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Poet of Liberty

We Came This Way

Poet of Liberty

Jan 12 1945



CAST:

ANNOUNCER

NARRATOR

VOICE 1

VOICE 2

VOICE 3

VOICE 4

VOICE 5

ANNOUNCER

SHELLEY

THOMAS

FATHER

MARY

VOICE 1, at the publisher

VOICE 2, at the publisher

MOTHER

SMUG VOICE 1

SMUG VOICE 2

BYRON




NARRATOR: One Englishman once said to another ...


VOICE 1: And what is poetry, sir?


VOICE 2 (PONDEROUS): What is poetry? ... Why, sir, it is much easier to say what it is not.


NARRATOR: If the great Doctor Johnson found poetry hard to define, other men have given us definitions.


(MONTAGE EFFECT FOR FOLLOWING:)


VOICE 3: Poetry is passion.


VOICE 4: Poetry is indignation.


VOICE 5: Poetry is emotion recollected in tranquillity.


VOICE 1: Poetry is painting that speaks.


VOICE 2: Poetry is a most flattering disease.


VOICE 3: All that's not prose is poetry.


VOICE 4: Poetry ... well, it's damned hard reading.


NARRATOR: There you have seven definitions of poetry. One for every day in the week. But maybe you prefer your own. Or maybe you would agree with that young poet of the nineteenth century to whom poetry was none of these things, but a weapon. A shimmering sword against the enemies of man's spirit.


MUSIC: SIGNATURE AND DOWN BEHIND:


ANNOUNCER: The NBC University of the Air presents We Came This Way, a new historical series for our listeners at home and overseas. With (NAME) as Narrator, we present Chapter Fifteen ... "POET OF LIBERTY" ... in We Came This Way.


MUSIC: SIGNATURE UP AND SEGUE INTO NINETEENTH CENTURY ENGLISH THEME ... BEHIND:


NARRATOR: England. The beginning of the nineteenth century. Only a few short years ago the idealists of England looked hopefully across the Channel to France. They saw in the French Revolution a flame that would light the world. But now the French Republic has been betrayed, and a dictator named Napoleon grinds Europe under the boots of his marching armies. George the Third is on the throne of England. A tired old Tory. Frightened by the democratic movement in America and by the French revolt, he sternly suppresses liberty of thought at home and strives to keep England a "right little, tight little Island." ... But, as always, the idealists are undaunted. Tom Paine, hounded out of England, has gone back to America; but he has left behind him the manuscript of a book, The Age of Reason. Wordsworth, Coleridge, Southey, still sing of an ideal republic. Leigh Hunt prods the Tories in his liberal paper The Examiner. And, in a shabby bedroom on Poland Street, London, young Percy Shelley, just expelled from Oxford, pounds the table with his fist ...


SHELLEY (NINETEEN AT BEGINNING OF SCRIPT, MATURES GRADUALLY ... NAIVE, IDEALISTIC, BUT NOT A PRIG ... POUNDS ON TABLE): I tell you, Thomas, my pen shall be my sword!


THOMAS HOGG: Splendid, Shelley, but...


SHELLEY: I shall use my pen to crush all the enemies of mankind.


THOMAS: You'd better use it to write your pater for some money. You haven't a penny, you know.


SHELLEY: Yes, I know ... Now, intolerance, Thomas ...


THOMAS: Intolerance can wait until tomorrow. Write that letter, Shelley, or you don't eat.


MUSIC: QUICK BRIDGE.


SHELLEY: You got my letter, Father?


FATHER: Of course I got it. Why do you think I came down to London?


SHELLEY: I hoped ...


FATHER: Now look here. Percy. You've got yourself into some mess. Expelled from Oxford, you wrote.


SHELLEY: Yes, sir, I ...


FATHER: I'm prepared to help you if you'll come clean with me. (PAUSE) What is her name, Percy?


SHELLEY: Her name?


FATHER: Yes. Her name! Speak up. I'm your father, after all.


SHELLEY: Her name, sir ... Her name is Truth.


FATHER: Truth! What are you talking about? ... Truth!


SHELLEY: There wasn't any woman, sir. It was something I wrote.


