Percy Bysshe Shelley, A Vision of the Sea

Kirsty J. Harris (Anglia Ruskin University)
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P. B. Shelley’s “A Vision of the Sea” is a fragment of a poem, left intentionally unfinished. It tells the story of a devastating shipwreck, from the storm that caused it to the aftermath in calmer waters. According to Mrs Shelley’s notes, the poem was “composed at Pisa early in 1820, and published with ‘Prometheus Unbound’ in the same year. A fair copy in Shelley’s handwriting is included in the Harvard MS. Book, where it is dated ‘April, 1820’” (Shelley 596).

The opening lines give an image of terror and destruction:

The opening lines give an image of terror and destruction:

’Tis the terror of tempest. The rags of the sail Are flickering in ribbons within the fierce gale: From the stark night of vapours the dim rain is driven, And when lightning is loosed, like a

985 words

Citation: Harris, Kirsty J.. "A Vision of the Sea". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 20 January 2015 [, accessed 30 May 2024.]

35238 A Vision of the Sea 3 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

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