Percy Shelley has been referred to as one of the greatest lyrical poets in Western tradition. In "Ode to the West Wind," Percy Shelley describes the turmoil of his life and death using three distinct elements from nature- earth, sky, and water. .
He was born the eldest of seven children, on August 4, 1792 to Elizabeth Pillford and Sir Timothy Shelley near Sussux. Mr. Shelley was a member of parliament, and it was assumed that young Shelley would follow in his father's footsteps. Shelley was educated in Latin from the young age of six. "As a child, he had been very happy, playful, mischievous, gentle, and affectionate" (Bernbaum 241). At ten, he was sent to a boarding school outside London called Sion House Academy. This is when his revolting temper started. He entered Eton in 1804 and then transferred to University College Oxford in 1810. Shelley's sister, Marion Hellen attended a school for girls at Clapham near London. On a visit with his sister, he met the acquaintance of one of her school friends, 16-year old Harriet Westbrook. There was no doubt that he was not in love with Harriet, despite this, one evening in late summer the two eloped to Edinburgh where they married in August of 1811 (Bernbaum 243). When Shelley's father found out about the elopement, he refused to help support his son. His first child was born soon after his marriage. Shelley and his wife became unhappy because of the expectations of providing a suitable home, and the carriage for his family. He quickly became buried in debt. Shelley was only nineteen years old. Shelley threw himself into his work, leaving little time for Harriet. In 1812 Shelley met fifteen-year-old Mary Godwin. The two eloped to France in July of 1814. Throughout his life, Shelley pursued his passion of writing poetry, much of which reflects the tormented life he .
lived (Bewley 728). His one love aside from poetry was sailing, which would cost him his life in the end.