Percy Bysshe Shelley (August 4, 1792 – July 8, 1822), was a major English Romantic poet and widely regarded as one of the finest lyric and philosophical poets in the English language. Among his best-known works are the sonnet Ozymandias written in 1818, that opens: “I met a traveller from an antique land…” Others include Ode to the West Wind written in 1819, and To a Skylark in 1820. A radical in his poetry as well as in his political and social views, Shelley did not achieve fame during his lifetime, but recognition of his achievements in poetry grew steadily following his death. While studying at Oxford he wrote an anti-religious tract in support of atheism, which he then sent to his masters – resulting in him being send down (expelled) and falling out with his father. His marriage in 1811 to Harriet Westbrook, led to a further family rift and his allowance was cut-off. Shelley heavily in debt, dragged his family around the country trying to stay one step ahead of his creditors. In the meanwhile he had a number of platonic relationships with several women, that is until 1814 when he met and fell in love with 16-year-old Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin, daughter of his mentor and political associate William Godwin and the feminist writer Mary Wollstonecraft. Following the death of his wife, by suicide after she drowned herself in the Serpentine, Percy and Mary married. She would go on to write the gothic horror novel, Frankenstein. Their marriage was to be short-lived however as Shelley died in a boating accident in Italy. Poets and writers were a popular source of inspiration for developers. It is one of a number of roads named after popular poets, forming the Poets’ Estate which was laid out on a former playing field for Purley County Grammar School for Girls. Nearby streets include Betjeman Close, Larkin Close and Rossetti Gardens.
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