Percy Bysshe Shelley was born 4 August 1792, and died 8 July 1822
- Our sweetest songs are those that tell of saddest thought.
- Poetry is the record of the best and happiest moments of the happiest and best minds.
- 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 of ourselves, and this is much.
- Soul meets soul on lovers’ lips.
- A poet is a nightingale, who sits in darkness and sings to cheer its own solitude with sweet sounds. His auditors are as men entranced by the melody of an unseen musician.
- The more we study the more we discover our ignorance.
- Change is certain. Peace is followed by disturbances; departure of evil men by their return. Such recurrences should not constitute occasions for sadness but realities for awareness, so that one may be happy in the interim.
- Music, when soft voices die, vibrates in the memory.
- War is the statesman’s game, the priest’s delight, the lawyer’s jest, the hired assassin’s trade.
- The rich have become richer, and the poor have become poorer; and the vessel of the state is driven between the Scylla and Charybdis of anarchy and despotism.
- All spirits are enslaved which serve things evil.
- Before man can be free, and equal, and truly wise, he must cast aside the chains of habit and superstition; he must strip sensuality of its pomp, and selfishness of its excuses, and contemplate actions and objects as they really are.
- 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 was one of the major English Romantic poets and is regarded as among the finest lyric poets. He was a member of a close circle of visionary poets and writers that included Lord Byron; Leigh Hunt; Thomas Love Peacock; and his wife, Mary Shelley, the author of Frankenstein. His works are available in Shelley’s Poetry and Prose.
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