibition (“Crystal Palace”).
Population of United Kingdom at 21 million.
1853-6 Crimean War.
1855 Livingston discovers Victoria Falls.
Civil Service Commissioners appointed.
1857-8 The Mutiny (India).
1858 First Atlantic cable laid.
1860 Garibaldi takes Naples; unification of Italy.
1861 Albert dies; Victoria retires into mourning.
1861-5 American Civil War.
1862 Bismarck becomes Prussian premier.
1864 Geneva Convention establishes Red Cross.
1866 Italy defeated by Austria.
Telegraph cable laid under the Atlantic.
1867 Second Reform Bill: enfranchises many workingmen; adds 938,000 to an electorate of 1,057,000 in England and Wales. (Disraeli‘s legislation)
South African diamond fields discovered.
Fenian rising in Ireland.
1869 Suez Canal opened.
Union Pacific Railway completed in U.S.
1870 Forster’s Elementary Education Act establishes School Boards.
Vatican Council (establishes the infallibility of the Pope).
1870-1 Franco-Prussian War.
1871 University Tests Act removes religious tests at Oxford and Cambridge.
Trade unions legalized.
Newcastle engineers strike for a nine-hour day.
Germany unified.
1873 Population of the United Kingdom at 26 million (France 36 million).
1876 Victoria named Empress of India.
Edison invents the phonograph.
Compulsory school attendance in Great Britain.
1877 Transvaal annexed.
1879 Somerville and Lady Margaret Colleges (for women) founded at Oxford.
Zulu war.
1880 War with Transvaal.
1881 Cambridge Tripos exams opened to women.
1882 Triple Alliance (Germany, Italy, and Austria).
Married Women’s Property Act enables women to buy, own, and sell property, and to keep their own earnings.
1883 “Oom Paul” Kruger named president of the South African Republic.
Fabian Society founded.
Mahdi Rebellion in the Sudan.
1884-5 Third Reform Act and Redistribution Act extend vote to agricultural workers; electorate tripled.
1885 Fall of Khartoum.
1886 First (Irish) Home Rule bill rejected.
1887 Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee.
1889 London dock workers and match girls strike for 6d./hour.
1890 Parnell–O’Shea divorce case ends Parnell’s influence; no Home Rule for Ireland.
1894 Dreyfus trial in France.
1895 U.S. equals the U.K.’s industrial output.
1897 Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee.
1898-99 Spanish-American War.
1899-1902 Boer war.
1901 Victoria dies; Edward Prince of Wales succeeds.
1903 U.S. acquires Canal Zone from Panama.
1904 Entente Cordiale (England and France).
1905 Revolution in Russia.
1914-18 The “Great War” (World War I).
1916 Easter Rising in Dublin.
1917 Russian Revolution.
1918 all men over 21 and women over thirty enfranchised.
1922 Irish Free State established.
James Joyce, Ulysses; T.S. Eliot, The Waste Land.
1928 Equal Franchise Act grants right to vote to women over 21 (as well as men).
1936-8 Spanish Civil War.
1938 Chamberlain cedes Czech territory to Hitler at Munich.
1939-45 World War II.


At the turn of the century, fired by ideas of personal and political liberty and of the energy and sublimity of the natural world, artists and intellectuals sought to break the bonds of 18th-century convention. Although the works of Jean Jacques Rousseau and William Godwin had great influence, the French Revolution and its aftermath had the strongest impact of all. In England initial support for the Revolution was primarily utopian and idealist, and when the French failed to live up to expectations, most English intellectuals renounced the Revolution. However, the romantic vision had taken forms other than political, and these developed apace.

In Lyrical Ballads (1798 and 1800), a watershed in literary history, William Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor Coleridge presented and illustrated a liberating aesthetic: poetry should express, in genuine language, experience as filtered through personal emotion and imagination; the truest experience was to be found in nature. The concept of the Sublime strengthened this turn to nature, because in wild countrysides the power of the sublime could be felt most immediately. Wordsworth’s romanticism is probably most fully realized in his great autobiographical poem, “The Prelude” (1805–50). In search of sublime moments, romantic poets wrote about the marvelous and supernatural, the exotic, and the medieval. But they also found beauty in the lives of simple rural people and aspects of the everyday world.

