Peter Bell the Third
- Percy Bysshe Shelley
This satirical work by Percy Bysshe Shelley was written in response to a poem by William Wordsworth, and is probably his most accessible work in verse. With biting wit and criticism, the poem depicts a society where selfishness and greed reign supreme, leading to a lack of empathy and human connection. The main character, Peter, is taken to Hell (or London, it's hard to tell the difference) to become the Devil's factotum, and even his attempts at poetry are met with negative reviews and accusations of incest and adultery. The poem ends with a haunting depiction of a world drained of vitality and spirit.