(1792-1822) Although he died before he was 30, the English lyric poet Percy Bysshe Shelley created masterpieces of Romantic poetry. Among them are such lyrics as 'The Cloud', 'To a Skylark', and 'Ode to the West Wind'. The critic Matthew Arnold characterized Shelley the reformer as "a beautiful and ineffectual angel, beating in the void his luminous wings in vain." His poetry became the vehicle for his idealism. William Godwin's book, 'An Enquiry Concerning Political Justice' profoundly affected Shelley while he was at school. The ideas inspired in Shelley by the book were expressed in his poem 'Queen Mab', written in 1813, and in his desire to effect reform in the world. In 1818 Shelley left England for Italy. There he wrote the works that represent his greatest achievement as a poet. His long tragedy 'The Cenci' (1819); the lyrical drama 'Prometheus Unbound' (1820); and his elegy on the death of John Keats, 'Adonais', were all written during this period.
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