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The Rising Universe water sculpture in action.
The Shelley fountain fenced off for repairs in April 2009
The Rising Universe, more commonly known locally as the Shelley Fountain, is a large modern water sculpture in Horshammarker, West Sussexmarker, UKmarker. It was built to commemorate the bicentenary of the birth of the poet Percy Bysshe Shelley, who was born near Horsham. The design is based on a fountain planned for the city of Cambridgemarker which was rejected due to public protest. The County Times wrote "Its appearance and quality as a public work of art has attracted widespread derision and distress. Just how long it will survive is the burning question of the moment.". At its opening the mayor of Lericimarker, Horsham's twin town where the poet died, described the memorial as "very brave". The fountain consists of a large globe mounted on a pillar, designed to fill with water pumped from below. As the sphere fills it descends slowly (over a period of about five minutes) after which a torrent of six and a half tons of water is released into the pool below; it then quickly rises and the cycle starts over again. It is 45ft across at its base, standing 28ft high.

It was constructed by sculptor Angela Conner. An extract from Shelley's 1817 poem 'Mont Blanc' appears on a plaque on the sculpture:

The everlasting universe of things

Flows through the mind, and rolls its rapid waves,

Now dark – now glittering – now reflecting gloom –

Now lending splendour, where from secret springs

The source of human thought its tribute brings

Of waters, – with a sound but half its own,

Such as a feeble brook will oft assume

In the wild woods, among the mountains lone,

Where waterfalls around it leap for ever,

Where woods and winds contend, and a vast river

Over its rocks ceaselessly bursts and raves.

The fountain was switched off in the spring of 2006 to conserve water due to water shortages in the south of England. Although the water is recycled, it loses 180 gallons of water a day to filtration and evaporation. It was switched on again in November 2006. In May 2008 the fountain was turned off again due to the failure of its main hydraulic cylinder. On 19 January 2009 the fountain was fenced off for repairs.


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