Percy Bysshe Shelley quotes

Percy Bysshe Shelley photo
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Percy Bysshe Shelley

Birthdate: 4. August 1792
Date of death: 8. July 1822

Percy Bysshe Shelley was one of the major English Romantic poets, who is regarded by some as among the finest lyric and philosophical poets in the English language, and one of the most influential. A radical in his poetry as well as in his political and social views, Shelley did not see fame during his lifetime, but recognition of his achievements in poetry grew steadily following his death. Shelley was a key member of a close circle of visionary poets and writers that included Lord Byron, John Keats, Leigh Hunt, Thomas Love Peacock and his own second wife, Mary Shelley, the author of Frankenstein.

Shelley is perhaps best known for classic poems such as "Ozymandias", "Ode to the West Wind", "To a Skylark", "Music, When Soft Voices Die", "The Cloud" and The Masque of Anarchy. His other major works include a groundbreaking verse drama, The Cenci , and long, visionary, philosophical poems such as Queen Mab , Alastor, The Revolt of Islam, Adonais, Prometheus Unbound – widely considered to be his masterpiece, Hellas: A Lyrical Drama and his final, unfinished work, The Triumph of Life .

Shelley's close circle of friends included some of the most important progressive thinkers of the day, including his father-in-law, the philosopher William Godwin, and Leigh Hunt. Though Shelley's poetry and prose output remained steady throughout his life, most publishers and journals declined to publish his work for fear of being arrested for either blasphemy or sedition. Shelley's poetry sometimes had only an underground readership during his day, but his poetic achievements are widely recognized today, and his political and social thought had an impact on the Chartist and other movements in England, and reach down to the present day. Shelley's theories of economics and morality, for example, had a profound influence on Karl Marx; his early – perhaps first – writings on nonviolent resistance influenced Leo Tolstoy, whose writings on the subject in turn influenced Mahatma Gandhi, and through him Martin Luther King Jr. and others practicing nonviolence during the American civil rights movement.

Shelley became a lodestar to the subsequent three or four generations of poets, including important Victorian and Pre-Raphaelite poets such as Robert Browning and Dante Gabriel Rossetti. He was admired by Oscar Wilde, Thomas Hardy, George Bernard Shaw, Leo Tolstoy, Bertrand Russell, W. B. Yeats, Upton Sinclair and Isadora Duncan. Henry David Thoreau's Civil Disobedience was apparently influenced by Shelley's writings and theories on nonviolence in protest and political action. Shelley's popularity and influence has continued to grow in contemporary poetry circles.

Works

Adonaïs
Percy Bysshe Shelley
Prometheus Unbound
Prometheus Unbound
Percy Bysshe Shelley
Queen Mab
Queen Mab
Percy Bysshe Shelley
Hellas
Percy Bysshe Shelley
Epipsychidion
Epipsychidion
Percy Bysshe Shelley
Ode to the West Wind
Percy Bysshe Shelley
The Revolt of Islam
The Revolt of Islam
Percy Bysshe Shelley
To a Skylark
To a Skylark
Percy Bysshe Shelley
The Cloud
Percy Bysshe Shelley
The Necessity of Atheism
The Necessity of Atheism
Percy Bysshe Shelley
A Vindication of Natural Diet
A Vindication of Natural Diet
Percy Bysshe Shelley
The Masque of Anarchy
The Masque of Anarchy
Percy Bysshe Shelley
Death (Shelley, 2)
Percy Bysshe Shelley
The Cenci
The Cenci
Percy Bysshe Shelley
Ozymandias
Percy Bysshe Shelley
The Indian Serenade
Percy Bysshe Shelley
To Night
Percy Bysshe Shelley
Love's Philosophy
Love's Philosophy
Percy Bysshe Shelley

Quotes Percy Bysshe Shelley

„Dust to the dust! but the pure spirit shall flow
Back to the burning fountain whence it came,
A portion of the Eternal.“

—  Percy Bysshe Shelley, Adonaïs

St. XXXVIII
Adonais (1821)
Context: He wakes or sleeps with the enduring dead;
Thou canst not soar where he is sitting now -
Dust to the dust! but the pure spirit shall flow
Back to the burning fountain whence it came,
A portion of the Eternal.

