A visionary and ideological poem by P. B. Shelley, published privately in 1813.
The poem is in nine cantos, using ‘didactic and descriptive’ blank verse. Despite its lyrical opening, invoking ‘Death and his brother Sleep’ and Mab the Fairy Queen in her time‐chariot (Cantos I and II), the poem largely consists of attacks on Monarchy (III), War (IV), Commerce (V), and Religion (VI and VII). In place of these Shelley celebrates a future of Republicanism, Free Love, Atheism, and Vegetarianism. The verse is furious and polemical in style, with occasional passages of grandiloquent beauty. Seventeen remarkable prose Notes are attached as Appendices, many of them substantial essays, ‘against Jesus Christ, & God the Father, & the King, & the Bishops, & Marriage, & the Devil knows what’: they are often better than the poetry. The work was extremely popular among working‐class radicals.
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Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792—1822) poet