A Brief Biography of Percy Bysshe Shelley

By Tim Lambert

His Early Life

The great poet Percy Bysshe Shelley was born on 4 August 1792 at Field Place near n in Sussex, England. His father was an MP, Sir Timothy Shelley and his mother was called Elizabeth. Percy was the oldest of six children. He had a brother and four sisters. In 1804 Shelley was sent to Eton.

Then in 1810, Shelley went to University College, Oxford. Meanwhile, Shelley wrote Zastrozzi. It was published in 1810. With his sister, Elizabeth Shelley also wrote Original Poetry by Victor and Cazire. It was also published in 1810. Shelley also wrote St. Irvyne; or, The Rosicrucian, which was published in 1811.

However, in 1811, Shelley wrote a pamphlet called The Necessity of Atheism. As a result, he was expelled from the university. Shelley then married a girl named Harriet Westbrook. The couple had 2 children but they separated when Harriet was expecting their second child. In 1813 Shelley published a work called Queen Mab.

Then in 1814, Shelley began a relationship with a girl named Mary, the daughter of William Godwin and Mary Wollstonecraft. Mary had a daughter in February 1815 but the child died after a few days.

However, in January 1816 Mary gave birth to a son named William. In May 1816 Mary and Percy Shelley and their son traveled to Lake Geneva. While there Mary was inspired to write the novel, Frankenstein. Percy Bysshe Shelley married Mary on 30 December 1816 after Harriet committed suicide.

On 2 September 1817, Mary Shelley gave birth to a daughter. She was called Clara. Unfortunately, Clara Shelley died on 24 September 1818. Their son William Shelley died on 7 June 1819. However, on 12 November 1819 while in Florence Mary gave birth to another son, Percy Florence Shelley. He was the only one of the couple’s children to survive. Meanwhile, Percy Shelley continued to write. In 1820 he published his great work Prometheus Unbound.

Sadly on 8 July 1822 Shelley drowned off Italy when his boat sank. Shelley was cremated and his ashes were buried in the Protestant Cemetery in Rome.