„Thus let thy power, which like the truth
Of nature on my passive youth
Descended, to my onward life supply
Its calm, to one who worships thee,
And every form containing thee,
Whom, SPIRIT fair, thy spells did bind
To fear himself, and love all human kind.“

—  Percy Bysshe Shelley

St. 7
Hymn to Intellectual Beauty (1816)
Context: The day becomes more solemn and serene
When noon is past; there is a harmony
In autumn, and a lustre in its sky,
Which through the summer is not heard or seen,
As if it could not be, as if it had not been!
Thus let thy power, which like the truth
Of nature on my passive youth
Descended, to my onward life supply
Its calm, to one who worships thee,
And every form containing thee,
Whom, SPIRIT fair, thy spells did bind
To fear himself, and love all human kind.

„I never was attached to that great sect,
Whose doctrine is, that each one should select
Out of the crowd a mistress or a friend,
And all the rest, though fair and wise, commend
To cold oblivion“

—  Percy Bysshe Shelley, Epipsychidion

Source: Epipsychidion (1821), l. 147
Context: Thy wisdom speaks in me, and bids me dare
Beacon the rocks on which high hearts are wreckt.
I never was attached to that great sect,
Whose doctrine is, that each one should select
Out of the crowd a mistress or a friend,
And all the rest, though fair and wise, commend
To cold oblivion, though it is in the code
Of modern morals, and the beaten road
Which those poor slaves with weary footsteps tread,
Who travel to their home among the dead
By the broad highway of the world, and so
With one chained friend, — perhaps a jealous foe,
The dreariest and the longest journey go.

„A traveller from the cradle to the grave
Through the dim night of this immortal day.“

—  Percy Bysshe Shelley, Prometheus Unbound

Demogorgon, Act IV, l. 549
Prometheus Unbound (1818–1819; publ. 1820)
Context: Man, who wert once a despot and a slave,
A dupe and a deceiver! a decay,
A traveller from the cradle to the grave
Through the dim night of this immortal day.

„O wild West Wind, thou breath of Autumn's being,
Thou, from whose unseen presence the leaves dead
Are driven, like ghosts from an enchanter fleeing,
Yellow, and black, and pale, and hectic red,
Pestilence-stricken multitudes“

—  Percy Bysshe Shelley, book Ode to the West Wind

St. I
Ode to the West Wind (1819)
Context: O wild West Wind, thou breath of Autumn's being,
Thou, from whose unseen presence the leaves dead
Are driven, like ghosts from an enchanter fleeing,
Yellow, and black, and pale, and hectic red,
Pestilence-stricken multitudes: O thou,
Who chariotest to their dark wintry bed
The winged seeds, where they lie cold and low,
Each like a corpse within its grave, until
Thine azure sister of the spring shall blow
Her clarion o'er the dreaming earth.

„An old, mad, blind, despised, and dying king“

—  Percy Bysshe Shelley

English in 1819 http://www.readprint.com/work-1361/Percy-Bysshe-Shelley (1819), l. 1
Context: An old, mad, blind, despised, and dying king, —
Princes, the dregs of their dull race, who flow
Through public scorn, — mud from a muddy spring, —
Rulers who neither see, nor feel, nor know,
But leech-like to their fainting country cling,
Till they drop, blind in blood, without a blow.

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„Spirit of BEAUTY, that dost consecrate
With thine own hues all thou dost shine upon
Of human thought or form, where art thou gone?“

—  Percy Bysshe Shelley

St. 2
Hymn to Intellectual Beauty (1816)
Context: Spirit of BEAUTY, that dost consecrate
With thine own hues all thou dost shine upon
Of human thought or form, where art thou gone?
Why dost thou pass away and leave our state,
This dim vast vale of tears, vacant and desolate?
Ask why the sunlight not for ever
Weaves rainbows o'er yon mountain-river,
Why aught should fail and fade that once is shown,
Why fear and dream and death and birth
Cast on the daylight of this earth
Such gloom, why man has such a scope
For love and hate, despondency and hope?

