In his life Percy Bysshe Shelley was considered an obscure poet, a wealthy trust-fund baby who lived like a pauper, a married man with a wandering eye who lacked a sense of morals. Yet in the words of friend and fellow poet Lord Byron (another character who drew more than his share of notoriety), Shelley was "a man about whom the world was ill-naturedly and ignorantly and brutally mistaken."3
Today we know Percy Bysshe Shelley as one of the great Romantic poets. We also understand that his personal conduct, unconventional as it was at the time, was the result of his own personal moral code, one he considered more true and beautiful than that held by society. Truth, beauty, morality and poetry were inextricably linked for Percy Bysshe Shelley, right up until his untimely death just a month before his 30th birthday. "Those who love not their fellow-beings live unfruitful lives, and prepare for their old age a miserable grave,"4 Shelley wrote. He never reached his old age, but he loved his fellow beings with all his heart.