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March 2, 2017

Quotations by Percy Bysshe Shelley


PERCY BYSSHE SHELLEY, MAJOR ENGLISH ROMANTIC POET AND ONE OF THE GREATEST LYRIC POETS IN THE HISTORY OF ENGLISH LITERATURE.

“A poet is a nightingale who sits in darkness and sings to cheer its own solitude with sweet sounds.”  ~ Percy Bysshe Shelley, A Defence of Poetry

“A man, to be greatly good, must imagine intensely and comprehensively; he must put himself in the place of another and many others; the pains and pleasures of his species must become his own. The great instrument of moral good is the imagination.”
~ Percy Bysshe Shelley, A Defence of Poetry

“Poets and philosophers are the unacknowledged legislators of the world.”
~ Percy Bysshe Shelley, A Defence of Poetry

“Poetry is a mirror which makes beautiful that which is distorted”
~ Percy Bysshe Shelley, A Defence of Poetry

“My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!”
~ Percy Bysshe Shelley, Ozymandias

“A poet is a nightingale who sits in darkness and sings to cheer its own solitude with sweet sounds.”
~ Percy Bysshe Shelley, A Defence of Poetry

“I have drunken deep of joy,
And I will taste no other wine tonight.”
~ Percy Bysshe Shelley, The Cenci (1819), Act I, sc. iii, l. 88.

“No more let life divide what death can join together.”
~ Percy Bysshe Shelley, Adonais

“See the mountains kiss high Heaven
And the waves clasp one another;
No sister-flower would be forgiven
If it disdained its brother;
And the sunlight clasps the earth,
And the moonbeams kiss the sea -
What is all this sweet work worth
If thou kiss not me? ”
~ Percy Bysshe Shelley, Love’s Philosophy

“We look before and after,
And pine for what is not;
Our sincerest laughter
With some pain is fraught;
Our sweetest songs are those that tell
Of saddest thought.”
~ Percy Bysshe Shelley, To a Skylark

“Music, when soft voices die, vibrates in the memory.”
~ Percy Bysshe Shelley, Music, When Soft Voices Die

“Rise like Lions after slumber
In unvanquishable number,
Shake your chains to earth like dew
Which in sleep had fallen on you -
Ye are many - they are few.”
~ Percy Bysshe Shelley, The Masque of Anarchy

“The pleasure that is in sorrow is sweeter than the pleasure of pleasure itself.”
~ Percy Bysshe Shelley, A Defence of Poetry

“I arise from dreams of thee,
And a spirit in my feet
Has led me- who knows how?
To thy chamber-window, Sweet!”
~ Percy Bysshe Shelley, I Arise From Dreams Of Thee

“Death is the veil which those who live call life;
They sleep, and it is lifted.”
~ Percy Bysshe Shelley, Prometheus Unbound

“Man has no right to kill his brother, it is no excuse that he does so in uniform. He only adds the infamy of servitude to the crime of murder.”
~ Percy Bysshe Shelley, Declaration of Rights (1812), article 19

“What is life? Thoughts and feelings arise, with or without our will, and we employ words to express them. We are born, and our birth is unremembered, and our infancy remembered but in fragments; we live on, and in living we lose the apprehension of life. How vain is it to think that words can penetrate the mystery of our being! Rightly used they may make evident our ignorance to ourselves, and this is much.”
~ Percy Bysshe Shelley, On Life  from the 1880 edition of The Works of Percy Bysshe Shelley in Verse and Prose, edited by H. Buxton Forman.

“Sorrow, terror, anguish, despair itself, are often the chosen expressions of an approximation to the highest good. Our sympathy in tragic fiction depends on this principle; tragedy delights by affording a shadow of the pleasure which exists in pain. This is the source also of the melancholy which is inseparable from the sweetest melody. The pleasure that is in sorrow is sweeter than the pleasure of pleasure itself.”
~ Percy Bysshe Shelley, A Defence of Poetry

“Poetry is not like reasoning, a power to be exerted according to the determination of the will. A man cannot say, “I will compose poetry.” The greatest poet even cannot say it; for the mind in creation is as a fading coal, which some invisible influence, like an inconstant wind, awakens to transitory brightness; this power arises from within, like the color of a flower which fades and changes as it is developed, and the conscious portions of our natures are unprophetic either of its approach or its departure. Could this influence be durable in its original purity and force, it is impossible to predict the greatness of the results; but when composition begins, inspiration is already on the decline, and the most glorious poetry that has ever been communicated to the world is probably a feeble shadow of the original conceptions of the poet.”
~ Percy Bysshe Shelley, A Defence of Poetry

“Forget the dead, the past? Oh, yet
There are ghosts that may take revenge for it,
Memories that make the heart a tomb,
Regrets which glide through the spirit’s gloom,
And with ghastly whispers tell
That joy, once lost, is pain.”
~ Percy Bysshe Shelley, The Past

“We rest; a dream has power to poison sleep.
We rise; one wand'ring thought pollutes the day.
We feel, conceive, or reason; laugh or weep,
Embrace fond woe, or cast our cares away;
It is the same: for, be it joy or sorrow,
The path of its departure still is free.
Man's yesterday may ne'er be like his morrow;
Nought may endure but Mutability!”
~ Percy Bysshe Shelley, Mutability

“And the Spring arose on the garden fair,
Like the Spirit of Love felt everywhere;
And each flower and herb on Earth's dark breast
Rose from the dreams of its wintry rest.”
~ Percy Bysshe Shelley, The Sensitive Plant

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