„Nought may endure but Mutability.“

—  Percy Bysshe Shelley

Mutability http://www.web-books.com/Classics/Poetry/anthology/Shelley/Mutability.htm (1816), st. 4
Context: p>We rest. — A dream has power to poison sleep;
We rise. — One wandering 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.</p

„I met Murder on the way —
He had a mask like Castlereagh“

—  Percy Bysshe Shelley, The Masque of Anarchy

Very smooth he looked, yet grim;
Seven blood-hounds followed him.
St. 2
The Masque of Anarchy (1819)

„I silently laugh at my own cenotaph,
And out of the caverns of rain,
Like a child from the womb, like a ghost from the tomb,
I arise and unbuild it again.“

—  Percy Bysshe Shelley, The Cloud

St. 7 (a cenotaph is an empty tomb or a monument erected in honor of a person who is buried elsewhere)
The Cloud (1820)
Context: For after the rain when with never a stain
The pavilion of Heaven is bare,
And the winds and sunbeams with their convex gleams
Build up the blue dome of air,
I silently laugh at my own cenotaph,
And out of the caverns of rain,
Like a child from the womb, like a ghost from the tomb,
I arise and unbuild it again.

„From the contagion of the world's slow stain
He is secure, and now can never mourn
A heart grown cold, a head grown grey in vain.“

—  Percy Bysshe Shelley, Adonaïs

St. XL
Adonais (1821)
Context: He has outsoared the shadow of our night;
Envy and calumny and hate and pain,
And that unrest which men miscall delight,
Can touch him not and torture not again;
From the contagion of the world's slow stain
He is secure, and now can never mourn
A heart grown cold, a head grown grey in vain.

„He hath awakened from the dream of life—
'Tis we, who lost in stormy visions, keep
With phantoms an unprofitable strife,
And in mad trance, strike with our spirit's knife
Invulnerable nothings.“

—  Percy Bysshe Shelley, Adonaïs

St. XXXIX
Adonais (1821)
Context: Peace, peace! he is not dead, he doth not sleep—
He hath awakened from the dream of life—
'Tis we, who lost in stormy visions, keep
With phantoms an unprofitable strife,
And in mad trance, strike with our spirit's knife
Invulnerable nothings.

„The day becomes more solemn and serene
When noon is past; there is a harmony
In autumn, and a lustre in its sky,
Which through the summer is not heard or seen“

—  Percy Bysshe Shelley

St. 7
Hymn to Intellectual Beauty (1816)
Context: The day becomes more solemn and serene
When noon is past; there is a harmony
In autumn, and a lustre in its sky,
Which through the summer is not heard or seen,
As if it could not be, as if it had not been!
Thus let thy power, which like the truth
Of nature on my passive youth
Descended, to my onward life supply
Its calm, to one who worships thee,
And every form containing thee,
Whom, SPIRIT fair, thy spells did bind
To fear himself, and love all human kind.

„When the lamp is shattered
The light in the dust lies dead —
When the cloud is scattered,
The rainbow's glory is shed.“

—  Percy Bysshe Shelley

When the Lamp is Shattered http://www.readprint.com/work-1382/Percy-Bysshe-Shelley (1822), st. 1
Context: When the lamp is shattered
The light in the dust lies dead —
When the cloud is scattered,
The rainbow's glory is shed.
When the lute is broken,
Sweet tones are remembered not;
When the lips have spoken,
Loved accents are soon forgot.

„The awful shadow of some unseen Power
Floats though unseen among us; visiting
This various world with as inconstant wing
As summer winds that creep from flower to flower“

—  Percy Bysshe Shelley

St. 1
Hymn to Intellectual Beauty (1816)
Context: The awful shadow of some unseen Power
Floats though unseen among us; visiting
This various world with as inconstant wing
As summer winds that creep from flower to flower;
Like moonbeams that behind some piny mountain shower,
It visits with inconstant glance
Each human heart and countenance;
Like hues and harmonies of evening,
Like clouds in starlight widely spread,
Like memory of music fled,
Like aught that for its grace may be
Dear, and yet dearer for its mystery.

„I met a traveller from an antique land
Who said: — Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert.“

—  Percy Bysshe Shelley, Ozymandias

Ozymandias (1818)
Context: I met a traveller from an antique land
Who said: — Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Near them on the sand,
Half sunk, a shatter'd visage lies, whose frown
And wrinkled lip and sneer of cold command
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamp'd on these lifeless things,
The hand that mock'd them and the heart that fed.
And on the pedestal these words appear:
"My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair!"
Nothing beside remains: round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare,
The lone and level sands stretch far away.

„Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Etiam egestas wisi a erat. Morbi imperdiet, mauris ac auctor dictum.“

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