The second generation of romantic poets included John Keats, Percy Bysshe Shelley, and George Gordon, Lord Byron. In Keats’s great odes, intellectual and emotional sensibility merge in language of great power and beauty. Shelley, who combined soaring lyricism with an apocalyptic political vision, sought more extreme effects and occasionally achieved them, as in his great drama Prometheus Unbound (1820). His wife, Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, wrote the greatest of the Gothic romances, Frankenstein (1818).

Lord Byron was the prototypical romantic hero, the envy and scandal of the age. He has been continually identified with his own characters, particularly the rebellious, irreverent, erotically inclined Don Juan. Byron invested the romantic lyric with a rationalist irony. Minor romantic poets include Robert Southey—best-remembered today for his story “Goldilocks and the Three Bears”—Leigh Hunt, Thomas Moore, and Walter Savage Landor.

The romantic era was also rich in literary criticism and other nonfictional prose. Coleridge proposed an influential theory of literature in his Biographia Literaria (1817). William Godwin and his wife, Mary Wollstonecraft, wrote ground–breaking books on human, and women’s, rights. William Hazlitt, who never forsook political radicalism, wrote brilliant and astute literary criticism. The master of the personal essay was Charles Lamb, whereas Thomas De Quincey was master of the personal confession. The periodicals Edinburgh Review and Blackwood’s Magazine, in which leading writers were published throughout the century, were major forums of controversy, political as well as literary.

Although the great novelist Jane Austen wrote during the romantic era, her work defies classification. With insight, grace, and irony she delineated human relationships within the context of English country life. Sir Walter Scott, Scottish nationalist and romantic, made the genre of the historical novel widely popular. Other novelists of the period were Maria Edgeworth, Edward Bulwer-Lytton, and Thomas Love Peacock, the latter noted for his eccentric novels satirizing the romantics.

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Posted by saformo on 8th noviembre 2010

Percy Bysshe Shelley – The Mask of Anarchy

Written on the occasion of the massacre carried out by the British Government
at Peterloo, Manchester 1819


As I lay asleep in Italy
There came a voice from over the Sea,
And with great power it forth led me
To walk in the visions of Poesy.

I met Murder on the way -
He had a mask like Castlereagh -
Very smooth he looked, yet grim;
Seven blood-hounds followed him:

All were fat; and well they might
Be in admirable plight,
For one by one, and two by two,
He tossed the human hearts to chew
Which from his wide cloak he drew.

Next came Fraud, and he had on,
Like Eldon, an ermined gown;
His big tears, for he wept well,
Turned to mill-stones as they fell.

And the little children, who
Round his feet played to and fro,
Thinking every tear a gem,
Had their brains knocked out by them.

Clothed with the Bible, as with light,
And the shadows of the night,
Like Sidmouth, next, Hypocrisy
On a crocodile rode by.

And many more Destructions played
In this ghastly masquerade,
All disguised, even to the eyes,
Like Bishops, lawyers, peers, or spies.

Last came Anarchy: he rode
On a white horse, splashed with blood;
He was pale even to the lips,
Like Death in the Apocalypse.

And he wore a kingly crown;
And in his grasp a sceptre shone;
On his brow this mark I saw -

With a pace stately and fast,
Over English land he passed,
Trampling to a mire of blood
The adoring multitude.

And a mighty troop around,
With their trampling shook the ground,
Waving each a bloody sword,
For the service of their Lord.

And with glorious triumph, they
Rode through England proud and gay,
Drunk as with intoxication
Of the wine of desolation.

O'er fields and towns, from sea to sea,
Passed the Pageant swift and free,
Tearing up, and trampling down;
Till they came to London town.

And each dweller, panic-stricken,
Felt his heart with terror sicken
Hearing the tempestuous cry
Of the triumph of Anarchy.

For with pomp to meet him came,
Clothed in arms like blood and flame,
The hired murderers, who did sing
'Thou art God, and Law, and King.

'We have waited, weak and lone
For thy coming, Mighty One!
Our Purses are empty, our swords are cold,
Give us glory, and blood, and gold.'

Lawyers and priests, a motley crowd,
To the earth their pale brows bowed;
Like a bad prayer not over loud,
Whispering - 'Thou art Law and God.' -

Then all cried with one accord,
'Thou art King, and God and Lord;
Anarchy, to thee we bow,
Be thy name made holy now!'

