percy bysshe

Rarely, rarely, comest thou, 

      Spirit of Delight! 

Wherefore hast thou left me now 

      Many a day and night? 

Many a weary night and day 

‘Tis since thou are fled away.

—  “Song” by Percy Bysshe Shelley
Romantic Poet movies that haven’t happened yet but should.
  • A trippy Coleridge visual album scored completely in acid rock, in the style of Pink Floyd’s The Wall.
  • A beautiful Wordsworth movie in the style of a Rogers and Hammerstein musical + the 1994 version of The Secret Garden.
  • A weird Blake movie that’s half animated in a very experimental but disquieting style and has a good message but makes little kids cry.
  • An indie, anachronistic Shelley movie that’s got a lot of interesting visual effects and shaggy hair and is scored in 1960s protest songs.
  • A ridiculous, huge-budget Lord Byron movie directed by Baz Luhrmann and featuring an almost exclusively hip hop soundtrack. (It’s the only way to do it.)
  • A Keats musical with lots of Amelie-style reality-bending effects and an entire soundtrack by Hozier and/or Sufjan Stevens.

Image: A quartzite colossus, possibly of Ramses II, has been discovered at the ancient Heliopolis archaeological site in Cairo. (Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

Archaeologists in Cairo have discovered an ancient statue, believed to depict Ramses II, submerged in mud. 

What’s bookish about this story? Well, blogger Camila Domonoske couldn’t help but note, “The discovery of a forgotten, submerged statue of Ramses II brings to mind one of the most famous poems in English literature – albeit substituting muck for desert sands.”

Yup, Ramses II was also known as Ozymandias, a name you may know from Percy Bysshe Shelley’s famous sonnet:

I met a traveller from an antique land,
Who said—"Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert… . Near them, on the sand,
Half sunk a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them, and the heart that fed;
And on the pedestal, these words appear:
My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings;
Look on my Works, ye Mighty, and despair!
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal Wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away. 

-Nicole

Massive Ancient Statue Discovered Submerged In Mud In Cairo

Although barely out of adolescence…[Shelley] was, in 1813, an ardent radical and anti-monarchist. Physically, he was rather odd, tall and slim to the point of limpness, with a high-pitched effete voice; but what he lacked in physical bulk he more than made up for in charismatic intensity. Among the earliest witnesses to this intensity were his school fellows at Eton, where he was sent by his landowning father when he was twelve. Initially he was bullied for his refusal to ‘fag’ for older boys, but the bullies soon discovered that in spite of his feeble frame, Shelley was not a boy to succumb quietly to taunts. On the contrary, he could be terrifying when roused, and was quite capable of reciprocal acts of violence. He stabbed one tormentor’s hand with a fork, and others remembered him as an almost unearthly creature, with flashing eyes, wild hair, and deathly white cheeks.
—  young romantics - daisy hay
2

Detail from The Funeral of ShelleyLouis Édouard Fournier, 1889.

The painting depicts  Edward John Trelawney, Leigh Hunt and Lord Byron present at the cremation, when in reality, according to Trelawney, Leigh Hunt never got out of the carriage and Byron was so shocked by the circumstances and the high temperatures that he retreated and went swimming instead.

Never mind all these beautiful historical dramas I want a modern day sit com about the Romantic poets like

  • Byron, Shelley, and Keats are roommates.
  • Byron is constantly a dick and Keats is constantly like “fight me” and Shelley is constantly exasperated. 
  • “I swear to God, George, if you even think about fighting him-”
    “Well he asked me to.” 
    “He’s also five feet tall.” 
  • Felicia Hemans lives across the hall from them and everyone thinks she’s really sweet because she bakes a lot and dresses conservatively but she is constantly lowkey throwing shade at everyone. 
  • Byron hates her because she’s better than him at everything. 
  • Mary Wollstonecraft also lives in their building and owns a lot of t-shirts with feminist slogans on. 
  • Every time she bumps into Shelley in the hallway he asks whether her daughter is coming to visit any time soon. He is much less subtle about it than he thinks he is. 
  • Byron frequently gets into flame wars with people on the internet. 
  • “George it’s 3am why are you still awake?” 
    Someone was talking shit about Pope.”
    “Not again.” 
  • At this point, Keats and Shelley have a script they can run through every time they open the door to a crying person asking why Byron never called them back. 
  • A running joke in which there is a loud noise every time someone says Shelley’s middle name correctly. 
  • Another running joke in which Byron and his sister constantly get mistaken for a couple. 

Shelley: “stormed” up stairs, “burst” into rooms, regularly dropped things, always ran into things, typically always “loudly” entering discussions, got into fights with people who didn’t even speak English, had a “high pitched, fiendish” laughter which erupted in sudden bursts and at entirely inappropriate times.

Modern day poetry lovers: I love little meek Shelley always so shy and quiet!!!

I sang of the dancing stars,
        I sang of the daedal Earth,
And of Heaven, and the giant wars,
        And Love, and Death, and Birth—
               And then I chang’d my pipings,
Singing how down the vale of Maenalus
        I pursu’d a maiden and clasp’d a reed.
Gods and men, we are all deluded thus!
        It breaks in our bosom and then we bleed.
All wept, as I think both ye now would,
If envy or age had not frozen your blood,
               At the sorrow of my sweet pipings.
—  Percy Bysshe Shelley, “Hymn of Pan”