FATHER: Percy, I warned you when you were a child! I told you this writing nonsense would get you into trouble ... You're to give it up, you understand!


SHELLEY: Give it up!


FATHER: Remember, one day you'll inherit a title, become a peer of England, take your seat in Lords. You've got to think of your future.


SHELLEY: I am thinking of my future, sir. I mean to fight with my pen for a new kind of world.


FATHER: And what's wrong with this world? ... It's treated you well enough.


SHELLEY: What's wrong? ... Listen, sir 

(QUOTES)

Virtue and wisdom, truth and Liberty,

Are fled to return not until man shall know

That they alone can give the bliss

Worthy a soul that claims

Its kindred with eternity.


FATHER: That some of your stuff?


SHELLEY: Yes, sir. It's from a long poem I'm writing.


FATHER: You mean there's more of it?


SHELLEY: Oh, much more. It goes on ... "A brighter morn awaits the human day. Earth in itself contains the evil and the cure."


FATHER: Percy! ... Stop!


SHELLEY: You don't like it?


FATHER: Of course, I don't like it ... But to tell you the truth, I'm vastly relieved. Why, you're not poet at all, Heaven be praised. Your stuff doesn't even rhyme ...


SHELLEY: But, sir ...


FATHER: I want you to pack your things, march yourself up to Oxford, and apologize ... and forget poetry.


SHELLEY: I'd as soon forget to breathe.


FATHER: You defy me?


SHELLEY: You and whatever else stands between me and my writing.


FATHER: Why, you young idiot! ... You'll regret this, Percy. Mark my word. Not a penny will you get from me to support you in your folly. Not a penny! Poetry! A future peer of England! Poetry!


SHELLEY: I'm afraid, sir, that poetry sometimes happens even in the best of families.


MUSIC: BRIDGE.


SHELLEY: Listen to this, Thomas!


THOMAS: Fire away.


SHELLEY (READING): January 3, 1812 ... To Mr. William Godwin, Skinner Street, London. Dear Sir: You will no doubt be surprised at hearing from a stranger ...


THOMAS: No doubt!


SHELLEY: But I have read your book Political Justice and have been much impressed by your ideas. I have tried to put some of them into the poem "Queen Mab" which I enclose ... (BREAKS OFF) It's all right to send him the poem, isn't it?


THOMAS: I don't see why not. Go on. Read, Shelley.


SHELLEY: I am young, and I am ardent in the cause of philanthropy and truth. I have suffered much from human persecution. Even my own father has cast me off. But the ill treatment I have met with has more than ever impressed the truth of my principles upon me. It is my desire to meet with you and talk about how to educate and improve mankind. I shall earnestly await your answer. Percy B. Shelley... Do you think he'll see me, Thomas?


THOMAS: Why not? ... But watch out you don't fall in love with his daughter.


SHELLEY: The great William Godwin has a daughter?


THOMAS: A very beautiful one.


SHELLEY: Dark or fair?


THOMAS: Fair, I believe.


SHELLEY: Fair! ... Oh, well, it makes no difference. My relations with the Godwins will be entirely on an intellectual plane.


MUSIC: UP AND SEGUE INTO LYRIC THEME BEHIND:


MARY: I was away in Scotland when Shelley first began coming to my father's house to talk about Political Justice. Then I came back and ... Well, he forgot Political Justice for a while. Shelley and I used to walk among the tombstones of the churchyard where my mother was buried. She had been Mary Wollstonecraft, the great champion of women's rights. We would read the epitaphs, munch raisins, and ... talk.


(CRICKETS)


SHELLEY: I have a new poem, Mary.


MARY: Read it to me.


SHELLEY: Wait till I swallow these raisins (HE SWALLOWS).


MARY: Watch out! You'll choke.


SHELLEY: There (READING):

Upon my heart thy accents sweet,

Of peace and pity fell like dew.

Thy lips did meet mine tremblingly.

Thy dark eyes threw their soft persuasion

On my brain, charming away its dream of pain.

Gentle and good and mild thou art, nor can I

Live if thou appear aught but thyself,

Or turn thine heart away from me.