And Anarchy, the skeleton,
Bowed and grinned to every one,
As well as if his education
Had cost ten millions to the nation.

For he knew the Palaces
Of our Kings were rightly his;
His the sceptre, crown and globe,
And the gold-inwoven robe.

So he sent his slaves before
To seize upon the Bank and Tower,
And was proceeding with intent
To meet his pensioned Parliament

When one fled past, a maniac maid,
And her name was Hope, she said:
But she looked more like Despair,
And she cried out in the air:

'My father Time is weak and gray
With waiting for a better day;
See how idiot-like he stands,
Fumbling with his palsied hands!

He has had child after child,
And the dust of death is piled
Over every one but me -
Misery, oh, Misery!'

Then she lay down in the street,
Right before the horses' feet,
Expecting, with a patient eye,
Murder, Fraud, and Anarchy.

When between her and her foes
A mist, a light, an image rose,
Small at first, and weak, and frail
Like the vapour of a vale:

Till as clouds grow on the blast,
Like tower-crowned giants striding fast,
And glare with lightnings as they fly,
And speak in thunder to the sky,

It grew - a Shape arrayed in mail
Brighter than the viper's scale,
And upborne on wings whose grain
Was as the light of sunny rain.

On its helm, seen far away,
A planet, like the Morning's, lay;
And those plumes its light rained through
Like a shower of crimson dew.

With step as soft as wind it passed
O'er the heads of men - so fast
That they knew the presence there,
And looked, - but all was empty air.

As flowers beneath May's footstep waken,
As stars from Night's loose hair are shaken,
As waves arise when loud winds call,
Thoughts sprung where'er that step did fall.

And the prostrate multitude
Looked - and ankle-deep in blood,
Hope, that maiden most serene,
Was walking with a quiet mien:

And Anarchy, the ghastly birth,
Lay dead earth upon the earth;
The Horse of Death tameless as wind
Fled, and with his hoofs did grind
To dust the murderers thronged behind.

A rushing light of clouds and splendour,
A sense awakening and yet tender
Was heard and felt - and at its close
These words of joy and fear arose

As if their own indignant Earth
Which gave the sons of England birth
Had felt their blood upon her brow,
And shuddering with a mother's throe

Had turned every drop of blood
By which her face had been bedewed
To an accent unwithstood, -
As if her heart had cried aloud:

'Men of England, heirs of Glory,
Heroes of unwritten story,
Nurslings of one mighty Mother,
Hopes of her, and one another;

'Rise like Lions after slumber
In unvanquishable number,
Shake your chains to earth like dew
Which in sleep had fallen on you -
Ye are many - they are few.

'What is Freedom? - ye can tell
That which slavery is, too well -
For its very name has grown
To an echo of your own.

'Tis to work and have such pay
As just keeps life from day to day
In your limbs, as in a cell
For the tyrants' use to dwell,

'So that ye for them are made
Loom, and plough, and sword, and spade,
With or without your own will bent
To their defence and nourishment.

'Tis to see your children weak
With their mothers pine and peak,
When the winter winds are bleak, -
They are dying whilst I speak.

'Tis to hunger for such diet
As the rich man in his riot
Casts to the fat dogs that lie
Surfeiting beneath his eye;

'Tis to let the Ghost of Gold
Take from Toil a thousandfold
More that e'er its substance could
In the tyrannies of old.

'Paper coin - that forgery
Of the title-deeds, which ye
Hold to something of the worth
Of the inheritance of Earth.

'Tis to be a slave in soul
And to hold no strong control
Over your own wills, but be
All that others make of ye.

'And at length when ye complain
With a murmur weak and vain
'Tis to see the Tyrant's crew
Ride over your wives and you -
Blood is on the grass like dew.

'Then it is to feel revenge
Fiercely thirsting to exchange
Blood for blood - and wrong for wrong -
Do not thus when ye are strong.

'Birds find rest, in narrow nest
When weary of their wingèd quest
Beasts find fare, in woody lair
When storm and snow are in the air.

'Asses, swine, have litter spread
And with fitting food are fed;
All things have a home but one -
Thou, Oh, Englishman, hast none!

'This is slavery - savage men
Or wild beasts within a den
Would endure not as ye do -
But such ills they never knew.

