Romantic Opinions In The Work Of Percy Bysshe Shelley

To think of something romantically is to think of it naively, in a positive
light, away from the view of the majority. Percy Bysshe Shelley has many
romantic themes in his plays. Educated at Eton College, he went on to the
University of Oxford only to be expelled after one year after publishing an
inappropriate collection of poems. He then worked on writing full-time, and
moved to Italy shortly before his death in a boating accident off the shore
of Leghorn. He wrote many pieces, and his writing contains numerous themes.
Shelley experienced first-hand the French Revolution. This allowed him to
ponder many different situations, and determine deep philosophical views -
views that were so radically different they were considered naive at best,
downright wrong at worst. He contemplated socialism, having for a
father-in-law William Godwin, who was the prominent socialist in the United
Kingdom in Shelley's time. Shelley liked Napolean, and was suspicious of both
the Bourbon monarchy and the Directory. Most of all, Shelley felt that all
people had the right to work for themselves; he did not support the notion
that once one had been born into a class, one must stay in that class for the
rest of one's life. Shelley felt that all bodies of the universe were
governed by the same principle, completely contradicting the given theories,
those of Aristotle. Thus, Shelley gained a romantic and rather naive view of
the universe. In fact, Carlos Baker describes his poems as "The Fabric of a
Vision". (Baker 1) In Percy Bysshe Shelley's poems, the author uses those
naive, romantic opinions on the themes of romance, politics, and science.

Romance is well defined as a theme choice for Shelley. Shelley uses this
theme rather romantically; one could say that Shelley's theme in his amorous
poetry is unrestricted passion; love, Shelley feels, can overcome all
obstacles, distance, fear, even death. One example of this is in Shelley's
poem which is titled by the first line: "I fear thy kisses, gentle maiden":
"I fear thy kisses gentle maiden;/Thou needst not fear mine;/My spirit is too
deeply laiden/Ever to burden thine/I fear thy mien, thy tones, thy
motion;/Thou needst not fear mine;/Innocent is the heart's devotion/With
which I worship thine" In this poem Shelley is observing that he feels
inferior to his maiden; he "fears" her kisses because he is intimidated by
her perfection to the point where he feels as though he is stifling her, that
she is compromising her own value by falling in love with him; this is why
the maiden should not fear Shelley. He emphasizes his own faults in line 3,
by stating that his spirit is "too deeply laiden" to be good enough for his
maiden. He also mentions that everything about her is perfect, her body
(mien), her voice (tones), and her walk (motion). In the last line, Shelley
asserts that he feels so inconsequential that he wishes to place his maiden
on a pedestal and worship her, as opposed to treating her as an equal. In
this way does Shelley show his unbounded passion for his maiden. Another
example of this is in Julian and Maddalo, a long text wherein Maddalo is
traveling to meet his beloved Julian. William Hazlitt reviewed as "a
Conversation or Tale, full of that thoughtful and romantic humanity... which
distinguished Mr. Shelley's writings." (500) The lines he most seemingly
referred to were lines 13-19, which state "...I love all waste/And solitary
places; where we taste/The pleasure of believing what we see/Is boundless, as
we wish our souls to be./And such was this wide ocean, and this shore/More
than it's billows..." Shelley is referring to the love that partners have for
eachother; this love is boundless, with infinite possibilities for showing
this passion, both physical and honorable. True love turns away from faults
and inefficiencies, which bound all other virtues (talent, strength, et
cetera); Shelley wishes that his body had that kind of freedom, the freedom
to roam around without a care in the world, and thus the freedom to do
whatever he chooses, knowing that nothing will be affected by the mistakes he
makes. Lovers whose love is true have this ability, the ability to forgive
and forget for the numerous errors that either partner commits. This is
easily translatable to any era and any person, which is the meaning of
Hazlitt's remark. Yet another example of this can be seen in Arethusa, with
the lines 19-37:

And now from their fountains
In Enna's mountains,
Down one vale where the morning basks,
Like friends once parted