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Quotations From PERCY BYSSHE SHELLEY


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  • Yes, marriage is hateful, detestable. A kind of ineffable, sickening disgust seizes my mind when I think of this most despotic, most unrequited fetter which prejudice has forged to confine its energies.
    Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792-1822), British poet. Letter, May 2, 1811. The Letters of Percy Bysshe Shelley, vol. 1, ed. Frederick L. Jones (1964). To the same correspondent (Thomas Jefferson Hogg), June 21, 1811, Shelley called matrimony "... the most horrible of all the means which the world has had recourse to bind the noble to itself," but justified his own marriage in a letter to Hogg on Oct. 8 of that year on the grounds that, until considerable improvement of morals had been brought about, it would be advisable to maintain the institution of matrimony.

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  • A story of particular facts is a mirror which obscures and distorts that which should be beautiful; poetry is a mirror which makes beautiful that which it distorts.
    Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792-1822), British poet. A Defence of Poetry (written 1821, published 1840).

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  • A poet, as he is the author to others of the highest wisdom, pleasure, virtue, and glory, so he ought personally to be the happiest, the best, the wisest, and the most illustrious of men.
    Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792-1822), British poet. A Defence of Poetry (written 1821, published 1840).
  • Their errors have been weighed and found to have been dust in the balance; if their sins were as scarlet, they are now white as snow: they have been washed in the blood of the mediator and the redeemer, Time.
    Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792-1822), British poet. A Defence of Poetry (written 1821, publ. 1840). Referring specifically to the reputations of poets.

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  • Poetry is the record of the best and happiest moments of the happiest and best minds.
    Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792-1822), British poet. A Defence of Poetry (written 1821, published 1840).

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  • Chastity is a monkish and evangelical superstition, a greater foe to natural temperance even than unintellectual sensuality.
    Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792-1822), British poet. Even Love is Sold, note, Queen Mab (1813).
  • Government is an evil; it is only the thoughtlessness and vices of men that make it a necessary evil. When all men are good and wise, government will of itself decay.
    Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792-1822), British poet. An Address to the Irish People (1812). These sentiments reflect those expressed in Thomas Paine's Common Sense (1776).

    Read more quotations about / on: evil
  • The Galilean is not a favourite of mine. So far from owing him any thanks for his favour, I cannot avoid confessing that I owe a secret grudge to his carpentership.
    Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792-1822), British poet. Letter, April 24, 1811. The Letters of Percy Bysshe Shelley, vol. 1, ed. Frederick L. Jones (1964).

    Read more quotations about / on: thanks
  • Reviewers, with some rare exceptions, are a most stupid and malignant race. As a bankrupt thief turns thief-taker in despair, so an unsuccessful author turns critic.
    Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792-1822), British poet. Adonais, preface (1821). First draft, later removed.

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  • It is his weakness to be proud: he derives, from a comparison of his own extraordinary mind with the dwarfish intellects that surround him, an intense apprehension of the nothingness of human life.
    Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792-1822), British poet. Julian and Maddalo, preface. The description of Count Maddalo was taken to be a portrait of Byron.

    Read more quotations about / on: life
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