'What art thou Freedom? O! could slaves
Answer from their living graves
This demand - tyrants would flee
Like a dream's dim imagery:

'Thou art not, as impostors say,
A shadow soon to pass away,
A superstition, and a name
Echoing from the cave of Fame.

'For the labourer thou art bread,
And a comely table spread
From his daily labour come
In a neat and happy home.

'Thou art clothes, and fire, and food
For the trampled multitude -
No - in countries that are free
Such starvation cannot be
As in England now we see.

'To the rich thou art a check,
When his foot is on the neck
Of his victim, thou dost make
That he treads upon a snake.

'Thou art Justice - ne'er for gold
May thy righteous laws be sold
As laws are in England - thou
Shield'st alike the high and low.

'Thou art Wisdom - Freemen never
Dream that God will damn for ever
All who think those things untrue
Of which Priests make such ado.

'Thou art Peace - never by thee
Would blood and treasure wasted be
As tyrants wasted them, when all
Leagued to quench thy flame in Gaul.

'What if English toil and blood
Was poured forth, even as a flood?
It availed, Oh, Liberty,
To dim, but not extinguish thee.

'Thou art Love - the rich have kissed
Thy feet, and like him following Christ,
Give their substance to the free
And through the rough world follow thee,

'Or turn their wealth to arms, and make
War for thy belovèd sake
On wealth, and war, and fraud - whence they
Drew the power which is their prey.

'Science, Poetry, and Thought
Are thy lamps; they make the lot
Of the dwellers in a cot
So serene, they curse it not.

'Spirit, Patience, Gentleness,
All that can adorn and bless
Art thou - let deeds, not words, express
Thine exceeding loveliness.

'Let a great Assembly be
Of the fearless and the free
On some spot of English ground
Where the plains stretch wide around.

'Let the blue sky overhead,
The green earth on which ye tread,
All that must eternal be
Witness the solemnity.

'From the corners uttermost
Of the bounds of English coast;
From every hut, village, and town
Where those who live and suffer moan,

'From the workhouse and the prison
Where pale as corpses newly risen,
Women, children, young and old
Groan for pain, and weep for cold -

'From the haunts of daily life
Where is waged the daily strife
With common wants and common cares
Which sows the human heart with tares -

'Lastly from the palaces
Where the murmur of distress
Echoes, like the distant sound
Of a wind alive around

'Those prison halls of wealth and fashion,
Where some few feel such compassion
For those who groan, and toil, and wail
As must make their brethren pale -

'Ye who suffer woes untold,
Or to feel, or to behold
Your lost country bought and sold
With a price of blood and gold -

'Let a vast assembly be,
And with great solemnity
Declare with measured words that ye
Are, as God has made ye, free -

'Be your strong and simple words
Keen to wound as sharpened swords,
And wide as targes let them be,
With their shade to cover ye.

'Let the tyrants pour around
With a quick and startling sound,
Like the loosening of a sea,
Troops of armed emblazonry.

Let the charged artillery drive
Till the dead air seems alive
With the clash of clanging wheels,
And the tramp of horses' heels.

'Let the fixèd bayonet
Gleam with sharp desire to wet
Its bright point in English blood
Looking keen as one for food.

'Let the horsemen's scimitars
Wheel and flash, like sphereless stars
Thirsting to eclipse their burning
In a sea of death and mourning.

'Stand ye calm and resolute,
Like a forest close and mute,
With folded arms and looks which are
Weapons of unvanquished war,

'And let Panic, who outspeeds
The career of armèd steeds
Pass, a disregarded shade
Through your phalanx undismayed.

'Let the laws of your own land,
Good or ill, between ye stand
Hand to hand, and foot to foot,
Arbiters of the dispute,

'The old laws of England - they
Whose reverend heads with age are gray,
Children of a wiser day;
And whose solemn voice must be
Thine own echo - Liberty!

'On those who first should violate
Such sacred heralds in their state
Rest the blood that must ensue,
And it will not rest on you.

'And if then the tyrants dare
Let them ride among you there,
Slash, and stab, and maim, and hew, -
What they like, that let them do.

'With folded arms and steady eyes,
And little fear, and less surprise,
Look upon them as they slay
Till their rage has died away.

