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Contemplative Verses: Echoes of the Poet Shelley (vegetarian), Part 1 of 2

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Percy Bysshe Shelley is considered to be one of the most exceptional creative writers of the English language. In his relatively short human life, Shelley produced a voluminous output of work, mainly poems, but also prose literature, dramatizations, academic and philosophical essays, critical reviews, and English translations of both classical and contemporary authors, notably the works of Plato and Johann Wolfgang von Goethe.

Shelley added his uniquely human perspective on the phenomena of the natural world, and within the cycles of life and death, he glimpsed love and loss. In the “Ode to the West Wind – Stanza IV,” Shelley reaches into the heavens above and peels away the foggy veil of life’s mysteries, to touch the essence of existence itself.

Percy Bysshe Shelley was born into an upper-class English family in 1792. Before enrolling at University College in Oxford in October 1810, Shelley’s poetry collection “Original Poetry by Victor and Cazire,” which he wrote with his sister Elizabeth, was published. In these formative literary works, Shelley intently observes the human psyche at work within society, which led him to rebel against many of its ingrained institutions.

Being such a sensitive soul driven by an inner spring of purity in his 29 years of life, he had discovered that merely believing in a set of ideals was not enough. Life had to be lived to the fullest measure, intensely, for better or for worse. He did not agree with how society continued to use animal-people for food, and he became a vegetarian. In 1813, he published the pamphlet “A Vindication of a Natural Diet.”

“He will embrace a pure system, from its abstract truth, its beauty, its simplicity, and its promise of wide-extended benefit; unless custom has turned poison into food, he will hate the brutal pleasures of the chase by instinct; it will be a contemplation full of horror and disappointment to his mind, that beings capable of the gentlest and most admirable sympathies, should take delight in the death pangs and last convulsions of dying animals.”
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