(A PAUSE)


(FEATURE CRICKETS)


MARY: Does the poem have a name?


SHELLEY: Just ... To Mary. (PAUSE) I love you, Mary.


MARY: And I love you, Shelley.


SHELLEY: Then it's settled! We'll elope! Go to France!


MARY: I always wanted to see France.


SHELLEY: And you shall. We'll walk through France bareheaded like peasants! ... No, wait! I won't let you walk. I'll buy you a donkey ...


MARY: Oh, Shelley!


SHELLEY: You'll come, Mary?


MARY: I'll come, Shelley! ... I'll come.


MUSIC: UP AND DOWN BEHIND:


MARY: I was sixteen, and I would have gone with him to the moon. So I put on my black silk dress and we took the night boat to Calais. Shelley bought me the donkey he had promised, but it was rather small ... and stubborn. So most of the time we carried the donkey instead of the other way around. From France we went to Switzerland, and set up housekeeping in a peasant's cottage. But it began to rain and the roof started to leak ...


(FADE UP RAIN ON ROOF)


MARY: Shelley! Get a pail!


SHELLEY: What for?


MARY: It's raining in!


SHELLEY: Oh! ... Wait! ... I'll fix that! (RATTLES PAIL) There!


MARY: I never saw such wet rain.


SHELLEY: I tell you, I wouldn't mind a little English weather for a change.


MARY: I wouldn't even mind a little English fog!


SHELLEY: And English tea!


MARY: And muffins!


SHELLEY: Mary, let's go back.


MARY: Oh, Shelley, let's do!


SHELLEY: Though where our next meal is coming from once we get there, I don't know.


MARY: Who cares about food!


SHELLEY: You're a brave woman, darling. I'm afraid Truth doesn't pay very well. You've picked yourself a poor provider.


MARY: I've picked myself a genius.


MUSIC: BRIDGE.


MARY: Back home we scrimped, went hungry, borrowed ...


SHELLEY (FADING IN, WRITING): My dear Thomas, I shall have to trouble you once again for the loan of five pounds. (FADING) I hate to make this request.


MARY: Then Shelley's grandfather, old Sir Percy Shelley, saved the situation ... by dying. The estate was to have been entailed to Shelley through his father, but Shelley didn't want to be a baronet nor all that money ... So he settled for an allowance of a thousand pounds a year. Then worried lest money would make us complacent ...


SHELLEY: We won't spend it all on ourselves, Mary.


MARY: Of course not.


SHELLEY: We'll give your father some for his Young People's Library.


MARY: Of course.


SHELLEY: Oh, yes, and I want to send Leigh Hunt some, too, along with a letter of congratulation.


MARY: Leigh Hunt? What's he done?


SHELLEY: He's been arrested for libel.


MARY: Libeling whom?


SHELLEY: The Prince Regent. In The Examiner. Hunt called him a fat old Adonis.


MARY: Well, isn't he?


SHELLEY: Of course. Even the Prince, it seems, didn't object to the "fat" nor the "Adonis." It was the "old" he minded.


MARY: What happens to Hunt?


SHELLEY: A fine, and a warning that next time he goes to jail.


MARY: Jail!


SHELLEY: You pay for speaking the truth in this world, my girl!


MARY: Send Hunt some money by all means ... But, Shelley ...


SHELLEY: Yes, Mary?


MARY: Let's keep a little for ourselves ... I'd like to take a house in the country before the baby comes. I want him to have a home ... like other people.


MUSIC: UP AND DOWN BEHIND:


MARY: The baby was born and died, and two other children had come to us before we settled in the country. Near Marlow, it was. On the Thames. There, I wrote a novel about a scientist who brought a monster to life. I called it Frankenstein. And there Shelley made little boats of paper, sailed them on the river, and wrote his poetry ...


MUSIC: BEHIND:


SHELLEY:

There is a people mighty in its youth,

A land beyond the oceans of the West,

Where, though with rudest rites, Freedom and Truth

Are worshipped ...

That land is like an eagle, whose young gaze

Feeds on the noontide beam, whose golden plume

Floats moveless on the storm, and in the blaze

Of sunrise gleams when Earth is wrapped in gloom.