'Then they will return with shame
To the place from which they came,
And the blood thus shed will speak
In hot blushes on their cheek.

'Every woman in the land
Will point at them as they stand -
They will hardly dare to greet
Their acquaintance in the street.

'And the bold, true warriors
Who have hugged Danger in wars
Will turn to those who would be free,
Ashamed of such base company.

'And that slaughter to the Nation
Shall steam up like inspiration,
Eloquent, oracular;
A volcano heard afar.

'And these words shall then become
Like Oppression's thundered doom
Ringing through each heart and brain,
Heard again - again - again -

'Rise like Lions after slumber
In unvanquishable number -
Shake your chains to earth like dew
Which in sleep had fallen on you -
Ye are many - they are few.'

The speaker is sleaping in Italy when he is awoken by a voice from England who summons him back to his home nation to witness a masacre that has recently taken place.
It was characterized by anarchic murder rather than a true spirit of revolution. He personifies Murder, Fraud, Hypocrisy, various Destructions, and Anarchy.
Anarchy leads armed forces England, scaring the population. Soon ,the ´seven blood hounds´get to England, where they massacre the innocent public. They continue to butcher
 the innocent as they travel through the land, eventually reaching London, where the `dwellers´, who are by this time aware of the havoc these masked tyrants are running,
are `panic-stricken´ and attempt to run away.
Anarchy claims to be God, King and Law, rejecting all traditional sources of authority ans power. Somo choose to follow him. As his forces proceed with their destruction,
even Hope cries out of despair. Finally however, a mist of hope emerges, carrying thoughts. The revives Hope and kills Anarchy. The land of England seems to speak to the English,
asking them to rise and retake true freedom, since they really have been opressed and should fight back. Instead of trading `blood for blood´ and `wrong for wrong´the people should finally turn back to justice
, wisdom, peace, and love in order to achieve liberty. They should be guided by `Science, Poetry, ans Thought´ and quiet virtues. The true revolution should be `measured´and use words insteas of swords,
drawing on the `olds laws of England´ instead of the new laws of the opressors. When the tyrants fight back, the people should let their anger show itself until the tyrants fall back in shame. The people will then `Rise like lions after slumber/
In unvaquishable number´ to reform England.
On August 16, 1819, a large crowd gathered at St. Peter´s Square in Manchester, England, to demonstrate against famine, unemployement, and lack of suffrage in England. At the other local magistrate, a miliita force was ordered to disperse
the crowd. The young army, inexperienced and overzealous, began to brutally attack the innocent unarmed, leaving six dead and wouding several others. The incident was labeled Peterloo, a hybrid term to St. Peter´s and the famous defeat of Napoleon
at Waterloo. Shelley was in Italy at the time. When he received news of the incident, he was outraged.
The ´Seven bloodhounds´probably represent a seven-nation alliance that recently had been signed in Britain and sought to preserve slavery and postpone its aboliton. The leader of the masquerades is Robert Stewart, who was British Foreign Secretary.
`Eldon´at line 15 is John Scott, or Baron Eldon, the Lord Chancellor responsible for refusing to give Shelley custody of his children after their mother, Harriet Westbrook, comitted suicide. `Sidmouth´in line 23 is Henry Addington, Britain´s Home Secretary.
The poem is given in stanzas of four lines with aabb rhymes, plus some estanzas in five lines rhyming aabbb. Shelley personifies many of man´s sins (Fraud, Hypocrisy), who are led by the Spirit of Anarchy, all of them habing very ugly characteristics and attributes.
They also have primitive emotions and engage in brutish actions, feasting on raw human hearts and beating children. These beings are identifies in line 36 with `God´ (religious leaders) and King and Law, the various authorities holding power in England. At the same time
however, the sins are universally human and not limited to the rulling authorities. People too easily turn to anarchic violence in order to exert power rather than argument. If there is to be any real revolution, it cannot come by fighting ´anarchic´ rulers with a new anarchy
(as arguably happened at times during the French revolution)
Indeed, even the peace-loving people of England are dupes; the ´adoring multitude´ are fooled by disguises worn by state establishements. Shelley is pointing out that the institutions in which people are encouraged to place their trust and faith are the very ones that are out
to `trample´ them. While the people of England continue to worship their King, they are unable yo see the anarchist behind the mask.
While the group of `glorious triumphant´ masquerades continue to travel across England, intoxicated with their succesflully brutality and their power over their blind subjects, Shelley continues to refer to the wickedness of the ruling authorities being worsshipped in England
(such as at line 69-73). Anarchy, so the argument goes, has been made King and emplous his slaves to avertake the stablisments of London. It is here that the tone of the poem begins to change from utter despair to a glimmer of optimism. The character `Hope´, who is almost
completely defeated, lies down in the path of Anarchy, imploring natural spirits to rescue her before she, too, is `piled with the dust of death´. The Spirit that begins to rise comes from nature, a `mist´, and Shelley completely shifts the dark mood of the poem, to one with a
small light of possibility. The next five or six stanzas are full of this `image´ taking on the deeper power of nature as a source of greater power than that of man (´as flowers´, `as stars´, `as waves´).
The poet never leaves the specific situation of England, calling its situation `dim´but not entirely `expired´. The speaker arques that he only way to liberty is through reason, the salvation of science and intellect, not through made-up powers of religion and monarchy.
He calls for a justified `assembly´of rulers to watch over the English land, where the `workhouses´and `prisons´are treated just as `palaces´.
`Rise like lions´thus beckcons hope in the people to return to the more natural and fair `old laws of Englang´drawing on `science, poetry, and thought´. The poet is rejecting the false freedoms the people in England think they have (lines 156-59), calling on them to
embrace their `strong and simple´heritage of virtue. Freedom, says the poet, is reaping the benefits of your own labor, not having to be subject to some Lord or King ( freedom means `clothes, and fire and food for the trampled multitude´) Shelley is disgusted with
the fact that principles in law and democracy can be bought and sold at a price, and that men are not free anymore (see especially lines 229-237); the call is to recover the healthy order of social life, free to express virtue instead of suffering under temporal anarchic powers.

