You’re listening to a love poem written from Percy to Mary, entitled: … (some pacey comic timing here) “To Mary”. Percy was a colleague of her father William, and it was while visiting the Godwins that he met Mary. Leaving his pregnant wife Harriet and a child behind, the star-crossed lovers ran away together. They married two years later, after Harriet’s suicide.

Sorry to ruin your love poem.

You’re listening to Paul Reimers, with accompaniment by Maude Valerie White.

Mark Twain had something to say about the pair; In his scathing essay “In Defense of Harriet Shelley”, he condemns the lovebirds, AND Edward Dowden’s “Life of Shelley”. In the biography, Dowden blames the (first) Shelley’s failed marriage on Harriet’s infidelity. Read “In Defense of Harriet Shelley” right here.