Yes, in the desert there is built a home

For Freedom. Genius is made strong to rear

The monuments of man beneath the dome

Of a new heaven... .

Nay, start not at the name -- America!


MUSIC: ACCENT ... AND UNDER:


SHELLEY:

Fear not the future, weep not for the past.

Oh, could I win your ears to dare be now,

Glorious and great and calm; that we would into

The dust the symbols of your woe,

Purple and gold and steel; that ye would go

Proclaiming to the nations whence you came,

That Want and Plague and Fear from Slavery flow;

And that mankind is free ...


MUSIC: ACCENT AND UNDER:


SHELLEY:

To defy power, which seems omnipotent;

To love and bear; to hope till Hope creates

From its own wreck the thing it contemplates;

Neither to change, nor falter, nor repent;

This, like thy glory, Titan, is to be;

Good, great and joyous, beautiful and free;

This is alone Life, Joy, Empire, and Victory.


MUSIC: UP AND OUT.


MARY (NARRATING): We bundled Shelley's poetry up and sent it to a publisher ... and waited.


VOICE 1 (FADING IN): Hmmm. Some poetry by that wild young Shelley who wrote Queen Mab.


VOICE 2: Better not touch it.


VOICE 1: I don't think these are political.


VOICE 2: No? ... Let me see ... (READING) "There is a people mighty in its youth, a land beyond the oceans of the West ... Nay, start not at the name -- America!" (LAUGHS SHORTLY) You think George the Third will make him poet laureate for that?


VOICE 1: Hardly!


VOICE 2: Besides, his stuff is dated. Poems about Liberty and Equality went out with the French Revolution.


VOICE 1: Still I hate to turn him down. I think he has something.


VOICE 2: Remember what happened to the man who published Paine's Age of Reason.


VOICE 1: That's right. Old Eaton! They sent him to Newgate for a year, didn't they?


VOICE 2: And to the pillory first. And Leigh Hunt's just got two years on another libel charge.


VOICE 1: Perhaps you're right. It wouldn't be safe to handle Shelley's stuff ... I'll send it back.


MUSIC: BRIDGE.


SHELLEY (FADING IN): Mary ... Mary, the poems came back. They sent them back.


MARY: Oh, Shelley!


SHELLEY: And I thought they were going to change the world. Help, at least.


MARY: Shelley, don't let them stop you.


SHELLEY: What can I do?


MARY: Publish them yourself.


SHELLEY: But won't that cost an awful lot?


MARY: I don't know about such things ... Perhaps not more than a carpet would cost.


SHELLEY: But you've wanted a carpet for years. You ...


MARY: Then it won't hurt me to want it a little longer.


MUSIC: BRIDGE ...


FATHER: My dear, I'm afraid I have a shock for you.


MOTHER: Oh, Timothy! What is it?


FATHER: Our son Percy has published a book of poems.


MOTHER: Oh! ... Does he still hold to the same opinions?


FATHER: He does.


MOTHER: And is the poetry in his usual style?


FATHER: It is.


MOTHER: Does it ... rhyme?


FATHER: No, it doesn't even rhyme.


(A PAUSE)


(THEY BOTH SIGH)


FATHER: Well, my dear, I'm afraid we'd best give up any hope of Percy ever amounting to anything.


MUSIC: BRIDGE ...


SMUG VOICE 1: Too bad about young Shelley. I know his father.


SMUG VOICE 2: Besides being a poet and a liberal, they say he's a vegetarian.


SMUG VOICE 1: Then what he needs to cure him is a diet of roast beef.


SMUG VOICE 2: I don't know what the country's coming to. All our young men taking to poetry.


SMUG VOICE 1: There's that case of young Lord Byron, too.


SMUG VOICE 2: Did you hear his maiden speech in Lords?


SMUG VOICE 1: Shocking!


SMUG VOICE 2: He actually dared to take the part of those Nottingham weavers. The ones who smashed the machinery in the stocking mills up there.


SMUG VOICE 1: Said they'd done it because the new machines had put them out of work.


SMUG VOICE 2: As if that were a reason.


SMUG VOICE 1: Why, this new spinning frame is the greatest invention since gunpowder!


