Shelley's Death

Percy Bysshe Shelley was fascinated by water and often predicted his death by drowning. He stubbornly refused to learn how to swim and finally drowned, after two close calls, while sailing (under full sail) in heavy weather near Leghorn in July 1822. (The 24-foot boat, at Shelley's request, had been fitted with three spinnakers and a storm sail.)

When the poet's body was found on the beach, his fish-eaten corpse was unrecognizable -- but for two things: a volume of Sophocles in one pocket and a volume of John Keats's poems in the other.

[He was cremated, but his heart was carried by his wife Mary in a silken shroud for the rest of her life.]

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