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Percy Bysshe Shelley from the early 19th century was the most determinedly professional writer of all the English Romantic poets This is seen in not only his symphonic poems like the Ode to the West Wind his lyrical sonnets such as Lines written among the Euganean Hills amongst The Cloud To a Skylark and many others his political rhymes like The Revolt of Islam and Queen Mab and his narrative verses like Adonais Alastor and Epipsychidion It is also obvious in his poetic dramas with Prometheus Unbound and The Cenci as prime examples and his famous essay The Defense of Poetry In Shelleys view the poet is a dreamer a visionary who must use these dreams and visions to persuade men to shake off the chains of the past of custom of selfishness and to press onward to the vital task of constructing a world characterized by kindness generosity and love Shelley was born the eldest son of a wealthy squire on August 4th 1792 at Field Place near Horsham He attended Eton the most famous of the English public schools where he was bullied by older boys and resented their tyranny and became determined to fight against all forms of tyranny At university Shelley began reading books by radical political writers due to the influence of Sir Francis Burdett the radical MP who he met through his father and who really impressed him He read the book Inquiry Concerning Political Justice by William Godwin who was an atheist and anarchist Godwins optimistic view of the nature of man appealed to Shelleys native idealism his readiness to believe the best of man Following the example of the master Shelley became an atheist Then came the Necessity of Atheism a pamphlet expressing his support of Atheism and attacking the idea that Christianity is forced upon people March 25th 1811 would be the date that Oxford Univers ity expelled Shelley for these pamphlets
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