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Posted by saformo on 8th noviembre 2010

Written Works & Literary Career

Below you’ll find a chronological guide to, and a few excerpts from Percy Shelley’s major literary works. However, keep in mind that he also published and wrote numerous pamphlets, the majority of which inspired numerous authors and poets in later years. They also, some believed, inspired his assassination. So who is to say which was greater, his poetry and romantic lyrics, or his ability to tickle the consciences of great men and the muses of great authors?

(1810) Zastrozzi – Written while he attended Eton College, though not published until he had begun at Oford University, as an outlet for his staunch Atheism. This accomplishment led many to the theory that it was Percy, and not Mary, who wrote Frankenstein.

(1811) The Necessity of Atheism and St. Irvyne – St. Irvyne was the companion novel to Zastrozzi. The Necessity of Atheism was the text which resulted in Percy’s being ousted from Oxford, and the decimation of his relationship with his father, because of its interpreted lacivious content.

(1813) Queen Mab: A Philosophical Poem – Percy’s first lengthy, and successfully published literary work, that spoke of his beliefs on the subject of revolution. Passages of atheist content were removed in the first edition. In the second, they were reinstated, which led to the editor’s courth conviction of libel.

(1815) Alastor, or The Spirit of Solitude –

Earth, Ocean, Air, beloved brotherhood!
If our great Mother has imbued my soul
With aught of natural piety to feel
Your love, and recompense the boon with mine;
If dewy morn, and odorous noon, and even,
With sunset and its gorgeous ministers,
And solemn midnight’s tingling silentness;
If autumn’s hollow sighs in the sere wood,
And winter robing with pure snow and crowns
Of starry ice the grey grass and bare boughs;
If spring’s voluptuous pantings when she breathes
Her first sweet kisses, have been dear to me;
If no bright bird, insect, or gentle beast
I consciously have injured, but still loved
And cherished these my kindred; then forgive
This boast, beloved brethren, and withdraw
No portion of your wonted favour now!

(1816) Mont Blanc
(1817) Hymn to Intellectual Beauty (text)
(1817) The Revolt of Islam –

So now my summer-task is ended, Mary,
And I return to thee, mine own heart’s home;
As to his Queen some victor Knight of Faery,
Earning bright spoils for her enchanted dome;
Nor thou disdain, that ere my fame become
A star among the stars of mortal night,
If it indeed may cleave its natal gloom,
Its doubtful promise thus I would unite
With thy beloved name, thou Child of love and light.