SMUG VOICE 2: It and Cartwright's power loom.


SMUG VOICE 1: The Government should show a strong hand with these weavers who're making trouble.


SMUG VOICE 2: And with these liberals, too, who're sounding off.


SMUG VOICE 1: Freedom of speech was never a doctrine I could subscribe to.


(A PAUSE)


SMUG VOICE 1: Of course this new machinery's going to throw some men out of work. But that's progress.


VOICE 2: Yes, that's progress!


MUSIC: UP AND DOWN BEHIND:


MARY: A man named Cartwright had invented a power loom and a man named Arkwright a frame for spinning. And the Industrial Revolution had begun in England! The new machines could do the work of six men. Women and children could tend the looms. And women and children were cheap. So wages dropped to starvation level, men walked the streets and cursed. And sometimes they did more than curse. In Nottingham they broke the new machinery, and in Derbyshire ...


MUSIC: OUT.


SHELLEY (INDIGNANT): Mary. Look at this morning's paper!


MARY: Why, it's got a black border.


SHELLEY: We're mourning the death of the Princess Charlotte.


MARY: Shouldn't we?


SHELLEY: We should mourn instead the death of English liberty.


MARY: Why? ... What's happened?


SHELLEY: What's happened? (RATTLES PAPER) Here. Look. Buried on the inside page is the real tragedy. Three Derbyshire weavers have been hanged ... then beheaded.


MARY: Oh, Shelley! What was their crime?


SHELLEY: Poverty.


MARY: The oldest crime of all.


SHELLEY: They were out of work. Hungry! ... So they rioted ... and died for it ... Mary!


MARY: Yes, Shelley.


SHELLEY: I'm going to write a letter. To the people of England, calling for reform. I'll say that while we mourn the death of the Princess we have greater cause for tears: that men should have to resort to violence to get what is their God-given right.


MARY: They'll hate you for it.


SHELLEY (NOT HEEDING): I'll say that our mechanical genius outstrips our humanity ...


MARY: They say it's progress.


SHELLEY: Progress! ... Does progress mean that we run the machine, or that the machine runs us? ... Are we so blind ... have we so little imagination ... that we can't think of ways to have progress without poverty?


MUSIC: UP AND SEGUE INTO MONTAGE THEME ... BUILDS BEHIND:


(MONTAGE EFFECT)


VOICE 1: Did you see that blast of Shelley's about the Derbyshire weavers?


VOICE 2: He's gone too far this time.


VOICE 3: Who does he think he is that he can criticize the Government?


VOICE 4: He's dangerous!


VOICE 5: A radical!


VOICE 1: A libertine!


VOICE 2: Free-thinker!


VOICE 3: He ought to be run out of the country.


MUSIC: UP AND OUT.


SHELLEY: I'm the most hated man in England, I think, Mary. And all I ever wanted was for people to love each other a little more.


MARY: Shelley ... Let's go away.


SHELLEY: Go? ... Where?


MARY: Anywhere that's warm ... and friendly.


SHELLEY (THINKING): There's Italy. Italy's warm. We could go there.


MARY: I'd like Italy.


SHELLEY: We could take a place by the sea.


MARY: Go barefooted in the sand.


SHELLEY: And maybe I could have a boat. I've always wanted a boat.


MARY: And we'll tell our friends only to send the reviews that praise you.


SHELLEY: Then we'll get no mail at all.


MARY: But we'll be happy!


MUSIC: UP AND DOWN BEHIND:


MARY: We sailed for Italy in March of the year 1818. I stood holding the baby Clare, and Shelley holding little William, watching the chalk cliffs of Dover until they had disappeared into the mist. Shelley never saw England again ... In Italy we discovered another exile ... another rebel ... Lord Byron. Byron and Shelley became friends, yet never were two men more different...


SHELLEY: You're cynical, Byron!


BYRON: And you're naive!


SHELLEY: I believe men may be all they dream of. Where is the love, beauty, truth, we seek but in our own minds?


BYRON: You talk Utopia! You've seen nothing of the world.


SHELLEY: And you've seen everything ...


