4 August 1792
On yesterday’s date in 1792 Percy Bysshe Shelley was born in Sussex. See this review by Nora Crook of The Shelleys of Field Place, as well as an earlier Romantic Circles Editors’ Dispatch column by the book’s author. In textual commemoration, Neil Fraistat makes available the following opening stanzas of Queen Mab, Canto IX (a sneak preview of Volume II of The Complete Poetry of Percy Bysshe Shelley, now at press, to be published in December), which imagine nothing less than the utopian renovation of the world.
O happy Earth! reality of Heaven!
To which those restless souls that ceaselessly
Throng through the human universe, aspire;
Thou consummation of all mortal hope!
Thou glorious prize of blindly-working will! 5
Whose rays, diffused throughout all space and time,
Verge to one point and blend forever there:
Of purest spirits thou pure dwelling-place!
Where care and sorrow, impotence and crime,
Languor, disease, and ignorance dare not come: 10
O happy Earth, reality of Heaven!
Genius has seen thee in her passionate dreams,
And dim forebodings of thy loveliness
Haunting the human heart, have there entwined
Those rooted hopes of some sweet place of bliss 15
Where friends and lovers meet to part no more.
Thou art the end of all desire and will,
The product of all action; and the souls
That by the paths of an aspiring change
Have reached thy haven of perpetual peace, 20
There rest from the eternity of toil
That framed the fabric of thy perfectness.