(1818) Ozymandias (text)

(1818) Plato, The Banquet (or Symposium) translation from Greek into English[10]
(1819) The Cenci
(1819) Ode to the West Wind (text)
(1819) The Masque of Anarchy
(1819) Men of England
(1819) England in 1819
(1819) The Witch of Atlas
(1819) A Philosophical View of Reform
(1819) Julian and Maddalo –

No change, no pause, no hope! Yet I endure.
I ask the Earth, have not the mountains felt?
I ask yon Heaven, the all-beholding Sun,
Has it not seen? The Sea, in storm or calm,
Heaven’s ever-changing Shadow, spread below,
Have its deaf waves not heard my agony?
Ah me! alas, pain, pain ever, for ever!

(1820) Prometheus Unbound
(1820) To a Skylark
(1821) Adonais
(1821) Hellas
(1821) A Defence of Poetry (first published in 1840)
(1822) The Triumph of Life (unfinished, published in 1824 after Shelley died)
(1822) The Cloud

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Posted by saformo on 8th noviembre 2010


Percy Bysshe Shelley was born August 4, 1792, the first of seven children born to Timothy Shelley, a country squire who became a baronet in 1815 upon the death of his father, Sir Bysshe Shelley. Percy attended Sion House Academy from 1802-4 and then Eton, where the young intellectual and idealist encountered the public school system of “fagging,” in which upperclass boys tyrannized their juniors, who ran errands and acted as servants.  Afterwards Shelley equated school with prison. Although University College, Oxford, where he enrolled in 1810, came as something of a relief, within a few months he was expelled along with his friend Thomas Jefferson Hogg for refusing to acknowledge or deny authorship of a pamphlet entitled The Necessity of Atheism.

His father visited him in London after his expulsion, insisting that he renounce his friend Hogg and his beliefs, which included atheism, vegetarianism, free love, and political radicalism; Shelley refused. The resulting estrangement from his father was completed when Shelley eloped with Harriet Westbrook, the 16-year-old daughter of a coffee-house keeper. Shelley now sought a vocation: he went to Ireland for a few months to campaign for political reform; his poem “Queen Mab” appeared in 1813. The following year he met his hero William Godwin, the author of Political Justice, and fell in love with his daughter Mary, a radical and an idealist like himself. The daughter of William Godwin and Mary Wollstonecraft, the pioneering feminist who wrote A Vindication of the Rights of Women, Mary later wrote Frankenstein and The Last Man, two novels that remain popular and influential today. Taking along Mary’s step-sister Jane Clairmont (daughter of the second Mrs. Godwin), Mary and Percy eloped to Switzerland in July 1814.

An inheritance from his grandfather of £1000 per annum in 1815 alleviated Shelley’s financial difficulties, which were often caused by his generosity to others, but his domestic situation became very complex: Harriet, who had already given him a daughter, Ianthe, bore a son, Charles, on Nov. 30, 1814, after Shelley had been living with Mary for several months. A few months later (Feb. 22, 1815) Mary bore a daughter, who lived only a few days, and in January 1816 their son William was born. In 1816, Percy, Mary, and Jane Clairmont (who had reinvented herself as Claire and become Lord Byron’s mistress) returned to Geneva, where they met Byron and his friend (and doctor) John Polidori. They visited each other daily and regularly sailed together on the lake.  The famous ghost story-telling competition which lead Mary to come up with Frankenstein occurred in June. After they returned to England, Mary’s half-sister Fanny Imlay committed suicide in October, and less than a month later, Harriet (apparently pregnant by another man) drowned herself.  Shelley married Mary in December but lost custody of his children by Harriet to her family.

In 1818 the Shelleys left England for Italy, where their infant daughter Clara and then their son William died and where Percy Florence was born. Shelley gathered a circle of friends, including Byron, around him. Despite his radical views and despite his habit of falling in love with young women in this circle (like Emilia Viviani and Jane Williams, common-law wife of Edward Williams), Shelley was the peacemaker among them — Byron said that everyone else he knew was a beast compared with Shelley. Returning by sailing yacht from a peacemaking mission on behalf of Byron to Claire Clairmont, Shelley drowned at sea during a fierce storm. Mary Shelley edited his poems and advanced his fame after his death.

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