In the footsteps of the Romantic poets

Shelley, walking as a boy through his ‘starlight wood’, looking for ghosts and filled with ‘hopes of high talk with the departed dead’, found nothing in reply. Nothing reverberated. The ghosts were silent. But he felt something else non-human: the springtime breezes bringing a sense of the marvellousness of life itself. And so in that instant (or so he says) his mind changed. No more seeking after gothic horrors or pining for the worst; no more listening to the dead. Instead, ‘the spirit of beauty’ descended on him, illuminated him, shaping his life, becoming his goddess, the only force he could imagine that ‘could free/ This world from its dark