BYRON: Enough to know that there will always be Evil to be overcome ... And I rather like the prospect.


SHELLEY: But if we strive for perfection ...


BYRON: You keep your perfect world, Shelley. It sounds a bit dull to me ... I'm afraid I'd be bored.


MARY (FADING IN, NARRATING): But another time, Byron would read us from his poetry and we would wonder if there were not two of him -- the scoffer and the romantic.


MUSIC: SNEAK BEHIND:


BYRON:

The Isles of Greece,

The Isles of Greece,

Where burning Sappho loved and sung,

Where grew the arts of war and peace,

Where Delos rose, and Phoebus sprung!

Eternal summer gilds them yet,

But all, except their sun, is set.

The mountains look on Marathon --

And Marathon looks on the sea;

And musing there an hour ago,

I dreamed that Greece might still be free;

For standing on the Persians' grave,

I could not deem myself a slave.


MUSIC: UP AND DOWN BEHIND:


MARY: Napoleon had been crushed at Waterloo. And now a great democratic fervor swept across southern Europe. We, in Italy, saw it happen. Saw the Piedmontese assert their freedom. Genoa throw off the yoke of Sardinia. Massa and Carrara set up republics. And, last of all, Greece revolted from Turkey. It was the beginning of a new Europe, and Shelley wrote "Hellas" to celebrate it ...


MUSIC: SNEAK BEHIND:


SHELLEY:

The world's great age begins anew.

The golden years return.

The earth does like a snake renew

Her winter weeds outworn.

Oh, cease! Must hate and death return?

Cease! Must men kill and die?

Cease! Drain not to its dregs the urn

Of bitter prophecy.

The world is weary of the past,

Oh, might it die or rest at last!


MUSIC: UP AND DOWN BEHIND:


MARY: We were living now in a villa by the sea, near Naples. The children ran naked on the sands and turned pure gold. And, hidden away behind the rocks, Shelley was writing what I think was some of his greatest poetry. Italy smiled on us. Then, quite suddenly one day, our baby Clare was taken sick. We sent for a doctor, and I held her in my arms and waited, watching the hands of the clock crawl around ...


(SLOW TICKING OF BIG CLOCK)


MARY (LOW): Will the doctor ever come, Shelley?


SHELLEY: He'll come, Mary.


MARY: She's so ill. Look at her ... Like marble.


SHELLEY (PAUSE ... THEN QUICK ALARM): Mary, give me the baby.


MARY: No, Shelley. No!


SHELLEY: You must.


MARY: No! ... Why do you ...


SHELLEY: Mary, don't you understand? ... The baby ... She's dead.


MUSIC: SNEAK BEHIND:


[MARY: I don't know why such things must be, but a few months later our little boy took Roman fever ... and he died, too.]


SHELLEY (READING TO MARY):

And now despair itself is mild,

Even as the wind and waters are.

I would lie down like a tired child

And weep away this life of care

That I have borne and still must bear

Till death like sleep might steal o'er me ...


MARY (INTERRUPTS): No, Shelley! No more. It's too sad.


(PAUSE)


SHELLEY: I don't think I shall ever write another line, Mary.


MUSIC: UP AND OUT.


MARY: But he did write. One day word came from England of the Manchester Massacre. Sixty thousand men, women, and children from the factories of Manchester had gathered to petition Parliament to better their condition. The cavalry was called out to ride them down. And six hundred were killed or wounded ... I saw the old look come into Shelley's face. And that afternoon I found him, hidden away behind a rock on the beach, writing ...


SHELLEY (FADING ON):

Men of England, wherefore plough

For the lords who lay ye low?

Wherefore weave with toil and care

The rich robes your tyrants wear?

Have ye leisure, comfort, calm,

Shelter, food, love's gentle balm?

Or what is it ye buy so dear

(FADING) With your pain and with your fear?


MARY: Shelley's "Song to the Men of England" wasn't a great poem, It wasn't even a very good poem. He was too angry ... But when I read it, I knew he hadn't given up, that he'd keep on struggling for what he believed in, to the end ... We had a new friend now. His name was Trelawney and he was a sailor, full of talk of ships and the sea. That made Shelley remember an old dream ...


SHELLEY: You know that boat I've always talked about, Mary?


MARY: Yes, Shelley.


SHELLEY: I'm going to have it built. (PAUSE) Why do you look

like that?


MARY: I ... I don't know. I just feel afraid.


SHELLEY: Afraid? Why?


MARY: I can't explain. (LIGHTLY) Maybe because you'll get to writing or reading and forget to steer.


SHELLEY: No, I won't. Trelawney will teach me all about steering. (PAUSE) I want the boat to be lean and graceful, Mary. With a great splendor of sail! ... And I think I'll call it the "Ariel" ... Yes, the "Ariel!"


MUSIC: UP AND DOWN BEHIND:


MARY: I don't know why, but from the first moment I was afraid of the "Ariel." She was a lovely boat, and yet I hated her. The summer passed and Shelley played with the "Ariel" like a child with a toy. Then, that autumn he dreamed up one of his beautiful projects: a magazine in which anyone could say whatever he pleased. He persuaded Byron to put up the money, and Leigh Hunt to come from England to edit it. When Hunt arrived in Genoa, Shelley went down to meet him ... sailed down in the "Ariel" ...


(SNEAK IN WIND BEHIND)


I stood on the terrace and watched him go ... saw the sails lift and the little boat quiver. Suddenly -- I don't know why -- I called out after him (PROJECTING) Shel-ley! ... Shel-ley! ... But the wind drowned out my voice. (PAUSE) Three days later -- the day Shelley was to sail for home -- there was a great storm. I told myself he would wait in Genoa until it was over ...


(WIND OUT)


The storm subsided and the harbor was dotted with small boats coming home. Every sail looked like the "Ariel," but the "Ariel" did not come. One day passed ... Another ... And another ... I don't know how many.


MUSIC: OUT.


MARY: Then word came that a body had washed up on the beach. Byron went with me to see if it were Shelley ...


BYRON (VERY LOW): Well, Mary?


MARY: It ... It's Shelley.


BYRON: Are you sure, Mary? Can you be sure? The body ... It ... it isn't recognizable.


MARY: I'm sure, Byron. (A LONG PAUSE) What other man do we know but Shelley who would go sailing with a volume of Keats in one pocket and a Sophocles in the other?


MUSIC: UP AND DOWN BEHIND:


MARY: Byron and Trelawney made a funeral pyre and burned his body on the beach, as the Greeks had done. It was a lovely place for a poet's funeral, the sea in front, the mountains behind ... After they had gone away, I stayed alone on the beach. A wind had sprung up from the west, and I thought of the lines he had written and I said them for his epitaph ...


MUSIC: LIKE WIND ... BEHIND:


MARY:

Be thou, spirit fierce, my spirit!

Be thou me, impetuous one!

Drive my dead thoughts over the universe

Like withered leaves to quicken a new birth!

And by the incantation of this verse,

Scatter, as from an unextinguished hearth,

Ashes and sparks, my word among mankind! (CROSS-FADING)

Be through my lips to unawakened earth


SHELLEY (FADING IN):

The trumpet of a prophecy. O wind,

If Winter comes, can Spring be far behind?


MUSIC: UP AND OUT.


NARRATOR: Percy Shelley died at the age of thirty-four. He died before the Liberal Party was organized; before the Trade-Union Movement came into being to improve the working conditions of the British people ... Before English democracy reasserted itself, and the great Reform Legislation of the nineteenth century was passed ... Yet Shelley died believing that men could -- and would -- build a just and democratic world upon this earth. Two years after Shelley, Byron, the man who liked to think of himself as a cynic, died. He died fighting for an ideal; Greek Independence ... But the


(MUSIC: SNEAK BEHIND:)


poetry of these two men will never die. It is part of English literature, part of our heritage ... THE WAY WE CAME. For as Shelley himself wrote in his "Defence of Poetry" ... "Poets measure the circumference and sound the depths of human nature. They are the mirrors of the gigantic shadows that futurity casts upon the present; the trumpets which sing to battle; the influence which is moved not, but moves. Poets are the unacknowledged legislators of the world."


MUSIC: UP AND END.


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